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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Corinthians 3:2

 

 

I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able,

Adam Clarke Commentary

I have fed you with milk - I have instructed you in the elements of Christianity - in its simplest and easiest truths; because from the low state of your minds in religious knowledge, you were incapable of comprehending the higher truths of the Gospel: and in this state you will still continue. The apostle thus exposes to them the absurdity of their conduct in pretending to judge between preacher and preacher, while they had but a very partial acquaintance even with the first principles of Christianity.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:2". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-corinthians-3.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

I have fed you with milk - Paul here continues the metaphor, which is derived from the custom of feeding infants with the lightest food. Milk here evidently denotes the more simple and elementary doctrines of Christianity - the doctrines of the new birth, of repentance, faith, etc. The same figure occurs in Hebrews 5:11-14; and also in Classical writers. See Wetstein.

And not with meat - “Meat” here denotes the more sublime and mysterious doctrines of religion.

For hitherto - Formerly, when I came among you, and laid the foundations of the church.

Not able to bear it - You were not sufficiently advanced in Christian knowledge to comprehend the higher mysteries of the gospel.

Neither yet now … - The reason why they were not then able he proceeds immediately to state.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:2". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-corinthians-3.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

I fed you with milk, not with meat; for ye were not able to bear it: nay, not even now are ye able.

Milk ... meat ... Hebrews 5:11-14,1 Peter 2:2 employ this metaphor and explain it. The milk is the first principles (Hebrews 6:1,2); meat is more advanced learning. "It is the symbol of preaching in which it is possible to unfold the full richness and magnificence of the gospel."[5]

Not even now are ye able ... is written as censure. "This describes a condition wholly inexcusable; by now they should have grown up."[6] It is expected of young Christians that they should be weak "as babes," this having been true of the Twelve themselves, of whom Jesus said, "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now" (John 16:12).

[5] F. W. Grosheide, The New International Commentary (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1953), p. 71.

[6] Paul W. Marsh, A New Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing Company, 1969), p. 380.


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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:2". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/1-corinthians-3.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

I have fed you with milk,.... It is usual with the Jews to compare the law to milk, and they sayF3Kimchi in Isa. lv. 1. Abarbinel, Mashamia Jeshua, fol. 26. 1. , that

"as milk strengthens and nourishes an infant, so the law strengthens and nourishes the soul;'

but the apostle does not here mean חלב של תורה, "the milk of the law", as theyF4Jarchi in Cant. v. 12. call it, but the Gospel; comparable to milk, for its purity and wholesomeness, for the nourishing virtue there is in it, and because easy of digestion; for he designs by it, the more plain and easy doctrines of the Gospel, such as babes in Christ were capable of understanding and receiving: and not with meat; the more solid doctrines of the Gospel, and sublime mysteries of grace; the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom; such truths as were attended with difficulties, to which the carnal reason of men made many objections, and so were only fit to be brought before such who are of full age, young men, or rather fathers in Christ; who have had a large experience, and a long time of improvement in spiritual knowledge, and have their senses exercised to distinguish between truth and error. The reason he gives for this his conduct is,

for hitherto ye were not able to bear it; they could not receive, relish, and digest it; it was too strong meat for them, they being weak in faith, and but babes in Christ; wherefore he prudently adapted things to their capacities, and that in perfect consistence with that faithfulness and integrity, for which he was so remarkable: for the Gospel he preached to them, which he calls "milk", was not another Gospel, or contrary to that which goes by the name of "meat": only the one consisted of truths more easily to be understood, and was delivered in a manner more suited to their capacities than the other: he adds,

neither yet now are ye able; which carries in it a charge of dulness and negligence, that they had been so long learning, and were improved no more in the knowledge of the truth; were as yet only in the alphabet of the Gospel, and needed to be afresh instructed in the first principles of the oracles of God; for anything beyond these was too high for them. The apostle seems to allude to the manner and custom of the Jews, in training up their children to learning; as to their age when they admit them scholars, their rule is thisF5Maimom. Talmud Tora, c. 2. sect. 2. ,

"they introduce children (into the school) to be taught when six or seven years of age, לפי כח הבן ובנין גופו, "according to the child's strength, and the make of his body, and less than six years of age they do not take any in."'

