The Berean Expositor
Volume 45 - Page 74 of 251
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"Wherefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, Who will both bring
to light the hidden things of darkness, and make manifest the counsels of the hearts; and
then shall each man have his praise from God" (4: 5 R.V.).
"Now, my brothers, I have for your sake made these things seem to apply to Apollos
and myself, in order that by our example you may learn the meaning of `Nothing beyond
what stands written', so that you may not be puffed up, each on behalf of one and against
another. For what makes you different from your neighbour? And what have you that
you did not receive? But if you received it, why do you boast as if you had not received
it?" (4: 6, 7 100: K. Barrett).
The Apostle Paul evidently made the argument of the last few verses look as if they
applied to himself and Apollos, so that the Corinthians might learn by their example what
the phrase "Nothing beyond what stands written" really means. It is not easy to interpret
this today as we do not know all the circumstances that made up the situation at Corinth,
but it was evidently easily understood by the believers there. It would seem to be a
Christian slogan that was current in the district, whether Jewish or not, we cannot be sure.
But it was a good one, advocating no belief but what could be substantiated by Scripture.
It would indeed be good advice for all of us. How much error would be avoided if people
would refuse to accept anything that is not clearly backed up by the Word of God rightly
pp. 106 - 109
The Apostle Paul continues his argument in chapter 4: dealing with the splits in the
church and the boastfulness of some of its members. He reminds that what knowledge
they possessed had been given them by the Lord and did not originate in their own
capability, so that they really had nothing to boast about in themselves:
". . . . . that no one of you be puffed up for the one against the other. For who maketh
thee to differ? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? But if thou didst receive it,
why dost thou glory (boast), as if thou hadst not received it?" (4: 6, 7 R.V.).
The Apostle now turns to irony. The Corinthians were prepared to sit in judgment on
Paul and his fellow workers and put them in their place. They imagine that they enjoyed
the culmination of blessing and had received all the gifts of the Spirit, not merely some,
and were acting as though the earthly kingdom had already been consummated and they
had entered into it without the help of Paul or those associated with him:
"Already are ye filled (literally reached satiety), already ye are become rich, ye have
reigned without us: yea and I would that ye did reign, that we also might reign with you"
(4: 8 R.V.).
In one sense the Apostle could have wished this was true, for had that been so, many
problems would be resolved. But the real position was very different:
"For I think, God hath set forth us the apostles last of all, as men doomed to death: for
we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men" (4: 9 R.V.).