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even though my conscience is clear. But that doesn’t mean I stand acquitted before the Lord,[a] for the only judge I care about is him!

So resist the temptation to pronounce premature judgment on anything before the appointed time when all will be fully revealed. Instead, wait until the Lord makes his appearance, for he will bring all that is hidden in darkness to light[b] and unveil every secret motive of everyone’s heart. Then, when the whole truth is known, each will receive praise from God.[c]

The Ministry of True Apostles

Dear brothers and sisters, I’ve been referring allusively to myself and Apollos in order to illustrate what I’ve been saying. It is futile to move beyond what is written in the Scriptures and be inflated with self-importance by following and promoting one leader in competition with another.

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  1. 1 Corinthians 4:4 Both here and in v. 5, the Aramaic can be translated “Lord Yahweh.”
  2. 1 Corinthians 4:5 The Aramaic can be translated “He will pour light upon the hidden things of darkness.”
  3. 1 Corinthians 4:5 The clear inference is that God will bring to light the secret motives of love, faithfulness, righteousness, kindness, etc.—not only evil motives, but the pure motives of believers. When the Lord judges his godly lovers, their secret devotion and sacrifices will all be brought into the light and God will praise them for their faithful love. The reward of eternity will be that God affirms them. The word for “praise” can actually be translated, “thanks from God.” Can you imagine the day coming when God praises his faithful servants? See also 1 John 4:17-19.

My conscience(A) is clear, but that does not make me innocent.(B) It is the Lord who judges me.(C) Therefore judge nothing(D) before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes.(E) He will bring to light(F) what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.(G)

Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.”(H) Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other.(I)

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