1 Corinthians 4:7 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Corinthians 4:7, NIV: For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?

1 Corinthians 4:7, ESV: For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?

1 Corinthians 4:7, KJV: For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?

1 Corinthians 4:7, NASB: For who considers you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?

1 Corinthians 4:7, NLT: For what gives you the right to make such a judgment? What do you have that God hasn't given you? And if everything you have is from God, why boast as though it were not a gift?

1 Corinthians 4:7, CSB: For who makes you so superior? What do you have that you didn't receive? If, in fact, you did receive it, why do you boast as if you hadn't received it?

What does 1 Corinthians 4:7 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul has stated outright that division between Christians based on which minister they favor is an act of pride. Given that both are preaching the real gospel (Galatians 1:8–9), such divisions are sinful (Titus 3:9; John 17:22; 1 Corinthians 1:10). The believers of Corinth have effectively declared themselves judges without being given that job by the Lord and without being qualified to do so. They have puffed themselves up in their own minds, making their own opinions the most important thing to them.

Paul now begins to show, with a series of pointed questions, how their attitude of superiority makes little sense. His tone here is rhetorical—making the expected answer clear—and even sarcastic.

First, he asks: who sees anything different in them? What is it that makes them so special, above and beyond anyone else? What qualities do they have that other Christians lack, giving them the right to judge their ministers and each other? The answer, of course, is that they are not different from other Christians; they are equally as significant in the eyes of Christ.

Next Paul asks what they have that they did not receive? In other words, what valuable qualities or abilities do any of them have that have not been given to them by God? That answer should be even more obvious. Every good thing any of us have is a gift from God (James 1:17), including every talent and personality trait.

Finally, Paul asks if the only good in them that they have was received as a gift from God, how can it possibly make any sense to boast about it? How can they take pride and elevate their own opinion above that of other believers if every bit of good in them came from outside of themselves by God's grace?

It's not just that our pride and arrogance toward each other is wrong, it's also that it is a deeply foolish way to think of ourselves.