1 Corinthians 4:13 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Corinthians 4:13, NIV: when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world--right up to this moment.

1 Corinthians 4:13, ESV: when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.

1 Corinthians 4:13, KJV: Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.

1 Corinthians 4:13, NASB: when we are slandered, we reply as friends; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now.

1 Corinthians 4:13, NLT: We appeal gently when evil things are said about us. Yet we are treated like the world's garbage, like everybody's trash--right up to the present moment.

1 Corinthians 4:13, CSB: when we are slandered, we respond graciously. Even now, we are like the scum of the earth, like everyone's garbage.

What does 1 Corinthians 4:13 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul has written that he and the other disciples have a specific strategy for how to respond when they are treated badly in their service to Christ. In short, they respond as Christ taught and did Himself when he was also mistreated (Matthew 5:38–48).

He has written, in the previous verse, that when the apostles are insulted, they give blessing in return. They don't let persecution stop them. They keep going. Now he adds that when they are slandered, meaning that people say false and hurtful things to damage their reputations, they respond with kindness.

Paul sums up how he and the other apostles are thought of by the unbelieving world. They are like the scum of the earth. They are like garbage, to be thrown away. It's not just that the larger world sees them as nothing. The world regards them as something detestable that must be removed.

It will become clear that Paul is not asking for pity from the Corinthians. He wants them to see that they should not expect a life spent in service to Christ to be one of great wealth or status in the world's eyes. In addition, he wants them to understand the sacrifice being made on their behalf by those who minister to them.