4:1 Let 1 a a man so account of us, as of the ministers of
Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.
(1) He concludes the duty of the hearers towards their
ministers: that they do not esteem them as lords. Yet
nonetheless they are to give ear to them, as to those 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
(a) Every man.
4:22 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found
(2) Last of all, he warns the ministers that they also do not
behave themselves as lords, but as faithful servants,
because they must render an account of their stewardship to
4:33 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be
judged of you, 4 or of man's b judgment: yea, 5 I
judge not mine own self.
(3) In reprehending others, he sets himself for an example, and
anticipates an objection. Using the gravity of an apostle,
he shows that he does not care for the contrary judgments
that those have of him, in that they esteemed him as a vile
person, because he did not set forth himself as they did.
And he brings good reasons why he was not moved with the
judgments which they had of him.
(4) First, because that which men judge in these cases of their
own brains is not to be considered any more than when the
unlearned judge of wisdom.
(b) Literally, "day", after the manner of Cilician speech.
(5) Secondly, he says, how can you judge how much or how little
I am to be made responsible for, seeing that I myself who
know myself better than you do, and who dare profess that I
have walked in my calling with a good conscience, dare not
yet nonetheless claim anything to myself. Nonetheless, I
know that I am not blameless: much less therefore should I
flatter myself as you do.
4:4 For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified:
but he that judgeth me is the c Lord.
(c) I submit myself to the Lord's judgment.
4:56 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord
come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of
darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts:
and then shall every man have d praise of God.
(6) A third reason proceeding from 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 knows the
secrets of the heart, which men for the most part are
ignorant of. Therefore this judgment does not pertain to
(d) One could not be praised above the rest, without the
others being blamed: and he mentions praise rather than
lack of praise, because the beginning of this dispute
was this, that they gave more to some men than was
4:67 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
(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.
4:78 For who maketh thee to differ [from another]? and what
hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst
receive [it], why dost thou glory, as if f thou hadst not
(8) He shows a good way to bridle pride. First, if you
consider how it is wrong for you to exclude yourself from
the number of others, seeing you are a man yourself.
Second, if you consider that even though you have something
more than other men have, yet you only have it by God's
bountifulness. And what wise man is he that will brag of
another's goodness, and that against God?
(f) There is nothing then in us by nature that is worthy of
commendation: but all that we have, we have it of
grace, which the Pelegians and semi-Pelegians will not
4:89 Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as
kings without us: and I would to God ye did reign, that we
also might reign with you.
(9) He descends to a most grave mockery, to cause those
glory-seeking men to blush, even though they did not want
4:9 For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as
it were appointed to death: for we are made a g spectacle
unto the world, and to angels, and to men.
(g) He that thinks that Paul and the pope are alike, who
lyingly boasts that he is his successor, let him compare
the delicacies of the popish court with Paul's state as
we see it here.
4:13 Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the h filth of
the world, [and are] the offscouring of all things unto
(h) Such as is gathered together by sweeping.
4:1410 I write not these things to shame you, but as my
beloved sons I warn [you].
(10) Moderating the sharpness of his mockery, he puts them in
mind to remember of whom they were begotten in Christ, and
that they should not doubt to follow him for an example.
Even though he seems vile according to the outward show in
respect of others, yet he is mighty by the efficacy of
God's Spirit, as had been shown among themselves.
4:17 For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my
beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you
into remembrance of my i ways which be in Christ, as I
teach every where in every church.
(i) What way and rule I follow everywhere in teaching the
4:1811 Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to
(11) Last of all he descends also to apostolic threatenings,
but yet chiding them as a father, lest by their disorder
he was forced to come to punish some among them.
4:19 But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will
know, not the k speech of them which are puffed up, but
(k) By words, he means their fancy and elaborate type of
eloquence, which he contrasts with the power of the
4:2112 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, in which
he reprehends most sharply a very odious offence, showing
the use of ecclesiastical correction.
(l) Acting meekly towards you.