New American Standard Bible
For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.
King James Bible
For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.
Darby Bible Translation
For I think that God has set us the apostles for the last, as appointed to death. For we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and men.
World English Bible
For, I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last of all, like men sentenced to death. For we are made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and men.
Young's Literal Translation
for I think that God did set forth us the apostles last -- as appointed to death, because a spectacle we became to the world, and messengers, and men;
1 Corinthians 4:9 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
For I think - It seems to me. Grotius thinks that this is to be taken ironically, as if he had said, "It seems then that God has designed that we, the apostles, should be subject to contempt and suffering; and be made poor and persecuted, while you are admitted to high honors and privileges." But probably this is to be taken as a serious declaration of Paul, designed to show their actual condition and trials, while others were permitted to live in enjoyment. Whatever might be their condition, Paul says that the condition of himself and his fellow-laborers was one of much contempt and suffering; and the inference seems to be, that they ought to doubt whether they were in a right state, or had any occasion for their self-congratulation, since they so little resembled those whom God had set forth.
Hath set forth - Has "showed" us; or placed us in public view.
The apostles last - Margin, or, "the last apostles" τοὺς ἀποστόλους ἐσχάτους tous apostolous eschatous. Grotius supposes that this means in the lowest condition; the humblest state; a condition like that of beasts. So Tertullian renders it. And this interpretation is the correct one if the passage be ironical. But Paul may mean to refer to the custom of bringing forth those in the amphitheater at the conclusion of the spectacles who were to fight with other men, and who had no chance of escape. These inhuman games abounded everywhere; and an allusion to them would be well understood, and is indeed often made by Paul; compare 1 Corinthians 9:26; 1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 4:7; see Seneca Epis. chapter 7. This interpretation receives support from the words which are used here, "God hath exhibited," "spectacle," or "theater," which are all applicable to such an exhibition. Calvin, Locke, and others, however, suppose that Paul refers to the fact that he was the last of the apostles; but this interpretation does not suit the connection of the passage.
As it were - (ὡς hōs). Intimating the certainty of death.
Appointed unto death - ἐπιθανατίους epithanatious. Devoted to death. The word occurs no where else in the New Testament. It denotes the certainty of death, or the fact of being destined to death; and implies that such were their continued conflicts, trials, persecutions, that it was morally certain that they would terminate in their death, and only when they died, as the last gladiators on the stage were destined to contend until they should die. This is a very strong expression; and denotes the continuance, the constancy, and the intensity of their sufferings in the cause of Christ.
We are made a spectacle - Margin, "theater" θέατρον theatron. The theater, or amphitheater of the ancients was composed of an arena, or level floor, on which the combatants fought, and which was surrounded by circular seats rising above one another to a great height, and capable of containing many thousands of spectators. Paul represents himself as on this arena or stage, contending with foes, and destined to death. Around him and above him are an immense host of human beings and angels, looking on at the conflict, and awaiting the issue. He is not alone or unobserved. He is made public; and the universe gazes on the struggle. Angels and human beings denote the universe, as gazing upon the conflicts and struggles of the apostles. It is a vain inquiry here, whether he means good or bad angels. The expression means that he was public in his trials, and that this was exhibited to the universe. The whole verse is designed to convey the idea that God had, for wise purposes, appointed them in the sight of the universe, to pains, and trials, and persecutions, and poverty, and want, which would terminate only in their death; see Hebrews 12:1, etc. What these trials were he specifies in the following verses.
LibraryJune 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.
Fundamental Oneness of the Dispensations.
The Preacher as an Apostle.
I have become a marvel to many, For You are my strong refuge.
Why did I ever come forth from the womb To look on trouble and sorrow, So that my days have been spent in shame?
Just as it is written, "FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED."
1 Corinthians 15:19
If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.
1 Corinthians 15:31
I affirm, brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.
2 Corinthians 11:23
Are they servants of Christ?-- I speak as if insane-- I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death.
partly by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated.
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