1 Corinthians 4:11
Even to this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling place;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(11) We both hunger.—From the strong irony of the last verse, the Apostle here passes, in the pathethic and sad description which occupies 1Corinthians 4:11-13, to show how intensely true that last word “despised” was, as expressing his own position, not only in time past, but at the very hour of his writing. Here still there is an implied contrast between their condition (“full,” “rich,” “kings,” of 1Corinthians 4:8) and that of St. Paul himself.

Are naked.—The better reading is, we are in need of sufficient clothing (as 2Corinthians 11:27).

Are buffetedi.e., are treated like slaves, and not like “kings,” as you are.

Have no certain dwellingplace.—To be without a fixed home was a peculiar sign of want and degradation. (See Matthew 8:20; Matthew 10:23.)

4:7-13 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.Even unto this present hour - Paul here drops the irony, and begins a serious recapitulation of his actual sufferings and trials. The phrase used here "unto this present hour" denotes that these things had been incessant through all their ministry. They were not merely at the commencement of their work, but they had continued and attended them everywhere. And even then they were experiencing the same thing. These privations and trials were still continued, and were to be regarded as a part of the apostolic condition.

We both hunger and thirst - The apostles, like their master, were poor, and in traveling about from place to place, it often happened that they scarcely found entertainment of the plainest kind, or had money to purchase it. It is no dishonor to be poor, and especially if that poverty is produced by doing good to others. Paul might have been rich, but he chose to be poor for the sake of the gospel. To enjoy the luxury of doing good to others, we ought to be willing to be hungry and thirsty, and to be deprived of our ordinary enjoyments.

And are naked - In traveling; our clothes become old and worn out, and we have no friends to replace them, and no money to purchase new. It is no discredit to be clad in mean raiment, if that is produced by self-denying toils in behalf of others. There is no, honor in gorgeous apparel; but there is real honor in voluntary poverty and want, when produced in the cause of benevolence. Paul was not ashamed to travel, to preach, and to appear before princes and kings, in a soiled and worn-out garment, for it was worn out in the service of his Master, and Divine Providence had arranged the circumstances of his life. But how many a minister now would he ashamed to appear in such clothing! How many professed Christians are ashamed to go to the house of God because they cannot dress well, or be in the fashion, or outshine their neighbors! If an apostle was willing to be meanly clad in delivering the message of God, then assuredly we should be willing to preach, or to worship him in such clothing as he provides. We may add here, what a sublime spectacle was here; and what a glorious triumph of the truth. Here was Paul with an impediment in his speech; with a personage small and mean rather than graceful; and in a mean and tattered dress; and often in chains, yet delivering truth before which kings trembled, and which produced everywhere a deep impression on the human mind. Such was the power of the gospel then! And such triumph did the truth then have over men. See Doddridge.

And are buffeted - Struck with the hand; see the note at Matthew 26:67. Probably it is used here to denote harsh and injurious treatment in general; compare 2 Corinthians 12:7.

And have no certain dwelling-place - No fixed or permanent home. They wandered to distant lands; threw themselves on the hospitality of strangers, and even of the enemies of the gospel; when driven from one place they went to another; and thus they led a wandering, uncertain life, amidst strangers and foes. They who know what are the comforts of home; who are surrounded by beloved families; who have a peaceful and happy fireside; and who enjoy the blessings of domestic tranquility, may be able to appreciate the trials to which the apostles were subjected. All this was for the sake of the gospel; all to purchase the blessings which we so richly enjoy.

11. (2Co 11:23-27).

naked—that is, insufficiently clad (Ro 8:35).

buffeted—as a slave (1Pe 2:20), the reverse of the state of the Corinthians, "reigning as kings" (Ac 23:2). So Paul's master before him was "buffeted" as a slave, when about to die a slave's death (Mt 26:67).

