So then you must perceive us—not as leaders of factions, but as servants of the Anointed One, those who have been entrusted with God’s mysteries. The most important quality of one entrusted with such secrets is that they are faithful and trustworthy. But personally, I’m not the least bit concerned if I’m judged by you or any verdict I receive from any human court. In fact, I don’t even assume to be my own judge, even though my conscience is clear. But that doesn’t mean I stand acquitted before the Lord, 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 and unveil every secret motive of everyone’s heart. Then, when the whole truth is known, each will receive praise from God.
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. For what makes a distinction between you and someone else? And what do you have that grace has not given you? And if you received it as a gift, why do you boast as though there is something special about you?
Oh, I know, you already have all you need! Since when did you become so content and rich without us? You’ve already crowned yourselves as royalty, reigning on your thrones, leaving us lowly apostles far behind! How I wish indeed that you really were reigning as kings already, for that would mean we would be reigning as kings alongside of you.