But sooner than this, a father is obliged to teach his child at home, concerning which they sayF6Ib. c. 1. sect. 6. ,

"from what time is his father obliged to teach him the law? as soon as he begins to speak, he teaches him the law Moses commanded us, and "hear O Israel", and after that he instructs him, מעט מעט פסוקים פסוקים, "by little and little, here and there a verse", till he is six or seven years of age, and, הכל לפי בוריו, "all this according to the clearness of his understanding";'

i.e. as he is able to take things in; and even till twelve years he was to be used with a great deal of tenderness:

"says R. IsaacF7T. Bab. Cetubot, fol. 50. 1. , at Usha they made an order, that a man should "use his son gently", until he is twelve years of age; the gloss upon it is, if his son refuses to learn, he shall use him בנחת ובדברים רכים, "with mildness and tender language."'


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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:2". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-corinthians-3.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

I have fed you with milk, and not with b meat: for hitherto ye were not c able [to bear it], neither yet now are ye able.

(b) Substantial meat, or strong meat.

(c) To be fed by me with substantial meat: therefore as the Corinthians grew up in age, so the apostle nourished them by teaching, first with milk, then with strong meat. The difference was only in the manner of teaching.


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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:2". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/1-corinthians-3.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

(Hebrews 5:12).

milk — the elementary “principles of the doctrine of Christ.”


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/1-corinthians-3.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

I fed you with milk, not with meat (γαλα υμας εποτισα ου βρωμαgala humas epotisaεποτισαou brōma). Note two accusatives with the verb, ποτιζωepotisa first aorist active indicative of ρωμαpotizō as with other causative verbs, that of the person and of the thing. In the lxx and the papyri the verb often means to irrigate. εποτισαBrōma does not mean meat (flesh) as opposed to bread, but all solid food as in “meats and drinks” (Hebrews 9:7). It is a zeugma to use βρωμαepotisa with brōma Paul did not glory in making his sermons thin and watery. Simplicity does not require lack of ideas or dulness. It is pathetic to think how the preacher has to clip the wings of thought and imagination because the hearers cannot go with him. But nothing hinders great preaching like the dulness caused by sin on the part of auditors who are impatient with the high demands of the gospel.


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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:2". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/1-corinthians-3.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

I fed ( ἐπότισα )

Lit., I gave you to drink. An instance of the rhetorical figure zeugma, by which one verb is attached to two nouns, of which it only suits the meaning of one, but suggests a verb suitable for the other. Thus “gave to drink ” is applied to meat as well as to milk. For another illustration see hindering (A.V. and Rev., forbidding ), 1 Timothy 4:3.


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Bibliography
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:2". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/1-corinthians-3.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

I fed you, as babes, with milk - The first and plainest truths of the gospel. So should every preacher suit his doctrine to his hearers.


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Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:2". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/1-corinthians-3.html. 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

With milk; with merely the elementary principles of Christianity.


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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:2". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/1-corinthians-3.html. 1878.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

2.I have fed you with milk Here it is asked, whether Paul transformed Christ to suit the diversity of his hearers. I answer, that this refers to the manner and form of his instructions, rather than to the substance of the doctrine. For Christ is at once milk to babes, and strong meat to those that are of full age, (Hebrews 5:13,) the same truth of the gospel is administered to both, but so as to suit their capacity. Hence it is the part of a wise teacher to accommodate himself to the capacity of those whom he has undertaken to instruct, so that in dealing with the weak and ignorant, he begins with first principles, and does not go higher than they are able to follow, (Mark 4:33,) and so that, in short, he drops in his instructions by little and little, (147) lest it should run over, if poured in more abundantly. At the same time, those first principles will contain everything necessary to be known, no less than the farther advanced lessons that are communicated to those that are stronger. On this point read Augustine’s 98th homily on John. This tends to refute the specious pretext of some, who, while they do but mutter out, from fear of danger, something of the gospel in an indistinct manner, (148) pretend to have Paul’s example here. Meanwhile, they present Christ at such a distance, and covered over, besides, with so many disguises, that they constantly keep their followers in destructive ignorance. I shall say nothing of their mixing up many corruptions, their presenting Christ not simply in half, but torn to fragments, (149) their not merely concealing such gross idolatry, but confirming it also by their own example, and, if they have said anything that is good, straightway polluting it with numerous falsehoods. How unlike they are to Paul is sufficiently manifest; for milk is nourishment and not poison, and nourishment that is suitable and useful for bringing up children until they are farther advanced.

