1 Corinthians 4

The Ministry of Apostles

1 This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and n stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 o For I am not aware of anything against myself, p but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore q do not pronounce judgment before the time, r before the Lord comes, s who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. t Then each one will receive his commendation from God.

6 I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, 1 that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may u be puffed up in favor of one against another. 7 For who sees anything different in you? v What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?

8 Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! Without us you have become kings! And would that you did reign, so that we might share the rule with you! 9 For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, w like men sentenced to death, because we x have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. 10 y We are fools for Christ's sake, but z you are wise in Christ. a We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. 11 To the present hour b we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and c buffeted and d homeless, 12 and we e labor, working with our own hands. f When reviled, we bless; g when persecuted, we endure; 13 when slandered, we entreat. h We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, i the refuse of all things.

14 I do not write these things j to make you ashamed, but to admonish you k as my beloved children. 15 For l though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For m I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 16 I urge you, then, n be imitators of me. 17 That is why o I sent 2 you Timothy, p my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, 3 q as I teach them everywhere in every church. 18 Some are r arrogant, s as though I were not coming to you. 19 But t I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. 20 For u the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. 21 What do you wish? v Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness?

  1. Cross References
    1 Corinthians 9:17
    For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but if not of my own will, I am still entrusted with a stewardship.
    1 Peter 4:10
    As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace:
  2. Cross References
    Acts 23:1
    And looking intently at the council, Paul said, "Brothers, I have lived my life before God in all good conscience up to this day.
  3. Cross References
    Job 9:2
    Truly I know that it is so: But how can a man be in the right before God?
    Job 9:15
    Though I am in the right, I cannot answer him; I must appeal for mercy to my accuser.
    Psalms 130:3
    If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?
    Psalms 143:2
    Enter not into judgment with your servant, for no one living is righteous before you.
    1 John 3:21
    Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God.
  4. Cross References
    Matthew 7:1
    Judge not, that you be not judged.
    Romans 2:1
    Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.
    Matthew 13:29
    But he said, 'No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them.
  5. Cross References
    John 21:22
    Jesus said to him, "If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!
    Romans 2:16
    On that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.
  6. Cross References
    1 Corinthians 3:13
    Each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.
  7. Cross References
    2 Corinthians 10:18
    For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.
    1 Corinthians 3:8
    He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor.
  8. Cross References
    1 Corinthians 4:18 - 19
    Some are arrogant, as though I were not coming to you.
    1 Corinthians 5:2
    And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.
    1 Corinthians 13:4
    Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant
  9. Cross References
    John 3:27
    John answered, "A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.
    1 Chronicles 29:14
    But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you.
    James 1:17
    Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
    1 Peter 4:10
    As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace:
  10. Cross References
    Romans 8:36
    As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.
  11. Cross References
    Hebrews 10:33
    Sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated.
    Isaiah 20:3
    Then the Lord said, "As my servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot for three years as a sign and a portent against Egypt and Cush.
  12. Cross References
    Acts 17:18
    Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, "What does this babbler wish to say?" Others said, "He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities" - because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection.
    1 Corinthians 1:18
    For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
    Acts 26:24
    And as he was saying these things in his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, "Paul, you are out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind.
  13. Cross References
    2 Corinthians 11:19
    For you gladly bear with fools, being wise yourselves!
  14. Cross References
    1 Corinthians 2:3
    And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling.
    2 Corinthians 13:9
    For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. Your restoration is what we pray for.
  15. Cross References
    Romans 8:35
    Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
    2 Corinthians 11:27
    In toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.
    Philippians 4:12
    I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.
  16. Cross References
    2 Corinthians 11:20
    For you bear it if someone makes slaves of you, or devours you, or takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or strikes you in the face.
    2 Corinthians 11:23
    Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one - I am talking like a madman - with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death.
  17. Cross References
    Matthew 8:20
    And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.
  18. Cross References
    Acts 18:3
    And because he was of the same trade he stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade.
  19. Cross References
    1 Peter 3:9
    Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.
  20. Cross References
    John 15:20
    Remember the word that I said to you: 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.
  21. Cross References
    Isaiah 30:22
    Then you will defile your carved idols overlaid with silver and your gold-plated metal images. You will scatter them as unclean things. You will say to them, "Be gone!
    Isaiah 64:6
    We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
  22. Cross References
    Lamentations 3:45
    You have made us scum and garbage among the peoples.
  23. Cross References
    1 Corinthians 6:5
    I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers.
    1 Corinthians 15:34
    Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.
  24. Cross References
    2 Corinthians 6:13
    In return (I speak as to children) widen your hearts also.
    1 Thessalonians 2:11
    For you know how, like a father with his children.
    3 John 1:4
    I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
  25. Cross References
    1 Corinthians 3:10
    According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it.
  26. Cross References
    Philemon 1:10
    I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment.
    Galatians 4:19
    My little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!
  27. Cross References
    1 Corinthians 11:1
    Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
    Philippians 3:17
    Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.
    1 Thessalonians 1:6
    And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit.
    Philippians 4:9
    What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me - practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
    2 Thessalonians 3:9
    It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate.
  28. Cross References
    1 Corinthians 16:10
    When Timothy comes, see that you put him at ease among you, for he is doing the work of the Lord, as I am.
  29. Cross References
    1 Timothy 1:2
    To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
    2 Timothy 1:2
    To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
  30. Cross References
    1 Corinthians 7:17
    Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches.
  31. Cross References
    1 Corinthians 4:6
    I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.
  32. Cross References
    1 Corinthians 4:21
    What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness?
    2 Corinthians 10:2
    I beg of you that when I am present I may not have to show boldness with such confidence as I count on showing against some who suspect us of walking according to the flesh.
  33. Cross References
    1 Corinthians 11:34
    If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home - so that when you come together it will not be for judgment. About the other things I will give directions when I come.
    1 Corinthians 16:5 - 6
    I will visit you after passing through Macedonia, for I intend to pass through Macedonia.
    Acts 19:21
    Now after these events Paul resolved in the Spirit to pass through Macedonia and Achaia and go to Jerusalem, saying, "After I have been there, I must also see Rome.
    Acts 20:2
    When he had gone through those regions and had given them much encouragement, he came to Greece.
    2 Corinthians 1:15 - 16
    Because I was sure of this, I wanted to come to you first, so that you might have a second experience of grace.
  34. Cross References
    1 Corinthians 2:4
    And my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.
  35. Cross References
    2 Corinthians 1:23
    But I call God to witness against me - it was t...
    2 Corinthians 2:1
    For I made up my mind not to make another painf...
    2 Corinthians 2:3
    And I wrote as I did, so that when I came I mig...
    2 Corinthians 12:20
    For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find ...
    2 Corinthians 13:2
    I warned those who sinned before and all the ot...
    2 Corinthians 13:10
    For this reason I write these things while I am...
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
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