Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


1 Corinthians 4:10

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

We are fools for Christ's sake - Here he still carries on the allusion to the public spectacles among the Romans, where they were accustomed to hiss, hoot, mock, and variously insult the poor victims. To this Philo alludes, in his embassy to Caius, speaking of the treatment which the Jews received at Rome: ὡσπερ γαρ εν θεατρῳ κλωσμοσυριττοντων, καταμωκωμενων, αμετραχλευαζοντων· "For, as if exhibited upon a theater, we are hissed, most outrageously hooted, and insulted beyond all bounds." Thus, says the apostle, we are fools on Christ's account; we walk in a conformity to his will, and we bear his cross: and did we walk according to the course of this world, or according to the man-pleasing conduct of some among you, we should have no such cross to bear.

Ye are wise in Christ - Surely all these expressions are meant ironically; the apostles were neither fools, nor weak, nor contemptible; nor were the Corinthians, morally speaking, wise, and strong, and honorable. Change the persons, and then the epithets will perfectly apply.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

We are fools - This is evidently ironical. “We are doubtless foolish people, but ye are wise in Christ. We, Paul, Apollos, and Barnabas, have no claims to the character of wise men - we are to be regarded as fools, unworthy of confidence, and unfit to instruct; but you are full of wisdom.”

For Christ‘s sake - διὰ Χριστὸν dia ChristonOn account of Christ; or in reference to his cause, or in regard to the doctrines of the Christian religion.

But ye are wise in Christ - The phrase “in Christ,” does not differ in signification materially from the one above; “for Christ‘s sake.” This is wholly ironical, and is exceedingly pungent. “You, Corinthians, boast of your wisdom and prudence. You are to be esteemed very wise. You are unwilling to submit to be esteemed fools. You are proud of your attainments. We, in the meantime, who are apostles, and who have founded your church, are to be regarded as fools, and as unworthy of public confidence and esteem.” The whole design of this irony is to show the folly of their boasted wisdom. That they only should be wise and prudent, and the apostles fools, was in the highest degree absurd; and this absurdity the apostle puts in a strong light by his irony.

We are weak - We are timid and feeble, but you are daring, bold and fearless. This is irony. The very reverse was probably true. Paul was bold, daring, fearless in declaring the truth, whatever opposition it might encounter; and probably many of them were timid and time-serving, and endeavoring to avoid persecution, and to accommodate themselves to the prejudices and opinions of those who were wise in their own sight; the prejudices and opinions of the world.

Ye are honourable - Deserving of honor and obtaining it. Still ironical. You are to be esteemed as worthy of praise.

We are despised - ἄτιμοι atimoiNot only actually contemned, but worthy to be so. This was irony also. And the design was to show them how foolish was their self-confidence and self-flattery, and their attempt to exalt themselves.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
We have no reason to be proud; all we have, or are, or do, that is good, is owing to the free and rich grace of God. A sinner snatched from destruction by sovereign grace alone, must be very absurd and inconsistent, if proud of the free gifts of God. St. Paul sets forth his own circumstances, ver. 9. Allusion is made to the cruel spectacles in the Roman games; where men were forced to cut one another to pieces, to divert the people; and where the victor did not escape with his life, though he should destroy his adversary, but was only kept for another combat, and must be killed at last. The thought that many eyes are upon believers, when struggling with difficulties or temptations, should encourage constancy and patience. "We are weak, but ye are strong." All Christians are not alike exposed. Some suffer greater hardships than others. The apostle enters into particulars of their sufferings. And how glorious the charity and devotion that carried them through all these hardships! They suffered in their persons and characters as the worst and vilest of men; as the very dirt of the world, that was to be swept away: nay, as the offscouring of all things, the dross of all things. And every one who would be faithful in Christ Jesus, must be prepared for poverty and contempt. Whatever the disciples of Christ suffer from men, they must follow the example, and fulfil the will and precepts of their Lord. They must be content, with him and for him, to be despised and abused. It is much better to be rejected, despised, and ill used, as St. Paul was, than to have the good opinion and favour of the world. Though cast off by the world as vile, yet we may be precious to God, gathered up with his own hand, and placed upon his throne.
Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 3, 397

Danger of Hasty, Ill-advised Moves—One indiscreet, high-tempered, stubborn-willed man will, in the great question introduced before us, do much harm. Yes, he will leave such an impression that all the force of Seventh-day Adventists could not counteract his acts of presumption because Satan, the arch deceiver, the great rebel, is deluding minds to the true issue of the great question, and its eternal bearing.... 3SM 397.1

There are those who will, through hasty, ill-advised moves, betray the cause of God into the enemy's power. There will be men who will seek to be revenged, who will become apostates and betray Christ in the person of His saints. All need to learn discretion; then there is danger on the other hand of being conservative, of giving away to the enemy in concessions.... 3SM 397.2

Anything we may do that lifts up the spurious to take the place of the true and genuine Sabbath, is disloyal to God, and we must move very carefully, lest we exalt the decisions of the man of sin. We are not to be found in a neutral position on this matter of so great consequence.... 3SM 397.3

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