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Consider Us As God’s Assistants And Stewards. Don’t Judge Anything Before The Time

Let a person be considering[a] us in-this-manner: as attendants[b] of Christ and stewards[c] of the mysteries of God. Here[d], furthermore, it is sought in[e] stewards that one be found faithful[f]. Now to me, it is a very small thing that I should be examined[g] by you, or by a human day of judgment. But I do not even examine myself ! For I am conscious of nothing against myself, but I have not been declared-right[h] by this, but the One examining me is the Lord. So then do not be judging anything before the time, until the Lord comes, Who will both[i] illuminate the hidden things of the darkness and reveal the motives[j] of the hearts. And at-that-time the praise[k] will come to each one from God.

Brothers, Learn From Apollos And Paul Not To Be Puffed Up About God’s Ministers

Now brothers, I applied[l] these things to myself and Apollos for your sakes, in order that in us you might learn the sayingDo not go[m] beyond the things which have been written”— in order that you might not be puffed-up, one on behalf of the one against the other. For who discerns[n] you to be superior? And what do you have that you did not receive? But if indeed you received it, why do you boast as-though not having received it?

For God Has Displayed Us Apostles As Last And Lowest In This World

You are already satisfied[o]! You already became-rich! You became-kings[p] without us! And o-that indeed you became-kings, in order that we also might reign with you. For I think God displayed[q] us the apostles as last[r], like ones condemned-to-death— because we were-made[s] a spectacle[t] to the world, both to angels and to people. 10 We are foolish ones for the sake of Christ, but you are wise ones in Christ. We are weak ones, but you are strong ones. You are distinguished ones, but we are dishonored ones. 11 Until the present hour indeed we hunger, and thirst, and are naked[u], and are beaten, and live-transiently[v], 12 and labor— working with our own hands. 13 While being reviled[w], we bless; while being persecuted, we endure; while being slandered, we conciliate[x]. We were-made[y] like the sweepings[z] of the world, the scum[aa] of all things, up to now.

I Am Writing To Admonish You As My Children. Be Imitators of Me

14 I am writing these things not shaming you, but admonishing you as my beloved children. 15 For if you should have ten-thousand tutors[ab] in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers. For I fathered you in Christ Jesus through the good-news. 16 Therefore I exhort you— be[ac] imitators of me. 17 For this reason I sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, who will remind you as to my ways in Christ Jesus, just as I am teaching everywhere in every church. 18 Now some were puffed-up as-if I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills. And I shall come-to-know not the talk[ad] of the ones having been puffed-up, but the power. 20 For the kingdom of God is not in[ae] talk, but in power. 21 What do you want? Should I come to you with a rod, or with love and a spirit of gentleness?


  1. 1 Corinthians 4:1 Or, estimating, counting, regarding.
  2. 1 Corinthians 4:1 Or, assistants, underlings, helpers, servants.
  3. 1 Corinthians 4:1 That is, household managers or administrators.
  4. 1 Corinthians 4:2 That is, on earth; or, in this matter.
  5. 1 Corinthians 4:2 That is, in the case of.
  6. 1 Corinthians 4:2 Or, trustworthy, dependable.
  7. 1 Corinthians 4:3 That is, as to his faithfulness, his execution of his stewardship.
  8. 1 Corinthians 4:4 That is, before God. Or, vindicated.
  9. 1 Corinthians 4:5 Or, also, indeed.
  10. 1 Corinthians 4:5 Or, purposes, counsels, plans.
  11. 1 Corinthians 4:5 Or, approval, commendation.
  12. 1 Corinthians 4:6 Or, adapted.
  13. 1 Corinthians 4:6 Or, think.
  14. 1 Corinthians 4:7 Or, distinguishes, differentiates, judges; and thus, regards, makes.
  15. 1 Corinthians 4:8 Or, You already have enough; You already have all you want.
  16. 1 Corinthians 4:8 Or, reigned.
  17. 1 Corinthians 4:9 Or, exhibited.
  18. 1 Corinthians 4:9 That is, last in status, like condemned criminals.
  19. 1 Corinthians 4:9 Or, became.
  20. 1 Corinthians 4:9 Or, a show, theater.
  21. 1 Corinthians 4:11 That is, poorly clothed.
  22. 1 Corinthians 4:11 Or, are unsettled, are unstable. That is, we move from place to place, with no permanent home.
  23. 1 Corinthians 4:13 Or, insulted, reproached.
  24. 1 Corinthians 4:13 Or, exhort, encourage, comfort.
  25. 1 Corinthians 4:13 Or, became.
  26. 1 Corinthians 4:13 Or, rinsings.
  27. 1 Corinthians 4:13 Or, scrapings, dregs.
  28. 1 Corinthians 4:15 Or, guardians, guides.
  29. 1 Corinthians 4:16 Or, become.
  30. 1 Corinthians 4:19 Or, message, word.
  31. 1 Corinthians 4:20 That is, in the sphere of.

The Nature of True Apostleship

This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants(A) of Christ and as those entrusted(B) with the mysteries(C) God has revealed. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience(D) is clear, but that does not make me innocent.(E) It is the Lord who judges me.(F) Therefore judge nothing(G) before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes.(H) He will bring to light(I) what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.(J)

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.”(K) Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other.(L) For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive?(M) And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?

Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich!(N) You have begun to reign—and that without us! How I wish that you really had begun to reign so that we also might reign with you! For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die(O) in the arena. We have been made a spectacle(P) to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings. 10 We are fools for Christ,(Q) but you are so wise in Christ!(R) We are weak, but you are strong!(S) You are honored, we are dishonored! 11 To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless.(T) 12 We work hard with our own hands.(U) When we are cursed, we bless;(V) when we are persecuted,(W) we endure it; 13 when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage(X) of the world—right up to this moment.

Paul’s Appeal and Warning

14 I am writing this not to shame you(Y) but to warn you as my dear children.(Z) 15 Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father(AA) through the gospel.(AB) 16 Therefore I urge you to imitate me.(AC) 17 For this reason I have sent to you(AD) Timothy,(AE) my son(AF) whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.(AG)

18 Some of you have become arrogant,(AH) as if I were not coming to you.(AI) 19 But I will come to you very soon,(AJ) if the Lord is willing,(AK) and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have. 20 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of(AL) talk but of power.(AM) 21 What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a rod of discipline,(AN) or shall I come in love and with a gentle spirit?