1 Corinthians 4:4 "I know nothing BY myself"

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Will J. Kinney, Jan 14, 2004.

  1. Will J. Kinney

    Will J. Kinney
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    1 Corinthians 4:4 "For I know nothing BY myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord."

    This verse is fiercely attacked by many "noted scholars" as being a blunder and a defect in our beloved King James Bible. Most modern versions, like the NKJV, NASB, NIV, RSV, ESV, have altered the translation to mean something else. Here is a site that lists several "defects" in the King James Bible.
    http://www.bible-researcher.com/kjvdefects.html

    Notice how these learned men exalt themselves and heap praise on one another, all the while "correcting" the Book of books with degrading insults. They suggest that "volumes, instead of a few pages, may easily be written to illustrate the defects of the A.V.", while they refer to themselves as "this honored body". I have read through the entire list and every one of their criticisms can be refutted by showing parallel examples, other versions and commentators who agree with the KJB readings, or instances of where the modern versions have done the exact same thing they criticize in the KJB.

    Here is what this "honored body" of scholars has to say regarding 1 Corinthians 4:4.


    "Volumes, instead of a few pages, might easily be written to illustrate the existing defects of the Authorized Version. From a few of the many existing compilations on this subject, some specimens will be drawn. Members of the Revision Committees have a special right to be heard on these points, and Professor Hare of this honored body gives the following illustrations:

    "St. Paul says, in the Authorized Version (1 Cor. iv., 4), 'I know nothing by myself, yet am I not hereby justified.' This seems incongruous, because 'to know nothing by one's self' means 'to know nothing originally or independently.' In the older English, 'to know nothing by one's self' meant 'to know nothing lying at one's door,' and this is the only sense of which the Greek words in the passage which seems so incongruous are susceptible."


    Notice the reasons given for correcting the KJB, and how sure they are of themselves. First, they say the reading of "I know nothing BY myself" SEEMS incongruous, and they then conclude "this is THE ONLY SENSE of which the Greek words...are susceptible".

    Secondly, they redefine the simple term "I know nothing by myself" with some very dubious and obscure definition, and tell us the simple sense cannot possibly be right because it doesn't make sense to know nothing independently.

    Well, it may come as a shock to some, but there are a whole lot of things about God and how things are being worked out in His plan that we do not know independently. Only God knows them and the context of 1 Corinthians clearly shows this.


    The apostle says: "Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God."

    Most modern versions actually create a contradiction while supposedly correcting the "defects" of the King James Bible. The NKJV (NASB, RSV, ESV, Green's interlinear, etc.) say: "For I know nothing AGAINST MYSELF, yet I am not justified by this."

    Which of us can truthfully say "I know nothing against myself"? All of us recognize that we have failed miserably in the past and still continue to fall way short of the character and image of Christ. Paul himself certainly knew of many things "against" himself. He says of himself in 1 Timothy 1:13-15 "who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief...Christ came into the world to save sinners: OF WHOM I AM CHIEF." Notice he does not says I WAS chief, but I AM chief."

    The whole of Romans chapter 7 deals with many things Paul and all real Christians know against themselves. "For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin, for that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not: but what I hate, that I do...For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not...the evil which I would not, that I do...O wretched man that I am."

    Can any of us honestly say that we know nothing AGAINST ourselves? Apparently the apostle Paul could not; unless of course you use a modern version.

    The context of 1 Corinthians 4 is speaking about stewards. The Lord Jesus Christ gave many parables about stewards who were entrusted with certain duties. It was not until they finally reported to their Lord that they heard from his mouth either a rebuke or a praise regarding how they had done.

    The apostle tells the Corinthians that it was a small thing of no importance how they judged him or any man. Paul obviously was also a man. Yea, he says, I judge not mine own self. According to the modern versions, Paul had already judged himself. The modern versions have him concluding that he knew of nothing against himself, and this creates two contradictions. One - he certainly knew of things against himself as he testifies in other places of the New Testament. And Two - How can he say he does not judge himself, and then say he didn't know of anything against him and that his conscience was clear? This would imply that he already was judging his faithfullness as a steward.

    Rather, the King James reading of "I know nothing BY myself" is the only one that correctly fits the context. Paul concludes in the next verse: "Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts."

    We do not know by ourselves how well we are doing in our Christian walk. We may think we are doing better than we really are, or we may criticize ourselves more harshly than we deserve. God alone knows how we are doing and it is only when He appears that each of us will learn the truth of how faithful we have been with what He has given us.

