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the stone (Matt. xvi, 18), the true material of which the abiding Church is built, is not the doctrine of Christ, or the confession of Christ put forth by Peter, nor yet Peter considered as an individual man (IIétpos), but both of these combined in Peter confessing-a believer inspired of God and confessing Christ as the Son of the living God—thus making one new man, the ideal and representative confessor (TÉTpa), so the material here contemplated consists of persons made and fashioned into various character through the instrumentality of different ministers. These ministers are admonished that they may work into God's building “wood, hay, stubble,” worthless and perishable stuff, as well as “gold, silver, precious stones.” The material may be largely made what it is by the doctrines taught, and other influences brought to bear on converts by the minister who is to build them into the house of God, but is it not clear that in such case the doctrines taught are the tools of the workman rather than the material of which he builds ? Nevertheless, this process of building (ÉTOLKODquei) on the foundation already laid, like the work of Apollos in watering that which was planted by Paul (ver. 6), is to be thought of chiefly in reference to the responsibility of the ministers of the Gospel. The great caution is: “Let each man (whether Apollos or Cephas, or any other minister) take heed how he builds thereon ” (ver. 10). Let him take heed to the doctrine he preaches, the morality he inculcates, the discipline he maintains, and, indeed, to every influence he exerts, which goes in any way to mould and fashion the life and character of those who are builded into the Church. The gold, silver, and precious stones, according to Alford, “refer to the matter of the minister's teaching, primarily, and by inference to those whom that teaching penetrates and builds up in Christ, who should be the living stones of the temple." ? So also Meyer: “ The various specimens of building materials, set side by side in vivid asyndeton, denote the various matters of doctrine propounded by teachers and brought into connexion with faith in Christ, in order to develop and complete the Christian training of the Church." * These statements contain essential truth, but they are, as we conceive, misleading, in so far as they exalt matters of doctrine alone. We are rather to think of the whole administration and work of the minister in making converts and influencing their character and life. The materials are rather the Church members, but considered primarily as made, or allowed to remain what they are by the agency of the minister who builds the Church. See on this subject above, pp. 126, 127.
? Greek Testament, in loco. * Critical Commentary on Corinthians, in loco.
The great thoughts in the passage, then, would be as follows: On the foundation of Jesus Christ, ministers, as fellow
passage workers with God, are engaged in building up God's paraphrased. house. But let each man take heed how he builds. On that foundation may be erected an edifice of sound and enduring substance, as if it were built of gold, silver, and precious stones (as, for instance, costly marbles); the kind of Christians thus“ builded together for a habitation of God in the Spirit” (Eph. ii, 20) will constitute a noble and enduring structure, and his work will stand the fiery test of the last day. But on that same foundation a careless and unfaithful workman may build with unsafe material; he may tolerate and even foster jealousy, and strife (ver. 3), and pride (iv, 18); he may keep fornicators in the Church without sorrow or compunction (v, 1, 2); he may allow brother to go to law against brother (vi, 1), and permit drunken persons to come to the Lord's Supper (xi, 21)—all these, as well as heretics in doctrine (xv, 12), may be taken up and used as materials for building God's house. " In writing to the Corinthians the apostle had all these classes of persons in mind, and saw how they were becoming incorporated into that Church of his own planting. But he adds: The day of the Lord's judgment will bring every thing to light, and put to the test every man's work. The fiery revelation will disclose what sort of work each one has been doing, and he that has builded wisely and soundly will obtain a glorious reward; but he that has brought, or sought to keep, the wood, hay, stubble, in the Church
- he who has not rebuked jealousy, nor put down strife, nor excommunicated fornicators, nor faithfully administered the discipline of the Church-shall see his life-work all consumed, and he himself shall barely escape with his life, as one that is saved by being hastened through the fire of the burning building. His labour will all have been in vain, though he assumed to build on Christ, and did in fact minister in the holy place of his temple.
It is to be especially kept in mind that this allegory is intended to serve rather as a warning than to be understood as the allegory a a prophecy. As the parable of the labourers in the warning rather
than a prophvineyard (Matt. xix, 27-xx, 16) is spoken against Pe- ecy. ter's mercenary spirit, and thus serves as a warning and rebuke rather than as a prophecy of what will actually take place in the judgment, so here Paul warns those who are fellow labourers with God to take heed how they build, lest they involve both themselves and others in irreparable loss. We are not to understand the wood,
'In his parable of the tares and the wheat (Matt. xiii, 24–30, 37-43) Jesus himself taught that the good and the evil would be mixed together in the Church.
hay, stubble, as the profane and ungodly, who have no faith in Christ. Nor do these words denote false, anti-Christian doctrines. They denote rather the character and life-work of those who are rooted and grounded in Christ, but whose personal character and work are of little or no worth in the Church. All such persons, as well as the ministers who helped to make them such, will suffer irreparable loss in the day of the Lord Jesus, although they themselves may be saved. And this consideration obviates the objection made by some that if the work which shall be burned (ver. 15) are the persons brought into the Church, it is not to be supposed that the ministers who brought them in shall be saved. The final destiny of the persons affected by this work is, no doubt, necessarily involved in the fearful issue, but for their ruin the careless minister may not have been solely responsible. He may be saved, yet so as through fire, and they be lost. In chapter v, 5, Paul enjoins the severest discipline of the vile fornicator "in order that the spirit might be saved in the day of the Lord.” But a failure to administer such discipline would not necessarily have involved the final ruin of those commissioned to administer it; they would "suffer loss," and their final salvation would be “as through fire.” So, on the other hand, the work which the wise architect builds on the true foundation (ver. 14), and which endures, is not so much the final salvation and eternal life of those whom he brought into the Church and trained there as the general character and results of his labour in thus bringing them in and training them.
