The Meaning of 1 Corinthians 4:8 Explained

1 Corinthians 4:8

KJV: Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us: and I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you.

YLT: Already ye are having been filled, already ye were rich, apart from us ye did reign, and I would also ye did reign, that we also with you may reign together,

Darby: Already ye are filled; already ye have been enriched; ye have reigned without us; and I would that ye reigned, that we also might reign with you.

ASV: Already are ye filled, already ye are become rich, ye have come to reign without us: yea and I would that ye did reign, that we also might reign with you.

What does 1 Corinthians 4:8 Mean?

Study Notes

Now ye are full
Already are ye filled; already are ye become rich. Contra. 1 Corinthians 4:9-12 ; 1 Peter 1:4 .

Verse Meaning

His readers were behaving as though they had already received their commendation at the judgment seat of Christ. This is an indication of their over-realized eschatology. They should have been conducting themselves as under-rowing servants and paying attention to managing God"s work faithfully ( 1 Corinthians 4:1). Ironically Paul said he wished the time for rewards had arrived so he could enjoy reigning with his readers. Unfortunately suffering must precede glory.
"The irony is devastating: How they perceive themselves, masterfully overstated in 1 Corinthians 4:8; 1 Corinthians 4:10, is undoubtedly the way they think he ought to be. But the way he actually Isaiah , set forth in the rhetoric of 1 Corinthians 4:11-13, is the way they all ought to be." [1]
Irony and sarcasm were popular modes of discourse in Greco-Roman antiquity (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:7). [2]

Context Summary

1 Corinthians 4:1-13 - Stewards Responsible To Their Lord
At the most the ministers or teachers of God's Gospel are but stewards of the hidden things of God, according to Matthew 13:51-52. They ought not to attract attention to themselves or to the way they purvey their Master's goods. Their prime object is to be faithful to their trust; to make much of the Master and as little as possible of themselves. Paul was not aware that he had violated his Master's confidence, but he could not be content till he had heard the Master's verdict on his life-work. Notice the four courts of appeal-my own judgment, your judgment, man's judgment, and Christ's. The Master will reverse many human judgments, but all will bear witness to the absolute justice of His verdict.
In vivid words the Apostle shows how great was the difference between the ease and self-satisfaction of the Corinthian church and the sorry plight to which he and his fellow-workers were often reduced. Many regarded them as the captives in a conqueror's triumphal procession, who behind the triumphal car were being-marched to death. But it mattered little to them so long as Christ was adored, loved, glorified, and His Kingdom advanced. [source]

Chapter Summary: 1 Corinthians 4

1  In what account the apostles ought to be regarded
7  We have nothing which we have not received
9  The apostles spectacles to the world, angels, and men;
13  the filth and offscouring of the world;
15  yet our fathers in Christ;
16  whom we ought to follow

Greek Commentary for 1 Corinthians 4:8

Already are ye filled? [ηδη κεκορεσμενοι εστε]
Perfect passive indicative, state of completion, of κορεννυμι — korennumi old Greek verb to satiate, to satisfy. The only other example in N.T. is Acts 27:38 which see. Paul may refer to Deuteronomy 31:20; Deuteronomy 32:15. But it is keen irony, even sarcasm. Westcott and Hort make it a question and the rest of the sentence also. [source]
Already ye are become rich [ηδη επλουτησατε]
Note change to ingressive aorist indicative of πλουτεω — plouteō old verb to be rich (cf. 2 Corinthians 8:9). “The aorists, used instead of perfects, imply indecent haste” (Lightfoot). “They have got a private millennium of their own” (Robertson & Plummer) with all the blessings of the Messianic Kingdom (Luke 22:29.; 1 Thessalonians 2:12; 2 Timothy 2:12). Ye have reigned without us (χωρις ημων εβασιλευσατε — chōris hēmōn ebasileusate). Withering sarcasm. Ye became kings without our company. Some think that Paul as in 1 Corinthians 3:21 is purposely employing Stoic phraseology though with his own meanings. If so, it is hardly consciously done. Paul was certainly familiar with much of the literature of his time, but it did not shape his ideas. I would that ye did reign More exactly, “And would at least that ye had come to reign (or become kings).” It is an unfulfilled wish about the past expressed by οπελον — ophelon and the aorist indicative instead of ει γαρ — ei gar and the aorist indicative (the ancient idiom). See Robertson, Grammar, p. 1003, for the construction with particle οπελον — ophelon (an unaugmented second aorist form). That we also might reign with you (ινα και ημεις υμιν συνβασιλευσωμεν — hina kai hēmeis humin sunbasileusōmen). Ironical contrast to χωρις ημων εβασιλευσατε — chōris hēmōn ebasileusate just before. Associative instrumental case of υμιν — humin after συν — suṅ f0). [source]
Ye have reigned without us [χωρις ημων εβασιλευσατε]
Withering sarcasm. Ye became kings without our company. Some think that Paul as in 1 Corinthians 3:21 is purposely employing Stoic phraseology though with his own meanings. If so, it is hardly consciously done. Paul was certainly familiar with much of the literature of his time, but it did not shape his ideas. [source]
I would that ye did reign [και οπελον γε εβασιλευσατε]
More exactly, “And would at least that ye had come to reign (or become kings).” It is an unfulfilled wish about the past expressed by οπελον — ophelon and the aorist indicative instead of ει γαρ — ei gar and the aorist indicative (the ancient idiom). See Robertson, Grammar, p. 1003, for the construction with particle οπελον — ophelon (an unaugmented second aorist form). That we also might reign with you (ινα και ημεις υμιν συνβασιλευσωμεν — hina kai hēmeis humin sunbasileusōmen). Ironical contrast to χωρις ημων εβασιλευσατε — chōris hēmōn ebasileusate just before. Associative instrumental case of υμιν — humin after συν — suṅ f0). [source]
That we also might reign with you [ινα και ημεις υμιν συνβασιλευσωμεν]
Ironical contrast to χωρις ημων εβασιλευσατε — chōris hēmōn ebasileusate just before. Associative instrumental case of υμιν — humin after συν — suṅ f0). [source]
Now ye are full [ἤδη κεκορεσμένοι ἐστέ]
Rev., better, filled. Ironical contrast between their attitude and that of the apostle in 1 Corinthians 4:3, 1 Corinthians 4:4. We are hungering for further revelations; ye are already filled without waiting for the Lord's coming. [source]
Ye have reigned [ἐβασιλεύσατε]
American Rev., better, ye have come to reign; attained to dominion, that kingship which will be bestowed on Christians only at Christ's coming. [source]
Without us []
Though it is through us that you are Christians at all. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for 1 Corinthians 4:8

