|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:14-21 In reproving for sin, we should distinguish between sinners and their sins. Reproofs that kindly and affectionately warn, are likely to reform. Though the apostle spoke with authority as a parent, he would rather beseech them in love. And as ministers are to set an example, others must follow them, as far as they follow Christ in faith and practice. Christians may mistake and differ in their views, but Christ and Christian truth are the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. Whenever the gospel is effectual, it comes not in word only, but also in power, by the Holy Spirit, quickening dead sinners, delivering persons from the slavery of sin and Satan, renewing them both inwardly and outwardly, and comforting, strengthening, and establishing the saints, which cannot be done by the persuasive language of men, but by the power of God. And it is a happy temper, to have the spirit of love and meekness bear the rule, yet to maintain just authority.
Verses 14-21. - The practical steps which he intends to take with reference to these party divisions. Verse 14. - To shame you. Such seems to be the meaning of the word, for it is so used in the LXX. (compare the use of the verb in 2 Thessalonians 3:14; Titus 2:8; and of the substantive in 1 Corinthians 6:5; 1 Corinthians 15:34). I warn; rather, I admonish. St. Paul here gives the reason why he cannot write angrily or bitterly, even though he has used strong expostulation and keen irony. It is because he regards himself as their spiritual father (comp. 2 Corinthians 6:13; 2 Corinthians 12:14, 15; 1 Thessalonians 2:11).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
I write not these things to shame you,.... Though they had a great deal of reason to be ashamed of the vain opinion they had of themselves, and that they suffered the faithful ministers of Christ to want the necessaries of life, when they abounded so much with the good things of it; and though the apostle's view in giving this narrative was to bring them under a sense of their faults, and to a conviction of them, and so to shame for them, in order to their future reformation and amendment; yet it was not merely to put them to the blush, but to admonish and instruct them, that he enlarged on these things:
but as my beloved sons I warn you; they being his children in a spiritual sense, for whom he had the strongest love and affection, as their spiritual Father; and as it was his place, and became him standing in such a relation to them, he warned, admonished, and put them in mind of their obligations and duty to him.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
14. warn—rather, "admonish" as a father uses "admonition" to "beloved sons," not provoking them to wrath (Eph 6:4). The Corinthians might well be "ashamed" at the disparity of state between the father, Paul, and his spiritual children themselves.
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