As students of the Way, we have parsed every sentence in which the terms “Scripture,” “Word,” and “commandment” occur. The referent of the terms is easy to point to, a Bible in our hands. I suspect we have not paid as much attention to the terms about power.
But I will come to you soon, if the Lord is willing, and I will find out not only the talk of these arrogant people, but also their power. For the kingdom of God is demonstrated not in idle talk but with power.
1 Corinthians 4.19-20 NET
The NLT understands verse 20 as “living by God’s power.” The Amplified Version quotes Thayer, “moral power and excellence of soul.” J.B. Phillips translates it as the “power of Christian living.” The Message, for once, has a restrained rendering in “an empowered life.” The Portuguese O Livro renders power in verse 19 as “spiritual virtue.”
Warren Wiersbe falls back on “walk” to contrast to the talk of Paul’s opponents. They know how to bluster and intimidate, but the power needed is in their obedience to the Lord and imitation of the way of Jesus and Paul (verse 17). Paul’s power will be shown, if there is no repentance forthcoming, in discipline (verse 21).
The power of our ways in Christ may work quietly and humbly, or it may, at times, be confrontational and corrective. But God’s power in the saint never leaves off from its work. It always has its effect for the good of all and for the glory of God.
Here is power.
God omnipotent, give me your power to speak and do all your will.
Hold this thought: God empowers to transform life and embolden tongues.