Our state in the world is low and mean; though you be full, we are hungry and thirsty; though you be richly clothed, yet we

are next to naked, clothed with rags; though you be hugged and embraced by the men of the world, yet we

are buffeted; though you have rich and famous houses, yet we

have no certain dwelling-place. Thus it hath been with us from the beginning of our profession of Christ, and thus it is with us at this day, saith the apostle: from whence he gives these Corinthians and their false teachers a just reason to suspect themselves, whether they were true and sincere professors, yea or no, and to consider how it came to pass, that their lot in the world was so different from the lot of those whom the Lord had dignified with the title and office of his apostles. The condition of the most faithful and able ministers and the most sincere Christians that have been in the world, hath always been a mean and afflicted state and condition. Even unto this present hour,.... What is about to be related was not what befell the apostles now and then, and a great while ago; but what for a considerable time, and unto the present time, was more or less the common constant series and course of life they were inured to:

we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked; wanted the common necessaries of life, food to eat, and raiment to put on, and gold and silver to purchase any with; which might be, when, as it was sometimes their case, they were in desert places, or on the seas; or when they fell among thieves; or had given all away, as they sometimes did, for the relief of others; or when they were not, as sometimes, taken notice of, and provided for, where they ministered, as they ought to have been.

And are buffeted; not only by Satan, as the apostle was, but by men; scourged, whipped, and beaten by them; scourged in the synagogues by the Jews with forty stripes save one; and beaten with rods by the Romans, and other Gentiles.

And have no certain dwelling place; were in an unsettled state, always moving from one place to another, and had no place they could call their own; like their Lord and master, who had not where to lay his head; and like some of the Old Testament saints, who wandered about in sheep skins and goat skins, in deserts, and in mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.

Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace;
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Corinthians 4:11-13. Down to the present hour this despised condition of ours continues uninterruptedly, manifesting itself also (καί) in all manner of privations, sufferings, and humiliations.

The assumption that we are not to understand this ἄχρι τῆς ἄρτι ὥρας, as also ἕως ἄρτι in 1 Corinthians 4:13,[680] in a strictly literal sense, is rash, seeing that, even apart from the fact that we have no other means of knowing the precise position of Paul at that time (comp 2 Corinthians 11:27), he is speaking here not of himself alone, but of the position of the apostles in general.

γυμνητεύομεν] i.e. we lack necessary raiment. Comp on γυμνός in Matthew 25:36; Jam 2:15; and Theile in loc[683] The verb, as used both in this sense and of being lightly armed, belongs to the later Greek. The form γυμνιτεύομεν (Lachmann and Tischendorf), although vouched for by a majority of the codd[684], is nothing but an ancient clerical error; see Fritzsche, de conform. Lachm. p. 21.

ΚΟΛΑΦΙΖ.] quite literally: we are beaten with fists. Comp Matthew 26:67; 1 Peter 2:20; 2 Corinthians 12:7. A concrete representation of rude maltreatment in general.

ἀστατοῦμεν] we are unsettled, have no abiding dwelling-place, Rufinus, Ep. 20. Theophylact: ἐλαυνόμεθα, φεύγομεν.

κοπιῶμεν κ.τ.λ[686]] we toil hard, working with our own hands. Comp as regards Paul, 1 Corinthians 9:6 ff.; 2 Corinthians 11:7 ff.; 1 Thessalonians 2:9 ff.; 2 Thessalonians 3:8; Acts 20:34; and who is in a position to deny that others of the apostles too acted in the same way? Paul includes this among the elements of their despised condition, which he adduces; and he had a right to do so, for it was such in the eyes of the world, which could not and would not recognise and honour so noble a self-denial.

λοιδορ. εὐλογ. Κ.Τ.Λ[688]] The picture of the ignominious condition of the apostles is continued, and its effect heightened by the contrast of their demeanour. We are so utterly empty and void of all honour with others, that as respects those who revile (insult, see Dissen, a[689] Dem. de Cor. p. 294), persecute, and slander us (δυσφημ., see the critical remarks, and comp 1Ma 7:41; Aesch. Ag. 1078; Soph. El. 1182; Eur. Heracl. 600), we do not in any wise defend ourselves or seek vengeance against them (as men do who have honour to vindicate and maintain); but, on the contrary, wish good to our revilers, remain quiet and patient towards our persecutors, and give beseeching words to our slanderers.[691] Whether Paul says this in remembrance of the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:44, Luke 6:27 f., which became known to him by tradition (Rückert and others), is very dubious, considering the difference of expression; but the disposition required by Jesus lived in him.