For ye were not yet able to bear it That they may not flatter themselves too much on their own discernment, he first of all tells them what he had found among them at the beginning, and then adds, what is still more severe, that the same faults remain among them to this day. For they ought at least, in putting on Christ, to have put off the flesh; and thus we see that Paul complains that the success which his doctrine ought to have had was impeded. For if the hearer does not occasion delay by his slowness, it is the part of a good teacher to be always going up higher, (150) till perfection has been attained.


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Calvin, John. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:2". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/1-corinthians-3.html. 1840-57.

Vv. 2. The figures used by the apostle relate to the term babes. Milk, according to 1 Corinthians 2:2, denotes the preaching of Jesus crucified, with its simplest contents and its most immediate consequences, expiation, justification by faith, the sanctification of the justified believer by the Holy Spirit, what saves by converting and regenerating. Meat represents what Paul has just called wisdom, the contemplation of the Divine plan in its entirety from its eternal predestination to its final consummation. The same figure occurs Hebrews 5:12; Hebrews 6:2, but with this difference, that there the persons in question are former Hebrews, and that the rudiments of religious knowledge (milk) are not exactly the same for those who were formerly Jews as for those who were formerly heathen.

The apostle says (literally), I have given you to drink, and that in relation to the two substantives, though the figure only corresponds to the first. It is a usual inaccuracy; comp. Luke 1:64. — The words, Ye could not yet, naturally refer to the time of Paul"s first stay. Meyer, Edwards think that it is unnecessary to understand an infinitive (to bear meat); perhaps they are right; it is in this sense that I have translated, "Ye were not strong enough." — Paul adds (what is still more humiliating) that this weakness characterizes even their present condition. The οὐδέ, and no more or not even, which is the reading of almost all the Mjj., is harder than the οὔτε, neither, of the T. R. This second reading is more delicate. I should not be surprised if the οὐδέ had been substituted for the οὔτε, because the τε wanted its correlative particle.

Billroth was the first to ask how this saying agrees with chap. 15 of our Epistle, where the apostle enters into such profound details respecting Christian eschatology. I think that the Ye are not able did not exclude an excursion into the domain of wisdom, when positive negations demanded it. And perhaps, as Rckert supposes, the apostle thought good to seize this opportunity to show his detractors how far he could rise when it pleased him to spread his wings.


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Bibliography
Godet, Frédéric Louis. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:2". "Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsc/1-corinthians-3.html.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

Ver. 2. I have fed you with milk] Ministers must condescend to their hearers’ capacities, though they be slighted for so doing, as Paul was; or jeered, as Isaiah, Isaiah 28:9-10, for his "line upon line, precept upon precept," Kau lekau, and Zau lezau; the sound of the words carries a taunt, as scornful people by the tone of their voice and rhyming words, scorn at such as they despise.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:2". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-corinthians-3.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

1 Corinthians 3:2. I have fed you with milk "You being such babes, such mere beginners in the divine life, I could not go so far as I desired in the great doctrines of the Christian religion; but was obliged to content myself with instructing you in the first principles, the more obvious and easy doctrines of it. I could not apply myself to you, as to spiritual men, who could compare spiritual things with spiritual,—one part of Scripture with another." See Hebrews 12:14. Locke and Blackwall's Sacred Classics, vol. 1: p. 72.


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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:2". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/1-corinthians-3.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

With milk, that is, with easy and common truths; not with the mysterious parts of gospel knowledge; with the first principles of the doctrine of Christ, and not with the higher doctrines of Christianity, which neither then nor now are ye able to bear.

Learn hence, That it is great prudence and wisdom in the ministers of Christ to instruct people in the first principles of religion, in order to their regularly advancing higher in Christianity. Ministers are spiritual nurses; they first must feed with milk, then with meat, otherwise they will not nourish, but destroy.


