1 Corinthians 4:9 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Corinthians 4:9, NIV: For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings.

1 Corinthians 4:9, ESV: For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men.

1 Corinthians 4:9, KJV: For I think that God hath 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.

1 Corinthians 4:9, NASB: For I think, God has exhibited us, the apostles, last of all as men condemned to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to mankind.

1 Corinthians 4:9, NLT: Instead, I sometimes think God has put us apostles on display, like prisoners of war at the end of a victor's parade, condemned to die. We have become a spectacle to the entire world--to people and angels alike.

1 Corinthians 4:9, CSB: For I think God has displayed us, the apostles, in last place, like men condemned to die: We have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to people.

What does 1 Corinthians 4:9 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul has called out the Corinthian Christians for their arrogance in judging others and for their lavish lifestyles of self-reliant wealth and self-appointed power. Sarcastically, he has said they are living as if they are kings—and he wishes he could do the same!

Now Paul points to himself and the other apostles of Jesus to show the contrast between their lifestyles and attitudes and that of the Corinthians. He wants the believers in Corinth to see the true path of those who live as servants of Christ. Paul writes that God has made him and the other apostles an exhibit of life at the bottom, in terms of earthly values.

Instead of living as kings, as the Corinthians seem to be trying to do, Paul and the other apostles live as condemned men living on death row. Their lives are on display as a spectacle for all to see in both the natural and supernatural worlds. Both angels and men are watching how poorly they live in human terms and making judgments about their choices.

Paul wants the Corinthians to see two things. For one, he wants them to understand how much those who serve them have sacrificed in order to do the will of God. Second, he wants them to expect that a life spent in service to Christ may include pain and loss of comfort instead of wealth and power.