ὡς περικαθάρματα κ.τ.λ[692]] Delineation, as a whole, of the condition hitherto—from 1 Corinthians 4:11 onwards—sketched in single traits: We have become as out-sweepings of the world, i.e. our experience has become such, as though we were the most utterly worthless of existing things, like dirt which men have swept off from the face of the world. The κόσμος is the world of men (Romans 3:6; Romans 5:12), corresponding to the πάντων which follows. ΠΕΡΙΚΆΘΑΡΜΑ (from ΠΕΡΙΚΑΘΑΊΡΩ, to cleanse round about, on every side) means quisquiliae, what one removes by cleansing, both in a literal sense and figuratively, like our offscourings, scum (Arrian. Diss. Epict. iii. 22. 78). The simple κάθαρμα is more common; and it especially is often found in this figurative sense in Demosthenes and later writers (see Wetstein, Loesner, Obss. p. 276 f.; comp also Kühner, II. p. 26). With this rendering Erasmus, H. Stephanus, Beza, Estius, and others, including Rückert, de Wette, Ewald, Maier, Neander, Hofmann, are content, following Theodoret, Theophylact, and Oecumenius. ΚΑΘΆΡΜΑΤΑ, however, is likewise used to denote those who, in times of plague and other public calamities, were offered up to expiate the wrath of the gods (see Schol. a[694] Arist. Plut. 454; Bos, Exercitatt. p. 125 ff.; Munth. Obss. e Diod. p. 321 f.), and in Proverbs 21:18, περικάθαρμα corresponds to the Hebrew כֹּפֶר, while ΠΕΡΙΚΑΘΑΡΜΌς, too, in Plato, Legg. vii. p. 815 C, means lustratio, and ΠΕΡΙΚΑΘΑΡΤΉΡΙΟΝ in Hesychius (sub voce θεώματα), a sacrifice for purification; and, on these grounds, Luther and many others (among them Pott, Olshausen, Osiander) assume that Paul refers here to that Greek sacrificial custom (see especially Photius, Quaest. Amphil. 155), and means by περικάθ. expiatory sacrifices,—the idea of “reprobate, utterly worthless men” being at the same time essentially involved, inasmuch as such men were taken for sacrifices of that nature (see Bos and Grotius). According to this view, the sense would be: “contemnimur ut homines, qui ad iram Deorum ab omnibus hominibus avertendam sacrificio offeruntur,” Pott; and Olshausen asserts, in spite of the ὡς, that Paul ascribes a certain power even to his sufferings. Now the current and constant word for the expiatory offering is ΚΆΘΑΡΜΑ (not ΠΕΡΙΚΆΘΑΡΜΑ);[695] but, even supposing that Paul had conceived περικαθάρματα as piacula, he would in that case have again used the Plural περιψήματα in the next clause, for περίψημα is synonymous with περικάθαρμα, and each individual would be a piaculum. If, on the other hand, he conceived περικαθάρματα as offscourings, castings away, he could very suitably interchange this phrase afterwards with the collective singular (rubbish).

πάντων-g0- περίψ-g0-.] The refuse of all. The emphasis lies on πάντων, and ὡς is to be supplied again before it. Περίψημα (what is removed by wiping) being substantially the same in meaning with περικάθαρμα (see Photius, s.v., Tob 5:18, and Fritzsche in loc[696]), has been as variously interpreted by the commentators.

ἕως ἄρτι] belongs to ἐγενήθ., and repeats with emphatic force at the close of the description the selfsame thought with which it had began in 1 Corinthians 4:11.

The torrent is at an end; now again we have the gentle stream of fatherly kindness, which, however, in 1 Corinthians 4:18 once more swells into sternness and threatening. Observe how Paul at this point abandons the comprehensive plural form (ἡμεῖς), in order now at the close of the section to make his readers feel again, in the most impressive way, that personal relation of his to them, which he, as being the founder of the church, was entitled in truth to urge on their attention, despite of all the party-strife which had crept in.

[680] The two expressions are synonymous; hence, too, this passage is a proof that the distinction between ἄχρι and μέχρι, maintained by Tittmann, Synon. p. 33 ff., is erroneous. See Fritzsche, ad Rom. I. p. 308 ff.

[683] n loc. refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[684] odd. codices or manuscripts. The uncial manuscripts are denoted by the usual letters, the Sinaitic by א.

