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1 Corinthians 4

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4:1. Οὕτως ἡμᾶς λογιζέσθω. The thought of 3:5 is resumed, and the reproof of the tendency to ‘glory in men’ is completed by a positive direction as to the right attitude towards the pastors of the Church. The Corinthians must regard them ut ministros Christi, non ut aequales Christo (Primasius). The οὕτως probably refers to what follows, as in 3:15, 9:26. The ἡμᾶς certainly refers to all who are charged with the ministry of the New Testament or Covenant (2 Corinthians 3:6). But we get good sense if we make οὕτως refer to what precedes; ‘Remembering that we and everything else are yours, as you are Christ’s, let a man take account of us as men who are ministers of Christ.’ This throws a certain amount of emphasis on ἡμᾶς, the emphasis being removed from οὕτως: but ἡμᾶς may receive emphasis, for it is the attitude of the Corinthians towards the Apostle and other teachers that is in question.

ἄνθρωπος. Almost equivalent to τις (11:28), but a gravior dicendi formula. This use is rare in class. Grk.

ὑπηρέτας. Substituted for διάκονοι in 3:5. The word originally denoted those who row (ἐρέσσειν) in the lower tier of a trireme, and then came to mean those who do anything under another, and hence simply ‘underlings.’* In the Church, St Luke (1:2) applies it to any service of the word; later it was used almost technically of sub-deacons. See on Luke 4:20, and Suicer, s.v. St Paul uses the word nowhere else.

οἰκονόμους. The οἰκονόμος (οἶκος and νέμειν) was the responsible head of the establishment, assigning to each slave his duties and entrusted with the administration of the stores. He was a slave in relation to his master (Luke 12:42), but the ἐπίτροπος or overseer (Matthew 20:8) in relation to the workmen (see on Luke 12:42 and 16:1; in the latter place, the οἰκονόμος seems to be a freeman). God is the Master (3:23) of the Christian household (1 Timothy 3:15), and the stores entrusted to His stewards are the ‘mysteries of God.’ These mysteries are the truths which the stewards are commissioned to teach (see on 2:7). Between the Master and the stewards stands the Son (15:25; Hebrews 3:6), whose underlings the stewards are. See on οἰκονομίαν in Ephesians 1:10 and Colossians 1:25.

2. ὧδε. ‘Here,’ i.e. ‘on earth and in human life,’ or perhaps ‘in these circumstances.’ See on 1:16 for λοιπόν.

ζητεῖται κ.τ.λ. The AV. cannot be improved upon; ‘It is required in stewards that a man be found faithful.’ See on 1:10 for this use of ἵνα: the attempts to maintain its full ‘telic’ force here are too clumsy to deserve discussion: see further on v. 2, and compare εὑρεθῇ in 1 Peter 1:7.

πιστός. Cf. Luke 12:42, Luke 12:16:10; Numbers 12:7; 1 Samuel 22:14: the meaning is ‘trustworthy.’ To be an οἰκονόμος is not enough.*

ὧδε (א A B C D* F G P 17, e Vulg.) rather than ὃ δέ (D3 E L). In Luke 16:25 there is a similar corruption in some texts. ζητεῖται (B L, d e f g Vulg. Copt. Syrr.) rather than ζητεῖτε (א A C D P and F G- ητε). Here, as in φθερεῖ (3:17), d e f g support the better reading against D E F G. Lachmann takes ωδε at the end of v. 1, —an improbable arrangement.

3. ἐμοι δέ. The δέ implies contrast to something understood, such as ‘I do not claim to be irresponsible; inquiry will have to be made as to whether I am faithful; but (δέ) the authority to which I bow is not yours, nor that of any human tribunal, but God’s.’

εἰς ἐλάχιστόν ἐστιν. ‘It amounts to very little,’ ‘it counts for a very small matter.’ Cf. εἰς οὐδὲν λογισθῆναι (Acts 19:27). He does not say that it counts for nothing. “I have often wondered how it is that every man sets less value on his own opinion of himself than on the opinion of others. So much more respect have we to what our neighbours think of us than to what we think of ourselves” (M. Aurelius, 12:4).


ἢ ὐπὸ�Job 9:33 means ‘arbitrator’ or ‘umpire’: compare diem dicere alicui. From dies comes dieta = ‘diet’; and hence, in German, Tag = ‘diet,’ as in Reichstag, Landtag. ‘Man’s judgment’ (AV., RV.) gives the sense sufficiently. Jerome is probably wrong in suggesting that the expression is a ‘Cilicism,’ one of St Paul’s provincialisms. Humanus dies dicitur in quo judicant homines, quia erit et dies Domini, in quo judicabit et Dominus (Herv.). Atto says much the same.

ἀλλʼ οὐδὲ ἐμαυτὸν�1 John 3:20), and still more incompetent to acquit.’† “We cannot fail to mark the contrast between this avowal of inability to judge oneself and the claim made in ch. 2. on behalf of the spiritual man, who judges all things Self-knowledge is more difficult than revealed truth” (Edwards): Psalms 19:12.

4. οὐδὲν γάρ ἐμαυτῷ σύνοιδα. ‘For (supposing that) I know nothing against myself,’ ‘Suppose that I am not conscious of any wrong-doing on my part.’ The Apostle is not stating a fact, but an hypothesis; he was conscious of many faults; yet, even if he were not aware of any, that would not acquit him. Nowhere else in N.T. is the verb used in this sense (see Acts 5:2, Acts 12:12, Acts 14:6): It means to ‘share knowledge,’ and here to ‘know about oneself’ what is unknown to others. It expresses conscience in the recording sense. As conscience can condemn more surely than it can acquit, the word, when used absolutely, has more frequently a bad sense, and hence comes to mean to ‘be conscious of guilt’: nil conscire sibi, nulla pallescere culpa (Hor. Ephesians 1:1:61) illustrates the same kind of meaning in the Latin equivalent. See on ἢ καί, Romans 2:15. The archaic ‘I know nothing by myself’ (AV.) has caused the words to be seriously misunderstood. In sixteenth-century English ‘by’ might mean ‘against,’ and means ‘against’ here. Latimer says, “Sometimes I say more by him than I am able to prove; this is slandering” (i. 518). Jonson, in the Silent Woman, “An intelligent woman, if she know by herself the least defect, will be most curious to hide it” (4:1), which is close to the use here. T. L. O. Davies (Bible Words, p. 81) gives these and other examples.*