Luke 7:6 Now [ηδη]
Already like Latin jam. In 1 Corinthians 4:8 νυν ηδη — nun ēdē like jam nunc.Sent friends (επεμπσεν πιλους — epempsen philous). This second embassy also, wanting in Matthew‘s narrative. He “puts the message of both into the mouth of the centurion himself” (Plummer). Note saying (λεγων — legōn), present active singular participle, followed by direct quotation from the centurion himself.Trouble not thyself Present middle (direct use) imperative of σκυλλω — skullō old verb originally meaning to skin, to mangle, and then in later Greek to vex, trouble, annoy. Frequent in the papyri in this latter sense.For I am not worthy that (ου γαρ ικανος ειμι ινα — ou gar hikanos eimi hina). The same word ικανος — hikanos not αχιος — axios as in Matthew 8:8, which see, from ικω ικανω — hikō ινα — hikanō to fit, to reach, be adequate for. στεγην — Hina in both places as common in late Greek. See note on Mark 2:4 for “roof” (stegēn covering). [source]
2 Corinthians 11:1 Would that ye could bear with me [οπελον ανειχεστε μου]
Koiné{[28928]}š way of expressing a wish about the present, οπελον — ophelon (as a conjunction, really second aorist active indicative of οπειλω — opheilō without augment) and the imperfect indicative instead of ειτε — eithe or ει γαρ — ei gar (Robertson, Grammar, p. 1003). Cf. Revelation 3:15. See note on Galatians 5:12 for future indicative with οπελον — ophelon and note on 1 Corinthians 4:8 for aorist. Μου — Mou is ablative case after ανειχεστε — aneichesthe (direct middle, hold yourselves back from me). There is a touch of irony here. [source]
2 Corinthians 8:9 Be became poor [επτωχευσεν]
Ingressive aorist active indicative of πτωχευω — ptōcheuō (see 2 Corinthians 8:2 on πτωχεια — ptōcheia). Through his poverty (τηι εκεινου πτωχειαι — tēi ekeinou ptōcheiāi). Instrumental case, by means of. Might become rich Ingressive first aorist active subjunctive of πλουτεω — plouteō to be rich with ινα — hina (that). See Luke 1:53; note on 1 Corinthians 4:8. [source]
2 Corinthians 8:9 Might become rich [πλουτησητε]
Ingressive first aorist active subjunctive of πλουτεω — plouteō to be rich with ινα — hina (that). See Luke 1:53; note on 1 Corinthians 4:8. [source]
Galatians 5:12 I would [οπελον]
Would that, used as conjunction in wishes. See 1 Corinthians 4:8; note on 2 Corinthians 11:1. Here a wish about the future with future indicative. [source]
2 Thessalonians 1:7 With us []
According to Paul's habit of identifying his experience with that of his Christian readers. See 1 Corinthians 4:8; Romans 8:23; Philemon 1:29, Philemon 1:30; Philemon 2:18; Philemon 3:20, Philemon 3:21; 2 Corinthians 1:7. [source]
2 Timothy 2:12 If we suffer we shall also reign with him [εἰ ὑπομένομεν, καὶ συνβασιλεύσομεν]
For suffer, rend. endure. Συνβασιλεύειν toreign with, only here and 1 Corinthians 4:8. Comp. Luke 19:17, Luke 19:19; Luke 22:29, Luke 22:30; Romans 5:17; Revelation 4:4; Revelation 5:10; Revelation 22:5. [source]
2 Timothy 2:11 Faithful is the saying [πιστος ο λογος]
The saying which follows here though it can refer to the preceding as in 1 Timothy 4:9. See note on 1 Timothy 1:15. It is possible that from here to the end of 2 Timothy 2:13 we have the fragment of an early hymn. There are four conditions in these verses (2 Timothy 2:11), all of the first class, assumed to be true. Parallels to the ideas here expressed are found in 2 Thessalonians 1:5; 1 Corinthians 4:8; 2 Corinthians 7:3; Romans 6:3-8; Colossians 3:1-4. Note the compounds with συν — sun For υπομενομεν — hupomenomen (we endure) see note on 1 Corinthians 13:7 and for απιστουμεν — apistoumen (we are faithless) see note on Romans 3:3. The verb αρνεομαι — arneomai to deny Here in 2 Timothy 2:13 it has the notion of proving false to oneself, a thing that Christ “cannot” (ου δυναται — ou dunatai) do. [source]
Revelation 3:15 Nor hot [ουτε ζεστος]
Late verbal from ζεω — zeō to boil, (Romans 12:11), boiling hot, here only in N.T.I would thou wert (οπελον ης — ophelon ēs). Wish about the present with οπελον — ophelon (really ωπελον — ōphelon second aorist active indicative of οπειλω — opheilō without augment) with the imperfect ης — ēs (instead of the infinitive) as in 2 Corinthians 11:1, when the old Greek used ειτε — eithe or ει γαρ — ei gar See 1 Corinthians 4:8 for the aorist indicative and Galatians 5:12 for the future. [source]
Revelation 3:15 I would thou wert [οπελον ης]
Wish about the present with οπελον — ophelon (really ωπελον — ōphelon second aorist active indicative of οπειλω — opheilō without augment) with the imperfect ης — ēs (instead of the infinitive) as in 2 Corinthians 11:1, when the old Greek used ειτε — eithe or ει γαρ — ei gar See 1 Corinthians 4:8 for the aorist indicative and Galatians 5:12 for the future. [source]

