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THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS - Chapter 4 - Verse 6

Verse 6. And these things. The things which I have written respecting religious teachers, 1 Co 2:5,6, and the impropriety of forming sects called after their names.

I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos. The word here used, meteschmatisa denotes, properly, to put on another form or figure; to change, Php 3:21, "who shall change our vile body;" to transform, 2 Co 11:13, "transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ;" and then to apply in the way of a figure of speech. This may mean that neither Paul, Apollos, nor Peter, were set up among the Corinthians as heads of parties; but that Paul here made use of their names to show how improper it would be to make them the head of a party, and hence how improper it was to make any religious teacher the head of a party; or Paul may mean to say that he had mentioned himself and Apollos particularly, to show the impropriety of what had been done; since, if it was improper to make them heads of parties, it was much more so to make inferior teachers the leaders of factions. Locke adopts the former interpretation. The latter is probably the true interpretation; for it is evident, from 1 Co 1:12,13, that there were parties in the church at Corinth that were called by the names of Paul, and Apollos, and Peter; and Paul's design here was to show the impropriety of this by mentioning himself, Apollos, and Peter, and thus by transferring the whole discussion from inferior teachers and leaders to show the impropriety of it. He might have argued against the impropriety of following other leaders. He might have mentioned their names. But this would have been invidious and indelicate. It would have excited their anger. He therefore says that he had transferred it all to himself and Apollos; and it implied that if it were improper to split themselves up into factions with them as leaders, much more was it improper to follow others; i.e., it was improper to form parties at all in the church. "I mention this of ourselves; out of delicacy I forbear to mention the names of others." And this was one of the instances in which Paul showed great tact in accomplishing his object, and avoiding offence.

For your sakes. To spare your feelings; or to show you in an inoffensive manner what I mean. And particularly by this that you may learn not to place an inordinate value on men.

That ye might learn in us. Or by our example and views.

Not to think, etc. Since you see the plan which we desire to take; since you see that we who have the rank of apostles, and have been so eminently favoured with endowments and success, do not wish to form parties, that you may also have the same views in regard to others.

Above that which is written. Probably referring to what he had said in 1 Co 3:5-9,21; 4:1.

Or it may refer to the general strain of Scripture, requiring the children of God to be modest and humble.

That no one of you be puffed up. That no one be proud or exalted in self-estimation above his neighbour. That no one be disposed to look upon others with contempt, and to seek to depress and humble them. They should regard themselves as brethren, and as all on a level. The argument here is, that if Paul and Apollos did not suppose that they had a right to put themselves at the head of parties, much less had any of them a right to do so. The doctrine is,

(1.) that parties are improper in the church;

(2.) that Christians should regard themselves as on a level; and,

(3.) that no one Christian should regard others as beneath him, or as the object of contempt.

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