1-corinthians 1:23


King James Version (KJV)

But we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block, and to the Greeks foolishness;

American King James Version (AKJV)

But we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block, and to the Greeks foolishness;

American Standard Version (ASV)

but we preach Christ crucified, unto Jews a stumblingblock, and unto Gentiles foolishness;

Basic English Translation (BBE)

But we give the good news of Christ on the cross, a hard thing to the Jews, and a foolish thing to the Gentiles;

Webster's Revision

But we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Greeks foolishness;

World English Bible

but we preach Christ crucified; a stumbling block to Jews, and foolishness to Greeks,

English Revised Version (ERV)

but we preach Christ crucified, unto Jews a stumblingblock, and unto Gentiles foolishness;

Clarke's 1-corinthians 1:23 Bible Commentary

But we - Apostles, differing widely from these Gentile philosophers: -

Preach Christ crucified - Call on men, both Jews and Gentiles, to believe in Christ, as having purchased their salvation by shedding his blood for them.

Unto the Jews a stumbling block - Because Jesus came meek, lowly, and impoverished; not seeking worldly glory, nor affecting worldly pomp; whereas they expected the Messiah to come as a mighty prince and conqueror; because Christ did not come so, they were offended at him. Out of their own mouths, we may condemn the gainsaying Jews. In Sohar Chadash, fol. 26, the following saying is attributed to Moses, relative to the brazen serpent: "Moses said, This serpent is a stumbling block to the world. The holy blessed God answered: Not at all, it shall be for punishment to sinners, and life to upright men." This is a proper illustration of the apostle's words.

Unto the Greeks foolishness - Because they could not believe that proclaiming supreme happiness through a man that was crucified at Judea as a malefactor could ever comport with reason and common sense; for both the matter and manner of the preaching were opposite to every notion they had formed of what was dignified and philosophic. In Justin Martyr's dialogue with Trypho the Jew we have these remarkable words, which serve to throw light on the above. "Your Jesus," says Trypho, "having fallen under the extreme curse of God, we cannot sufficiently admire how you can expect any good from God, who place your hopes επ' ανθρωπον σταυρωθεντα, upon a man that was Crucified." The same writer adds: "They count us mad, that after the eternal God, the Father of all things, we give the second place, ανθρωπῳ σταυρωθεντι, to a man that was crucified." "Where is your understanding," said the Gentiles, "who worship for a god him who was crucified?" Thus Christ crucified was to the Jews a stumbling block, and to the Greeks foolishness. See Whitby on this verse.

Barnes's 1-corinthians 1:23 Bible Commentary

But we - We who are Christian preachers make Christ crucified the grand subject of our instructions and our aims in contradistinction from the Jew and the Greek. They seek, the one miracles, the other wisdom, we glory only in the cross.

Christ crucified - The word Christ, the anointed, is the same as the Hebrew name Messiah. The emphasis in this expression is on the word "crucified." The Jews would make the Messiah whom they expected no less an object of glorifying than the apostles, but they spurned the doctrine that he was to be crucified. Yet in that the apostles boasted; proclaiming him crucified, or "having been crucified" as the only hope of man. This must mean more than that Christ was distinguished for moral worth, more than that he died as a martyr; because if that were all, no reason could be given why the cross should be made so prominent an object. It must mean that Christ was crucified for the sins of people, as an atoning sacrifice in the place of sinners. "We proclaim a crucified. Messiah as the only redeemer of lost people."

To the Jews a stumbling-block - The word "stumbling-block" (σκάνδαλον skandalon) means properly anything in the way over which one may fall; then anything that gives offence, or that causes one to fall into sin. Here it means that to the Jews, the doctrine that the Messiah was to be crucified gave great offence; excited, irritated, and exasperated them; that they could not endure the doctrine, and treated it with scorn. Compare the Romans 9:33 note; 1 Peter 2:8 note. It is well known that to the Jews no doctrine was more offensive than this, that the Messiah was to be put to death, and that there was to be salvation in no other way. It was so in the times of the apostles, and it has been so since. They have, therefore, usually called the Lord Jesus, by way of derision, "תלוי Tolwiy, the man that was hanged," that is, on a cross; and Christians they have usually denominated, for the same reason, צבדי תלוי 'Abday Tolwiy, servants of the man that was hanged." The reasons of this feeling are obvious:

(1) They had looked for a magnificent temporal prince; but the doctrine that their Messiah was crucified, dashed all their expectations. And they regarded it with contempt and scorn, just in proportion as their hopes had been elevated, and these high expectations cherished.

(2) they had the common feelings of all people, the native feelings of pride, and self-righteousness, by which they rejected the doctrine that we are dependent for salvation on one who was crucified.

(3) they regarded Jesus as one given over by God for an enormous attempt at imposition, as having been justly put to death; and the object of the curse of the Almighty. Isaiah 53:4, "we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God." They endeavored to convince themselves that he was the object of the divine dereliction and abhorrence; and they, therefore, rejected the doctrine of the cross with the deepest feelings of detestation.

To the Greeks - To the Gentiles in general. So the Syriac, the Vulgate, the Arabic, and the Aethiopic versions all read it. The term "Greek" denotes all who were not Jews; thus the phrase, "the Jews and the Greeks" comprehended the whole human family, 1 Corinthians 1:22.

Foolishness - See the note at 1 Corinthians 1:18. They regarded it as folly:

(1) Because they esteemed the whole account a fable, and an imposition;

(2) It did not accord with their own views of the way of elevating the condition of man;

(3) They saw no efficacy in the doctrine, no tendency in the statement that a man of humble birth was put to death in an ignominious manner in Judea, to make people better, or to receive pardon.

(4) they had the common feelings of unrenewed human nature; blind to the beauty of the character of Christ, and blind to the design of his death; and they therefore regarded the whole statement as folly.

We may remark here, that the feelings of the Jews and of the Greeks on this subject, are the common feelings of people. Everywhere sinners have the same views of the cross; and everywhere the human heart, if left to itself, rejects it, as either a stumbling-block or as folly. But the doctrine should be preached, though it is an offence, and though it appears to be folly. It is the only hope of man; and by the preaching of the cross alone can sinners be saved.

Wesley's 1-corinthians 1:23 Bible Commentary

1:23 We go on to preach, in a plain and historical, not rhetorical or philosophical, manner, Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumblingblock - Just opposite to the "signs" they demand. And to the Greeks foolishness - A silly tale, just opposite to the wisdom they seek.

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