What do the individual words in 1 Corinthians 4:8 mean?

Already satiated you are you have been enriched apart from us you reigned and I wish that really you did reign so that also we you might reign with
ἤδη κεκορεσμένοι ἐστέ ἐπλουτήσατε χωρὶς ἡμῶν ἐβασιλεύσατε καὶ ὄφελόν γε ἐβασιλεύσατε ἵνα καὶ ἡμεῖς ὑμῖν συμβασιλεύσωμεν

ἤδη  Already 
Parse: Adverb
Root: ἤδη  
Sense: now, already.
κεκορεσμένοι  satiated 
Parse: Verb, Perfect Participle Middle or Passive, Nominative Masculine Plural
Root: κορέννυμι  
Sense: to satiate, sate, satisfy.
ἐστέ  you  are 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Active, 2nd Person Plural
Root: εἰμί  
Sense: to be, to exist, to happen, to be present.
ἐπλουτήσατε  you  have  been  enriched 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 2nd Person Plural
Root: πλουτέω  
Sense: to be rich, to have abundance.
χωρὶς  apart  from 
Parse: Preposition
Root: χωρίς  
Sense: separate, apart.
ἡμῶν  us 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Genitive 1st Person Plural
Root: ἐγώ  
Sense: I, me, my.
ἐβασιλεύσατε  you  reigned 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 2nd Person Plural
Root: βασιλεύω  
Sense: to be king, to exercise kingly power, to reign.
ὄφελόν  I  wish  that 
Parse: Interjection
Root: ὄφελον  
Sense: would that, where one wishes that a thing had happened which has not happened or a thing be done which probably will not be done.
γε  really 
Parse: Particle
Root: γέ  
Sense: indeed, truly, at least.
ἐβασιλεύσατε  you  did  reign 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 2nd Person Plural
Root: βασιλεύω  
Sense: to be king, to exercise kingly power, to reign.
ἵνα  so  that 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: ἵνα  
Sense: that, in order that, so that.
καὶ  also 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: καί  
Sense: and, also, even, indeed, but.
συμβασιλεύσωμεν  might  reign  with 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Subjunctive Active, 1st Person Plural
Root: συμβασιλεύω  
Sense: to reign together.