[686] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[688] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[689] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[691] Παρακαλοῦμεν: being slandered, we entreat. See regarding παρακαλ., to entreat, Bleek on Heb. II. 1, p. 454 ff. Theophylact puts it happily: πρᾳοτέροις λόγοις καὶ μαλακτικοῖς ἀμειβόμεθα. Comp. Acts 16:39. Grotius explains it: Deum pro ipsis precamur. But Deum and Proverbs ipsis are unwarrantably inserted on the ground of Matthew 5:10; Matthew 5:44. Compare rather 2Ma 13:23 : τοὺς Ἰουδαίους παρεκάλεσεν, he gave good words to the Jews.

[692] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[694] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[695] Hence Valckenaer holds the reading of G, min., ὡσπερεὶ καλάρματα, to be the true be, because Paul “ritus Graecos noverat et linguam.”

[696] n loc. refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.1 Corinthians 4:11-12 a. ἄχρι τῆς ἄρτι ὥραςταῖς ἰδίαις χερσὶν describes the ἄτιμοι, reduced to this position by the world’s contempt and with no means of winning its respect—a life at the farthest remove from that of the Gr[734] gentleman. The despicableness of his condition touches the Ap. New features are added to this picture in 2 Corinthians 11:23-33. On ἄρτι, see note to ἤδη, 1 Corinthians 4:8; cf. 1 Corinthians 4:13.—Hunger, thirst, ill-clothing—the common accompaniments of poverty; blows, homelessness, manual toil—specific hardships of Paul’s mission. The sentences are pl[735]: all Christian missionaries (1 Corinthians 4:9) shared in these sufferings, P. beyond others (1 Corinthians 15:10).—γυμνιτεύω (later Gr[736]) denotes light clothing or armour; cf. γυμνός, Matthew 25:36, Jam 2:15 (ill-clad).—κολαφίζω (see parls.), to fisticuff, extended to physical violence generally—sometimes lit[737] true in Paul’s case.—ἀστατέω, to be unsettled, with no fixed home—to Paul’s affectionate nature the greatest of privations, and always suspicious in public repute—to be a vagrant. On ἐργαζ. τ. ἰδ. χερσίν—at Eph. now (Acts 20:34), at Cor[738] formerly (Acts 18:3)—see note, 1 Corinthians 9:6; manual labour was particularly despised amongst the ancients: “Non modo labore meo victum meum comparo, sed manuario labore et sordido” (Cv[739]).

[734] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

[735]
plural.

[736] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

[737]
literal, literally.

[738] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[739] Calvin’s In Nov. Testamentum Commentarii.

1 Corinthians 4:12 b, 1 Corinthians 4:13. Beside their abject condition (1 Corinthians 4:11-12 a), the world saw in the meekness of the App. the marks of an abject spirit, shown in the three particulars of λοιδορούμενοιπαρακαλοῦμεν: “id mundus spretum putat” (Bg[740]).—λοιδορ. (reviled to our faces) implies insulting abuse, δυσφημούμενοι (defamed) injurious abuse: for the former, cf. 1 Peter 2:23.—διωκόμενοι ἀνεχόμεθα, “persecuted, we bear with (lit[741] put-up with) it”—implying patience, while ὑμομένω (1 Corinthians 13:7, etc.) implies courage in the sufferer. The series of ptps. is pr[742], denoting habitual treatment—not “when” but “while we are reviled,” etc.—εὐλογοῦμενπαρακαλοῦμεν: to revilings they retort with blessings, to calumnies with benevolent exhortation; “they beg men not to be wicked, to return to a better mind, to be converted to Christ” (Gd[743]); cf. the instructions of Luke 6:27 ff. “It is on this its positive side that” Christian meekness “surpasses the abstention from retaliation urged by Plato” (Crit., p. 49: Ed[744]).—ὡς περικαθάρματα τοῦ κόσμουπάντων περίψημα (from περι-καθαίρω, -ψάω respectively, to cleanse, wipe all round, with -μα of result): the ne plus ultra of degradation; they became “as rinsings of the world,—a scraping of all things” (purgamenta et ramentum, Bz[745]),—the filth that one gets rid of through the sink and the gutter.

[740] Bengel’s Gnomon Novi Testamenti.

[741]
literal, literally.

[742] present tense.

