1. “Paul, an apostle.” As to the reasons why he designates himself an “apostle of Christ” and adds that he has obtained this honor “by the will of God,” see the foregoing epistle, where it has been observed that none are to be listened to but those who have been sent by God and speak from His mouth and that, consequently, to secure authority for anyone, two things are required – a call, and fidelity on the part of the person who is called in the execution of his office. Both of these Paul claims for himself. The false apostles, it is true, do the same. But then, by usurping a title that does not belong to them, they gain nothing among the sons of God, who can, with the utmost case, convict them of impertinence. Hence, the mere name is not enough, if there be not the reality along with it, so that he who gives himself out as an apostle must also show himself to be such by his work.
“to the church of God.” We must always keep it in view, his recognizing a church to exist – where there was such a conflux of evils. For the faults of individuals do not prevent a society that has genuine marks of a religion from being recognized as a church. But what does he mean by the expression – “with all saints”? Were those “saints” unconnected with the church? I answer, that this phrase refers to believers who were dispersed hither and thither throughout various corners of the province – it being likely that, in that greatly disturbed period, when the enemies of Christ were everywhere venting their rage, many were scattered abroad who could not conveniently hold sacred assemblies. – John Calvin (1509-1564). This is his exposition of 2 Corinthians 1.1 (1546).