1 Corinthians 4:8-14

1 Corinthians 4:8
Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us: and I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you.
A superior attitude had ruled in this church. Paul is mocking them and saying the very opposite which he means. They had developed an attitude which got the Corinthian Christians believing they did not need the apostles. When we look at the terms “full and rich” we see that Paul is telling them that they are portraying that they have need of nothing, that they have attained full satisfaction. Paul also wished that they reigned with the same level of spirituality they had been outwardly generating. If they did, then Paul wanted to reign with them because if they were as spiritually mature as they claimed, then his job would be finished or at least diminished. Apparently there was much laxity in the church and this may be an indication of why the church was in the condition it was in, because once church leaders drop their vigilance and spiritual fervor, a torpid atmosphere becomes the norm and every kind of worldly development makes its way into the church and dilutes its spirituality.
1 Corinthians 4:9
(A) For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, (B) as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.
A. Maybe many in the Corinthian Church were looking at the office of Apostle and thought it was an office like a king or ruler but Paul quickly dispels their assessment.
(Luke 22:25-27 KJV) And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. {26} But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. {27} For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.
Paul was trying to get the point across to these Corinthians that they are to choose the humble path and not the arrogant path which only leads to a destroyed Christian walk and church. In the Luke passage, the Lord is setting the tone for the attitude which true leaders should have. He speaks about the office of Apostle as being the least office in contrast to the arrogance of the self-absorbed leaders in this church.
B. Those appointed to death at that time were made spectacles in the public arena. This is what the Apostles were. The puffed up leaders of the church were having a good time while the Apostle Paul was facing the realities of persecution for the name of Christ and the churches. The reality is that the true gospel will always be persecuted and the false gospel will always be a friend to the world, allowing their adherents to take a false position of comfort.
1 Corinthians 4:10
We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.
Notice the highlighted contrasts in this verse. Paul is comparing himself which is the true gospel to those in comfort with the false gospel. The believer is to be wise in Christ but the Corinthians were building their wisdom on the wisdom of the world. The world sees the Apostles or Christians in general as fools. The Corinthians may have sought the honor of the world but the Apostles preached only Christ and were despised. Paul was giving a distinction between the circumstances of those holding the true gospel and those holding to a false gospel. Paul was by no means intimating that these people really were what he was saying about them, he was teasing them, that in their own eyes they were “wise, strong, and honourable.”
(2 Cor 12:10 KJV) Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
1 Corinthians 4:11
(1 Cor 4:11 KJV) Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace;
Buffeted - Beat (like with a fist)
Probably in contrast to the high living of these people Paul goes on in the next few verses detailing what it is really like to be sold out to the Lord Jesus Christ and the true Gospel. He had suffered deprivation of the necessities of life which was food and clean water. He was probably kicked out of many places and was never given these things. He even suffered nakedness. He probably bought this up since there were probably those in the Corinthian church who were dressing in very upscale clothing. He then says he was buffeted which means that he was physically accosted by people who beat him with their fists. He probably brought this up because there were those in Corinth who never faced persecution for their beliefs. The generic Gospel will always be a friend of the world. Then these people probably had big homes which probably took up most of their time in upkeep. Paul says he has no certain dwelling place or home. He is speaking on this earth, he always knew his real home was in Heaven.
1 Corinthians 4:12
And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:
Reviled - rebuke harshly
There may have been many wealthy Christians in the Corinthian church who never got their hands dirty doing anything. Paul was telling these people that he worked with his own hands. He was probably informing them that he did the work in the churches which had to be done and didn’t hire anyone to do the work. He also wanted them to know that he did not depend on wealthy people for his sustenance, he worked for his own keep.
Then he goes on to say that when he is reviled, he does not exact any vengeance or retribution on the people, instead he blesses them. He does the same thing when he is persecuted, instead of fighting back, he endures the persecution because he knows that his entire life is under God’s control. There might have been those in Corinth who when faced with either persecution or rebuke, may have responded in a worldly manner instead of in a Christ like manner, as Paul is teaching them.
1 Corinthians 4:13
Being defamed, we entreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.
Verses 11 to 13 is a list of the trials which the Apostles were facing. If a true Christian is preaching the true gospel, they will, not may, face.
Defamed - spoken evil of
Entreat - Encourage
Filth - refuse
Offscouring - scum
Paul continues his discourse on the realities of following Christ. He says that he is spoken evil of. We know this because as a Pharisee he persecuted the church but when he became saved, those Pharisees spoke evil of him. I am sure there were those in the churches who also spoke evil of him. Instead of responding with ungodly language, Paul says that he responds to those with encouragements. Then Paul gives us the description of a true Christian according to the world. Paul states that we are as refuse and scum. Have you ever taken a steel wool pad and scoured a pan which was heavily laden with food? After you do this look at the steel wool pad and that is the off scouring that Paul says the Christian is according to the way the world thinks about us. Pleasant isn’t it?
1 Corinthians 4:14
I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you.
Warn - Admonish
Paul’s desire was to counsel them and not embarrass them. He was using all these comparisons and his quips to try and get them to see the big picture. Paul’s desire was never to hurt any of them but to try and get them back in line, following Christ according to the Scriptures and not from a worldly way. Paul thought of them as his beloved sons and always looked at the brethren in spiritually intimate ways. Paul always wanted to help them and see each one grow in the faith.