When we are cursed, we bless….

I Corinthians 4

The Romans were masters in propaganda. They loved to display power, might, and glory to remind the people of their greatness. In fact, after military victories, the Roman Generals would return to the capital city in a triumphant parade. These events were actually called a ‘triumph’.

In the days before the news media flashed pictures of battle and victories around the world, this was how people back home knew for sure their generals had won.
And so the generals and rulers of Rome would parade their greatness and splendor through the streets of Rome along with the spoils of war they had secured. At the end of the parade would be the weary gang of prisoners the Romans had conquered and captured. The day would usually end with these prisoners being sold into slavery or killed in the arena for sport (Wright 48).

In chapter 4, Paul uses this picture to show the Corinthians what the life of an Apostle is like. He is once again addressing the rivalry and animosity within the Corinthian church, with different teachers and speakers claiming that their wisdom makes them ‘rich’ or even ‘kings’. (Vs. 8-13)

Who does Paul identify himself with in the picture of the parade (vs. 9)? Why would he do this?

Do you sense a hint of sarcasm?

Verses 11-13 really jumped out at me this morning…

And what does it mean for us today to imitate Paul? (vs. 16)

For a great commentary on this passage, check out “Paul for Everyone: I Corinthians” by NT Wright.


  1. I took note of v 18-21. The note about it in my Bible says, "Paul says the Kingdom of God is to be lived, not just discussed. There is a big difference between knowing the right words and living them out."

  2. I couldn't help but quote Matthew's Whole Bible Commentary on verses 7 and on. This commentary reminds me of whom I am and always will be as a child of God's grace:

    "We have no reason to be proud of our attainments, enjoyments, or performances; all that we have, or are, or do, that is good, is owing to the free and rich grace of God. Boasting is for ever excluded. There is nothing we have that we can properly call our own: all is received from God. It is foolish in us therefore, and injurious to him, to boast of it; those who receive all should be proud of nothing, Ps. 115:1. Beggars and dependents may glory in their supports; but to glory in themselves is to be proud at once of meanness, impotence, and want. Note, due attention to our obligations to divine grace would cure us of arrogance and self-conceit."

    So who am I? Fully, solely and exclusively a child of the King, blessed by his unmerited favor, gifted with His Spirit and humbled by His mercy and love.