ἀλλʼ οὐκ ἐν τούτῳ. ‘Nevertheless, not hereby,’ ‘But yet not in this fact,’ ‘not therefore.’ This ἐν τούτῳ is frequent in St John, especially in the First Epistle and in connexion with γινώσκειν (John 13:35; 1 John 2:3, 1 John 2:5, 1 John 2:3:16, 1 John 2:19, 1 John 2:24, 1 John 2:4:2, 1 John 2:13, 1 John 2:5:2), but also with other verbs (John 15:8, John 16:30). The οὐκ is placed away from its verb with special emphasis; sed non in hoc (Vulg.), non per hoc (Beza). Without difference of meaning, Ignatius (Rom_5) has�

δεδικαίωμαι. ‘Am I acquitted.’ The word is used in a general sense, not in its technical theological sense. To introduce the latter here (Meyer, Beet, etc.) is to miss the drift of the passage, which deals, not with the question as to how man is justified in God’s sight, but with the question as to who is competent to sit in judgment on a man’s work or life. St Paul is not dealing with the question of his own personal ‘justification by faith,’ as though he said ‘I am justified not by this, but in some other way’: he is saying in the first person, what would apply equally to any one else, that an unaccusing conscience does not per se mean absence of guilt.

ὁ δὲ�

μή τι κρίνετε. ‘Cease to pass any judgment,’ or ‘Make a practice of passing no judgement’ (pres. imper.). The τι is a cognate accusative, such as we have in John 7:24. ‘As far as I am concerned, you may judge as you please, it is indifferent to me; but, as Christians, you should beware of passing any judgment on any one, until the Judge of all has made all things clear. All anticipation is vain.’

πρὸ καιροῦ. ‘Before the fitting time,’ or ‘the appointed time,’ when οἰ ἅγιοι τὸν κόσμον κρινοῦσιν (6:2). Καιρός has no exact equivalent in English, French, or German. Cf. Matthew 8:29.

ἕως ἄν ἔλθῃ. The addition or omission of ἄν after ἕως in the N.T. is somewhat irregular, and this fact precludes any sure generalization as to particular shades of meaning. In later Greek the force of ἄν is weakened, and therefore the difference between its presence and absence is lessened. Here, not the coming, but the time of it, is doubtful; ‘till the Advent, whenever that may be.’ See Milligan on 2 Thessalonians 2:7, where there is no ἄν, and Edwards here. In Revelation 2:25, ἄχρι οὗ ἂν ἥξω, it is doubtful whether ἥξω is fut. indic. or aor. subj. At the Day of Judgment they will take part in judging (6:2, 3), with all the facts before them.

ὅς καὶ φωτίσει. ‘Who shall both throw light upon,’ ‘shall illumine,’ lucem inferet in (Beng.). But the difference between ‘bringing light to’ and ‘bringing to light’ is not great. The καί is probably ‘both,’ not ‘also’; but if ‘also,’ the meaning is, ‘will come to judge and also will illumine,’ which is less probable. Φωτίζω points to the source of the revelation.

τὰ κρυπτὰ τοῦ σκότους. Abscondita tenebrarum (Vulg.); occulta tenebrarum = res tenebris occultatas (Beza). The genitive may be possessive or characterizing, ‘the hidden things which darkness holds,’ or ‘the hidden things whose nature is dark.’ The point is, not that what will be revealed is morally bad, although that may be suggested, but that hitherto they have been quite secret, hidden, it may be, from the person’s own conscience.

καὶ φανερώσει. Two things are necessary for an unerring judgment of human actions,—a complete knowledge of the facts, and full insight into the motives. These the Lord will apply when He comes; and to attempt to judge men without these indispensable qualifications is futile arrogance. Φανερόω points to the result of the revelation.

καὶ τότε ὁ ἔπαινος. ‘And then, and not till then, the measure of praise that is due will come to each from God.’ ‘He will have his praise’ (RV.), what rightly belongs to him, which may be little or none, and will be very different from the praise of partizans here. We have the same thought in 2 Corinthians 10:18; Romans 2:29; and Clem. Rom reproduces it, Cor. 30. Compare μισθός, 3:14, and ὁ μισθός, Romans 4:4, and see Hort on 1 Peter 1:7, p. 43.

ἀπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ. At the end, with emphasis; the award is final, as�John 5:27). Cf. 2 Esdr. 16:62-65. With ἑκάστῳ compare the fivefold ἕκαστος in 3:5-13.

D E F G, Aug. omit the ὅς before καί. D omits the τοῦ before Θεοῦ. The conjecture of ὑπό for�Acts 10:42): cf. μέλλει κρίνειν τὴν οἰκουμένην ἐν�Acts 17:31): so that the judgments pronounced by Christ are�

4:6-21. Personal Application of the Foregoing Passage (3:5-4:5), and Close of the Subject of the Dissensions

My aim in all this is to correct party-spirit and conceit. Do compare your self-glorification with the humiliations of your teachers. This admonition comes from a father whom you ought to imitate. I really am coming to you. Is it to be in severity or in gentleness?

6 These comments I have modified in form, so as to apply to myself and Apollos, without including others, for you certainly have made party-leaders of him and me. And I have done this for your sakes, not ours, in order that by us as examples you may learn the meaning of the words, Go not beyond what is written; in short, to keep any one of you from speaking boastfully in favour of the one teacher to the disparagement of the other. 7 For, my friend, who gives you the right to prefer one man to another and proclaim Paul and Apollos as leaders? And what ability do you possess that was not given to you by God? You must allow that you had it as a gift from Him. Then why do you boast as if you had the credit of acquiring it? 8 No doubt you Corinthians are already in perfect felicity; already you are quite rich; without waiting for us poor teachers, you have come to your kingdom! And I would to God that you had come to the Kingdom, that we also might be there with you! But we are far from that happy condition. For it seems to me that God has exhibited us His Apostles last of all, as men doomed to death are the last spectacle in a triumphal procession: for a spectacle we are become to the universe, to the whole amphitheatre of angels and men. 10 We poor simpletons go on with the foolishness of preaching Christ, while you in your relation to Him are men of sagacity. We feel our weakness; you are so strong as to stand alone. You have the glory, and we the contempt. 11 Up to this very moment we go hungry, thirsty, and scantily clothed; we get plenty of hard blows and have no proper home; 12 and we have to work hard with our hands to earn our daily bread. Men revile us, and we bless them; they persecute us, and we are patient; they slander us, and we merely deprecate. 13 We have been treated as the scum of the earth, the refuse of society, and are treated so still.

