Don’t be so certain

Footnote of the NET Bible on 1 Cor 3.4, “For whenever someone says, ‘I am with Paul,’ or ‘I am with Apollos,’ are you not merely human?” —

6 tn Grk “are you not men,” i.e., (fallen) humanity without the Spirit’s influence. Here Paul does not say “walking in accordance with” as in the previous verse; he actually states the Corinthians are this. However, this is almost certainly rhetorical hyperbole.

Paul’s comment seems straightfoward. Whenever someone says such things, such a person is not spiritual. He is carnal. He reverts to his fallen humanity without the Spirit’s influence. Now perhaps the writer of the NET Bible comment says, “I am a Baptist,” or “I am an Assembly of God member,” or “I am a Catholic,” and himself falls within this category. Of course, he’d want to consider Paul’s statement as “almost certainly rhetorical hyperbole.” When you participate in a division far worse than than in Corinth, you’d rather not think of yourself in such terms.