1 Corinthians 4:9
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings.

New Living Translation
Instead, I sometimes think God has put us apostles on display, like prisoners of war at the end of a victor's parade, condemned to die. We have become a spectacle to the entire world--to people and angels alike.

English Standard Version
For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men.

Berean Study Bible
For it seems to me that God has displayed us apostles at the end of the procession, like prisoners appointed for death. We have become a spectacle to the whole world, to angels as well as to men.

Berean Literal Bible
For I think God has exhibited us, the apostles, last, as appointed to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.

New American Standard Bible
For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.

King James Bible
For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
For I think God has displayed us, the apostles, in last place, like men condemned to die: We have become a spectacle to the world and to angels and to men.

International Standard Version
For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display in last place, like men condemned to death. We have become a spectacle for the world, for angels, and for people to stare at.

NET Bible
For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to die, because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to people.

New Heart English Bible
For, I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last of all, like men sentenced to death. For we are made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and men.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
For I suppose that God has appointed us Apostles at last, as for death, that we would be a stage play for the universe, for Angels and for men.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
As I see it, God has placed us apostles last in line, like people condemned to die. We have become a spectacle for people and angels to look at.

New American Standard 1977
For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.

Jubilee Bible 2000
For I think that God has set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death; for we are made a spectacle unto the world and to angels and to men.

King James 2000 Bible
For I think that God has set forth us the apostles last, as appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.

American King James Version
For I think that God has set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men.

American Standard Version
For, I think, God hath set forth us the apostles last of all, as men doomed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, both to angels and men.

Douay-Rheims Bible
For I think that God hath set forth us apostles, the last, as it were men appointed to death: we are made a spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men.

Darby Bible Translation
For I think that God has set us the apostles for the last, as appointed to death. For we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and men.

English Revised Version
For, I think, God hath set forth us the apostles last of all, as men doomed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.

Webster's Bible Translation
For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men.

Weymouth New Testament
God, it seems to me, has exhibited us Apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; for we have come to be a spectacle to all creation--alike to angels and to men.

World English Bible
For, I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last of all, like men sentenced to death. For we are made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and men.

Young's Literal Translation
for I think that God did set forth us the apostles last -- as appointed to death, because a spectacle we became to the world, and messengers, and men;
Study Bible
Fools for Christ
8Already you have all you want. Already you have become rich. Without us, you have become kings. How I wish you really were kings, so that we might be kings with you. 9For it seems to me that God has displayed us apostles at the end of the procession, like prisoners appointed for death. We have become a spectacle to the whole world, to angels as well as to men. 10We are fools for Christ, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are honored, but we are dishonored.…
Cross References
Psalm 71:7
I have become a marvel to many, For You are my strong refuge.

Jeremiah 20:18
Why did I ever come forth from the womb To look on trouble and sorrow, So that my days have been spent in shame?

Romans 8:36
As it is written: "For Your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."

1 Corinthians 15:19
If our hope in Christ is for this life alone, we are to be pitied more than all men.

1 Corinthians 15:31
I face death every day, brothers, as surely as I boast about you in Christ Jesus our Lord.

2 Corinthians 11:23
Are they servants of Christ? I am speaking like I am out of my mind, but I am so much more: in harder labor, in more imprisonments, in worse beatings, in frequent danger of death.

Hebrews 10:33
Sometimes you were publicly exposed to ridicule and persecution; at other times you were partners with those who were so treated.
Treasury of Scripture

For I think that God has set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men.

I.

1 Corinthians 15:30-32 And why stand we in jeopardy every hour…

2 Corinthians 1:8-10 For we would not, brothers, have you ignorant of our trouble which …

2 Corinthians 4:8-12 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, …

2 Corinthians 6:9 As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as …

Philippians 1:29,30 For to you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe …

1 Thessalonians 3:3 That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves …

us the apostles last, as. or, us the last apostles, as.

Psalm 44:22 Yes, for your sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted …

Romans 8:36 As it is written, For your sake we are killed all the day long; we …

1 Thessalonians 5:9,10 For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by …

Revelation 6:9-11 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the …

we are.

Hebrews 10:33 Partly, whilst you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and afflictions; …

Hebrews 11:36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yes, moreover …

spectacle. Gr. theatre.

Acts 19:29,31 And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius …

to angels, and to men.

Hebrews 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for …

Revelation 7:11-14 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders …

Revelation 17:6,7 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with …

(9) For . . .--This introduces the reason why he may well express the devout wish which he has just uttered for the coming of the kingdom of his Lord. The imagery of this passage would be easily understood by the Corinthians, familiar as they were with the arena. The writer, in a few striking phrases, pictures himself and his apostolic brethren forming the "last and most worthless" band brought forth to struggle and die in the great arena, where the whole world, including men and angels, sit, spectators of the fight. There is, perhaps, a slight contrast intended here between the Corinthians sitting by criticising, and the Apostles engaging actually in the struggle against evil--a contrast which is brought out more strikingly in the brief and emphatic sentence forming 1Corinthians 4:10.