14 I am not writing in this tone to put you to shame: you are my dearly loved children, and I am showing you where you are wrong. 15 For you may have any number of instructors in Christ, yet you have not more than one father: for in Christ Jesus it was I, and no one else, who begat you through the Glad-tidings which I brought you. 16 I have, therefore, the right to beseech you to follow my steps. 17 And because I wish you to follow my example, I have sent Timothy to you; for he also is a child of mine, dearly loved as you are, loyal and trusty in the Lord, and he will bring back to your remembrance the simple and lowly ways which I have as a Christian teacher, not only at Corinth, but everywhere and in every Church. 18 Some of you boastfully declared that my sending Timothy meant that I did not dare to come myself; so they would do as they pleased. 19 But I do mean to come, and that soon, to you, if the Lord pleases; and I will then take cognizance, not of what these inflated boasters say, but of what they can do. Have they any spiritual power? 20 For the Kingdom of God is not a thing of words, but of spiritual power. 21 Which is it to be then? Am I to come to you rod in hand, or in love and a spirit of gentleness?

After a brief, plain statement of his purpose (6, 7) in the preceding exposition of the Pastoral Office, the Apostle severely rebukes the inflated glorying of his readers (8-13), and then, in a more tender strain (14-16), but still not without sternness (17-21), explains the mission of Timothy, the precursor of his own intended visit.

6. Ταῦτα δέ. ‘Now these things,’ viz. the whole of the remarks from 3:5 onwards, the δέ introducing the conclusion and application of the whole.

ἀδελφοί. As in 1:10, 3:1.

μετεσχημάτισα. ‘I put differently,’ ‘transferred by a figure’; lit. ‘altered the arrangement’ (σχῆμα). The Apostle means that he used the names of Apollos and himself to illustrate a principle which might, but for reasons of tact, have been more obviously illustrated by other names. In LXX the verb is found once (4 Mac. 9:22), in N.T. in Paul only; of false apostles fashioning themselves into Apostles of Christ, like Satan fashioning himself into an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:13-15); and of the glorious change of our body of humiliation (Philippians 3:21). The meaning here is different from both these, and the difference of meaning in the three passages turns upon the implied sense of σχῆμα in each case. See Lightfoot ad loc. and also on Philippians 2:7 and 3:21; Trench, Syn. § lxx.; Hastings, DB. 11. p. 7. In the present passage there seems to be a reference to the rhetorical sense of σχῆμα (= figura) to denote a veiled allusion. The meaning here will be, ‘I have transferred these warnings to myself and Apollos for the purpose of a covert allusion, and that for your sakes, that in our persons you may get instruction.’ The μετασχηματισμός, therefore, consists in putting forward the names of those not really responsible for the στάσεις instead of the names of others who were more to blame.*

ἐν ἡμῖν μάθητε. ‘May learn in us as an object-lesson,’ ‘in our case may learn.’ They could read between the lines.

τὸ μὴ ὑπὲρ ἃ γέγραπται. The article, as often, has almost the effect of inverted commas; ‘the principle’ or ‘the lesson’— “Never go beyond,” etc. The maxim is given in an elliptical form without any verb, as in ne sutor ultra crepidam: cf. 5:1, 11:24; 2 Peter 2:22. Here, as elsewhere, some texts insert a verb in order to smooth the ellipse. By ἃ γέγραπται the Apostle means passages of Scripture such as those which he has quoted, 1:19, 31, 3:19, 20. It is possible that there was a maxim of this kind current among the Jews, like μηδὲν ἄγαν among the Greeks. It is strange that any one should suppose that ἃ γέγραπται can refer to what St Paul himself has written or intends to write, or to the commands of our Lord.† It was perhaps a Rabbinical maxim.

ἵνα μὴ κ.τ.λ. This second ἵνα introduces the consequence expected from μάθητε, and so the ultimate purpose of μετεσχημάτισα, viz. to avoid all sectarian divisions. The proposal to take ἵνα in the local sense of ‘where,’ ‘in which case,’ ‘wobei,’ may be safely dismissed. Even in class. Grk. this sense of ἵνα is chiefly poetical, and it is quite out of keeping with N.T. usage and with the context here. It is less easy to be certain whether φυσιοῦσθε is the present indicative, which would be very irregular after ἵνα, or an irregularly contracted subjunctive. Galatians 4:17 is the only certain instance in N.T. of ἵνα with the present indicative; but some of the best editors admit it in John 17:3; Titus 2:4; 1 John 5:20. The double ἵνα is Pauline; Galatians 3:14, Galatians 4:5.

The sense is an expansion of ‘glorying in men’ (3:21): party-spirit, essentially egoist, cries up one leader at the expense of another leader. Some take ἑνός and ἑτέρου not as leaders, but as members, of the respective parties. This is not the probable meaning. To cry up a favourite leader of your own choosing is to betray an inflated self-conceit. See on v. 18. With εἷς ὑπὲρ τοῦ ἑνός may be contrasted οἰκοδομεῖτε εἷς τὸν ἕνα (1 Thessalonians 5:11), where the opposite cause and effect are indicated, the union, which results from mutual edification. Here ὑπέρ means ‘on behalf of’ or ‘in favour of.’ We have a similar use of ὑπέρ and κατά in Romans 8:31. See Blass, § 45. 2.

For ἐν ἡμῖν, D 17, Copt. read ἐν ὑμῖν. ὑπὲρ ἅ(א A B C P 17) is to be preferred to ὑπὲρ ὅ (D E F G L). After γέγραπται, א3 D3 L P, Syrr. Copt. Arm. AV. insert φρονεῖν to avoid the elipse: א* A B D* E F G, Vulg. RV. omit. Some efitors propose to omit τὸ μὴ ὑπὲρ ἃ γέγραπται as a marginal gloss. The sentence is intelligible without these words, but a gloss would have taken some other form. The φρονεῖν may come from Romans 12:3.

