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So, you should regard us as the Messiah’s servants, as trustees of God’s secret truths. Now the one thing that is asked of a trustee is that he be found trustworthy. And it matters very little to me how I am evaluated by you or by any human court; in fact, I don’t even evaluate myself. I am not aware of anything against me, but this does not make me innocent. The one who is evaluating me is the Lord. So don’t pronounce judgment prematurely, before the Lord comes; for he will bring to light what is now hidden in darkness; he will expose the motives of people’s hearts; and then each will receive from God whatever praise he deserves.

Now in what I have said here, brothers, I have used myself and Apollos as examples to teach you not to go beyond what the Tanakh says, proudly taking the side of one leader against another. After all, what makes you so special? What do you have that you didn’t receive as a gift? And if in fact it was a gift, why do you boast as if it weren’t? You are glutted already? You are rich already? You have become kings, even though we are not? Well, I wish you really were kings, so that we might share the kingship with you! For I think God has been placing us emissaries on display at the tail of the parade, like men condemned to die in the public arena: we have become a spectacle before the whole universe, angels as well as men. 10 For the Messiah’s sake we are fools, but united with the Messiah you are wise! We are weak, but you are strong; you are honored, but we are dishonored. 11 Till this very moment we go hungry and thirsty, we are dressed in rags, we are treated roughly, we wander from place to place, 12 we exhaust ourselves working with our own hands for our living. When we are cursed, we keep on blessing; when we are persecuted, we go on putting up with it; 13 when we are slandered, we continue making our appeal. We are the world’s garbage, the scum of the earth — yes, to this moment!

14 I am not writing you this to make you feel ashamed, but, as my dear children, to confront you and get you to change. 15 For even if you have ten thousand trainers in connection with the Messiah, you do not have many fathers; for in connection with the Messiah Yeshua it was I who became your father by means of the Good News. 16 Therefore I urge you to imitate me. 17 This is why I have sent you Timothy, my beloved and trustworthy child in the Lord. He will remind you of the way of life I follow in union with the Messiah Yeshua and teach everywhere in every congregation.

18 When I didn’t come to visit you, some of you became arrogant. 19 But I am coming to you soon, if the Lord wills; and I will take cognizance not of the talk of these arrogant people but of their power. 20 For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of words but of power. 21 Which do you prefer — should I come to you with a stick? or with love in a spirit of gentleness?

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