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1 Corinthians 4:14-21

Context
A Father’s Warning

4:14 I am not writing these things to shame you, but to correct you as my dear children. 4:15 For though you may have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, because I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 4:16 I encourage you, then, be imitators of me. 4:17 For this reason, I have sent Timothy to you, who is my dear and faithful son in the Lord. He will remind you of my ways in Christ, 1  as I teach them everywhere in every church. 4:18 Some have become arrogant, 2  as if I were not coming to you. 4:19 But I will come to you soon, if the Lord is willing, and I will find out not only the talk of these arrogant people, but also their power. 4:20 For the kingdom of God is demonstrated not in idle talk but with power. 4:21 What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod of discipline 3  or with love and a spirit of gentleness?

1 tc ‡ Several important mss read ᾿Ιησοῦ (Ihsou, “Jesus”) after Χριστῷ (Cristw, “Christ”) in v. 17 (so Ì46 א C D1 33 1739 al). Western mss have κυρίῳ ᾿Ιησοῦ (kuriw Ihsou, “Lord Jesus”; D* F G), while several significant mss, as well as the majority, have only Χριστῷ here (A B D2 Ψ Ï sa). Once ᾿Ιησοῦ got into the text, it would continue to be copied. There is however no easy explanation for the word lacking in so many witnesses. Thus the shorter reading appears to be original. NA27 includes ᾿Ιησοῦ in brackets, indicating doubt as to its authenticity.

2 tn Grk “puffed up”; “inflated.”

3 tn Grk “rod.” Context indicates that this rod will be used for disciplinary purposes.

sn Paul is using the term rod in this context to refer to his apostolic authority to discipline those who have become arrogant in the Corinthian church and have attempted to undermine his ministry (cf. 4:18-19).



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