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1 Corinthians 4


 1 Let (1) a (a) man so think of us, as of the (*) ministers of Christ, and disposers of the secrets of God.


(1) He concludeth the duty of the hearers towards their ministers, that they esteem them as lords; and yet notwithstanding, that they are to give ear unto them, as to them that are sent from Christ, sent I say to this end and purpose, that they may receive as it were at their hands, the treasure of salvation which is drawn out of the secrets of God.
(a) Every man.

(*) As it is a thing intolerable to contemn the true ministers of God, for it is greatly reprehensible to attribute more unto them than is mete.


 2  (2) And as for the rest, it is required of the disposers, that every man be found faithful.


(2) Last of all, he warneth the ministers that they also behave themselves not as lords, but as faithful servants, because they must render an account of their stewardship unto God.


 3  (3) As touching me, I pass very little to be judged of you, (4) or of (*) manís (b) judgment; no, (5) I judge not (♣) mine own self.


(3) In reprehending others, he set himself for an example, he useth a preoccupation or preventing of an objection, and using the gravity of an Apostle, he sheweth that he careth not for the contrary judgments that they have of him, in that they esteemed him as a vile person, because he did not set forth himself as they did. And he bringeth good reasons why he was nothing moved with the judgments which they had of him.
(4) First, because that which men judge in these cases of their own brains, is no more to be accounted of, than when the unlearned do judge of wisdom.

(*) Greek, manís day.
(b) Word for word, Day, after the manner of speech of the Cilicians.
(5) Secondly, saith he, how can you judge how much or how little I am to be accounted of, seeing that I myself which know myself better than you do, and which dare profess that I have walked in my vocation with a good conscience, dare not yet notwithstanding challenge anything to myself? For I know that I am not unblameable, all this notwithstanding, much less therefore should I please myself as you do.

(♣) Whether I have great gifts or little, few or many.


 4 For I (*) know nothing by (♣) myself, yet am I not thereby justified; but he that judgeth me, is the (c) Lord.


(*) For as I do not know, whereby I should take any occasion of glory; so I am certain that before God another manner of justice is required.

(♣) Concerning mine office.

(c) I permit myself to the Lord's judgment.


 5  (6) Therefore (*) judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who will lighten things that are hid in darkness, and make the counsels of the hearts manifest; and then shall every man have (d) praise of God.


(6) A third reason proceeding of a conclusion as it were, out of the former reasons. It is God's office, to esteem every man according to his value, because he knoweth the secrets of the heart, which men for the most part are ignorant of. Therefore this judgment pertaineth not to you.

(*) Matthew 7:1 .
(d) One could not be praised above the rest, but the other should be blamed, and he mentioneth praise rather than dispraise, for that the beginning of this sore was this, that they gave more to some men than meet was.


 6  (7) Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied unto mine own self and Apollos, for your sakes, that ye might learn (e) by us, that no man presume above that which is written, that one swell not against another for any manís cause.


(7) Having rejected their judgment, he setteth forth himself again as a singular example of modesty, as one which concealing in this Epistle those factious teacher's names, doubted not to put down his own name and Apollos in their place, and took upon him, as it were, their shame, so far was he from preferring himself to any.
(e) By our example, which chose rather to take other men's faults upon us, than to carp any by name.


 7  (8) For who (*) separateth thee? And what hast thou, that thou hast not received? If thou hast received it, why rejoicest thou, as though (f) thou hadst not received it?


(8) He sheweth a good means to bridle pride; first, if thou consider how rightly thou exemptest thyself out of the number of others, seeing thou art a man thyself, again, if thou consider that although thou have something more than other men have, yet thou hast it not by God's bountifulness. And what wise man is he that will brag of another's goodness, and that against God?

(*) To wit, from other men and preferreth thee.
(f) There is nothing then in us of nature, that is worthy of commendation, but all that we have, we have it of grace, which the Pelegians and half Pelegians will not confess.


 8  (9) Now ye are full, now ye are made rich, ye reign as kings without us, and would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you.


(9) He descendeth to a most grave mock, to cause these ambitious men to blush even against their wills.


 9 For I think that God hath set forth us (*) the last Apostles, as men appointed to death; for we are made a (g) gazingstock unto the world, and to the Angels, and to men.


(*) To diminish his authority they objected, that he was not made an Apostle by Christ, but afterwards.

(g) He that will take a right view how like Paul and the Pope are, who lyingly boasteth that he is his successor, let him compare the delicates of the Popish court with Paul's state, as we see it here.


 10 We are (*) fools for Christís sake, and ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, and ye are strong; ye are honorable, and we are despised.


(*) By this bitter taunting in abjecting himself and exalting the Corinthians, he maketh them ashamed of their vain glory.


 11 Unto this hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling place;


 12  (*) And labor, working with our own hands; we are reviled, and yet we bless; we are persecuted, and suffer it.


(*) Acts 20:34; 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:8 .


 13  (*) We are evil spoken of, and we (♣) pray; we are made as the (h) filth of the world, the offscouring of all things, unto this time.


(*) Matthew 5:44; Luke 23:34; Acts 7:60 .

(♣) Or, use gentle words.

(h) Such as by sweeping is gathered together.


 14  (10) I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I admonish you.


(10) Moderating the sharpness of his mock, he putteth them in mind to remember of whom they were begotten in Christ, and that they should not doubt to follow him for an example, although he seem vile according to the outward shew, in respect of others, yet mighty by the efficacy of God's Spirit, as they had trial thereof in themselves.


 15 For though ye have ten thousand (*) instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the Gospel.


(*) Or, pedagogues and schoolmasters.


 16 Wherefore, I pray you, be ye followers of me.


 17 For this cause have I sent unto you Timothy, which is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, which shall put you in (*) remembrance of my (i) ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every Church.


(*) For as much as they had so soon forgotten.

(i) What way and rule I follow everywhere in teaching the Churches.


 18  (11) Some are puffed up as though I would not come unto you.


(11) Last of all he descendeth also to Apostolic threatenings, but yet chiding them as a father, lest by their disorder he be constrained to come to punish some among them.


 19 But I will come to you shortly, (*) if the Lord will, and will know, not the (k) words of them which are puffed up, but the power.


(*) Acts 19:21; James 4:15 .

(k) By words, he meaneth their painted and colored kind of eloquence, against which he setteth the virtue of the Spirit.


 20 For the (*) kingdom of God is not in word, but in (♣) power.


(*) That is, whatsoever gifts we have received of God to this end that he may reign among us.

(♣) Of the holy Ghost.


 21  (12) What will ye? Shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the (l) spirit of meekness?


(12) A passing over to another part of this Epistle, wherein he reprehended more sharply a very heinous offence, shewing the use of ecclesiastical correction.
(l) Meekly affected towards you.





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