Christ’s Servant, God’s Steward
1 Thus let a person consider us as servants of Christ and stewards of God’s mysteries. 2In this case, moreover, it is sought in stewards that one be found faithful. 3But to me it is a very little matter that I be judged by you or by a human court,#Literally “day” but I do not even judge myself. 4For I am conscious of nothing against myself, but not by this am I vindicated. But the one who judges me is the Lord. 5Therefore do not judge anything before the time, until the Lord should come, who will both enlighten the hidden things of darkness and will reveal the counsels of hearts, and then praise will come to each one from God.
The Apostles’ Humility
6Now I have applied these things, brothers, to myself and Apollos for your sake, in order that in us you may learn not to go beyond what is written, lest someone be inflated with pride on behalf of one person against the other. 7For who concedes you superiority? And what do you have that you did not receive? But if indeed you received it, why do you boast as if you#*Here “if” is supplied as a component of the participle (“receive”) which is understood as conditional did not receive it? 8Already you are satiated! Already you are rich! Apart from us you reign as kings! And would that indeed you reigned as kings, in order that we also might reign as kings with you! 9For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as condemned to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world and to angels and to people. 10We are fools for the sake of Christ, but you are prudent in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, but we are dishonored! 11Until the present hour we are both hungry and thirsty and poorly clothed and roughly treated and homeless, 12and we toil, working with our own hands. When we are#*Here “when” is supplied as a component of the participle (“reviled”) which is understood as temporal reviled, we bless; when we are#*Here “when” is supplied as a component of the participle (“persecuted”) which is understood as temporal persecuted, we endure; 13when we are#*Here “when” is supplied as a component of the participle (“slandered”) which is understood as temporal slandered, we encourage. We have become like the refuse of the world, the offscouring of all things, until now.
Paul’s Concern for the Corinthian Believers
14I am not writing these things to shame you, but admonishing you as my dear children. 15For if you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I fathered you through the gospel. 16Therefore I exhort you, become imitators of me. 17Because of this, I have sent to you Timothy, who is my dear and faithful child in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ Jesus, just as I teach everywhere in every church. 18But some have become arrogant, as if I were not coming to you. 19But I am coming to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will know not the talk of the ones who have become arrogant, but the power. 20For the kingdom of God is not with talk, but with power. 21What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love and a spirit of gentleness?