1 Corinthians 4:6-8
6 Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other.
7 For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?
8 You are already full! You are already rich! You have reigned as kings without us — and indeed I could wish you did reign, that we also might reign with you!
these things (v.6) — factions
figuratively transferred (v.6) — Paul is pointing out that he and Apollos don’t fight over which is better. He wants the Corinthians to look at the example of him and Apollos and transfer their (the apostle’s) attitude to themselves. He tactfully avoids naming those in the Corinthians church responsible for the divisions.
that you may learn in us (v.6) — as an object lesson to be applied to their own circumstances
puffed up (v.6) — To elevate on man above another is conceit on the part of the person doing the elevating because he is claiming the right and ability to discern and judge.
makes … differ (v.7) = makes a distinction
what do you have … (v.7) — Even if they did have the ability to judge, that ability came from God and shouldn’t be boasted about.
already (v.8 — 2x) — irony, as in “You already think you’re full …?”
full (v.8) = sated, satisfied — They thought they had already attained spiritual maturity
without us (v.8) — stressed — They felt they’d reached maturity apart from the apostles who gave them the truth and were supposed to be their examples.
I could wish you did reign (v.8) — Paul wishes they really did have the maturity they thought they already had.
In effect he says, “You have all you need, and are great leaders without us around! You don’t need our counsel or advice. You are fully capable to manage the affairs of the Corinthian church by yourselves.”
But here he drops the irony to address them in a sober, earnest manner: “I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you.”
That is, “I wish you were as noble and as virtuous as you imagine yourselves to be. I wish you had made such spiritual advances that you could truly be represented as full, and as rich, and as princes, needing nothing, that we might partake with you of this real and true joy. The words “I would,” or “I wish,” however, imply (1) a doubt that this was so and (2) a desire for a change in their condition that his fellowship with them might again be full and unrestrained. — Stam, pages 93-94.
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