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1st Corinthians: Chapter 4

In what account the ministers ought to be had, 1-6. We have nothing which we have not received, 7, 8. The apostles are spectacles to the world, angels, and men, 9-12; the filth and offscouring of the world, 13, 14; yet our fathers in Christ, 15; whom we ought to follow, 16-21.

1 Let a man account of us in this way: as of the ministers of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover, it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you, or by man's judgment. Indeed, I do not judge my own self. 4 For I know nothing against myself, yet I am not hereby justified. But he who judges me is the Lord. 5 Therefore, judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts. And then every man shall have praise from God.

6 And these things, brothers, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes, so that you may learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, so that none of you on account of one may be puffed up against another. 7 For who makes you to differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you received it, why do you glory as if you had not received it?

8 Now you are full. Now you are rich. You have reigned as kings without us. And I wish you reigned, so that we also might reign with you. 9 For I think that God has set forth us, the apostles, last, as it were appointed to death. For we are made a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. 10 We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are honorable, but we are despised. 11 Even to this present hour we hunger, thirst, are naked, are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling-place, 12 And labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless. Being persecuted, we suffer it. 13 Being defamed, we entreat. We are made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things to this day.

14 I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you. 15 For though you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers. For in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. 16 Therefore, I implore you, be followers of me. 17 For this cause I have sent to you Timothy, who is my beloved son and faithful in the Lord, who will bring you into remembrance of my ways which are in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church. 18 Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you. 19 But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills, and will know, not the speech of those who are puffed up, but the power. 20 For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. 21 What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and in the spirit of meekness?