1 Corinthians 4:9-13

For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.

10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored!

11 To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless.

12 And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure;

13 being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now.

displayed (v.9) — Greek word used of exhibiting captives and slaves in the arena

last (v.9) — In the arena, the captives and slaves doomed to die were exhibited last, as a finale to the day’s entertainment.

spectacle (v.9) = theater

In verse 10, Paul makes an ironic comparison between the apostle’s state and the way the Corinthians thought of themselves. The stress is on the pronouns.

wise (v.10) = prudent, possessing discernment

to the present hour (v.11) — this treatment was still going on. The thought is repeated at the end of verse 13.

homeless (v.11) = wander as a vagabond

labor (v.12) — not just working for a living, but hardship

entreat (v.13) — meet insult with a gentle request for fair treatment

filth (v.13) — used by the Greeks to refer to criminals and bums who were sacrificed to appease the gods

offscouring (v.13) = that which is wiped off

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