1 Corinthians 4:11
(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 buffeted--i.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.)

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).

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,.... 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.

1 Corinthians 4:10
Top of Page
Top of Page