1 Corinthians 4-6 Common English Bible (CEB)
Paul’s role as an apostle
4 So a person should think about us this way—as servants of Christ and managers of God’s secrets. 2 In this kind of situation, what is expected of a manager is that they prove to be faithful. 3 I couldn’t care less if I’m judged by you or by any human court; I don’t even judge myself. 4 I’m not aware of anything against me, but that doesn’t make me innocent, because the Lord is the one who judges me. 5 So don’t judge anything before the right time—wait until the Lord comes. He will bring things that are hidden in the dark to light, and he will make people’s motivations public. Then there will be recognition for each person from God.
6 Brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit. I’ve done this so that you can learn what it means not to go beyond what has been written and so none of you will become arrogant by supporting one of us against the other. 7 Who says that you are better than anyone else? What do you have that you didn’t receive? And if you received it, then why are you bragging as if you didn’t receive it? 8 You’ve been filled already! You’ve become rich already! You rule like kings without us! I wish you did rule so that we could be kings with you! 9 I suppose that God has shown that we apostles are at the end of the line. We are like prisoners sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle in the world, both to angels and to humans. 10 We are fools for Christ, but you are wise through Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, but we are dishonored! 11 Up to this very moment we are hungry, thirsty, wearing rags, abused, and homeless. 12 We work hard with our own hands. When we are insulted, we respond with a blessing; when we are harassed, we put up with it; 13 when our reputation is attacked, we are encouraging. We have become the scum of the earth, the waste that runs off everything, up to the present time.
14 I’m not writing these things to make you ashamed but to warn you, since you are my loved children. 15 You may have ten thousand mentors in Christ, but you don’t have many fathers. I gave birth to you in Christ Jesus through the gospel, 16 so I encourage you to follow my example. 17 This is why I’ve sent Timothy to you; he’s my loved and trusted child in the Lord; he’ll remind you about my way of life in Christ Jesus. He’ll teach the same way as I teach everywhere in every church. 18 Some have become arrogant as if I’m not coming to see you. 19 But, if the Lord is willing, I’ll come to you soon. Then I won’t focus on what these arrogant people say, but I’ll find out what power they possess. 20 God’s kingdom isn’t about words but about power. 21 Which do you want? Should I come to you with a big stick to punish you, or with love and a gentle spirit?
Confronting sexual immorality in the church
5 Everyone has heard that there is sexual immorality among you. This is a type of immorality that isn’t even heard of among the Gentiles—a man is having sex with his father’s wife! 2 And you’re proud of yourselves instead of being so upset that the one who did this thing is expelled from your community. 3 Though I’m absent physically, I’m present in the spirit and I’ve already judged the man who did this as if I were present. 4 When you meet together in the name of our Lord Jesus, I’ll be present in spirit with the power of our Lord Jesus. 5 At that time we need to hand this man over to Satan to destroy his human weakness so that his spirit might be saved on the day of the Lord.
6 Your bragging isn’t good! Don’t you know that a tiny grain of yeast makes a whole batch of dough rise? 7 Clean out the old yeast so you can be a new batch of dough, given that you’re supposed to be unleavened bread. Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed, 8 so let’s celebrate the feast with the unleavened bread of honesty and truth, not with old yeast or with the yeast of evil and wickedness.
9 I wrote to you in my earlier letter not to associate with sexually immoral people. 10 But I wasn’t talking about the sexually immoral people in the outside world by any means—or the greedy, or the swindlers, or people who worship false gods—otherwise, you would have to leave the world entirely! 11 But now I’m writing to you not to associate with anyone who calls themselves “brother” or “sister” who is sexually immoral, greedy, someone who worships false gods, an abusive person, a drunk, or a swindler. Don’t even eat with anyone like this. 12 What do I care about judging outsiders? Isn’t it your job to judge insiders? 13 God will judge outsiders. Expel the evil one from among you![a]
Confronting lawsuits in the church
6 When someone in your assembly has a legal case against another member, do they dare to take it to court to be judged by people who aren’t just, instead of by God’s people? 2 Or don’t you know that God’s people will judge the world? If the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to judge trivial cases? 3 Don’t you know that we will judge angels? Why not ordinary things? 4 So then if you have ordinary lawsuits, do you appoint people as judges who aren’t respected by the church? 5 I’m saying this because you should be ashamed of yourselves! Isn’t there one person among you who is wise enough to pass judgment between believers? 6 But instead, does a brother or sister have a lawsuit against another brother or sister, and do they do this in front of unbelievers? 7 The fact that you have lawsuits against each other means that you’ve already lost your case. Why not be wronged instead? Why not be cheated? 8 But instead you are doing wrong and cheating—and you’re doing it to your own brothers and sisters.
9 Don’t you know that people who are unjust won’t inherit God’s kingdom? Don’t be deceived. Those who are sexually immoral, those who worship false gods, adulterers, both participants in same-sex intercourse,[b] 10 thieves, the greedy, drunks, abusive people, and swindlers won’t inherit God’s kingdom. 11 That is what some of you used to be! But you were washed clean, you were made holy to God, and you were made right with God in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
Avoid sexual immorality
12 I have the freedom to do anything, but not everything is helpful. I have the freedom to do anything, but I won’t be controlled by anything. 13 Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, and yet God will do away with both. The body isn’t for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body. 14 God has raised the Lord and will raise us through his power. 15 Don’t you know that your bodies are parts of Christ? So then, should I take parts of Christ and make them a part of someone who is sleeping around?[c] No way! 16 Don’t you know that anyone who is joined to someone who is sleeping around is one body with that person? The scripture says, The two will become one flesh.[d] 17 The one who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him. 18 Avoid sexual immorality! Every sin that a person can do is committed outside the body, except those who engage in sexual immorality commit sin against their own bodies. 19 Or don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you? Don’t you know that you have the Holy Spirit from God, and you don’t belong to yourselves? 20 You have been bought and paid for, so honor God with your body.