    Though I certainly do not agree with everything any commentator says, I think John Gill does bring out some good points here. He says of this passage: "For I know nothing by myself…which must be understood with a restriction to the subject he is upon, faithfulness in the ministry; otherwise he knew much by himself of indwelling sin, and the corruption of his nature, which he sometimes found very strong and prevalent in him...Yet am I not hereby justified; from all fault and blame, which might possibly escape his knowledge and observation; for in many things all offend, and no man can understand all his errors."

    Not only does the King James Bible read: "For I know nothing BY myself...but he that judgeth me is the Lord." but so also do Tyndale, the Geneva Bible, the 21st Century KJV, and the Third Millenium Bible. The King James Bible is right, as always, and the modern versions that try to "correct" it have actually ruined the true sense of the passage.

    Will Kinney
     
  2. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    Your long post and much ranting is answered simply by looking at the context.

    What is Paul talking about??? ABout what is required in stewards (vv. 1-2).

    Paul is not worried about the judgment of others against him, whether they might find fault with him.

    He doesn't know of anything by which he would be condemned, but that does not make him un-condemnable. Rather he knows that God is the ultimate judge(v. 4). In other words, his conscience is clear with respect to the discharge of his ministry. It is not a claim to be sinless. It is a claim to be faithful so far as he knows. But as he admits, his own knowledge is not the final judge.

    Therefore, don't judge prematurely (v. 5) because the Lord's judgment is what matters.

    So we see that in v. 4, Paul is saying that he does not know of anything against himself, that is, anything by which he would be condemned as being faithless in the discharge of his duties. But his own judgment in the matter is not important. It is the Lord who is the examiner.

    So we see that once agian, the modern versions have taken a passage that is cryptic and confusing in teh KJV and rendered it clearly. You have taken a simple passage and written a long attack against what Paul actually said. Rather than attacking God's word, we should rejoice that God has not left his word confusing.
     
  3. Chick Daniels

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    The phrase in the Greek is ouden gar emautw (dative case) sunoida. for I know nothing against myself Had Paul wanted to convey the idea "of" or "from" we would expect the genitive emautou. But the dative is in the Greek and it appears to be a standard dative of Reference, which literally could be rendered "I know nothing in reference to myself" or as MVs have appropriately translated: "I know nothing against myself"

    Chick
     
  4. Will J. Kinney

    Will J. Kinney
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    First let me say I am sorry to see the topic What Happens if you are Not a KJB only? has been closed. I was going to try to answer many of the questions that came up, but someone closed the thread.

    Anyway, regardless of your scholarly explanations, the dative is frequently used as the dative of instrumentality and that is why the KJB, Tyndale, and the Geneva translators correctly translated the phrase as "For I know nothing BY myself".


    The KJB is simply right and the other MVs are not.

    Have a good day, gentlmen.

    Will K
     
  5. Charles Meadows

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    Hmmmm..........

    I'm actually going to take Will's side on this one. I think it's almost certainly a dative of interest. I know nothing BY MYSELF - with the emphasis being that the "myself" is either a positive or a negative thing - here it's a negative.

    C Meadows
     
  6. Pastor_Bob

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    You are free to start a new thread addressing the specific questions that you would like to respond to.
     
  7. Chick Daniels

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    hmmm...instrumentality? Let's see. The basic idea of instrumentality is the means by which something is done. So the means by which Paul knows nothing is by myself? Or another way to say it is the tool by which Paul knows nothing is by myself. A good example of instrumentality is "He walked with a cane" or a more Biblical example, "he cast out demons by (means) of a word." So Paul said, "I know nothing by (means) of myself"? I don't think so. I don't think that instrumentality is typically used with a reflexive pronoun like this. In fact, one Greek syntax book describes the dative of instrument by saying "means involves an agent who uses it." So its an instrumental dative in John 11:2 where "she wiped his feet with her hair (means). But for Paul to use himself as a tool, that doesn't fit the category of instrumentality. The agent is distinct from the tool.

    I had suggested earlier a Dative of Reference, but perhaps a better category would be the Dative of Disadvantage. Unlike the Instrumental Dative (focusing on a tool distinct from the agent), the Dative of Disadvantage indicates the person interested in the verbal action. "The dative of disadvantage has an against idea. (Wallace, 142)" That seems to fit the best here in 1 Cor 4:4 and definitely fits better than the suggestion of instrumentality.

