Verse 1 – Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.
Verse 2 – Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.
Verse 3 – But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself.
A minister, like a steward, is devoted to his master’s service and should be faithful to that trust, and not abuse or violate it. A minister is appointed by Christ, answers to Him, because of the welfare of the kingdom has been committed in his care. God only is the infallible judge; and as we and others are liable to be biased in our own opinions, from envy, ignorance, or self-love, we should regard the judgment of the world as of little value.
Verse 4 – For I know nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord.
Verse 5 – Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts; and then each one’s praise will come from God.
Paul’s warning to the Corinthian church should also be a warning to us. We are all guilty of this. We judge fellow Christians as to whether they are serving God or not; we criticize other pastors because we don’t really think they were called by God. God is the only One qualified to judge the intentions of the heart, so we need to repent and stop doing this. I’m as guilty of this than anyone is. I do not answer for another, only me.
Misunderstanding of Paul’s Ministry
Verse 6 – Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sake’s, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other.
Verse 7 – For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you glory as if you had not received it?
Paul offered a rhetorical response to those who were claiming superiority in the Corinthian church. He who receives a gift by grace has no grounds for boasting.
Verse 8 – You are already full! You are already rich! You have reigned as kings without us – and indeed I could wish you did reign, that we also might reign with you!
This is for all the nay-sayers who say we are not destined to reign – 1 Timothy 2:12 – If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. We as believers are destined to reign with our Lord and Savior, if we endure to the end.
Verse 9 – For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.
Do you believe that a higher calling will bring larger trials? Paul did. Paul says it seems that God had designed that we, the apostles, should be subject to contempt and suffering; and be made poor and persecuted, while other believers lived joyfully and privileged. If you’ve read anything concerning the apostles lives, you know they suffered persecution unto death for our sake’s.
Verse 10 – We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored.
Verse 11 – Even to the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless.
Not a description of the pastors today. Do I believe a pastor is to be “dirt poor”? No, however, when they live in mega houses and the congregation is going hungry or without shelter, it’s wrong. You don’t preach the gospel to become rich. But like Paul says, “Let the Lord judge.”
Verse 12 – And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless, being persecuted, we endure it;
Verse 13 – being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the off-souring of all things until now.
Verse 14 – I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you.
Verse 15 – For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.
Verse 16 – Therefore I urge you to imitate me.
Verse 17 – For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church.
Verse 18 – Now some are puffed up, as though I were not coming to you.
Verse 19 – But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills, and I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power.
Verse 20 – For the kingdom of God is not in word by in power.
Verse 21 – What do you want? Shall I come to you with rod, or in love a spirit of gentleness?
If the Corinthians church ignored Paul’s rebuke and admonition, they would receive the rod of chastisement upon his arrival. If they repented, he would come with love and gentleness. Why don’t we repent when we know we are rebelling and sinning before we get chastised? Because we are stubborn human beings.