1 Corinthians 4:6
And these things, brothers, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that you might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.
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(6) These thingsi.e., all that he has written about the factions. He only mentioned himself and Apollos (and not the other heads of parties), so that his motive in rebuking this schismatic spirit may not be misunderstood—which possibly it might have been had he written strongly and directly regarding Cephas and his admirers—and that those who read the Epistle might learn a lesson of humility. All that was said in condemnation of the spirit which exalted the Apostle and Apollos into party leaders, would apply with equal or greater force to all others; for they, as the planter and the waterer of the Corinthian vineyard, the layer of the foundation and the builder up of the Corinthian spiritual temple, were certainly the two whose exaltation by their followers might have seemed most pardonable.

That ye might learn in us . . .—i.e., “by our examples” you should learn not to go beyond what is written in the Scriptures—not to be found in any one particular passage, but in the general tone and scope of the Old Testament writings, which ever ascribe glory to God alone (as found in the passages referred to in 1Corinthians 1:19; 1Corinthians 1:31; 1Corinthians 3:19)—that none of you be puffed up on behalf of one (i.e., Apollos) against another (i.e., Paul), and vice versâ. The Apostle here touches on the fact that this exaltation of teachers was really a gratification of their own pride. It was not that they “puffed up” the teacher, but themselves.

1 Corinthians 4:6-7. And these things — Mentioned 1 Corinthians 1:10, &c., 1 Corinthians 3:4, &c.; I have in a figure very obviously transferred to myself and Apollos — And Cephas, instead of naming those particular preachers at Corinth, to whom you are so fondly attached; that ye might learn in us — From what has been said concerning us; not to think of any man above what is written — Here or elsewhere, in God’s word; that is, above what Scripture warrants; not to set a higher value upon any of your teachers, or their gifts and abilities, than what I have expressed, 1 Corinthians 3:6-8, agreeable to Scripture; namely, that they are only instruments in God’s hand, and that all the success of their labours depends on his blessing. Thus this great apostle, by stripping himself of all honour, and by taking to himself the simple character of a servant of Christ, taught the heads of the faction to lay aside their boasting, and behave with modesty, especially as all the teachers at Corinth did nothing but build upon the foundation which he had laid, and exercised no spiritual gift but what they had received, either through him or through some other apostle. That none of you be puffed up for one against another — That you should not value yourselves by reason of your relation to, or dependance upon, one teacher more than another, thereby magnifying one, and vilifying another. For who maketh thee to differ — Either in gifts or graces; or who has so far advanced thee in point of wisdom and judgment above all other believers, as that thou canst, by thy own authority, set up any one teacher above another? What hast thou that thou didst not receive — From God, who has given as much to others also? Why dost thou glory — Or boast in the unmerited gift of his liberal goodness; as if thou hadst not received it? — As if thou hadst it originally from thyself?4:1-6 Apostles were no more than servants of Christ, but they were not to be undervalued. They had a great trust, and for that reason, had an honourable office. Paul had a just concern for his own reputation, but he knew that he who chiefly aimed to please men, would not prove himself a faithful servant of Christ. It is a comfort that men are not to be our final judges. And it is not judging well of ourselves, or justifying ourselves, that will prove us safe and happy. Our own judgment is not to be depended upon as to our faithfulness, any more than our own works for our justification. There is a day coming, that will bring men's secret sins into open day, and discover the secrets of their hearts. Then every slandered believer will be justified, and every faithful servant approved and rewarded. The word of God is the best rule by which to judge as to men. Pride commonly is at the bottom of quarrels. Self-conceit contributes to produce undue esteem of our teachers, as well as of ourselves. We shall not be puffed up for one against another, if we remember that all are instruments, employed by God, and endowed by him with various talents.And these things - The things which I have written respecting religious teachers 1 Corinthians 2:5-6, 1 Corinthians 2:12, and the impropriety of forming sects called after their names.