    Chick
     
  8. Chick Daniels

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    Charles, did my discussion of Dative-Disadvantage suffice to bring you over to my side?

    Chick
     
  9. Baptist in Richmond

    Baptist in Richmond
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    Actually, you ignored my question posed to you several times. Moreover, Pastor Bob gave advance warning, and kept the thread open past the deadline.

    Then, by definition, the Tyndale and Geneva Bibles disprove the KJV-Onlyism you extol.
     
  10. Will J. Kinney

    Will J. Kinney
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    Larry posts:
    So we see that in v. 4, Paul is saying that he does not know of anything against himself, that is, anything by which he would be condemned as being faithless in the discharge of his duties. But his own judgment in the matter is not important. It is the Lord who is the examiner."

    Larry, I understand how you are looking at the passage, but your very explanation involves one of the contradictions I pointed out that is created by the modern version rendering.

    You say that Paul had examined his own faithfulness and found no fault and that this was his "judgment" of himself. But the Scripture itself says "Yea, I judge not mine own self" verse 3. Yet your explanation says that he did judge himself and thought he was OK. And then in verse 5 he says "Judge nothing before the time..."

    My understanding of the passage is that he is saying we cannot really know how well or poorly we are doing in our stewardship. We may think we are doing well, when we are not, and vice versa.

    So, I don't know whether I am doing everything right, but my ignorance does not make me right before God (justified). God won't say, in effect, Oh you didn't know you were teaching false doctrine, so it is OK. Or You didn't know that was not what I wanted you to do, so it is OK too. If I do or teach something out of ignorance, I still will be held accountable before God, and He will bring to light the hidden things and the counsels of the heart.

    Anyway, I see it differently than you do here.

    Will K
     
  11. Will J. Kinney

    Will J. Kinney
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    Originally posted by Will J. Kinney:
    First let me say I am sorry to see the topic What Happens if you are Not a KJB only? has been closed. I was going to try to answer many of the questions that came up, but someone closed the thread.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    You are free to start a new thread addressing the specific questions that you would like to respond to.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    Thank you Bob. I appreciate that.

    Will K
     
  12. Will J. Kinney

    Will J. Kinney
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    Hi Chick, you said: "So Paul said, "I know nothing by (means) of myself"? I don't think so. I don't think that instrumentality is typically used with a reflexive pronoun like this. In fact, one Greek syntax book describes the dative of instrument by saying "means involves an agent who uses it." So its an instrumental dative in John 11:2 where "she wiped his feet with her hair (means). But for Paul to use himself as a tool, that doesn't fit the category of instrumentality. The agent is distinct from the tool."


    You might look at these examples. Acts 26:9 " I verily thought WITH MYSELF, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus Christ."

    And 1 Cor. 9:19 "I have made myself servant unto all".

    And 2 Cor. 2:1 "I determined this WITH MYSELF, that I would not come again to you in heaviness."

    I think these would qualify as dative of instrumentality.

    Will K
     
  13. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    We are commanded to examine ourselves for a variety of reasons in Scripture. We must also understand that our own examination is not the final, nor the authoritative one. This passage is no contradiction at all to that. Paul is going on his own advice. He is saying, "As far as I know, I have been faithful, but I am not acquitted by that; the Lord is the judge." Simply following the argument of hte paragraph makes this abundantly clear.
     
  14. Charles Meadows

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    Chick,

    Dative of disadvantage? Yes that works. That is I believe often sugrouped under dative of interest. The idea being that he mentions "myself" to qualify that he/she either has a specific positive or negative impact on the verbal action. Although I do not think Will's dative of instrumentality is applicable here I still think the "by myself" seems a better translation. Now I like to think my Greek is pretty good - but I guess I have to admit that the translation committees had better scholars than I! ;)
     
  15. Chick Daniels

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    Will Wrote:
    Hi Will,
    I don't think these are instrumentality either. The point I made above is that instrumentality involves...an instrument. A tool. There is an agent who does something, and he does it with a tool that is distinct and seperate from the agent.

    Chick
     
  16. Ransom

    Ransom
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    Will J. Kinney said:

    The KJB is simply right and the other MVs are not.

    Well, that certainly settles the matter. :rolleyes:
     
  17. robycop3

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    Nothing like a human FINAL AUTHORITY, eh?
    :eek:
     

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