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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:2". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/1-corinthians-3.html. 1700-1703.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

2.] See the same figure in Hebrews 5:12. So also Philo de Agricult. § 2, vol. i. p. 301, ἐπεὶ δὲ νηπίοις μέν ἐστι γάλα τροφή, τελείοις δὲ τὰ ἐκ πυρῶν πέμματα, καὶ ψυχῆς γαλακτώδεις μὲν ἂν εἰεν τροφαὶ κατὰ τὴν παιδικὴν ἡλικίαντέλειαι δὲ καὶ ἀνδράσιν … Basil, Hom. i. p. 403, ed. Paris, 1638, cited by Meyer, explains, γάλα, τὴν εἰσαγωγικὴν κ. ἁπλουστέραν τοῦ εὐαγγελίου διδασκαλίαν: see also Hebrews 6:1,— τὸν τῆς ἀρχῆς τοῦ χριστοῦ λόγον.

On ἐπότισαβρῶμα, Wetst. quotes νέκταρ τʼ ἀμβροσίην τε, τά περ θεοὶ αὐτοὶ ἔδουσι, Hes. Theogon. 640. See Hom. Il. θ. 546. Winer, edn. 6, § 66. 2. e.

οὔπω γὰρ ἐδύνασθε] Either, for ye were not yet able (scil. βρῶμα ἐσθίειν),—or, for ye were not yet strong, δύναμαι being used absolutely, as in Demosth. 1187. 8, δυνάμενος τῷ τε πράττειν κ. τῷ εἰπεῖν, and 484. 25, τῶν πολιτευομένων τινὲς δυνηθέντες, and see other reff. in Meyer. In the former case, the ellipsis is harsh: the latter meaning seems preferable, though not found elsewhere in the N. T.

ἀλλʼ οὐδὲ ἔτι νῦν, but neither even now …; the οὔτε of the rec. is grammatically inadmissible,—see Winer, edn. 6, § 55. 6.


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Bibliography
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:2". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/1-corinthians-3.html. 1863-1878.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

1 Corinthians 3:2. Keeping to the same figure (comp Hebrews 5:12; Philo, de agric. p. 301), he designates as γάλα: τὴν εἰσαγωγικὴν καὶ ἁπλουστέραν τοῦ εὐαγγελίου διδασκαλίαν (Basil. Hom. I. p. 403, ed. Paris. 1638), see Hebrews 5:12; Hebrews 6:1 f., and as βρῶμα: the further and higher instruction, the σοφία, which, as distinguished from the γνῶσιν τὴν ἐκ κατηχήσεως (Clemens Alexandrinus), is taught among the τέλειοι (1 Corinthians 6:6 ff.). Comp Suicer, Thes. I. p. 721, 717. Wetstein in loc(462)

As regards the zeugma (comp Homer, Il. viii. 546; Odyssey, xx. 312; Hesiod. Theog. 640), see Bremi, a(464) Lys. Exc. III. p. 437 f.; Winer, p. 578 [E. T. 777]; Kühner, a(465) Xen. Anab. iv. 5. 8; also Nägelsbach on the Iliad, p. 179, ed. 3.

ἐδύνασθε] Ye were not yet strong and vigorous. What weakness is meant, the context shows: in the figure, that of the body; in its application, that of the mind and spirit. Comp regarding this absolute use of δύναμαι, δυνατός κ. τ. λ(467) (which makes any supplementing of it by ἐσθίειν βρῶ΄α and the like quite superfluous), Dem. 484, 25, 1187, 8; Aesch. p. 40. 39; Plato, Men. p. 77 B, Prot. p. 326 C Xen. Anab. iv. 5. 11, vii. 6. 37; 1 Maccabees 5:41; Schaefer, a(468) Bos. Ell. p. 267 ff.

