1Corinthians 4:6-10 And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that you might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another. For who make thee to differ from another? and what has thou that thou did not receive? now if thou did receive it, why do thou glory, as if thou had not received it? Now you are full, now you are rich, you have reigned as kings without us: and I would to God you did reign, that we also might reign with you. For I think that God has set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are honourable, but we are despised.
‘That you might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written.’ Paul has used his own and Apollos’ name in his arguments against their divisions because he would spare the name of those who are guilty of making division.
‘Puffed up’ [Greek: phusioo] – they were puffed up and haughty, arrogant and not genuine in their faith and conduct (4:6, 18-19; 5:2; 8:1; 13:4).
‘Now you are full, now you are rich, you have reigned as kings without us: and I would to God you did reign, that we also might reign with you.’ This is the 5th New Testament prophecy in 1Corinthians and it is unfulfilled. Paul in this verse uses irony. You are full -you are rich – you have reigned as kings without us or without any want or need of us. I would to God you did reign as kings, and then we also would be reigning with you. This last statement refers to the Millennial and eternal reign when all saints will have some part in reigning with Jesus Christ (2Tim. 2:12; Rev. 1:6; 5:10; 20:4-6; 22:4-5; Dan. 7:18, 27).
‘Has set forth us the apostles last as it were appointed to death.’ The reference here seems to be that of gladiators in the arena. In the morning those that fought with beasts were given armour with which to protect themselves from wild beasts; but in the afternoon spectacles, the gladiators were brought in naked and without anything to defend themselves from the sword of the assailant. If any escaped from this they were kept for slaughter on another day. These were really called men “appointed to death.” They were the last to make an appearance in the theatre for that day, so were called “the last.” Paul compares the sufferings of the apostles to these last gladiators. He may also refer to the apostles succeeding the prophets in sufferings.
‘Spectacle’ [Greek: theatron] theatre (Acts 19:29, 31). They were exhibited as a spectacle to the world of people and to angels. They demonstrate to people and angels the sufferings of Christ.
‘Fools’ [Greek: moros] as in 1Corinthians 1:25, 27. This refers to the hisses, hooting, mockery, and other insults of the spectators in the arena. ‘But we are despised’ 1Corinthians 4:10 is irony, for the apostles were neither fools, nor weak, nor contemptible.