As I make my way through the GNT of 1 Corinthians I thought it a good habit to post my thoughts on the text. These thoughts will primarily consist of notes on syntax to aid the reader (and remind myself) in uses of certain grammatical structures. I will also at times jot down insights gleaned from various other resources, with Roy Ciampa and Brian Rosner’s PNTC on 1 Corinthians serving as my main dialogue partner. A translation from the NA27 will also be included. So without further ado, lets get the ball rolling on this, shall we?
1 Corinthians 1:1-3
1 Παῦλος κλητὸς ἀπόστολος Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ διὰ θελήματος θεοῦ καὶ Σωσθένης ὁ ἀδελφὸς 2 τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ τοῦ θεοῦ τῇ οὔσῃ ἐν Κορίνθῳ, ἡγιασμένοις ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, κλητοῖς ἁγίοις, σὺν πᾶσιν τοῖς ἐπικαλουμένοις τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐν παντὶ τόπῳ, αὐτῶν καὶ ἡμῶν· 3 χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν καὶ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.
1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Sothenes our brother: 2 To the church of God located in Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all those who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place, their Lord and ours: 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
There is nothing to difficult or exciting going on in the first three verses. As common with his other letters, the introduction of Paul and Sothenes in 1:1 form a nominative of address. The datives in 1:2 signify the recipients of Paul’s letter.
As is common with Paul’s letters, he lets the reader know that his calling is one from God himself. We remember the narrative of Acts and specifically the conversion of Saul to Christianity. When Paul was knocked from his horse and temporarily blinded by God, it all was for a purpose. That purpose would later be revealed to him as one who would be called to be an apostle of Jesus, the very one he was convinced was leading people away from the God of Israel.
It is interesting to note that at the very outset Paul mentions the sanctification of the Corinthians (ἡγιασμένοις ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ). This sanctified state which Paul states the Corinthians shared in will questioned by the readers of 1 Corinthians as they progress through this letter. But for Paul, the Corinthians sanctification is a fact.
In closing, it is all too easy to read over 1:3 and not take to heart the depth of what Paul says. For us the phrase χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν καὶ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ is easily skipped over in haste to get to the next section. But stop and think about this: grace and peace! What more can us rebels and sinners ever need from a holy and righteous God? We need God’s grace to forgive us of our treachery and we need the peace that comes from and only the work of Christ at the cross of Calvary. Therefore, let us praise God that we have been sanctified in Christ and called to be saints with the rest of God’s chosen people. Let us be grateful that we have received χάρις καὶ εἰρήνη ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν καὶ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.