1 Corinthians 4:18-21

Here we have Paul ‘The Velevet Sledgehammer’. I play a computer game which updates a famous phrase by saying, “Talk softly and carry a big gun”.  There is a time to call another person’s bluff.  In the affairs of men there is authority which is more powerful if it is owned.  Paul has spent a lot of the opening of the letter lovingly reasoning with those who are less spiritually mature.  Now he is just reminding them that they can pay attention when he is being gentle or he can show a less delicate side.  A summary of this paragraph may be, “I am an apostle.  Your move.”

1 Corinthians 4:18-21

18Some of you have become arrogant, as if I were not coming to you. 19But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have. 20For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. 21What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a whip, or in love and with a gentle spirit?


  1. What have those who are arrogant forgotten?
  2. What is more important than the words of the arrogant?
  3. How would you describe Paul’s role with the church?
  4. Who is more spiritually mature or in a position of authority with you?
  5. How do you allow someone who is more spiritually mature to deal with your growth issues?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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