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1 Corinthians 4:19

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

But I will come to you shortly - God being my helper, I fully purpose to visit you; and then I shall put those proud men to the proof, not of their speech - eloquence, or pretensions to great knowledge and influence, but of their power - the authority they profess to have from God, and the evidences of that authority in the works they have performed. See the Introduction, Section 11.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

But I will come - It is from no fear of them that I am kept away; and to convince them of this I will come to them speedily.

If the Lord will - If the Lord permit; if by his providence he allows me to go. Paul regarded the entering on a journey as dependent on the will of God; and felt that God had all in his hand. No purpose should be formed without a reference to his will; no plan without feeling that he can easily frustrate it and disappoint us; see James 4:15.

And will know - I will examine; I will put to the test; I will fully understand,

Not the speech … - Not their vain and empty boasting; not their confident assertions, and their self-complacent views.

But the power - Their real power. I will put their power to the proof: I will see whether they are able to effect what they affirm; whether they have more real power than I have. I will enter fully into the work of discipline, and will ascertain whether they have such authority in the church, such a power of party and of combination, that they can resist me, and oppose my administration of the discipline which the church needs. “A passage,” says Bloomfield, “which cannot, in nerve and rigor, or dignity and composed confidence, be easily paralleled, even in Demosthenes himself.”

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
In reproving for sin, we should distinguish between sinners and their sins. Reproofs that kindly and affectionately warn, are likely to reform. Though the apostle spoke with authority as a parent, he would rather beseech them in love. And as ministers are to set an example, others must follow them, as far as they follow Christ in faith and practice. Christians may mistake and differ in their views, but Christ and Christian truth are the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. Whenever the gospel is effectual, it comes not in word only, but also in power, by the Holy Spirit, quickening dead sinners, delivering persons from the slavery of sin and Satan, renewing them both inwardly and outwardly, and comforting, strengthening, and establishing the saints, which cannot be done by the persuasive language of men, but by the power of God. And it is a happy temper, to have the spirit of love and meekness bear the rule, yet to maintain just authority.
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