1 Corinthians 4:1-21 Reading the Passage

The Pattern for Christian Living – 1 Corinthians 4:1-21

4 So then, men ought to view us as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. (2) With regard to this matter of stewardship, it is required that a man be found trustworthy. (3) Now it is a very insignificant matter to me that I should be judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. (4) I know of no charge against me; but this does not justify me. The one who judges me is the Lord. (5) Therefore, judge nothing before the appointed time, wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light the things hidden in darkness and will reveal the intentions of the hearts, and then each one shall receive from God the praise he deserves. (6) Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the principle, “Do not go beyond what has been written,” and that none of you be arrogant by favoring one minister over against another.

(7) What makes you superior? And what do you have that you did not receive? But if you received it, why do you boast as if it had not been given to you? (8) You have already been filled, you have already become rich, you have come to reign without us; indeed, I wish that you did reign, so that we also might reign with you. (9) It seems that God has put us apostles at the end of the procession, like men sentenced to death—we have been made a spectacle to the whole world, both to angels and to men. (10) We are fools for Christ, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are honored, but we are dishonored. (11) To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are dressed in rags, we are treated brutally, and we are homeless. (12) We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; (13) when we are slandered, we speak words of comfort. To this very moment, we have been treated like the filth of the world, like the scum that is scraped off of all things.

(14) I am not writing these things to put you to shame, but to admonish you as my beloved children. (15) Although you may have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers; for by Christ Jesus through the gospel I am your father. (16) Therefore, I urge you to imitate me. (17) For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, he is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord. He will remind you of my instructions—which are by Christ, just as I teach everywhere in every church. (18) Now since I have not come to you, some of you are arrogant. (19) But I will come to you soon, if it be the Lord’s will. Then I will know, not merely the words of those who are arrogant, but their power; (20) for the kingdom of God is not a matter of words, but of power. (21) What do you desire? Shall I come to you with a rod of discipline, or in love and a spirit of gentleness?

Now proceed to the next section of this study, entitled, Exploring the Passage.