[743] F. Godet’s Commentaire sur la prem. Ép. aux Corinthiens (Eng. Trans.).

[744] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians.2

[745] Beza’s Nov. Testamentum: Interpretatio et Annotationes (Cantab., 1642).

The above terms may have a further significance: “the Ap. is carrying on the metaphor of ἐπιθανατίους above. Both περικαθ. and περίψ. were used esp. of those condemned criminals of the lowest class who were sacrificed as expiatory offerings, as scapegoats in effect, because of their degraded life. It was the custom at Athens to reserve certain worthless persons who in case of plague, famine, or other visitations from heaven, might be thrown into the sea, in the belief that they would ‘cleanse away,’ or ‘wipe off,’ the guilt of the nation” (Lt[746]). περικάθαρμα (for the earlier κάθαρμα) occurs in this sense in Arr.-Epict., III., xxii., 78; also in Proverbs 21:11 (LXX). This view is supported by Hesychius, Luther, Bg[747], Hn[748], Ed[749]; rejected, as inappropriate, by Er[750], Est., Cv[751], Bz[752], Mr[753], Gd[754], El[755] Certainly P. does not look on his sufferings as a piaculum; but he is expressing the estimate of “the world,” which deemed its vilest fittest to devote to the anger of the Gods. Possibly some cry of this sort, anticipating the “Christiani ad leones” of the martyrdoms, had been raised against P. by the Ephesian populace (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:32; also Acts 22:22).—ἕως ἄρτι, repeated with emphasis from 1 Corinthians 4:11, shows P. to be writing under the smart of recent outrage. With his temper, Paul keenly felt personal indignities.

[746] J. B. Lightfoot’s (posthumous) Notes on Epp. of St. Paul (1895).

[747] Bengel’s Gnomon Novi Testamenti.

[748]
C. F. G. Heinrici’s Erklärung der Korintherbriefe (1880), or 1 Korinther in Meyer’s krit.-exegetisches Kommentar (1896).

[749] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians.

[750] Erasmus’ In N.T. Annotationes.

[751] Calvin’s In Nov. Testamentum Commentarii.

[752] Beza’s Nov. Testamentum: Interpretatio et Annotationes (Cantab., 1642).

[753] Meyer’s Critical and Exegetical Commentary (Eng. Trans.).

[754] F. Godet’s Commentaire sur la prem. Ép. aux Corinthiens (Eng. Trans.).

[755] C. J. Ellicott’s St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians.11. Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst] The Apostle would point out to his converts the true glory of the Christian minister. Labour and suffering for Christ’s sake are the marks of the servants of God, not self-conceit and self-praise.1 Corinthians 4:11. Γυμνητεύομεν, we are naked) The highest degree of poverty, 2 Corinthians 11:27. [So far were the heralds of the kingdom of Christ from being adorned with any splendour. We imagine ourselves to be quite the reverse of all this.—V. g.]—κολαφιζόμεθα, we are buffeted) as slaves, therefore we are not kings.Verse 11. - Unto this present hour. In these three verses he draws a picture of the condition of the apostles, especially of the trials to which he was himself subjected, on which the best comment is in 2 Corinthians 11:23-27. This letter was written from Ephesus, where he had so much to do and to endure (Acts 20:31). Hunger and thirst. "In hunger and thirst, in fastings often" (2 Corinthians 11:27). Are naked (Matthew 25:36; James 2:15; and comp. 2 Corinthians 11:27). And are buffeted. The verb means literally, are slapped in the face (comp. 2 Corinthians 12:7). Such insults, together with scourgings, fell to the lot of St. Paul (Acts 23:2, etc.) and the other apostles (Acts 16:23, 1 Peter 2:20), as well as to that of their Lord (Matthew 26:57, etc.). It showed the utter contempt with which they were treated; for though St. Paul ought to have been exempt from such violence, both as a freeman and a Roman citizen, he was treated as vilely as if he had been a mere foreign slave. Have no certain dwelling place. This homelessness was among the severest of all trials (Matthew 8:20; Matthew 10:23). We have no certain dwelling-place (ἀστατοῦμεν)

From ἄστατος unstable, strolling about. Only here in the New Testament. Compare Matthew 8:20; Matthew 10:23; Hebrews 11:37. Wyc., we ben unstable.

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