I have in a figure transferred to myself and Apollos - The word used here μετεσχημάτισα meteschēmatisa denotes, properly, to put on another form or figure; "to change" (Philippians 3:21, "who shall change our vile body"); to "transform" (2 Corinthians 11:13, "transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ"); and then to apply in the way of a figure of speech. This may mean that neither Paul, Apollos, or Peter, were set up among the Corinthians as heads of parties, but that Paul here made use of their names to show how improper it would be to make them the head of a party, and hence, how improper it was to make any religious teacher the head of a party; or Paul may mean to say that he had mentioned himself and Apollos particularly, to show the impropriety of what had been done; since, if it was improper to make them heads of parties, it was much more so to make inferior teachers the leaders of factions.

Locke adopts the former interpretation. The latter is probably the true interpretation, for it is evident from 1 Corinthians 1:12-13, that there were parties in the church at Corinth that were called by the names of Paul, and Apollos, and Peter; and Paul's design here was to show the impropriety of this by mentioning himself, Apollos, and Peter, and thus by transferring the whole discussion from inferior teachers and leaders to show the impropriety of it. He might have argued against the impropriety of following other leaders. He might have mentioned their names. But this would have been invidious and indelicate. It would have excited their anger. He therefore says that he had transferred it all to himself and Apollos; and it implied that if it were improper to split themselves up into factions with them as leaders, much more was it improper to follow others; that is, it was improper to form parties at all in the church. "I mention this of ourselves; out of delicacy I forbear to mention the names of others" - And this was one of the instances in which Paul showed great tact in accomplishing his object, and avoiding offence.

For your sakes - To spare your feelings; or to show you in an inoffensive manner what I mean. And particularly by this that you may learn not to place an inordinate value on people.

That ye might learn in us - Or by our example and views.

Not to think ... - Since you see the plan which we desire to take; since you see that we who have the rank of apostles, and have been so eminently favored with endowments and success, do not wish to form parties, that you may also have the same views in regard to others.

Above that which is written - Probably referring to what he had said in 1 Corinthians 3:5-9, 1 Corinthians 3:21; 1 Corinthians 4:1. Or it may refer to the general strain of Scripture requiring the children of God to be modest and humble.

That no one of you be puffed up - That no one be proud or exalted in self-estimation above his neighbor. That no one be disposed to look upon others with contempt, and to seek to depress and humble them. They should regard themselves as brethren, and as all on a level. The argument here is, that if Paul and Apollos did not suppose that they had a right to put themselves at the head of parties, much less had any of them a right to do so. The doctrine is:

(1) That parties are improper in the church;

(2) That Christians should regard themselves as on a level; and,

(3) That no one Christian should regard others as beneath him, or as the object of contempt.

6. And—"Now," marking transition.

in a figure transferred to myself—that is, I have represented under the persons of Apollos and myself what really holds good of all teachers, making us two a figure or type of all the others. I have mentioned us two, whose names have been used as a party cry; but under our names I mean others to be understood, whom I do not name, in order not to shame you [Estius].

not to think, &c.—The best manuscripts omit "think." Translate, "That in us (as your example) ye might learn (this), not (to go) beyond what is written." Revere the silence of Holy Writ, as much as its declarations: so you will less dogmatize on what is not expressly revealed (De 29:29).

puffed up for one—namely, "for one (favorite minister) against another." The Greek indicative implies, "That ye be not puffed up as ye are."

And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes: by these words the apostle lets us know, that though he had said, 1 Corinthians 1:12, that some of them said: We are of Paul, and others: We are of Apollos; yet the names of Paul and of Apollos were but used to represent other of their teachers, which were the heads of those factions which were amongst them. In very deed there were none of them that said, We are of Paul or of Apollos, (for those that were the disciples of Paul and Apollos were better taught), but they had other teachers amongst them as to whom they made factions, whom Paul had a mind to reprove, with their followers; and to avoid all odium, that both they and their hearers might take no offence at his free reproving of them, he makes use of his own name, and that of Apollos, and speaketh to the hearers of these teachers, as if they were his own and Apollos’s disciples; that those whom the reproof and admonition concerned properly, might be reproved under the reproof of others.

That you might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written; and that (as the apostle saith) all the church of Corinth, as well ministers as people, might learn to have humble opinions and thoughts of themselves, not to think of themselves above what, by the rules of God’s word, was written in the Old Testament they ought to think; or above what he had before writen in this Epistle, or to the Romans, Romans 12:3.