ἀλλʼ οὐδὲ ἔτι νῦν δύν.] ἀλλʼ οὐδέ, yea, not even. See Fritzsche, a(469) Marc. p. 157. Herm. a(470) Eurip. Suppl. 121, Add. 975. That Paul, notwithstanding of this remark, does give a section of the higher wisdom in chap. 15, is to be explained from the apologetic destination of that chapter (1 Corinthians 15:12), which did not allow him to treat the subject in an elementary style. There is no self-contradiction here, but an exception demanded by the circumstances. For the profound development of the doctrine of the resurrection in chap. 15 belonged really to the βρῶμα (comp 1 Corinthians 2:9), and rises high above that elementary teaching concerning the resurrection, with which every Jew was acquainted, and which Paul himself so often gave without thereby speaking ἐν τελείοις, whence also it is rightly placed in Hebrews 6:1 among the first rudiments of Christian doctrine.


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Bibliography
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:2". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/1-corinthians-3.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

1 Corinthians 3:2. γάλα, milk) He speaks in this way to bring the Corinthians to humility.— οὐ, not) supply, I have fed, or any other word, akin to, I have given you drink. An instructor does not necessarily teach what he himself knows, but what is suitable to his hearers. Scripture is perfect; for, as an example, to the Corinthians milk is supplied; to the Hebrews, solid food.


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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:2". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/1-corinthians-3.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Milk signifies what the apostle to the Hebrews calls the first principles of the oracles of God, and so is opposed to sublime spiritual doctrines, here set out under the notion of meat; called strong meat, Hebrews 5:14, fit for those of full age: as young children’s stomachs will not endure strong meat, so neither are sublime spiritual mysteries fit for new converts, until they have senses exercised to discern good and evil; and therefore the apostle gives this as a reason, why he had not communicated the deep things of God to them, because as yet they had not been able to bear the notion of them, nor indeed were they yet able: it should seem that there were many in the church of Corinth, who though they were true Christians, yet were not grown and judicious Christians, but had great imperfections, as indeed it will further appear in this Epistle.


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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:2". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/1-corinthians-3.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Milk; the plain, simple truths of the gospel; such as are adapted to those who are young and inexperienced in religion.

Meat; truths suited to those who have made greater progress in divine things.

Not able; not able rightly to apprehend and usefully to apply the more difficult parts of divine truth.


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Bibliography
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:2". "Family Bible New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/1-corinthians-3.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

2. ἐπότισα. This word is used in two senses by St Paul. Here it means to give to drink, in 1 Corinthians 3:6 to water. See ch. 1 Corinthians 12:13. Observe the instance of zeugma, whereby βρῶμα is construed with ἐπότισα. The A.V. meat signified no more than food when that version was made.

ἀλλ' οὐδὲ ἔτι. No, not even yet. οὐδέ suits the sense better than the rec. οὔτε which (though authorities differ on the point) would most probably mean ‘and neither are ye able.’ And it has incomparably better MSS. support.

δύνασθε. Cf. Psalms 138:6 (LXX.) οὐ μὴ δύνωμαι πρὸς αὐτήν.


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Bibliography
"Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:2". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/1-corinthians-3.html. 1896.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

2. With milk… meat—By these terms is not meant the easier and the harder doctrines of theology, as foreknowledge and predestination, resurrection, etc. These are easily intelligible by the logical understanding to those who are not even babes in Christ, but are unregenerate. Paul refers to the principles of the lower and the higher Christian life. Milk is the doctrine of repentance, of avoiding sin, while meat represents those higher views of the spiritual (1 Corinthians 2:14-16) which the carnal could not receive, such as deep communion with God, profound purity of conscience, and the utter consecration of all to holiness and God.

Yet now—This entire epistle, as to babes, deals almost exclusively with the principles of Christian ethics and doctrine; whereas that to the Ephesians, as to spiritual, mounts to the very heights of Christian spirit and life.


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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:2". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/1-corinthians-3.html. 1874-1909.

William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament

2. I have fed you with milk, and not meat; for ye were not yet able. But neither are ye yet now able:


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Godbey, William. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:2". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ges/1-corinthians-3.html.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

When Paul had been with them they were new converts, so he gave them the milk of the Word, the ABCs of the faith (cf. 1 Peter 2:2). Now, when they should have been able to take in more advanced teaching, they were not able to do so (cf. Hebrews 5:11-14). Their party spirit was an evidence of spiritual immaturity, lack of growth. Their fundamental need was not a change of diet but a change of perspective.