We thus seek the true solution of this allegory in carefully distinguishing between the materials put into the building and the work of the builders, and, at the same time, note the essential blending of the two. The wise builder will so teach, train, and discipline the church in which he labours as to secure excellent and permanent results. The unwise will work in bad material, and have no regard for the judgment which will test the work of all. In thus building, whether wisely or unwisely, the persons brought into the church and the ministerial labour by which they are taught and disciplined have a most intimate relation; and hence the essential truth in both the expositions of the allegory which have been so widely maintained.
Another of Paul's allegories occurs in 1 Cor. v, 6–8. Its imagery Allegory of is based
the well-known custom of the Jews of re1 Cor
. V, 6-8. moving all leaven from their houses at the beginning of the passover week,' and allowing no leaven to be found there during
The allusion may have been suggested by the time of the year when the epistle was written, apparently (chap. xvi, 8) a short time before Pentecost, and, therefore, ALLEGORY OF THE LEAVEN.
the seven days of the feast (Exod. xii, 15-20; xiii, 7). It also as. sumes the knowledge of the working of leaven, and its nature to communicate its properties of sourness to the whole kneaded mass. Jesus had used leaven as a symbol of pharisaic hypocrisy (Matt. xvi, 6, 12; Mark viii, 15; Luke xii, 1), and the power of a little leaven to leaven the whole lump had become a proverb (Gal. v, 9; comp. 1 Cor. xv, 33). All this Paul constructs into the following allegory:
Know ye not that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Purge out the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, even as ye are unleavened. For our passover, also, has been sacrificed, even Christ; wherefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened loaves of sincerity and truth.
The particular import and application of this allegory are to be found in the context. The apostle has in mind the case of the incestuous person who was tolerated in the church at Corinth, and whose foul example would be likely to contaminate the whole Church. He enjoins his immediate expulsion, and expresses amazement that they showed no humiliation and grief in having such a stain upon their character as a church, but seemed rather to be puffed up with self-conceit and pride. “Not goodly,” not seemly or beautiful (oủ kalóv), he says, “is your Paraphrase of glorying” (kaúxqua, ground of glorying). Sadly out of the passage. place your exultation and boast of being a Christian church with such a reproach and abuse in your midst. Know ye not the common proverb of the working of leaven? The toleration of such impurity and scandal in the Christian society will soon corrupt the whole body. Purge out, then, the old leaven. Cast off and put utterly away the old corrupt life and habits of heathenism. You know the customs of the passover. “You know how, when the lamb is killed, every particle of leaven is removed from every household; every morsel of food eaten, every drop drunk in that feast, is taken in its natural state. This is the true figure of your condition. You are the chosen people, delivered from bondage; you are called to begin a new life, you have had the lamb slain for you in the person of Christ. Whatever, therefore, in you corresponds to the literal leaven, must be utterly cast out; the perpetual passover to which we are called must be celebrated, like theirs, uncontaminated by any corrupting influence.” with the scenes of the passover, either present or recent, in his thoughts.—Stanley on the Epistles to the Corinthians, in loco.
1 Stanley on Corinthians, in loco.
The more im
In such an allegory care should be taken to give the right mean
ing to the more important allusions. The old leaven in portant allu- verse 7 is not to be explained as referring directly to
the incestuous person mentioned in the context. It has a wider import, and denotes, undoubtedly, all corrupt habits and immoral practices of the old heathen life, of which this case of incest was but one notorious specimen. The leaven in the Corinthian church was not so much the person of this particular offender, as the corrupting influence of his example, a residuum of the old unregenerate state. So “the leaven of the Pharisees.” was not the persons, but the doctrine and example of the Pharisees. Furthermore, the words “ even as ye are unleavened” are not to be taken literally (as Rosenmüller, Wieseler, and Conybeare), as if meaning “even as ye are now celebrating the feast of unleavened bread.” Such a mixing of literal and allegorical significations together is not to be assumed unless necessary. If such had been the apostle's design he would scarcely have used the word unleavened (ašvuoi) of persons abstaining from leavened bread. Nor is it supposable that the whole Corinthian church, or any considerable portion of them, observed the Jewish passover. And even if Paul had been obserying this feast at Ephesus at the time he wrote this epistle (chap. xvi, 8), it would have been some time past when the epistle reached Corinth, so that the allusion would have lost all its pertinency and effect. But Paul here uses unleavened figuratively of the Corinthians considered as a “new lump;” for so the words used immediately before and after imply. The vivid allegory of the Christian armour and conflict, in Eph.
vi, 11-17, furnishes its own interpretation, and is espeAllegory of the Christian ar- cially notable in the particular explanations of the dif
ferent parts of the armour. It appropriates the figure used in Isa. lix, 17 (comp. also Rom. xiii, 12; 1 Thess. V, 8), and elaborates it in great detail. Its several parts make up tìv mavoThiav toŨ Okoû, “the whole armour (panoply) of God,” the entire outfit of weapons, offensive and defensive, which is supplied by God. The enumeration of the several parts shows that the apostle has in mind the panoply of a heavy-armed soldier, with which the dwellers in all provinces of the Roman Empire must have been sufficiently familiar. The conflict (ń Trán, a life and death struggle) is not against blood and flesh (weak, fallible men, comp. Gal. i, 16), but against the organized spiritual forces of the kingdom of darkness, and hence the necessity of taking on the entire armour of God, which alone can meet the exigencies of such a wrestling. The six pieces of armour here named, which include girdle and sandals,