7. τίς γάρ σε διακρίνει; The γάρ introduces a reason why such conceit is out of place; ‘For who sees anything special in you?’ The verb has a variety of meanings (see Acts 15:9 and on συνκρίνειν in 2:13), and these meanings are linked by the idea of ‘separate’ in one sense or another: here it means to distinguish favourably from others. ‘Who gives you the right to exalt one and depress another? No one has given you such a right: then do you claim it is an inherent right?’ Tu, qui amplius to accepisse gloriaris, quis to ab eo qui minus accepit separavit, nisi is qui tibi dedit quod alteri non dedit? (Atto).

τί δὲ ἔχεις ὃ οὐκ ἔλαβες. The δέ adds another home-thrust, another searching question. ‘Let us grant that you have some superiority. Is it inherent? You know that you have nothing but what you have received. Your good things were all of them given to you.’ Origen suggests that the question may mean, ‘Why do you pretend to have a gift which you have not received from God?’ But he prefers the usual interpretation. The question is a favourite one with Cyril of Alexandria, who quotes it nine times in his commentary on St John.

εἰ δὲ καὶ ἔλαβες. ‘But if thou didst receive it.’ The καί throws an emphasis on ἔλαβες, and εἰ καί represents the insistence on what is fact (2 Corinthians 4:3, 2 Corinthians 5:16, 2 Corinthians 12:11), while καὶ εἰ represents an assumed possibility; but it is not certain that this distinction always holds good in Paul.

It has been urged that the usual interpretation of ἔλαβες as ‘received from God, the Giver of all good gifts’ is not suitable to the context; and that the Apostle means that such Christian wisdom as the Corinthians possessed was not their own making, but came to them through ministry of their teachers. But, after 3:5-7, 21 (cf. 12:6, 15:10), St Paul would not be likely to make any such claim. The main point is, ‘whatever superiority you may have is not your own product, it was a gift’; and St Paul was much more likely to mean that it was God’s gift, than anything derived from himself and Apollos.

The question which he asks strikes deeper than the immediate purpose of this passage. It is memorable in the history of theology for the revolution which it brought about in the doctrine of Grace. In a.d. 396, in the first work which he wrote as a bishop, Augustine, tells us: “To solve this question we laboured hard in the cause of the freedom of man’s will, but the Grace of God won the day,” and he adds that this text was decisive (Retract. II. i. 1; see also De divers. quaest. ad Simplicianum, i.). Ten years before the challenge of Pelagius, the study of St Paul’s writings, and especially of this verse and of Romans 9:16, had crystallized in his mind the distinctively Augustinian doctrines of man’s total depravity, of irresistible grace, and of absolute predestination.

The fundamental thought here is that the teachers, about whom the Corinthians ‘gloried,’ were but ministers of what was the gift of God. The boasting temper implied forgetfulness of this fact. It treated the teachers as exhibitors of rhetorical skill, and as ministering to the taste of a critical audience, which was entitled to class the teachers according to the preferences of this or that hearer. Ἔλαβες here coincides with ἐπιστεύσατε in 3:5.

8. The Apostle now directly attacks the self-esteem of his readers in atone of grave irony. ‘You may well sit in judgment upon us, from your position of advanced perfection, whence you can watch us struggling painfully to the heights which you have already scaled.’ Haec verba per ironiam dicta sunt: non enim sunt affirmantis, sed indignantis, et commoti animi. Illos quippe regnare, saturatos et divites factos, in quibus superius diversa vitia et plures errores redarguit (Atto). It spoils the irony of the assumed concession to take the three clauses which follow as questions (WH.). That the three argumentative questions should be followed by three satirical affirmations is full of point. Six consecutive questions would be wearisome and somewhat flat.

ἤδη κεκορεσμένοι ἐστέ, ἤδη ἐπλουτήσατε, χωρὶς ἡμῶν ἐβασιλεύσατε. The RV. might have given each of the three clauses a note of exclamation. The Vulg. gives one to the last, and it covers the other two. It is evident that the three verbs form a climax, and the last gives the key to the allusion. These highly blessed Corinthians are already in the Kingdom of God, enjoying its banquets, its treasures, and its thrones. The verbs stand for the satisfaction of all desires in the Messianic Kingdom (Luke 22:29, Luke 22:30; 1 Thessalonians 2:12; 2 Timothy 2:12). The attitude of the πεφυσωμένοι amounted to a claim to be already in possession of all that this Kingdom was to bring. They have got a private millennium of their own. Like the ἤδη in the two first clauses, χωρὶς ἡμῶν is emphatic. ‘Without us, who taught you all that you know of the Gospel, and who are still labouring to enter the Kingdom, you are as Kings in the Kingdom.’ ‘Without us’ does not mean ‘without our aid,’ but ‘without our company.’ The contrast is between the fancied beatitude of the Corinthians and the actual condition of the Apostles. The Corinthians pose as perfected saints; their teachers are still very far indeed from perfection.*

In πλουτεῖν and βασιλεύειν we have a coincidence with the language of the Stoics, as in 3:21. There πάντα ὑμῶν ἐστίν has parallels in Zeno and Seneca; emittere hanc dei vocem, Haec omnia mea sunt (De Benef. vii. ii. 3). But, whether or no St Paul is consciously using Stoic expressions, there is no resemblance in meaning. The thought of victory over the world by incorporation into Christ is far removed from that of independence of the world through personal αὐτάρκεια. Here again we have the difference between the true and the false σοφία.

καὶ ὄφελόν γε ἐβασιλεύσατε. In this late Greek this unaugmented second aorist has become a mere particle, an exclamation to express a wish as to what might have happened, but has not, or what might happen, but is not expected. Hence it is followed by the indicative without ἄν. In LXX it is often followed by the aorist, as here, especially in the phrase ὄφελον�2 Corinthians 11:1 and Galatians 5:12, as here, the wish has a touch of irony. The γέ emphasizes the wish; ‘As far as my feelings are concerned, would that your imaginary royalty were real, for then our hard lot would be at an end.’

ἵνα … συνβασιλεύσωμεν. In ironical contrast to χωρὶς ἡμῶν. ‘You seem to have arrived at the goal far in front of us poor teachers: indeed I wish that it were so, so that we might hope to follow and share your triumph.’ The only other place in N.T. in which συνβασιλεύειν occurs 2 Timothy 2:12, where it is used of reigning with Christ.

9. δοκῶ γάρ, ὁ Θεος …�2 Thessalonians 2:4, ἁποδεικνύντα seems to be used in this sense.