That no one of you be puffed up for one against another; and that none of them, whether ministers or private Christians, might be puffed up. The word signifieth to be swelled or blown up as a bladder or a pair of bellows, which is extended with wind: it is used in 1 Corinthians 4:18,19 8:1 Colossians 2:18. And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred,.... Not what he had said concerning the different factions at Corinth, one being for Paul, and another for Apollos, and another for Cephas, as if these several parties did not really go by those names, but by those of others, the false teachers; only the apostle, to decline everything that looked like reflection, put these, as the Syriac version renders it, "upon" his own "person", and Apollos's, the sooner and better to put an end to such divisions; for it is certain, from his way of arguing and reasoning, that these are not fictitious names, but they were really divided, and were quarrelling among themselves about himself, Apollos, and Cephas: but his meaning is, when he says,

I have in a figure transferred to myself and Apollos these things; that he had "brought these comparisons", as the Arabic version reads it, concerning himself and Apollos; namely, that one was a planter, and another a waterer; that they were both labourers and builders, ministers or servants, and stewards: and these similes, and such a figurative way of speaking he had made use of, as he says,

for your sakes; for the sake of the members of this church, that they might have right notions of them, and accordingly account of them, and behave towards them: or, as he adds,

that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written: meaning, either in the word of God in general; or in some particular passages of Scripture he might have respect to; or rather in the above places in this, and the foregoing chapter, where he gives the fore mentioned characters of ministers; where, in the apostles themselves, in their own words, from their own account, they might learn, on the one hand, not to ascribe too much to them, nor, on the other hand, to detract from their just character and usefulness: and also,

that no one of you be puffed up for one against the other; speak great swelling words of vanity, and envy, for one minister against another; when they are all one, bear the same character, are in the same office, and are jointly concerned in the same common cause of Christ and the good of immortal souls.

{7} And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn {e} in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.

(7) Having rejected their judgment, he sets forth himself again as a singular example of modesty, as one who concealed in this epistle those factious teacher's names, did not hesitate to put down his own name and Apollos' in their place, and took upon him as it were their shame. And this shows how far was he from preferring himself to any.

(e) By our example, who choose rather to take other men's faults upon us, than to find fault with any by name.

1 Corinthians 4:6. Δέ] pursuing the subject; the apostle turns now to the final remonstrances and rebukes which he has to give in reference to the party-division among them; in doing so, he addresses his readers generally (not the teachers) as ἀδελφοί with a winning warmth of feeling, as in 1 Corinthians 1:11.

ταῦτα] from 1 Corinthians 3:5 onwards, where he brings in himself and Apollos specially and by name, assigning to both their true position and its limits to be observed by them with all humility, and then appending to this the further instructions which he gives up to 1 Corinthians 4:5. Ταῦτα is not to be made to refer back to 1 Corinthians 1:12, where Paul and Apollos an not named alone (so Baur, following older expositors).

