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 God.
(a) Every man.
Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
(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 God.
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
(c) I submit myself to the Lord's judgment.
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 you.
(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 appropriate.
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.
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 received [it]?
(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 confess.
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 to.
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.
Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the h
filth of the world, [and are] the offscouring of all things unto this day.
(h) Such as is gathered together by sweeping.
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.
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 churches.
Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you.
(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 the power.
(k) By words, he means their fancy and elaborate
type of eloquence, which he contrasts with the power of the Holy Spirit.
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.