This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Sosthenes. I am writing to God’s church in Corinth, to you who have been called by God to be His own holy people. He made you holy by means of Christ Jesus, just as He did for all people everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.1 Corinthians 1:1-3
Paul introduces himself again and establishes his apostleship. He is mindful of the need to reinforce that he has been sent from God. Paul had planted the church at Corinth but there were some among them that now questioned his apostleship (1Cor_9:1, 1Cor_9:2), and who vilified his person and ministry, 2Cor_10:10. Paul is establishing here that he is not calling himself an apostle; rather God called him an apostle. Literally the text reads “a called apostle” through the will of God — not because of Paul’s own merit.
In this case he adds the name of Sosthenes. Who is this Sosthenes? Where do you find the information on this person? In E-Sword either click on <Bible> and the <Search> and type the name into the search space or look at the commentaries available and see if there is mention made of the person there. The commentaries available to you will depend on how many you have downloaded from the E-Sword website. Sosthenes seems to be the same man, who was the chief ruler of the synagogue of the Jews at Corinth; and was converted to the Christian faith by the Apostle Paul while he was there. (Act_18:17) Mention is made of Sosthenes being the governor of a city, one of the seventy disciples, who was educated at Pontus, and cast into the sea by the order of Nouna. Sosthenes is also said to be bishop of Colophon in Ionia. (Gill’s commentary) Clearly this person must be well known to the Corinthians, and respected by them.
Why does Paul include Sosthenes in this letter. I think that Sosthenes, who was the leader of the synagogue in Corinth and converted was a strong witness to Paul’s apostleship and not only that but was respected by the Corinthians themselves. It seems he was with Paul at the time of writing in Ephesus.
Paul is writing to the church in Corinth. Remember all that I said before related to what Corinth was like in Paul’s day. This is the context into which Paul is sending this letter. Little wonder that his focus in the opening of the letter is “you who have been called by God to be His own holy people”. The means of you Corinthians being made holy is through Jesus Christ. I don’t need to expand on this because we have just finished Romans. For those of you who have just joined Gems check out Bible Gem 136 – of sinners and saints. It matters who calls you to be a saint. If you call yourself a saint and holy that is not much recommendation. If others call you a saint and holy that is good and one level of commendation but if God calls you a saint then that is what you are. He has made you a saint (holy) through Christ’s sacrifice but now you have to work out your holiness in reality.
This is an especially important message for the Corinthian believers given where they are a located and what is going on around them. The saints at Corinth – what a paradox of grace!
Paul says this way, this process, is open to all who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
May God give you grace and peace in the process. By “Grace” Paul is using the Greek close and blessing and by “Peace” Paul is adding the fullness of the Hebrew Shalom. You can also read my comments on Grace and Peace in Bible Gem 136. (amid the Roman Gems)
Life on earth is just the first letter of the first sentence in the first chapter of the great story God is writing with your life.Max Lucado