4 Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming,
but who can stand before jealousy?
4 Jealousy. The sage focuses attention first on anger that is ruthless and destructive (lit., "a flood of anger"; see Job 38:25; Ps 32:6; Na 1:8 for the imagery used for destruction). In contrast "jealousy", here in the negative sense (as opposed to the positive sense of "zeal" to defend a threatened institution for the right reasons), is a raging emotion that defies reason at times and takes the form of destructive violence, like a consuming fire (see Pr 6:32-35; SS 8:6-7).
3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?
“Worldly” contrasts with the Greek word used at 3:1 and here effectively means, “You are still characteristic of flesh.” The Corinthian Christians have not taken on the characteristics of the Spirit but rather of the world.
Paul introduces a new word, “jealousy,” alongside that of “quarreling” (see 1:11). This combination is found elsewhere in Paul (2 Cor. 12:20; Gal. 5:20). Such jealousy is akin to “rivalry,” a characteristic of those who follow the sophists; such behavior can be described as “worldly” (or “fleshly”) or of “men” (i.e., a common human trait). Christian maturity leads men and women to reject the partisanship found in secular society. Faith rests on the power of the Spirit; human values rest on wisdom (1 Cor. 2:4–5). Paul’s imagery sees life as a walk (niv “acting”), a process informed by sophists or by the Spirit.
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;
20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions
21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
In order to clarify what he means, Paul provides a list of behaviors classified as stemming from the sinful nature. These behaviors may be divided into four categories: (1) irregular sexual practices (5:19, “sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery”); (2) perverted religion (5:20, “idolatry and witchcraft”); (3) antisocial behavior (5:20, “hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions”); and (4) personal lapses (v. 21, “envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like”).