Ver. 1. Concerning spiritual things. In the apostle's time, the Christians in the sacraments of baptism and confirmation, many times received those graces and gifts of the Holy Ghost, by which some of them prophesied, others wrought miracles, and cured diseases, others spoke tongues, and different languages: now some among the Corinthians made not a right use of these gifts, especially they who had the gift of tongues, and made use of it through vanity, rather than for the profit of others. Wi.
Ver. 2. You went to dumb idols. He speaks to the Gentiles before their conversion, to put them in mind, how much happier they are by receiving the faith of Christ, and such graces and favours from God. Wi.
Ver. 3. No man, speaking by the Spirit of God, &c. He tells them, if they see a person moved in an extraordinary manner, and say anathema, curse, or speak ill of Jesus, such an one cannot be moved by a good spirit. And no man can say, the Lord Jesus, that is, praise Christ as he ought, but by a good spirit. Wi.
Ver. 4-7. There are diversities of graces. Lit. divisions of graces; but all from the same spirit, from the same Lord, from the same God: and all these gifts are designed, and to be made use of for the profit of the faithful. Wi.
--- S. Justin Mar. S. Irenæus, and Origen bear testimony, that these special gifts of the Holy Ghost were not unusual in their time. S. Paul, in order to curb the vanity of such as seemed to be a little puffed up with the gifts they had received, and likewise to comfort those who had received no such spiritual and extraordinary favours, wishes to teach both parties, that the same Holy Spirit distributes these graces according as they are more conducive to the welfare of his Church, and the glory of God. Calmet.
Ver. 8, &c. Word of wisdom, which differs from that of knowledge, inasmuch as wisdom is a more eminent and sublime knowledge. These are numbered among the gifts of the Holy Ghost. Isaias, c. xi.
--- To another faith, by which, says S. Chrys.,† is not here meant a belief of revealed truths, but an humble confidence of working miracles, grounded on faith, and on the power and goodness of God.
--- The same Spirit worketh, dividing to every one according as he will; by which words, they that valued themselves on the gifts of prophesying, and speaking tongues, are put in mind, that all these were purely the gifts of God, to whom alone the honour is due. Wi.
[†] V. 9. Fides, pistiV, upon which word S. Chrys. om. kq. p. 433. pistin ou tauthn legwn, thn twn dogmatwn, alla thn shmeiwn.
Ver. 12. &c. As the body is one, &c. From this comparison of the mystical body of Christ, that is, of his Church, to a man's natural body, he brings excellent instructions. 1. That as all members and parts, make up the same body, so also is Christ; that is, so it is in the Church of Christ, which is his mystical body. 2. As all the parts of man's body are enlivened by the same soul, so all in the Church have their life from the same Spirit of God in baptism, and in the sacraments instituted by our Saviour, Christ; in which we are made to drink of the same spirit. 3. As all the members, that have such different offices and functions, do but constitute one complete body, so is it in the Church of Christ. 4. As those that seem the less considerable parts of the human body, are no less necessary for the subsistence and harmony of the whole, and stand in need of one another, (for example, the head stands in need of the feet) so in the Church, &c. 5. He takes notice, that in a natural body, the less honourable, the baser, and as they are called, the uncomely parts, are clothed with greater care and decency, Lit. have a more abundant honour bestowed upon them, so in the mystical body, no less, but even a greater care is to be taken of the weaker, and more infirm members, of the poor, the weak, the ignorant; and in the spirit of charity and love, that there may be no divisions or schisms, but a brotherly union: that if one suffer, another compassionate and assist him, &c. Wi.
Ver. 15. If the foot, &c. By this comparison S. Paul teaches the Corinthians, that as all cannot exercise the same functions in the Church, so no one should be envious of his brother; but that by their mutual charity, co-operation, union of hearts, and faith, they should compose one body, of which Christ is the head. Calmet.
Ver. 24. Cicero, in his 1st liber de Off. speaking of the human body, says, Natura quæ formam nostram atque figuram, in qua esset species honesta, eam posuit in promptu; quæ partes autem corporis ad naturæ necessitatem datæ, aspectum essent deformem habituræ atque turpem, eas contexit atque abdidit. Calmet.
Ver. 27. Members of member.† The sense seems to be, you are members of the particular Church of Corinth, which is only a part or member of the whole body of the Christian Catholic Church. This is agreeable to the common reading in the Greek, where it is said, you are members of a part. See S. Chrys. hom. xxxii. Wi.
[†] V. 27. Et membra de membro. Some Greek copies, kai melh ek melouV, but in most Greek MSS. kai melh ek merouV. S. Chrys. om. kb. p. 448. h ekklhsia h par hmin, meroV esti thV pantacou keimenhV ekklhsiaV.
Ver. 28. First apostles, &c. Here he sets down these gifts or graces in their order of dignity. 1. The apostles, blessed above others with all kinds of graces. 2. Prophets, who had the gift of interpreting of prophecies, and of knowing things to come. 3. Doctors, or teachers of the gospel, preferred before those who had the gift of miracles, or of healing the infirm, and before the gifts of tongues, which they valued and esteemed so much, which he reckons in a manner in the last place, except that of interpreting, which is wanting in the present Greek copies. But as interpreting is found in all the Greek MSS. (v. 30.) we have reason to prefer the reading of the Latin Vulgate. Wi.
Ver. 31. Be zealous for the better gifts: which are to be more or less esteemed, as they are accompanied with charity, as he is going to shew in the next chapter. Wi.