μετεσχημ. εἰς ἐμαυτ. κ. Ἀπολλώ] I have changed the form of it into myself and Apollos, i.e. I have, instead of directing my discourse to others, upon whom it might properly have been moulded, written in such fashion in an altered form, that what has been said applies now to myself and Apollos. It is on account of the contrast with others which floats before the apostle’s mind, that he writes not simply εἰς ἐμέ, but εἰς ἐμαυτόν; εἰς, again, denotes the reference of this change of form to the parties concerned. Respecting μετασχηματίζειν, to transform, comp 2 Corinthians 11:14, Php 3:21; Symm. 1 Samuel 28:8; 4Ma 9:21; Plato, Legg. x. p. 903 E, 906 C (ῥῆμα μετεσχηματισμένον); Lucian, Imag. 9, Halc. 5; Heliodorus, ii. p. 93. The σχῆμα, to which the word here refers, is the form in which the foregoing statements have been presented, which has been other than the concrete state of the case at Corinth would properly have involved; for he has so moulded it as to make that bear upon himself and Apollos, which more properly should have applied to others. Now, who are those others? Not the order of teachers generally (Calovius, Billroth, de Wette, Neander, et al[619]), also my own former view), for in that case we should have no change of form, but only a specializing; but rather: the instigators of parties in Corinth, with their self-exaltation and jealousy, as is clear from the following clause stating the design in view, and from 1 Corinthians 4:7 ff. It was they who split up the church and infected it with their own evil qualities. But from Paul and Apollos the readers were to learn to give up all such conduct,—from those very men, who had respectively founded and built up the church, but who by these partisans had been stamped with the character of heads of sects and so misused, to the grievous hurt of the Christian community. Baur’s explanation is contrary to the notion of μετεσχημ., but in favour of his own theory about the Christ-party: what has been said of me and Apollos holds also of the other parties; this not applying, however, to τοὺς τοῦ Χριστοῦ, who are to be regarded as forming a peculiar party by themselves. Lastly, it is also a mistake (see Introd. § 1) to interpret it with Chrysostom, Erasmus, Beza, Vatablus, Cornelius a Lapide, and others: “I have put our names as fictitious in place of those of the actual leaders of parties;”[620] or to hold, with Pareus and Mosheim, that μετασχ. refers to the homely figures which Paul has used of himself and Apollos (gardeners, husbandmen, builders, house-rewards), from which the steaders were to learn humility. These figures were surely lofty enough, since they represented the teachers as Θεοῦ συνεργούς! Moreover, the figures in themselves mainly could not teach the Corinthians humility; the lesson must lie in the intrinsic tenor of the ideas conveyed.

ἈΠΟΛΛΏ] the same form of the accusative as in Acts 19:1. A B א* have ἈΠΟΛΛΏΝ. See regarding both forms, Buttmann’s ausf. Gr. I. p. 207 f.; Kühner, § 124, ed. 2.

διʼ ὑμᾶς] not in any way for our own sakes.

ἽΝΑ ἘΝ ἩΜῖΝ Κ.Τ.Λ[621]] more precise explanation of the διʼ ὑμᾶς (“instructionis vestrae causa,” Estius): in order that ye might learn on us (Winer, p. 361 [E. T. 483]), that is to say, by having us before you as an example of shunning undue self-exaltation, in accordance with what I have stated regarding our official position, duty, responsibility, etc.

τὸ μὴ ὑπὲρ ὃ γέγρ.] The elliptical: “not above what is written,” is made to rank as a substantive by the τό (Matthiae, § 280); for φρονεῖν is spurious (see the critical remarks). The suppression of the verb after μή in lively discourse is common in the classics. See Hartung, Partikell. II. p. 153; Kühner, II. p. 607; Klotz, a[622] Devar. p. 607. The short, terse μὴ ὑπὲρ ὃ γέγρ. may have been an old and familiar saying of the Rabbins (Ewald); only Paul never quotes such elsewhere.

ὃ γέγρ. is by Luther and most expositors (including Storr, Rosenmüller, Flatt, Heydenreich, Pott, Billroth, Neander) made to refer to what Paul has written in the preceding section. But Grotius hits the truth in the matter when he says: γέγραπται in his libris semper ad libros V. T. refertur. Only Grotius should not have referred it to a single passage (Deuteronomy 17:20; comp also Olshausen) which the readers could not be expected to divine. It denotes generally the rule written in the O. T., which is not to be transgressed; and this means here, according to the context, the rule of humility and modesty, within the bounds of which a man will not be vainly puffed up, nor will presume to claim anything that lies beyond the limits of the ethical canon of the Scriptures. Comp Rückert, Reiche, Ewald. And Paul could the more readily express himself in this general way, inasmuch as all the quotations hitherto made by him from the O. T. (1 Corinthians 1:19; 1 Corinthians 1:31, 1 Corinthians 3:19) exhorted to humility. It is against the context to suppose, with Cajetanus and Beza, that the reference is to the dogmatic standard of the O. T., which was not to be transcended by pretended wisdom. Chrysostom, Theodoret, and Theophylact went so far as to refer it to sayings of Christ (such as Mark 10:44; Matthew 7:1; Theodoret even adds to these 1 Corinthians 7:24), which neither Paul nor his readers could think of in connection with the habitually used γέγρ.

