|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.
Verse 16. - Be ye followers; rather, imitators. He makes the same appeal in 1 Corinthians 11:1; Philippians 3:17. Of course, he only uses his human example as a guide to them in the special virtues of humility, self denial, and faithfulness (1 Peter 5:3; Hebrews 13:7). In the highest sense we can only be "imitators of God" (Ephesians 5:1).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Wherefore, I beseech you,.... Though he might have used the power and authority of a father, yet he chose rather to entreat and beseech them; saying,
be ye followers of me; for who should children follow, but their parents? The Vulgate Latin, adds, "as I am of Christ"; so Chrysostom in his time read it; and Beza says he found it so written in one Greek exemplar; and so it is in one of Stephens's; it seems to have crept in from 1 Corinthians 11:1. However, though it might not be now expressed by the apostle, it is to be supposed; for he never desired any to follow him any more, or further than he followed Christ; particularly he was desirous that these his spiritual children would follow him, and abide by him in the doctrine of a crucified Christ, he had preached among them, and not the false apostles, who had represented his ministry as weak and foolish; and in his life and conversation, especially in his humble carriage and deportment among them, and in his tender love and affection for them; observing their growing pride, haughtiness, and vain opinion of themselves, and those unnatural divisions and animosities which were fomented among them; and also in bearing reproach and persecution cheerfully and patiently, for the Gospel of Christ; a detail of which he had given them in some preceding verses.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
16. be ye followers of me—literally, "imitators," namely, in my ways, which be in Christ (1Co 4:17; 1Co 11:1), not in my crosses (1Co 4:8-13; Ac 26:29; Ga 4:12).
1 Corinthians 4:16 Parallel Commentaries
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