1 Corinthians 4:21
Parallel Verses
New International Version
What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a rod of discipline, or shall I come in love and with a gentle spirit?

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
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love - Here he alludes to the case of the teacher and father, mentioned in 1 Corinthians 4:15. Shall I come to you with the authority of a teacher, and use the rod of discipline? or shall I come in the tenderness of a father, and entreat you to do what I have authority to enforce? Among the Jews, those who did not amend, after being faithfully admonished, were whipped, either publicly or privately, in the synagogue. If on this they did not amend, they were liable to be stoned. We see, from the cases of Ananias and Sapphira, Elymas the sorcerer, Hymenaeus and Alexander, etc., that the apostles had sometimes the power to inflict the most awful punishments on transgressors. The Corinthians must have known this, and consequently have dreaded a visit from him in his apostolical authority. That there were many irregularities in this Church, which required both the presence and authority of the apostle, we shall see in the subsequent chapters.

1. In the preceding chapter we find the ministers of God compared to Stewards, of whom the strictest fidelity is required.

(1.) Fidelity to God, in publishing his truth with zeal, defending it with courage, and recommending it with prudence.

(2.) Fidelity to Christ, whose representatives they are, in honestly and fully recommending his grace and salvation on the ground of his passion and death, and preaching his maxims in all their force and purity.

(3.) Fidelity to the Church, in taking heed to keep up a godly discipline, admitting none into it but those who have abandoned their sins; and permitting none to continue in it that do not continue to adorn the doctrine of God their Savior.

(4.) Fidelity to their own Ministry, walking so as to bring no blame on the Gospel; avoiding the extremes of indolent tenderness on one hand, and austere severity on the other. Considering the flock, not as their flock, but the flock of Jesus Christ; watching, ruling, and feeding it according to the order of their Divine Master.

2. A minister of God should act with great caution: every man, properly speaking, is placed between the secret judgment of God and the public censure of men. He should do nothing rashly, that he may not justly incur the censure of men; and he should do nothing but in the loving fear of God, that he may not incur the censure of his Maker. The man who scarcely ever allows himself to be wrong, is one of whom it may be safely said, he is seldom right. It is possible for a man to mistake his own will for the will of God, and his own obstinacy for inflexible adherence to his duty. With such persons it is dangerous to have any commerce. Reader, pray to God to save thee from an inflated and self-sufficient mind.

3. Zeal for God's truth is essentially necessary for every minister; and prudence is not less so. They should be wisely tempered together, but this is not always the case. Zeal without prudence is like a flambeau in the hands of a blind man; it may enlighten and warm, but it play also destroy the spiritual building. Human prudence should be avoided as well as intemperate zeal; this kind of prudence consists in a man's being careful not to bring himself into trouble, and not to hazard his reputation, credit, interest, or fortune, in the performance of his duty. Evangelical wisdom consists in our suffering and losing all things, rather than be wanting in the discharge of our obligations.

4. From St. Paul's account of himself we find him often suffering the severest hardships in the prosecution of his duty. He had for his patrimony, hunger, thirst, nakedness, stripes, etc.; and wandered about testifying the Gospel of the grace of God, without even a cottage that he could claim as his own. Let those who dwell in their elegant houses, who profess to be apostolic in their order, and evangelic in their doctrines, think of this. In their state of affluence they should have extraordinary degrees of zeal, humility, meekness, and charity, to recommend them to our notice as apostolical men. If God, in the course of his providence, has saved them from an apostle's hardships, let them devote their lives to the service of that Church in which they have their emoluments; and labor incessantly to build it up on its most holy faith. Let them not be masters to govern with rigour and imperiousness; but tender fathers, who feel every member in the Church as their own child, and labor to feed the heavenly family with the mysteries of God, of which they are stewards.

5. And while the people require much of their spiritual pastors, these pastors have equal right to require much of their people. The obligation is not all on one side; those who watch for our souls have a right not only to their own support, but to our reverence and confidence. Those who despise their ecclesiastical rulers, will soon despise the Church of Christ itself, neglect its ordinances, lose sight of its doctrines, and at last neglect their own salvation.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge


1 Corinthians 5:5 To deliver such an one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

2 Corinthians 10:2,6,8 But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, with which I think to be bold against some...

2 Corinthians 12:20,21 For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found to you such as you would not...

2 Corinthians 13:2 I told you before, and foretell you, as if I were present, the second time...

2 Corinthians 3:10 For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excels.


2 Corinthians 10:1 Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you...

1 Thessalonians 2:7 But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherishes her children:

James 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits...

March 29 Evening
Riches are not forever; and doth the crown endure to every generation?--PROV. 27:24. Surely every man walketh in a vain shew: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them.--Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.--Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven. For where your treasure is, there will your
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

Of the Character of the Unregenerate.
Ephes. ii. 1, 2. And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience. AMONG all the various trusts which men can repose in each other, hardly any appears to be more solemn and tremendous, than the direction of their sacred time, and especially of those hours which they spend in the exercise of public devotion.
Philip Doddridge—Practical Discourses on Regeneration

Of Orders.
Of this sacrament the Church of Christ knows nothing; it was invented by the church of the Pope. It not only has no promise of grace, anywhere declared, but not a word is said about it in the whole of the New Testament. Now it is ridiculous to set up as a sacrament of God that which can nowhere be proved to have been instituted by God. Not that I consider that a rite practised for so many ages is to be condemned; but I would not have human inventions established in sacred things, nor should it be
Martin Luther—First Principles of the Reformation

Letter I (Circa 1120) to the Canons Regular of Horricourt
To the Canons Regular of Horricourt [1] Their praises inspire him with more fear than satisfaction. They ought not to put any obstacle in the way of the religious profession of certain regular canons of S. Augustine, whom he has received at Clairvaux. To the Superior of the holy body of clerics and servants of God who are in the place which is called Horricourt, and to their disciples: the little flock of the brothers of Clairvaux, and their very humble servant, Brother Bernard, wish health, and
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux—Some Letters of Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux

Cross References
1 Corinthians 4:18
Some of you have become arrogant, as if I were not coming to you.

2 Corinthians 1:23
I call God as my witness--and I stake my life on it--that it was in order to spare you that I did not return to Corinth.

2 Corinthians 2:1
So I made up my mind that I would not make another painful visit to you.

2 Corinthians 2:3
I wrote as I did, so that when I came I would not be distressed by those who should have made me rejoice. I had confidence in all of you, that you would all share my joy.

2 Corinthians 10:1
By the humility and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you--I, Paul, who am "timid" when face to face with you, but "bold" toward you when away!

2 Corinthians 10:2
I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world.

2 Corinthians 12:18
I urged Titus to go to you and I sent our brother with him. Titus did not exploit you, did he? Did we not walk in the same footsteps by the same Spirit?

Jump to Previous
Desire Gentle Gentleness Love Meekness Prefer Punishment Rod Spirit Tender Want Whip Wish
Jump to Next
Desire Gentle Gentleness Love Meekness Prefer Punishment Rod Spirit Tender Want Whip Wish
1 Corinthians 4:21 NIV
1 Corinthians 4:21 NLT
1 Corinthians 4:21 ESV
1 Corinthians 4:21 NASB
1 Corinthians 4:21 KJV

1 Corinthians 4:21 Bible Apps
1 Corinthians 4:21 Biblia Paralela
1 Corinthians 4:21 Chinese Bible
1 Corinthians 4:21 French Bible
1 Corinthians 4:21 German Bible

1 Corinthians 4:21 Commentaries

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica®.

Bible Hub
1 Corinthians 4:20
Top of Page
Top of Page