Without having the slightest support in the use and wont of the language (for in passages like Pindar, Nem. vi. 13, Eur. Ion. 446 [455], γράφειν has just the ordinary force of to write), and wholly in the face of the N. T. usage of γέγραπται, Hofmann brings in here the general notion of the definite measure which is ascribed, adjudged to each by God (Romans 12:3). Nor is any countenance lent to this interpretation by γράμμα in Thuc. v. 29, 4; for that means a written clause (see Krüger). What Paul means is the objective sacred rule of the Scriptures, the presumptuous disregard of which was the source of the mischief at Corinth; “ulcus aperit,” Beza.

ἵνα μὴ εἷς ὑπὲρ κ.τ.λ[625]] For one another against the other, is a telling description of the partisan procedure! The members of a party plumed themselves to such an extent on their own advantages, that one did so in behalf of the other (ὑπέρ, comp 2 Corinthians 9:2), seeking thereby mutually among themselves to maintain and exalt their own reputation (ΕἿς ὙΠῈΡ ΤΟῦ ἙΝΌς), and that with hostile tendency towards the third person, who belonged to another party (ΚΑΤᾺ ΤΟῦ ἙΤΈΡΟΥ). Olshausen understands ὙΠῈΡ ΤΟῦ ἙΝΌς of their outbidding each other in pretensions, which, however, would require the accusative with ὑπέρ; and Winer, p. 358 [E. T. 478], renders: “so that he deems himself exalted above the other;” against which—apart from the fact that ὑπέρ with the genitive does not occur in this sense in the N. T. (see, moreover, Matthiae, p. 1360)—the immediate context is conclusive, according to which it is he only who is despised by the ΦΥΣΙΟΎΜΕΝΟς, who can be the ἝΤΕΡΟς (the different one); and just as εἷς stands in antithetic correlation with τοῦ ἑτέρου, so ὙΠΈΡ also does with ΚΑΤΆ; comp Romans 8:31; Mark 9:40. The ordinary interpretation is: “On account of the teacher, whom he has chosen to be his head,” Rückert; comp Reiche, Ewald, Hofmann. But like ΕἾς, so ὙΠῈΡ ΤΟῦ ἙΝΌς also must refer to the collective subject of ΦΥΣΙΟῦΣΘΕ, and consequently both of them together convey the same sense as ὙΠῈΡ ἈΛΛΉΛΩΝ, only in a more concrete way. Comp 1 Thessalonians 5:11; Susann. 52; Sir 42:24 f.; 1Ma 13:28; often, too, in Greek writers.

The ΦΥΣΙΟῦΣΘΑΙ of a ΕἿς ὙΠῈΡ ΤΟῦ ἙΝΌς takes place ΚΑΤᾺ ΤΟῦ ἙΤΈΡΟΥ in the jealous wranglings of mutually opposing parties reciprocally, so that each has always full room for the κατὰ τοῦ ἑτέρου (against Hofmann’s objection).