ὡς ἐπιθανατίους. The adjective occurs nowhere else in N.T.; but in LXX of Bel and the Dragon 31 it is used of the condemned conspirators who were thrown to the lions, two at a time, daily; τῶν ἐπιθανατίων σώματα δύο. Dionysius of Halicarnassus (A.R. vii. 35), about b.c. 8, uses it of those who were thrown from the Tarpeian rock. Tertullian (De Pudic. 14) translates it here, veluti bestiarios, which is giving it too limited a meaning. Cf. ἐθηριομάχησα, 15:32. Spectandos proposuit, ut morti addictos (Beza).*

ὅτι θέατρον ἐγενήθημεν. ‘Seeing that we are become a spectacle’; explaining ‘exhibited (or ‘nominated’) us as doomed men.’ Here θέατρον=θέαμα: the place of seeing easily comes to be substituted for what is seen there, and also for οἱ θεαταί, as we say ‘the house’ for the audience or spectators. Cf. θεατριζόμενοι, spectaculum facti (Vulg. both there and here), Hebrews 10:33.

τῷ κόσμῳ. ‘The intelligent universe,’ which is immediately specified by the two anarthrous substantives which follow: angels and men make up the κόσμος to which the Apostles are a spectacle. See on 13:1. It is perhaps true to say that, wherever angels are mentioned in N.T., good angels are always meant, unless something is added in the context to intimate the contrary, as in Matthew 24:41; 2 Corinthians 12:7; Revelation 12:7, Revelation 12:9, etc. Godet remarks here that of course les mauvais ne sont pas exclus, and this is also the opinion of Augustine and Herveius. Strangely enough, Atto supposes that St Paul means evil angels only. The Apostle thinks of the ἄγγελοι as wondering spectators of the vicissitudes of the Church militant here on earth (cf. Ephesians 3:19; 1 Peter 1:12). Origen thinks of them as drawn to the strange sight of a man still clothed in flesh wrestling with principalities and powers, etc.

After δοκῶ γάρ, א3 B2 D E L P add ὅτι: א* A B* C D* F G omit.

10. ἡμεῖς μωροὶ … ὑμεῖς δὲ φρόνιμοι. Est increpatio cum ironia (Herv.). The three antitheses refer respectively to teaching, demeanour, and worldly position. The Apostles were ‘fools on account of Christ’ (2 Corinthians 4:2; Philippians 3:7), because it was owing to their preaching Christ that the world regarded them as crazy (1:23; Acts 26:24). The Corinthians were ‘wise in Christ,’ because they maintained that as Christians they had great powers of discernment and possessed the true wisdom; διά in servos, ἐν in consortes convenit (Beng.): ταῦτα λέγων εἰρωνικῶς προέτρεπεν αὐτοὺς γενέσθαι φρονίμους ἐν Χριστῷ (Orig.). Cf. 10:15.

ὑμεῖς ἔνδοξοι, ἡμεῖς δὲ ἄτιμοι. The order is here inverted, not merely to avoid monotony, but in order to append to ἡμεῖς ἄτιμοι the clauses which expand it. Chiasmus is common in these Epistles (3:17, 8:13, 13:2; 2 Corinthians 4:3, 2 Corinthians 6:8, 2 Corinthians 9:6, 2 Corinthians 10:12, etc.). Ἔνδοξος is one of the 103 words which are found only in Paul and Luke in N.T. (Hawkins, Hort. Syn. p. 191).

11. ἄχρι τῆς ἄρτι ὥρας. Their�

γυμνιτεύομεν. ‘We are scantily clothed’; ἑν ψύχει καὶ γυμνότητι (2 Corinthians 11:27). The word generally means ‘to go light-armed’ (Plut., Dio. Cass.); it occurs nowhere else in N.T. or LXX, Cf. James 2:15, where γυμνός means ‘scantily clad.’

κολαφιζόμεθα. ‘We are buffeted,’ ‘are struck with the fist.’ The verb is late, and probably colloquial (1 Peter 2:20; Mark 14:65; Matthew 26:67). The substantive κόλαφος is said to be Doric = Attic κόνδυλος. The verb is possibly chosen rather than δέρειν (9:26; 2 Corinthians 11:20), or τύπτειν (Acts 23:2), or ὑπωπιάζειν (9:26, 27), or κονδυλιζειν (Amos 2:7; Malachi 3:5), to mark the treatment of a slave: velut servi; adeo non regnamus (Beng.). Seneca, in the last section of the Apocolocyntosis, says that Caesar successfully claimed a man as his slave after producing witnesses who had seen the man beaten by Caesar flagris, ferulis, colaphis. In 2 Corinthians 12:7 the verb is used of the ἄγγελος Σατανᾶ, ‘buffeting’ the Apostle.

ἀστατοῦμεν, ‘Are homeless,’ ‘have not where to lay our head’ (Matthew 8:20; Luke 9:58). The verb occurs nowhere else in N.T. or LXX, but is used by Aquila for ἄστεγος in Isaiah 58:7. It certainly does not mean instabiles sumus (Vulg.), but nusquam habemus sedem (Primasius). The Apostles fiegabantur ab infidelibus de loco in locum (Atto); ἐλαυνόμεθα γάρ (Chrys.). Their life had no repose; they were vagrants, and were stigmatized as such.

γυμνιτεύομεν is accepted by all editors, L alone reading γυμνητεύομεν. Gregory, Prolegomena to Tisch., p. 81.

12. κοπιῶμεν ἐργ. τ. ἰδίαις χερσίν. Again and again he mentions this (9:6; 2 Corinthians 11:7; 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:8; cf. Acts 18:3, Acts 20:34). See Knowling on Acts 18:3, Deissmann, Light, p. 317, and Ramsay, St Paul, pp. 34-36. He had worked for his own living when he was at Corinth, and he was doing this at Ephesus at the time of writing. He must maintain his independence. Graviter peccat, et libertatem arguendi amittit, qui ab eo aliquid accipit, qui propterea tribuit ne redarguat (Atto). The plural may be rhetorical, but it probably includes other teachers who did the like. Greeks despised manual labour; St Paul glories in it.

