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1 Corinthians 4

Servants of Christ

Let a man consider us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.
2 In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found faithful. 3 But to me it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human court. In fact, I do not even examine myself. 4 For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted. But the one who examines me is the Lord. 5 Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and make manifest the motives of hearts. And then each one’s praise will come to him from God. 6 Now these things, brothers, I have applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that in us you may learn not to go beyond what is written, so that no one of you will become puffed up on behalf of one against the other. 7 For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? 8 You are already filled, you have already become rich, you have ruled without us—and how I wish that you had ruled indeed so that we also might rule with you. 9 For, I think that God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men. 10 We are fools for the sake of Christ, but you are prudent in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are glorious, but we are without honor! 11 To this present hour we hunger and thirst, and are poorly clothed, and roughly treated, and homeless; 12 and we labor, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; 13 when we are slandered, we try to plead; we have become as the scum of the world, the grime of all things, even until now. 14 I do not write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15 For if you were to have countless tutors in Christ, yet you would not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. 16 Therefore I exhort you, be imitators of me. 17 For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, and who will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, just as I teach everywhere in every church. 18 Now some have become puffed up, as though I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I shall know, not the words of those who are puffed up but their power. 20 For the kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power. 21 What do you desire? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love and a spirit of gentleness?