Paul"s use of the vocative ("brothers [and sisters]") and second person plural pronouns in 1 Corinthians 3:1-2 indicates that he was addressing the whole church, not just a faction within it (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:10). The actions of many in the congregation had defiled the whole body. [Note: Ibid, p123.]


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Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:2". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/1-corinthians-3.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

1 Corinthians 3:2. I fed you with milk—the elementary truths of the Gospel.

not with meat—the profounder aspects of Christian truth.

For ye were not yet able, etc. See Hebrews 5:12-14.


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Bibliography
Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:2". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/1-corinthians-3.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

1 Corinthians 3:2. “(Since you were babes), I gave you milk to drink, not meat:” a common figure for the simpler and more solid forms of instruction contrasted (see parls.). The teaching of 1 Thess. (see 1 Corinthians 2:7 f.) is γάλα as compared with the βρῶμα of Rom. or Coloss.; so the Synoptics, in comparison with the Fourth Gospel. The zeugma ἐπότισαβρῶμα is natural in Paul’s conversational style; see 1 Corinthians 9:7, per contra.— οὔπω γὰρ ἐδύνασθε: “for not yet (while I was with you) were you equal to it”. This absolute use of δύναμαι (= δυνατός εἰμι) is cl(461), but h.l(462) for the N.T.; the tense impf(463), of continued state.


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Bibliography
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:2". The Expositor's Greek Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/1-corinthians-3.html. 1897-1910.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

1 Corinthians 3:2 I fed you with milk, not with meat; for ye were not yet able {to bear it}: nay, not even now are ye able;

"milk, not with meat"-(Hebrews 5:12-14). "He fed them milk because that"s what their condition needed. He did want them to mature (Colossians 1:28) and hoped that by the time this letter was written they could have been able to eat meat." [Note: _ McGuiggan p. 49]

"for"-the reason for the above teaching practice. This is why Paul had spent his time teaching them simple truths.

"ye were not yet able to bear it"-"receive it" (NASV); "You were unable to digest meat in those days." (Phi) Following their conversion, the only teaching that these Corinthians could handle was very elementary instruction. (Hebrews 6:1-2)

Points to Note:

1. Like the first verse, the first part of verse 2 is simply a statement of fact. The real rebuke starts with the last line in verse 2, "not even now are ye able."

2. Environment can make one spiritually dull. Living in the city of Corinth, had cost these people the ability to discern good from evil. Living in sin, will always cost you something, even if you are able to escape from it. A life in sin dulls your moral perspective, it quiets your conscience, and it might even kill a few brain cells in the process. (Ephesians 4:17-19) Yes, these Corinthians had escaped from sin. But Paul had found that these new converts where pretty dense when it came to grasping certain truths.

"nay, not even now are ye able"-here is where the real rebuke starts! "Indeed, you are still not ready." (Fee p. 126)

Points to Note:

1. God expects growth after a length of time. (Hebrews 5:11-14; Ephesians 4:14-16; 1 Peter 2:1-2; 2 Peter 1:5-11; 2 Peter 3:18)

2. "There is no disgrace in being a babe, but prolonged infancy is pitiable, and arrested development is deplorable." [Note: _ Erdman p. 44]

"Infancy is beautiful in its season, and so is the young life of the new convert; but out of season, its beauty is gone..." [Note: _ Willis p. 92]

"But when that baby grows to adulthood and still retains babyishness it is grotesque. In a baby babyishness is expected. In an adult babyishness is bizarre and undesirable." [Note: _ McGuiggan p. 49]

3. "During all this time the Corinthians had been proud of their ability. Had Paul not preached mightily in their midst, and was he not followed by the great Apollos? Did Paul not acknowledge the great spiritual wealth God had given them ()? How can Paul, then, now say a thing so severe as this? Paul knows how the Corinthians will wince under this lash, but he is far from administering it as he does and then trying to soften the hurt. Instead of following such a procedure he at once proves conclusively that the Corinthians are actually still fleshy and babes, far behind the state they should have attained....At one time they were naturally immature without special blame; now their immaturity is a different matter." [Note: _ Lenski p. 123]


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Bibliography
Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:2". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/1-corinthians-3.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

have fed you with = gave you . . . to drink (Greek. potizo).

hitherto, &c. = ye were not as yet able to bear it. Instead of supplying the ellipsis with "to bear it", we might read "not as yet strong enough".

neither. Greek. oute or oude.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:2". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/1-corinthians-3.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

Milk - the elementary "principles of the doctrine of Christ" (Hebrews 6:1). The profounder doctrines in this letter were for the more mature believers among them.