λοιδορούμενοι εὐλογοῦμεν, διωκόμενοι�Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:27), but he is under their influence. Here again, Greek prejudice would be against him. In the preliminary induction which Aristotle (Anal. Post. II. xii. 21) makes for the definition of μεγαλόψυχία, he asks what it is that such μεγαλόψυχοι as Achilles, Ajax, and Alcibiades have in common, and answers, τὸ μὴ�

13. δυσφημούμενοι. In 1 Mac. 7:41 the verb is used of the insults of Rabshakeh as the envoy of Sennacherib, but it is not found elsewhere in N.T.

παρακαλοῦμεν. ‘We deprecate,’ obsecramur (Vulg.). The verb is very frequent in N.T., with many shades of meaning, radiating from the idea of ‘calling to one’s side’ in order to speak privately, to gain support. Hence such meanings as ‘exhort.’ ‘entreat,’ ‘instruct,’ ‘comfort.’ ‘Exhort’ is certainly not the meaning here, as if insulting language was requited with a sermon; yet Origen and Basil seem to take it so. To give the soft answer that turns away wrath (Proverbs 15:1) may be right, but it is not a common meaning of παρακαλεῖν. Tyndale and other early versions have ‘we pray,’ which again is not the meaning, if ‘pray’ means ‘pray to God.’*

ὡς περικαθάρματα. The uncompounded κάθαρμα is more common in both the senses which the two forms of the word have in common. These are (1) ‘sweepings,’ rubbish, and, (2) as in Proverbs 21:18, ‘scapegoats,’ i.e. victims, piacula, lustramina, used as expiationis pretium, to avert the wrath of the gods. At Athens, in times of plague or similar visitations, certain outcasts were flung into the sea with the formula, περίψημα ἡμῶν γένου (Suidas), to expiate the pollution of the community. These were worthless persons, and hence the close connexion between the two meanings. Demosthenes, in the De Corona, addresses Aeschines, ὦ κάθαρμα, as a term of the deepest insult. It is not quite certain which of the two meanings is right here; nor does the coupling with περίψημα settle the matter, for that word also is used in two similar senses. Godet distinguishes the two words by saying that περικαθάρματα are the dust that is swept up from a floor and περίψημα the dirt that is rubbed or scraped off an object. Neither word occurs elsewhere in N.T. On the whole, it is probable that neither word has here the meaning of ‘scapegoat’ or ‘ransom’ (ἁπολύτρωσις): and in Tobit 5:18 περίψημα is probably ‘refuse’ (AV., RV.). See Lightfoot on περίψημα (Ign. Eph. 8), and Heinichen on Eus. HE. VII. xxii. 7, Melet. XV. p. 710, who shows that in the third century περίψημά σου had become a term of formal compliment, ‘your humble and devoted servant.’ See Ep. Barn. 4, 6.

τοῦ κόσμου … πάντων. Whatever the meaning of the two words, these genitives give them the widest sweep, and πάντων is neuter (AV., RV.), unless the meaning of ‘scapegoat’ is given to περίψημα.†

δυσφημούμενοι(א* A C P 17) rather than βλασφημούμενοι (א B D E F G L). The internal evidence turns the scale. It is more probable that the unusual δυσφ. would be changed to the common βλασφ. than vice versa.

14. οὐκ ἐντρέπων ὑμᾶς. The severity of tone ends as abruptly as it began (v. 8). Aspera blandis mitigat, ut salutaris medicus. These sudden changes of tone are much more common in Paul than in other N.T. writers. The section that follows (14-21), with its mingled tenderness and sternness—both alike truly paternal, forms a worthy colophon to the whole discussion of the σχίσματα. The root-meaning of ἐντρέπειν is perhaps ‘to turn in,’ and so to make a person ‘hang his head,’ as a sign, either of reverence (Matthew 21:37; Luke 18:2, Luke 18:4; Hebrews 12:9) or of shame, as here (cf. ἐντροπή, 6:5, 15:34). In these senses it is frequent in late writers, in LXX, and in Paul. The participle expresses the spirit in which the Apostle writes; ‘not as shaming you,’ ‘not as making you abashed.’ What he had written might well ‘make them hang their heads,’ but to effect that was not his purpose in writing; he wrote to bring home to their hearts a solemn fatherly warning.

νουθετῶν. The duty of a parent, as appears from Ephesians 6:4.* Excepting in a speech of St Paul (Acts 20:31), νουθετεῖν and νουθεσῖα do not occur in N.T. outside the Epistles of St Paul, and they cover all four groups. Νουθετεῖν ‘to put in mind,’ has always a touch of sternness, if not of blame; ‘to admonish,’ or ‘warn.’ We have νουθετεῖν τοὺς κακῶς πράσοντας (Aesch. Pr. 264), and νουθετεῖν κονδύλοις (Aristoph. Vesp 254). Plato (Gorg. 479 a) combines it with κολάζειν. See Abbott on Ephesians 6:4 and Colossians 1:28.

νουθετῶν (א A C P 17, RV.) rather than νουθετῶ (B D E F G L, Vulg. AV.); but the evidence is not decisive. Lachm. and Treg. prefer νουθετῶ.

15. ἐὰν γάρ. The reason for his taking on himself this duty; ‘If, as time goes on, ye should have in turn an indefinite number of tutors in Christ, yet ye will never have had but one father.’ The conditional clause, with a pres. subjunct. and ἄν, in the protasis implies futurity as regards the apodosis. As there is but one planting and one laying of the foundation-stone (3:6, 10), so the child can have but one father.

παιδαγωγοὺς … ἐν Χριστῷ. The words are closely connected. Without ἐν Χριστῷ to qualify it, παιδαγωγούς would have been too abrupt, if not too disparaging. There is no hint that they have already had too many. The παιδαγωγός (Galatians 3:24) was not a teacher, but the trusty slave who acted as tutor or guardian and escorted them to and from school, and in general took care of those whom the father had begotten.† He might be more capable, and even more affectionate, than the father, but he could never become father. The frequent ἐν Χριστῷ gives “the ideal sphere of action” (Ellicott).*

ἀλλʼ οὐ πολλοὺς πατέρας. ‘Still (8:7) not many fathers.’ The verb to be understood must be future, for the possibility of μυρίοι παιδαγωγοί of is future: ‘however many these may be, yet ye will not have (or, have had) many fathers.’

