1 Corinthians 4

So account of us, &c.; regard us not as masters and leaders of different sects, but simply as the servants of Christ.—Stewards of the mysteries. Stewards are person intrusted with a charge. The apostles were stewards of the mysteries of God, inasmuch as they were intrusted with the charge of divine truth, which had been a mastery, having been, till then, withheld from mankind.

Know nothing; am conscious of nothing, that is, or no want of faithfulness and integrity. This meaning the connection of the passage seems to require.

The counsels of the hearts; their secret characters and designs.—Praise of God; if deserved. The meaning is, that God will then pronounce a just sentence upon every man, according to his true character, as it shall then appear.

I have in a figure transferred to myself, and to Apollos. The meaning is, that he had spoken particularly of himself and of Apollos in his remarks upon the manner in which they ought to regard their religious teachers, (3:21-4:5); but he intended the instructions which he had given to be of general application.—In us; as examples.

Now ye are full,&c.; in your own ideas and estimation—I would to God ye did reign; in reality and truth; that is, that their spiritual condition was as elevated and prosperous as they imagined. In this and the verses which follow, (8-13,) the apostle contrasts the condition of spiritual ease and satisfaction which some of the vain and self-conceited teachers of the Corinthian church appeared to enjoy, with the toils and hardships, and the humble self-denial, which characterized the lives of the true and devoted servants of Jesus.

We are fools; are willing to be so esteemed.—Ye are wise; esteem yourselves wise.

1 have begotten you. Paul first preached the gospel in Corinth, and founded the church there, as has already been explained.

Wherefore; on account of the peculiar relation which he sustained to the church as its spiritual father. We observe that the apostle does not rest his claim to be heard on his holding over them any official supremacy.—Be ye followers of me; that is, in attending to and obeying these instructions.

Timotheus. The first account of Timothy is given in Acts 16:1-3. He had been at Corinth with Paul on his first visit there. (18:5.) When this letter was, written, he was at Ephesus with Paul, as appears from the account in Acts 19:21, 22, whence it is stated that Paul sent him forward to Macedonia, with directions, probably, as is here implied, to go on to Corinth. Still, as appears from another expression in this Epistle, (16:10,) it was not quite certain that he would reach Corinth.

Puffed up; with pride and self-importance, assuming an undue influence and authority.

In word; in professions and pretences. The sense is, that the religion of Christ is not to be established by empty boastings, but by that spiritual power which God alone confers.

With a rod; with severe reproof.

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