The chief heads of this chapter are the account that ought to be had
of the ministers of the Gospel; cautions against censoriousness, rash
judgment, pride, and self-conceit; the uncomfortable circumstances
and situation of the ministers of the Gospel for the sake of
preaching it; the apostle's fatherly affection to the Corinthians,
and his authority over them; his resolution in submission to the will
of God of coming to them, and the manner in which it might be
expected he would come. The apostle exhorts to have in proper esteem
the preachers of the Gospel, and that because they are Christ's
ministers and stewards of his grace, and faithful in the discharge of
their duty, \\#1Co 4:1,2\\. And as for himself, whom he includes in
the number of the faithful dispensers of the word, he cared not what
judgment was passed upon him; nor should he think fit to be set down
by it, partly because it was human, and arose from an ill spirit; and
partly because he judged himself; as also because his conscience
testified that he faithfully discharged his office; and besides, the
Lord was his judge, \\#1Co 4:3,4\\ who in his own time would judge
him; and he, as every other faithful minister, shall have praise of
God, and therefore before that time judgment was not to be passed by
men, \\#1Co 4:5\\ and then gives a reason why he had mentioned his
own name, and the name of Apollos, under such figurative expressions
as he had done in the preceding chapter, that they might be examples
of modesty and humility for others to follow, \\#1Co 4:6\\ and
expostulates with those who were vainly puffed up in their fleshly
minds; that seeing they were no better than others, and what gifts
they had were not of themselves, but of God, they had no reason to
glory and vaunt it over others, \\#1Co 4:7\\ and in an ironical way
expresses the exalted and flourishing condition they were in, and
which he rather wishes than asserts, and which carries in it a sort
of a denial of it, \\#1Co 4:8\\ and goes on to represent the
miserable condition that the faithful preachers and followers of
Christ were in, and that in order to abate the pride and swelling
vanity of these men, \\#1Co 4:9-13\\ showing, that it was far from
being a reigning time in the churches of Christ; his end in
mentioning which, as well as the sharpness he had used in reproving,
were not in order to expose them to shame, but for their admonition,
\\#1Co 4:14\\ and that he did not take too much upon him in dealing
thus freely and roundly with them, appears from the spiritual
relation he stood in to them, as a father, \\#1Co 4:15\\ and
therefore it became them as children to submit to him, and imitate
him, \\#1Co 4:16\\ and an instance of his paternal care of them, and
love to them, was his sending Timothy among them, whose character he
gives, and whose work and usefulness he points out to them,
\\#1Co 4:17\\, and closes the chapter with a promise of coming to
them, if it was agreeable to the will of God; and the rather he was
bent upon it, because some had given out he would not come, and
rejoiced at it; wherefore, in order to try them, whether they were
only verbal or powerful professors, he was desirous of coming to them,
\\#1Co 4:18,19\\ since religion did not lie in talking, but in an
inward powerful experience of things, \\#1Co 4:20\\ which he feared
was wanting in some by their outward conversation; and therefore puts
a question in what way they would chose he should come unto them, and
hence should accordingly order their conversation and behaviour,
\\#1Co 4:21\\.