The Foolishness of Sectarian Pride (4:6-8)Now Paul urges the Corinthians to apply these truths to their own situation of division over which leader they think is best.
"Now, brothers, I have applied99 these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, 'Do not go beyond what is written.' Then you will not take pride in one man over against another." (4:6)
The phrase, "Do not go beyond what is written," is obscure to us. Paul could be saying: (1) Don't go beyond the Old Testament Scriptures I have cited in my letter so far, or (2) something like, "Keep within the rules" (New English Bible). We're just not sure. Pointing them to teaching of Scripture makes the most sense to me.
Now Paul continues to deal with the Corinthians' pride and arrogance.
"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?" (4:7)
Why are they boasting of some kind of superior knowledge if they received it as a gift? Has God blessed you with powerful gifts, good looks, and wide influence? It's so easy to pride ourselves on our good looks, for example, and look down on someone who is homely. It will help your humility to direct Paul's question to yourself:
"What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?" (4:7)
Now Paul uses irony to show his readers how foolish their position is.
"Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have become kings -- and that without us! How I wish that you really had become kings so that we might be kings with you!" (4:8)