Verse 9. - For. This word shows how different was the reality. Hath set forth; displayed as on a stage (2 Thessalonians 2:4). Us the apostles. St. Paul identifies them with himself; but undoubtedly he had "laboured more abundantly than they all." Last. Servants of all; in the lowest circumstances of humiliation (comp. Mark 9:35). The apostles. Not the twelve only, but those who might be called apostles in a wider sense, who shared the same afflictions (Hebrews 10:33). As it were appointed to death. This daily doom is referred to by St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:30, 31; 2 Corinthians 4:11; Romans 8:36. Tertullian renders the word "veluti bestiaries," like criminals condemned to the wild beasts ('De Pudicit.,' 14). But the day had not yet come when Christians were to hear so often the terrible cry, "Christianos ad leones!" A spectacle; literally, a theatre. The same metaphor is used in Hebrews 10:33. To angels. The word, when used without an epithet, always means good angels, who are here supposed to look down in sympathy (comp. Hebrews 12:22). For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last,.... Meaning either in time, in respect to the prophets and patriarchs under the former dispensation; and to the apostles, who were sent forth by Christ when on earth; when he, and Barnabas, and others, had received their mission since his ascension; or in state and condition, who though they were set in the first place in the church, yet were the least in the esteem of men; and were treated as the most mean, vile, and abject of creatures; were set or showed forth to public view, and made a gazing stock by reproaches and afflictions. And

as it were appointed to death; were continually exposed unto it; were in death oft, always carrying about with them the dying of the Lord Jesus; and were all the day long killed for his sake; all which the apostle not only thought, but believed, were not casual things, fortuitous events, but the determinations and appointments of God; and were brought about in his wise providence to answer some valuable ends, which made him the more easy under them, and reconciled unto them.

For we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. The word translated "spectacle" signifies a "theatre"; and the allusion is to the Roman theatres, in which various exercises were performed, for the gratification of the numerous spectators, who were placed around in a proper distance to behold; and not so much to the gladiators who fought, in such places, for the diversion of the multitude, as to those unhappy persons who were cast to the wild beasts, let loose upon them to devour them; which horrid barbarities were beheld by the surrounding company with great pleasure and satisfaction; and such a spectacle were the apostles in their sufferings and persecutions to the "whole" world, distinguished into "angels" and "men". By "angels" may be meant the devils, who stirred up the princes of this world against the apostles, to persecute and afflict them; than which nothing was a greater pleasure to these envious and malicious spirits: though good angels may be also included, as witnesses of the faith, courage, and constancy of the saints, and as comforters of them in all their tribulations; but evil angels seem chiefly designed: and by "men" are meant wicked men, who are as much pleased to behold the barbarities and butcheries committed upon the people of God, as the Romans in their theatres were to see the tragical scenes that were acted there. 9. For—assigning the reason for desiring that the "reign" of himself and his fellow apostles with the Corinthians were come; namely, the present afflictions of the former.

I think—The Corinthians (1Co 3:18) "seemed" to (literally, as here, "thought") themselves "wise in this world." Paul, in contrast, "thinks" that God has sent forth him and his fellow ministers "last," that is, the lowest in this world. The apostles fared worse than even the prophets, who, though sometimes afflicted, were often honored (2Ki 1:10; 5:9; 8:9, 12).

set forth—as a spectacle or gazing-stock.

us the apostles—Paul includes Apollos with the apostles, in the broader sense of the word; so Ro 16:7; 2Co 8:23 (Greek for "messengers," apostles).

as it were appointed to death—as criminals condemned to die.

made a spectacle—literally, "a theatrical spectacle." So the Greek in Heb 10:33, "made a gazing-stock by reproaches and afflictions." Criminals "condemned to die," in Paul's time, were exhibited as a gazing-stock to amuse the populace in the amphitheater. They were "set forth last" in the show, to fight with wild beasts. This explains the imagery of Paul here. (Compare Tertullian [On Modesty, 14]).

the world—to the whole world, including "both angels and men"; "the whole family in heaven and earth" (Eph 3:15). As Jesus was "seen of angels" (1Ti 3:16), so His followers are a spectacle to the holy angels who take a deep interest in all the progressive steps of redemption (Eph 3:10; 1Pe 1:12). Paul tacitly implies that though "last" and lowest in the world's judgment, Christ's servants are deemed by angels a spectacle worthy of their most intense regard [Chrysostom]. However, since "the world" is a comprehensive expression, and is applied in this Epistle to the evil especially (1Co 1:27, 28), and since the spectators (in the image drawn from the amphitheater) gaze at the show with savage delight, rather than with sympathy for the sufferers, I think bad angels are included, besides good angels. Estius makes the bad alone to be meant. But the generality of the term "angels," and its frequent use in a good sense, as well as Eph 3:10; 1Pe 1:12, incline me to include good as well as bad angels, though, for the reasons stated above, the bad may be principally meant.4:7-13 We have no reason to be proud; all we have, or are, or do, that is good, is owing to the free and rich grace of God. A sinner snatched from destruction by sovereign grace alone, must be very absurd and inconsistent, if proud of the free gifts of God. St. Paul sets forth his own circumstances, ver. 9. Allusion is made to the cruel spectacles in the Roman games; where men were forced to cut one another to pieces, to divert the people; and where the victor did not escape with his life, though he should destroy his adversary, but was only kept for another combat, and must be killed at last. The thought that many eyes are upon believers, when struggling with difficulties or temptations, should encourage constancy and patience. We are weak, but ye are strong. All Christians are not alike exposed. Some suffer greater hardships than others. The apostle enters into particulars of their sufferings. And how glorious the charity and devotion that carried them through all these hardships! They suffered in their persons and characters as the worst and vilest of men; as the very dirt of the world, that was to be swept away: nay, as the offscouring of all things, the dross of all things. And every one who would be faithful in Christ Jesus, must be prepared for poverty and contempt. Whatever the disciples of Christ suffer from men, they must follow the example, and fulfil the will and precepts of their Lord. They must be content, with him and for him, to be despised and abused. It is much better to be rejected, despised, and ill used, as St. Paul was, than to have the good opinion and favour of the world. Though cast off by the world as vile, yet we may be precious to God, gathered up with his own hand, and placed upon his throne.
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