“Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other.”
Now these things,
“These things” refer to deferring judgment of motives of others until the Judgment Seat of Christ (4:1-5).
Paul appeals to the Corinthian church’s membership in the family of God.
I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes,
Paul tactfully puts himself and Apollos as illustrations rather than the divisive culprits in the Corinthian church. “Figuratively transferred” refers to a hypothetical illustration. Paul took a principle and put it into an illustration so people could see the principle clearly. The church could see their problems through illustration. He put the principle in illustration “for their sakes.”
that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written,
Carnal and baby Christians follow Christian leaders without discretion. Immature Christians need illustrations to distinguish between what the Word says and their opinions. They needed to “learn” this. The word “learn” means actually learn. They needed to apply the parameters of Scripture to their situation at Corinth. God requires the church to stick to the terms of agreement in the Word of God. Believers are not to put teachers in the place of the Word of God. Rallying around human teachers and not the Word of God is a serious displacement of authority. All issues of the church should revolve around chapter, book, and verse.
that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other.
Christians in the Corinthian church were fat headed – arrogant. They were inflated with spiritual pride because they thought their leader was greater than the next leader. They followed their religious heroes. Captivation by human teachers always results in human pride and rivalry.
Believers are not to supplant the Word with human teachers.
The sin of pride always causes divisions in the church. This creates nitpicking and separation among believers. Comparison always brings out malignity that results in inflated spiritual pride. If anything will weaken a local church, it is spiritual pride.