ἐν γὰρ Χριστῷ Ἰ. The whole process, first and last, is ἐν Χριστῷ.† That was the sphere, while the Gospel was the means (διὰ τοῦ εὐαγγ.). The two pronouns, ἐγὼ ὑμᾶς, are in emphatic proximity; ‘whoever may have been the parent of other Churches, it was I who in Christ begat you.’ The thought is that of ἐλὼ ἐφύτευσα (3:6) and of θεμέλειον ἔθηκα (3:10), while the παιδαγωγοί are those who water the plant, or build the superstructure.

16. παρακαλῶ οὖν. ‘Therefore, as having the right to do so, I call upon my children to take after their father.’ Si fili estis, debitum honorem debetis impendere patri, et imitatores existere (Atto). Cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:6, 1 Thessalonians 1:7, 1 Thessalonians 1:2:7, 11.

μιμηταί μον γίνεσθε. ‘Show yourselves imitators of me’; ‘by your conduct prove your parentage.’ Here and 11:1 (see note there), ‘imitators’ rather than ‘followers’ (AV.). The context shows the special points of assimilation, viz. humility and self-sacrifice (vv. 10-13). In Philippians 3:17 we have συνμιμητής. The charge is not given in a spirit of self-confidence. He has received the charge to lead them, and he is bound to set an example for them to follow, but he takes no credit for the pattern (11:1).

17. Διὰ τοῦτο. ‘Because I desire you to prove imitators of me, I sent Timothy, a real son of mine in the Lord, to allay the contrary spirit among you.’ Timothy had probably already left Ephesus Acts 19:22), but was at work in Macedonia, and would arrive at Corinth later than this letter (Hastings, DB. I. P. 483). It is not stated in Acts that Corinth was Timothy’s ultimate destination, but we are told that the Corinthian Erastus (Romans 16:23) was his companion on the mission. It is not clear whether ἔπεμψα is the ordinary aorist, ‘I sent’ or ‘have sent,’ or the epistolary aorist, ‘I send.’ Deissmann, Light, p. 157.

τέκνον. ‘Child’ in the same sense as ἐγέννησα (v. 15). St Paul had converted him (Acts 16:1), on his visit to Lystra (Act 14:7 cf. 1 Timothy 1:2, 1 Timothy 1:18; 2 Timothy 1:2). This�2 Corinthians 1:1) gives his relation to all Christians. His sparing this beloved child was proof of his love for them; 1 Thessalonians 3:1, 1 Thessalonians 3:2.

ἀναμνήσει. λήθην δὲ αὐτῶν ὁ λόγος κατηγορεῖ (orig.). They had forgotten much of what St Paul had taught them in person εἰ κατέχετε (15:2).

τὰς ὁδούς μου. The real Apostle had been superseded in their imagination by an imaginary Paul, the leader of a party. His ‘ways’ are indicated 1:17, 2:1-5, 4:11-13, 9:15, 22, 27.

καθὼς πανταχοῦ ἐν πάσῃ ἐκ. ‘Exactly as everywhere in every Church.’ There is a general consistency in the Apostle’s teaching, and Timothy will not impose any special demands upon the Corinthians, but will only bring them into line with what St Paul teaches everywhere. This is one of several passages which remind the Corinthians that they are only members of a much greater whole (see on 1:2). They are not the whole Church, and they are not the most perfect members. On the other hand, no more is required of them than is required of other Christians.

After διὰ τοῦτο, א A P 17 add αὐτό :א* B C D E F G L omit. μου τέκνον (א A B C P 17) rather than τέκνον μου (D E F G L). After ὲν Χριστῷ, D* F G add Ἰησοῦ: A B D 3 E L P omit.

18. Ὡς μὴ ἐρχομένου δέ μου. Some of them boastfully gave out; ’ Timothy is coming to his place; Paul himself will not come.’ The δέ marks the contrast between this false report and the true purpose of Timothy’s mission.

ἐφυσιώθησάν τινες. Vitium Corinthiis frequens, inflatio (Beng.); v. 6, 19, 5:2, 8:1.* The tense is the natural one to use, for St Paul is speaking of definite facts that had been reported to him. He cannot use the present tense, for he is ignorant of the state of things at the time of writing. But by using the aorist he does not imply that the evil is a thing of the past, and therefore ‘are puffed up’ (AV., RV.), inflati sunt (Vulg.), may be justified. There is nothing to show whether he knew who the τινες were (cf. 15:12; Galatians 1:7). Origen suggests that ὁ θεσπέσιος Παῦλος does not mention any one, because he foresaw that the offenders would repent, and there was therefore no need to expose them. They are probably connected with the more definite and acrimonious opponents of 2 Corinthians 10:1, 2 Corinthians 10:7, 2 Corinthians 10:10, 2 Corinthians 10:11:4, where a leader, who is not in view in this Epistle, has come on the scene.

19. ἐλεύσομαι δὲ ταχέως. He intends remaining at Ephesus till Pentecost (16:8). His plans, and changes of plan, and the charges made against him about his proposed visit, are discussed in 2 Corinthians 1:15, 2 Corinthians 1:16, 2 Corinthians 1:23.

ἐὰν ὁ Κύριος θελήσῃ. A solemn touch; cf. 16:7; James 4:15. It is impossible, and not very important, to decide whether ὁ Κύριος means our Lord or the Father. Our Lord has just been mentioned; on the other hand, in connexion with θέλειν or θέλημα, God is commonly meant. We have a similar doubt 1 Thessalonians 3:12.

γνώσομαι οὐ τ. λόγον …�

20. ἡ βασιλεία τ. Θεοῦ. This expression has three meanings in the Pauline Epistles: (1) the future Kingdom of God, when God is ‘all in all’ (15:28); akin to this (2) the mediatorial reign of Christ, which is the Kingdom of God in process of development; and so, as here (and see Romans 14:17), we have (3) the inward reality which underlies the external life, activities, and institutions of the Church, in and through which the Kingdom of Christ is realizing itself. In the externals of Church life, ‘word’ counts for something, but ‘power’ alone is of account in the sight of God.* By ‘power’ is meant spiritual power: see on 2:5.