ΦΥΣΙΟῦΣΘΕ] the present indicative after ἵνα occurs only here and in Galatians 4:17. The instances of it, wont to be adduced from classical writers, have been long since given up. See Hermann, a[630] Viger. p. 851 f.; Schneider, a[631] Xen. Ath. i. 11. The passages, again, in Kypke and Valckenaer, where ἽΝΑ is found with the past indicative, were wholly inapplicable here. Comp on Galatians 4:17, note; Stallbaum, a[633] Plat. Symp. p. 181 E. On these grounds Billroth and Rückert assume that Paul had meant to form the subjunctive, but had formed it wrongly; so too, before them, Bengel characterized the form as a “singularis ratio contractionis;” and Reiche also, in his Comment. crit. I. p. 152, satisfies himself with the notion of an erroneously formed contraction. As if we were warranted in taking for granted that the most fluent in language of the apostles could not be safely trusted with forming the mood of a verb in οω! Winer finds here an improper usage of the later Greek.[634] But, apart from the absence of all proof for this usage in the apostolic age (it can only be proved in much later writings, as also in modern Greek; see Winer, p. 272 [E. T. 362]), had Paul adopted it, he would have brought it in oftener, and not have written correctly in every other case;[635] least of all, too, would he have put the indicative here, when he had just used the correct subjunctive immediately before it (μάθητε). Fritzsche (a[636] Matth. p. 836) took ἽΝΑ as ubi, and explained: “ubi (i.e. qua conditione, quando demisse de vobis statuere nostra exemplo didiceritis) minime alter in alterius detrimentum extollitur.” At a later date (in Fritzschiorum opusc. p. 186 ff.) he wished to resort to emendation, namely: ἵνα ʼν ἡμῖν μάθητε τὸ μὴ ὑπὲρ ὃ γέγραπται φρονεῖν, ἕνα μὴ ὑπὲρ τοῦ ἑνὸς φυσιοῦσθαι κατὰ τοῦ ἑτέρου (so, too, very nearly Theodoret). But although it might easily enough have happened that ἽΝΑ ΜΉ should be written by mistake in place of ἝΝΑ ΜΉ, the consequence of that mistake would in that case necessarily have been the alteration of ΦΥΣΙΟῦΣΘΑΙ,[637] not into φυσιοῦσθε, but into φυσιῶσθε, and the subjunctive, not the indicative, must therefore have had the preponderance of critical evidence in its favour (but it is found, in point of fact, only in 44, Chrys. ms.). The only explanation of ἽΝΑ which is in accordance with the laws of the language, and therefore the only admissible one, is that given by Fritzsche, a[638] Matth. l.c[639]; ἵνα cannot be the particle of design, because it is followed by the indicative; it must, on the contrary, be the local particle, where, and that in the sense of whereby, under which relation, so that it expresses the position of the case (Homer, Od. vi. 27; Plato, Gorg. p. 484 E; Sophocles, Oed. Col. 627, 1239; Eur. Hec. ii. 102, 711, Andoc. vi. 9, al[640]; also Schaefer, a[641] Soph. O. C. 621; and Baeumlein, Partik. p. 143 f.). What Paul says then is this: in order that ye may learn the ne ultra quod scriptum est, whereby (i.e. in the observance of which rule) ye then (φυσιοῦσθε is the future realized as present) do not puff up yourselves, etc. Suitable though it would be, and in accordance with the apostle’s style (Romans 7:13; Galatians 3:14; Galatians 4:5; 2 Corinthians 9:3), that a second telic ἵνα should follow upon the first, still the linguistic impossibility here must turn the scale against it. To put down the indicative to the account of the transcribers, has against it the almost unanimous agreement of the critical evidence in excluding the subjunctive (which would be inexplicable, on the supposition of the indicative not being the original). Again, to trace it back to the origin of the Epistle by assuming that Paul made a slip in dictating, or his amanuensis in taking down his words, is all the more unwarranted, seeing that the self-same phenomenon recurs in Galatians 4:17, while the clause here, as it stands, admits of a rendering which gives a good sense and is grammatically correct.

The subjective form of the negation μή, in the relative clause, has arisen from the design cherished by Paul, and floating before his mind. Comp e.g. Sophocles, Trach. 797: μέθες ἐνταῦθʼ ὅπου με μή τις ὄψεται βροτῶν; and see Baeumlein, ut supra, p. 290; Winer, p. 447 [E. T. 603].

[619] t al. and others; and other passages; and other editions.

[620] Michaelis: “I know quite well that no sect among you calls itself after myself Apollos …; the true names I rather refrain from giving, in order to avoid offence,” etc. But, as Calovius justly observes, the μετασχηματισμός is here not “per fictionis, sed per figurationis modum.”

[621] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[622] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[625] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[630] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[631] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[633] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[634] So, too, Wieseler on Gal. p. 378; Hofmann on Gal. p. 138. Barnab. 7 : ἵναδεῖ, is an earlier example than any adduced by Winer and Wieseler. But how easily δεῖ might have been written here by mistake for δῇ, which is so similar in sound! (comp. Dressel, p. 17). Should δεῖ, however, be the original reading, then ἵνα may just as well be ubi, as in our passage. The readings ἄδετε and μετέχετε in Ignatius, ad Ephesians 4, are dubious (Dressel, p. 124).—Buttmann’s conjecture (neut. Gr. p. 202 [E. T. 235]), that the contracted presents, on account of the final syllable having the circumflex, represent the futures, is totally destitute of proof.

