What does 1 Corinthians 4:11 mean?
ESV: To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless,
NIV: To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless.
NASB: Up to this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed and roughly treated and homeless;
CSB: Up to the present hour we are both hungry and thirsty; we are poorly clothed, roughly treated, homeless;
NLT: Even now we go hungry and thirsty, and we don’t have enough clothes to keep warm. We are often beaten and have no home.
KJV: Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace;
NKJV: To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless.
Verse Commentary:
Paul continues to describe daily reality for the apostles who serve Christ by ministering to others. He has contrasted the relatively wealthy and respected position that the Corinthians appear to hold with the apostles' lives of being regarded as foolish by the world and having little to show for it in earthly terms.

Paul now stops the comparison to focus on the great lack that he and the other apostles are experiencing. They live with the constant reality of hunger and thirst. They don't have much clothing, and it is certainly not fashionable by the standards of the day. They are beaten up by the realities of the world—in some cases, literally, physically beaten—for the sake of Christ. Their lives are dangerous, as the Corinthians likely remember well from Paul's time with them.

Finally, Paul and the other apostles are said to be homeless. Paul spent his life as a traveling evangelist and missionary, likely staying with generous hosts and in rented rooms. He never settled down into a home of his own. His specific service to Christ would not allow it.

Paul continues to describe the hardships of living as a minister and apostle of Christ in the following verses, but he also begins to describe their strong and positive response to these conditions.
Verse Context:
First Corinthians 4:1–13 begins with Paul's insistence that he is not concerned with anyone's judgment of him. The Lord will judge him, and that's what matters. The Corinthians have become arrogant in their judgment, forgetting that all the good they have is a gift. They feel self-reliant in their wealth and status while Paul and the other apostles live in poverty and under persecution, thought to be scum by the world. Still, they imitate Jesus by blessing those who mistreat them and continuing to serve Christ no matter the cost.
Chapter Summary:
Paul continues to show why the Corinthian Christians must not be divided over loyalties to various Christian leaders. Only the Lord can judge His servants, including Paul. By making themselves judges, they are acting like they have all they need. They are proudly focused on reputation and status while the apostles live for Christ in poverty and under persecution. Paul writes as a father to little children. He urges them to change course and imitate his life. Do they want him to be gentle or come to them with the rod of correction?
Chapter Context:
First Corinthians 4 continues Paul's insistence to the Corinthian Christians to stop making themselves judges of each other. Only the Lord's judgment matters. They are living as if their wealth and status are all they need, while the apostles serve Christ in poverty and under persecution, imitating Christ. Paul urges them to change course and imitate his life. Paul will continue his increasingly stern tone in chapter 5, where he will confront appalling examples of sin in the church at Corinth.
Book Summary:
First Corinthians is one of the more practical books of the New Testament. Paul writes to a church immersed in a city associated with trade, but also with corruption and immorality. These believers are struggling to properly apply spiritual gifts and to resist the ungodly practices of the surrounding culture. Paul's letter gives instructions for real-life concerns such as marriage and spirituality. He also deals with the importance of unity and gives one of the Bible's more well-known descriptions of love in chapter 13.
Accessed 5/20/2024 8:23:29 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.
www.BibleRef.com