21. ἐν ῥάβδῳ. Exactly as in 1 Samuel 17:43, σὺ ἔρχῃ ἐπʼ ἐμὲ ἐν ῥάβδῳ καὶ λίθοις; and 2 Samuel 7:14, ἐλέγξω αὐτὸν ἐν ῥαβδῳ καὶ ἐν ἁφαῖς: where the ἐν means ‘accompanied by’ or ‘provided with.’ Cf. Hebrews 9:25, ἐν αἵματι�2 Corinthians 13:3). It is strange that any one should contend, even for controversial purposes, such as defence of the temporal power, that a literal rod is meant. But cf. Tarquini, Juris eccles. inst. p. 41, 19th ed. An allusion to the lictor’s rod is not likely.*

ἔλθω. Deliberative subjunctive; ‘Am I to come?’ It is possible to make the verb dependent upon θέλετε, but it is more forcible to keep it independent (AV., RV.). Cf. ἐπιμένωμεν τῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ; (Romans 6:1).


πνεύματί τε πραΰτητος. Either ‘the Spirit of meekness’, i.e. the Holy Spirit, manifested in one of His special gifts or fruits (Galatians 5:23), or ‘a spirit of meekness,’ i.e. a disposition of that character (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:13). The latter would be inspired by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:5). The absence of the article is in favour of the latter here. Contrast τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς�John 14:17, John 16:13) with πνεῦμα σοφίας (Ephesians 1:17), and see J.A. Robinson, Ephesians, pp. 38, 39, and the note on πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης (Romans 1:4). Had the Apostle meant the Holy Spirit, he would probably have written ἐν τῷ πν. τῆς πρ. By πραΰτης is meant the opposite of ‘harshness’ or ‘rudeness.’ Trench, Syn. § § xlii., xliii., xcii.; Westcott on Ephesians 4:2.

πραΰτητος (A B C 17) rather than πραότητος (א D E F G P). In Galatians 5:23, א joins A B C in favour of πραΰτης. In Ephesians 4:2, א B C 17 support πραΰτης, in 2 Corinthians 10:1, א B F G P 17 do so, in Colossians 3:12, א A B C P 17. Lachmann, following Oecumenius and Calvin, makes 4:21 the beginning of a new paragraph: it is a sharp, decisive dismissal of the subject of the σχίσματα.

* St Paul is probably not thinking of the derivation; ‘Christ is the pilot; we are rowers under Him.’ By Χριστοῦ he may mean ‘not of any earthly master.’

* Chadwick, The Pastoral Teaching of St Paul, p. 164 f. He does not say ‘be judged trustworthy,’ but ‘be found actually to be so.’ In 1 Peter 4:10 every Christian is a steward.

אԠא (Fourth century.) The Sinaitic MS., now at St Petersburg, the only MS. containing the whole N.T.

A A (Fifth century.) The Codex Alexandrinus; now at the British Museum.

B B (Fourth century.) The Vatican MS.

C C (Fifth century). The Codex Ephraem, a Palimpsest; now at Paris. Lacks 7:18 ἐν�

G G (Late ninth century). Codex Boernerianus; at Dresden. Interlined with the Latin (in minluscules). Lacks 1 Corinthians 3:8-16, 1 Corinthians 6:7-14 (F).

P P (Ninth century). Porfirianus Chiovensis. A palimpsest acquired in the East by Porphyrius Bishop of Kiew. Lacks 7:15 ὑμᾶς ὁ θεός-17 περιπάτει: 12:23 τοῦ σώματος-13:5 οὐ λογί-: 14:23 τὸ λαλεῖν μή. A good type of text in St Paul’s Epistles.

17 17. (Ev. 33, Act_13. Ninth century.) At Paris (Nat. Gr. 14). See Westcott and Hort., Introd. §§ 211, 212.

e e The Latin text of E

E E (Ninth century). At Petrograd. A copy of D, and unimportant

L L (Ninth century). Codex Angelicus; At Rome.

d d The Latin text of D

f f The Latin text of F

g g The Latin text of G

* Aesch. in Ctes. p. 587; Είς τρία μέρη διαιρεῖται ἡ ἡμέρα, ἱταν είσίῃ γραφὴ παραυόμων εἰς τὸ δικαστήριον, where ἡ ἡμέρα means the time of the trial.

† We might have expected�

† Rudolf Steck would refer this to Romans 12:3; an extraordinary conjecture.

* Chrysostom points out that “piety is insatiable.” A Christian can never be satisfied with his condition; and for those who were as yet scarcely beginners to suppose that they had reached the end, was childish. Bachmann quotes the well-known Logion preserved by Clement of Alexandria (704 ed. Potter, and found in a somewhat different form in Oxyrhynchsu papyri: οὐ παύσεται ὁ ζητῶν ἕως ἃν εὔρῃ, εὑρὼν δὲ θαμβήσεται, θαμβηθεὶς δὲ βασιλεύσει, βασιλεύσας δὲ ἐπαναπαύεται. See Deissmann, Light, p. xiii.

* The Epistle contains a number of illustrations taken from heathen life; here and 7:31, the theatre; the idol-feasts, 8:10, 10:20; racing and boxing in the games, with a crown as a prize, 9:24-27; the syssitia, 10:27; the fighting with wild beasts, 15:32.

* Plato (Crito 49) puts into the mouth of Socrates; “We ought not to retaliate or render evil for evil to any one, whatever evil we may have suffered from him … Warding off evil by evil is never right.” But returning good for evil goes far beyond that.

† Tertullian and the Vulgate transliterate, peripsema; Beza has sordes, Luther Fegopfer (Auswurf).

* Cf. τούτους ὡς πατὴρ νουθετῶν ἐδοκίμασας (Wisd. 11:10), and νουθετήσει δίκαιον ὡς υἰὸν�2 Timothy 1:2), St Paul nowhere else calls any one τέκνον�

† See Ramsay, Galatians, p. 383; Smith, Dict. of Ant. ii. p. 307. The same usage is found in papyri.

* Findlay quotes Sanhedrin, f. xix 2; “Whoever teachers the son of his friend the Law, it is as if he had begotten him.”

† See Deissmann, Dis neutestamentliche Formel “in Christo Jesu.”

* The verb is peculiar to Paul in N.T., and (excepting Colossians 2:18) is peculiar to this Epistle.

* See Regnum Dei, the Bampton Lectures for 1901, pp. 47-61, in which St Paul’s views of the Kingdom are examined in detail.

* This has been suggested by Dr. E. Hicks, Roman Law in the N.T. p. 182. But the rod as a metaphor for correction is common enough (Job 9:34, Job 9:21:9; Psalms 89:32; Isaiah 10:5, etc.).

Bibliographical Information
Driver, S.A., Plummer, A.A., Briggs, C.A. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 4". International Critical Commentary NT. 1896-1924.