1 Corinthians 4:21
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
What do you desire? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love and a spirit of gentleness?

King James Bible
What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?

Darby Bible Translation
What will ye? that I come to you with a rod; or in love, and in a spirit of meekness?

World English Bible
What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness?

Young's Literal Translation
what do ye wish? with a rod shall I come unto you, or in love, with a spirit also of meekness?

1 Corinthians 4:21 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

What will ye - It depends on yourselves how I shall come. If you lay aside your contentions and strifes; if you administer discipline as you should; if you give yourselves heartily and entirely to the work of the Lord, I shall come, not to reprove or to punish, but as a father and a friend. But if you do not heed my exhortations or the labors of Timothy; if you still continue your contentions, and do not remove the occasions of offence, I shall come with severity and the language of rebuke.

With a rod - To correct and punish.

In the spirit of meekness - Comforting and commending instead of chastising. Paul intimates that this depended on themselves. They had the power, and it was their duty to administer discipline; but if they would not do it, the task would devolve on him as the founder and father of the church, and as entrusted with power by the Lord Jesus to administer the severity of Christian discipline, or to punish those who offended by bodily suffering; see 1 Corinthians 5:5; 1 Corinthians 11:30. See also the case of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1 ff), and of Elymas the sorcerer. Acts 13:10-11.

Remarks On 1 Corinthians 4

1. We should endeavor to form a proper estimate of the Christian ministry; 1 Corinthians 4:1. We should regard ministers as the servants of Jesus Christ, and honor them for their Master's sake; and esteem them also in proportion to their fidelity. They are entitled to respect as the ambassadors of the Son of God; but that respect also should be in proportion to their resemblance of him and their faithfulness in their work. They who love the ministers of Christ, who are like him, and who are faithful, love the Master that sent them; they who hate and despise them despise him; see Matthew 10:40-42.

2. Ministers should be faithful; 1 Corinthians 4:2. They are the stewards of Christ. They are appointed by him. They are responsible to him. They have a most important trust - more important than any other stewards, and they should live in such a manner as to receive the approbation of their master.

3. It is of little consequence what the world thinks of us; 1 Corinthians 4:3. A good name is on many accounts desirable; but it should not be the leading consideration; nor should we do anything merely to obtain it. Desirable as is a fair reputation, yet the opinion of the world is not to be too highly valued; because -

(1) It often misjudges;

(2) It is prejudiced for or against us;

(3) It is not to decide our final destiny;

(4) To desire that simply, is a selfish and base passion.

4. The esteem even of friends is not to be the leading object of life; 1 Corinthians 4:2. This is valuable, but not so valuable as the approbation of God. Friends are partial, and even where they do not approve our course, if we are conscientious, we should be willing to bear with their disapprobation. A good conscience is everything. The approbation even of friends cannot help us on the Day of Judgment.

5. We should distrust ourselves; 1 Corinthians 4:3-4. We should not pronounce too confidently on our motives or our conduct. We may be deceived. There may be much even in our own motives that may elude our most careful inquiry. This should teach us humility, self-distrust, and charity. Knowing our own liableness to misjudge ourselves, we should look with kindness on the faults and failings of others.

6. We see here the nature of the future Judgment; 1 Corinthians 4:5;

continued...

1 Corinthians 4:21 Parallel Commentaries

Library
June the Twenty-Eighth the Waiting Light
2 CORINTHIANS iv. 1-6. I can shut out the sweet light of the morning. I can refuse to open the shutters and draw up the blinds. And I can shut out the Light of life. I can draw the thick blinds of prejudice, and close the impenetrable shutters of sin. And the Light of the world cannot get into my soul. And I can let in the waiting light of the morning, and flood my room with its glory. And the Light is "a gracious, willing guest." No fuss is needed, no shouting is required. Open thy casement, and
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

The Inner and the Outer Revelation.
THERE are many who believe that a loose indefinite infidelity has rarely, if ever, been more prevalent in our country than at this time, especially among young men. I am not prepared to say it is an honest infidelity, yet it may very probably be real. Young men may really doubt the inspiration of the Christian Scriptures, not because they have honestly studied those Scriptures and their numerous evidences, but because they have read them little and reasoned legitimately yet less. Especially have
Charles G. Finney—Sermons on Gospel Themes

Fundamental Oneness of the Dispensations.
Hebrews iii. i-iv. 13 (R.V.). "Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High-priest of our confession, even Jesus; who was faithful to Him that appointed Him as also was Moses in all his house. For He hath been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by so much as he that built the house hath more honour than the house. For every house is builded by some one; but He that built all things is God. And Moses indeed was faithful in all his house as a servant,
Thomas Charles Edwards—The Expositor's Bible: The Epistle to the Hebrews

The Preacher as an Apostle.
Gentlemen, in the two last lectures we have investigated two of the principal sources--perhaps I might say the two principal sources--of a minister's power--his manhood and his Christianity. These may be called the two natural springs out of which work for men and God proceeds. Out of these it comes as a direct necessity of nature. If anyone is much of a man--if there be in him much fire and force, much energy of conviction--it will be impossible for him to pass through so great an experience as
James Stalker—The Preacher and His Models

Cross References
1 Corinthians 4:18
Now some have become arrogant, as though I were not coming to you.

2 Corinthians 1:23
But I call God as witness to my soul, that to spare you I did not come again to Corinth.

2 Corinthians 2:1
But I determined this for my own sake, that I would not come to you in sorrow again.

2 Corinthians 2:3
This is the very thing I wrote you, so that when I came, I would not have sorrow from those who ought to make me rejoice; having confidence in you all that my joy would be the joy of you all.

2 Corinthians 10:1
Now I, Paul, myself urge you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ-- I who am meek when face to face with you, but bold toward you when absent!

2 Corinthians 10:2
I ask that when I am present I need not be bold with the confidence with which I propose to be courageous against some, who regard us as if we walked according to the flesh.

2 Corinthians 12:18
I urged Titus to go, and I sent the brother with him. Titus did not take any advantage of you, did he? Did we not conduct ourselves in the same spirit and walk in the same steps?

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