[635] 1 Thessalonians 4:13 included (against Tischendorf).—In Colossians 4:17, πληροῖς is subjunctive.—As respects Lachmann’s erroneous reading, 2 Peter 1:10, Wieseler, p. 379, is right.—In John 17:31 Corinthians 4:6-13. § 13. DISCIPLES ABOVE THEIR MASTER. What the Ap. has written, from 1 Corinthians 3:3 onwards, turns on the relations between himself and Apollos; but it has a wide application to the state of feeling within the Church (1 Corinthians 4:6 f.). To such extravagance of self-satisfaction and conceit in their new teachers have the Cor[670] been carried, that one would think they had dispensed with the App., and entered already on the Messianic reign (1 Corinthians 4:8). In comparison with them, P. and his comrades present a sorry figure, as victims marked for the world’s sport—famished, beaten, loaded with disgrace, while their disciples flourish! (1 Corinthians 4:9-13.)

[670] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.6. And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred] The word in the Greek translated in a figure transferred signifies to change the shape of. The Vulgate renders transfiguravi, Wiclif transfigured, Tyndale described in mine own person, the Geneva version, I have figuratively described in mine own person. St Paul changes the names of the persons, substituting himself and Apollos for the teachers most in repute at Corinth, that he might thus avoid personality. But the principles laid down in the preceding chapters were to be applied universally.

not to think of men above that which is written] The words to think are not to be found in many ancient copies. In that case we must translate, that ye may learn in us the precept, Not above what is written. Wordsworth quotes in illustration of the construction:


The rule of not too much, by Temperance taught.”

Paradise Lost, Bk. xi. l. 528.

is written] i.e. in the Old Testament Scriptures. We have no certainty that any part of the New Testament was written at this time, save the two Epistles to the Thessalonians, and probably that to the Galatians. The only place in the New Testament where the term Scripture is applied to the books of the New Testament is 2 Peter 3:16. See ch. 1 Corinthians 9:10; 1 Corinthians 10:11; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; 1 Corinthians 15:45; 1 Corinthians 15:54. St Paul either refers to Jeremiah 9:23-24, or to passages which speak of God as the source of all knowledge, such as Deuteronomy 17:19-20; Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:2; Psalm 119:99-100; Proverbs 8:9., &c.1 Corinthians 4:6. Ταῦτα) these things, which are found from c. 1 Corinthians 1:10 and onward.—μετεσχημάτισα, I have transferred) Comp. 2 Samuel 14:20. The figure [Schema] consists in this, that Paul wrote those things with a view to admonish the Corinthians, not only in the second, but chiefly in the first person, 1 Corinthians 4:3-4 : so that the reasons for moderate sentiments [φρονεῖν], by which Paul and Apollos were actuated, might also actuate the Corinthians, 1 Corinthians 4:16, and the Corinthians might think of Paul, as Paul thought of himself.—μάθητε, ye might learn) By this word Paul calms the puffed-up Corinthians.—γέγραπται,[33] is written) Comp. ככחוכ, 2 Chronicles 30:5. Written, i.e. in the whole of Scripture, from which some quotations, 1 Corinthians 3:19-20, have just been made: for we ought not to entertain any sentiment (ΦΡΟΝΕῖΝ) beside [i.e. in disagreement with] it, and beyond it, Romans 12:3; Romans 15:4. This is our rule in respect to all spiritual sentiments, and we are not allowed to depart from this rule, 2 Corinthians 10:13. In Scripture, the archetype of which is in heaven, the general principle in relation to all believers is described, by which the Lord will judge each man, and by which every man ought to look up to Christ alone, and by which each ought to estimate himself, rather than by those gifts, wherein he excels, or thinks he excels, others (Luke 10:20.) [Add, that Scripture ascribes glory to GOD alone; to man no glory whatever, 1 Corinthians 1:31 : and therefore human glorying is contrary to Scripture and its universal feeling (sentiments), Luke 16:15-18; Luke 16:29; Isaiah 66:2.—V. g.] In accordance with this is the expression presently after, one [puffed up] for one. In this manner all good and bad men (Jude, 1 Corinthians 4:4) have long ago been respectively distinguished in Scripture.—ΕἹς ὙΠῈΡ ΤΟῦ ἙΝῸς, one for the one) The definition of a sect, where individuals admire and follow individuals. The article τοῦ adds emphasis. A single minister is not the only one.—φυσιοῦσθε) The subjunctive, for φυσιῶσθε, as ζηλοῦτε for ζηλῶτε, Galatians 4:17. But that is an irregular form of the subjunctive, which some call the indicative. The mode of contraction is singular. For it is not credible, that, in these verbs only, the indicative is put for the subjunctive.—ἑτέρου, another) for example against Apollos.