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/1-corinthians-3.html. 1871-8.

The Bible Study New Testament

I had to feed you milk. "I had to give you the elementary teachings of Christ, not the more difficult doctrines we teach to the spiritually mature." And even now. They still are spiritually immature. The proof of this is the lives they live.


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Bibliography
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:2". "The Bible Study New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/1-corinthians-3.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(2) Milk . . . meat.—The use of the word “infant” naturally suggests these two images for the higher wisdom and for the simpler truths of the gospel respectively.

Hitherto ye were not able.—Better, for ye were not yet able. Up to this point the Apostle has been speaking of the condition in which he found the Corinthians when he came first to Corinth, and he proceeds from this to rebuke them for continuing in this condition. He does not blame them for having been “babes” at the outset, but he does in the following passage blame them for not having yet grown up out of infancy.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:2". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/1-corinthians-3.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
fed
Hebrews 5:12-14; 1 Peter 2:2
for
John 16:12; Hebrews 5:11,12

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:2". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-corinthians-3.html.

Hodge's Commentary on Romans, Ephesians and First Corintians

I have fed you with milk and not with meat; for hitherto ye were not able (to bear it), neither yet now are ye able.

As they were children, he had treated them accordingly. He had fed them with milk; literally, ‘I gave you milk to drink and not meat.' A concise form of expression. What is the distinction which the apostle here makes between milk and meat? It is evidently not the distinction between the wisdom of the world and the wisdom of God. Paul did not preach the wisdom of the world to babes in Christ, and the wisdom of God to advanced Christians. Neither does he sanction any thing of the nature of the Disciplina Arcani, or doctrine of the hidden essence of Christianity, which was introduced in later times. For the sake either of conciliating the heathen, or of preventing beginners from forming false notions of the gospel, it became common deliberately to conceal the truth. This is the foundation of the doctrine of reserve, as it is called, which the Romish church has so extensively practiced and taught, inculcating a blind faith, and keeping the people in ignorance. Neither is the distinction that which also extensively prevailed in the early church after the age of the apostles, between truth as the object of faith and truth as the object of knowledge. This is a distinction true in itself, but as men understood, it meant nothing less than the difference between the doctrines of the Bible and the speculations of men. Philosophers of our own, and of every other age, have been willing to allow the people the truth as presented in the Scriptures, provided they themselves were allowed to explain them away into philosophical formulas. The true nature of the distinction is to be learnt partly from the import of the figure, and partly from parallel passages. The import of the figure leads to the conclusion that the difference is rather in the mode of instruction, than in the things taught. The same truth in one form is milk, in another form strong meat. "Christ," says Calvin, "is milk for babes, and strong meat for men." Every doctrine which can be taught to theologians, is taught to children. We teach a child that God is a Spirit, every where present and knowing all things; and he understands it. We tell him that Christ is God and man in two distinct natures and one person for ever. This to the child is milk, but it contains food for angels. The truth expressed in these propositions may be expanded indefinitely, and furnish nourishment for the highest intellects to eternity. The difference between milk and strong meat, according to this view, is simply the difference between the more or less perfect development of the things taught. This view is confirmed by those passages in which the same distinction is made. Thus in Hebrews 5:11-14, the apostle speaks of his readers as having need of milk and not of strong meat. The reference is there to the distinction between the simple doctrine of the priesthood of Christ and the full development of that doctrine. The important truth is that there are not two sets of doctrine, a higher and a lower form of faith, one for the learned and the other for the unlearned; there is no part of the gospel which we are authorized to keep back from the people. Every thing which God has revealed is to be taught to every one just so fast and so far as he has the capacity to receive it.


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Bibliography
Hodge, Charles. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:2". Hodge's Commentary on Romans, Ephesians and First Corintians. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hdg/1-corinthians-3.html.

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