Vol.I No.VII Pg.7
July 1964

Queries And Answers

Robert F. Turner

Bro. Turner:

Please explain 1 Cor. 4:4 -- especially the first part. A friend tells me "by" means "against" here.


I must agree with your friend as to the meaning of the passage, but it is an over-simplification to say that "by means against."

"I know nothing by myself" was a phrase of common English usage many years ago. An early version of the Common Prayer Book has, "He that setteth not by himself' --- meaning, "is not wise in his own conceit."

The Revised Version uses the word "against" to correctly convey the meaning of the passage --- as is seen by carefully comparing context. Paul is saying that even though (for sake of the argument) he knew nothing against himself, still it is the Lord who must be the judge.

Other Word Studies

The phrase "rest with us" (2 Thes. 1:7) is often interpreted as though "rest" was a verb. But here it is a noun -- it is something God will "recompense" to "you who are troubled;" just as "tribulation" is something God will recompense to "them that trouble you." Now reread the passage.

"Shamefacedness" (L Tim. 2:9) is changed in R.V. to "shamefastness," with the "fast" meaning "bound" as in "bed-fast." One who is bed-fast has a physical condition which binds him to the bed; and here Paul advocates a sense of propriety or·modesty which would "bind" a woman, and keep her from dressing in a way unbecoming to a "woman professing godliness." Watch for future article on this subject.

Bro. Turner:

I am told that all in the Galatian letter must apply to church action because the letter is addressed to the church. Please comment.


Look again! It is addressed to the churches (plural). Then according to your informer, contents must be applied only to churches, and could not apply to one church. Of course the whole premise is completely false.

I address this note to you. Could not I write to you relative to church work? Paul addressed the church in Corinth, but wrote concerning brother going to law with brother. (6:1-f.)

Church action is collective action and is clearly distinguished from individual action. (Note 1 Tim. 5:16) To determine what applies to church action we must determine what God teaches brethren to do, acting collectively; as seen in precept, approved example, and necessary inference.

Thus, proper application of any given passage must be determined by its context. Paul could, and did, address churches, sending them information regarding certain obligations of individual members. (1 Thes. 4:11-12) The Galatian letter is replete with precepts which apply to individual obligation (5:2, 19-f. 6:1-10, 13, etc) and no false rule of interpretation concerning "address" can change this.