[33] The author has omitted in the Germ. Vers. the verb φρονεῖν after γέγραπται, everywhere met with, but left as it were undecided by the margin of both editions.—E. B.

ABD corrected later, Gfg Vulg. omit φρονεῖν. Rec. Text reads it, in which it has the support only of C (as is probable, though not certain) of ancient authorities.—ED.Verses 6-13. - Contrast between the inflated self sufficiency of the Corinthians and the earthly humiliation of the apostles. Verse 6. - Brethren. The occasional use of this and similar expressions ("beloved," etc.) often serves to strengthen an appeal, or, as here, to soften the sternness of a rebuke. I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos. The meaning seems to be that St. Paul has prominently transferred to himself and to Apollos, or rather to the parties who chose their names as watchwords, the proof as to the sin and futility of partisanship which applied equally well to the parties which ranged themselves under other names. (For the verb "transfer" - more often "transform" see 2 Corinthians 11:13, 14, 15; Philippians 3:21.) He abstains purposely and generously from publicly naming the fuglemen of the antagonistic factions. For your sakes. By rebuking party spirit in his own partisans and those of the teacher who was most closely allied to himself, he robbed his remarks of all semblance of personality or bitterness. It showed his generous delicacy not to allude rather to the adherents of Cephas and the Judaean emissary. Than ye might learn in us. I made Apollos and myself instances of the undesirability of over exalting human teachers, that by our case you might learn the general principle. Not to think of men above that which is written. The true reading is merely, not above the things which have been written, as though the words were a sort of proverb, like Ne quid nimis or Milton's "The rule of not too much" (μηδὲν ἄγαν). The word "to think" is omitted in the best manuscripts. The phrase, "which have been written," is of very uncertain meaning. It may refer generally to "the scriptural rule" that all boasting is wrong (Jeremiah 9:23), or to the humble estimate of teachers which he has just been writing down for them. All his Old Testament quotations so far (ch. 1:19, 31; 3:19) have referred to humility. Some see in it a reference to Matthew 23:8 "Be not ye called Babbi;" but it is uncertain whether St. Matthew's Gospel was yet written; and St. Paul never refers so directly to any written Gospel. Perhaps it is a sort of proverb," Keep always to strict evidence;" "Say nothing which cannot be proved in black and white." The text, like so many others, has only a very remote connection with the sense in which it is usually quoted. That no one of you he puffed up. St. Paul was painfully impressed by this inflation of the Corinthians, and he often recurs to this word as a description of their vain conceit (1 Corinthians 4:18, 19; 1 Corinthians 5:2; 1 Corinthians 8:1; 1 Corinthians 13:4; 2 Corinthians 12:20). In other Epistles the word is only found once (in Colossians 2:18). For one against another. The expression is a profound one. The glorying in men (1 Corinthians 3:21), undesirable in any circumstances, becomes the more pernicious because the exaltation of one set of teachers is almost invariably accompanied by mean and unjust depreciation of any who could be supposed to be their rivals. The Corinthian who was "for Cephas" would be almost certain to be, to some extent, "against Paul." I have in a figure transferred (μετασχημάτισας)

From μετά, denoting exchange, and σχῆμα outward fashion. Here the fashion in which Paul expresses himself. See on transfigured, Matthew 17:2.

Not to go beyond the things which are written (τὸ μὴ ὑπὲρ ἃ γέγραπται)

Lit. (that ye might learn) the not beyond what stands written. The article the introduces a proverbial expression. The impersonal it is written is commonly used of Old-Testament references.

Be puffed up (φυσιοῦσθε)

Used only by Paul in Corinthians and Colossians. From φῦσα a pair of bellows.

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