I Corinthians 4

God’s steward awaits no judgment of man, but stands or falls by his Master’s judgment his standard being fidelity to God, not popularity with men.

1 Let a man so account of us, 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 of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.

4 For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.

5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

6 And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.

7 For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?

8 Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us: and I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you.

9 For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.

10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.

11 Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace;

12 And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:

13 Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.

14 I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you.

15 For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.

16 Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.

17 For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where 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 will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power.

20 For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.

21 What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?

1 Corinthians 4:1-13 – Stewards Responsible to Their Lord

   At the most the ministers or teachers of God’s Gospel are but stewards of the hidden things of God, according to Matthew 13:51-52. They ought not to attract attention to themselves or to the way they purvey their Master’s goods. Their prime object is to be faithful to their trust; to make much of the Master and as little as possible of themselves. Paul was not aware that he had violated his Master’s confidence, but he could not be content till he had heard the Master’s verdict on his life-work. Notice the four courts of appeal—my own judgment, your judgment, man’s judgment, and Christ’s. The Master will reverse many human judgments, but all will bear witness to the absolute justice of His verdict.
   In vivid words the Apostle shows how great was the difference between the ease and self-satisfaction of the Corinthian church and the sorry plight to which he and his fellow-workers were often reduced. Many regarded them as the captives in a conqueror’s triumphal procession, who behind the triumphal car were being-marched to death. But it mattered little to them so long as Christ was adored, loved, glorified, and His Kingdom advanced. —Through the Bible Day by Day

I Corinthians 4:4—He that judgeth me is the Lord.

   There are four courts of trial.
   First: Man’s judgment.—It is significantly spoken of as man’s “day.” Our conduct is narrowly scrutinised and weighed by many eyes which we know not of, but which are fixed on every act and word—the eyes of our neighbors, associates, fellow workpeople, servants. They are ever reasoning about us, comparing our lives with our professions, partly with the view of excusing themselves, if there is any gross inconsistency. But, after all, their verdict need not greatly move us. It is only for a day.
   Second: The judgment of fellow-Christians.—We are perpetually being summoned before the court of the church circle to which we belong; not always because we are inconsistent with our professions, but whenever we overstep the pace at which the majority is slowly moving. To be too zealous, too eager, too earnest, too particular, will, in some Christian communities, expose to a great deal of adverse criticism. But we have not to look right and left to get the sentence of our fellow-believers when we are clearly prompted by the Spirit of God.
   Third: The judgment of conscience.—“I judge not mine own self” (1 Corinthians 4:3). We are all apt to arraign ourselves at our own bar, and pass verdicts which are altogether favorable, because we compare ourselves with characters and standards inferior to ourselves. It is a great mistake to judge yourself, for even if you score a favorable verdict—if you know nothing against yourself—it is liable to be reversed by the decisions of the Supreme Court.
   Fourth: The Lord’s judgment.—The Lord will come, bringing to light the hidden things of darkness, and making manifest the counsels of the heart. —Our Daily Homily

1 Corinthians 4:14-21 – Teaching Converts Christ’s Ways

   The relationship between the Apostle and his converts was very tender. They were his children. They might have instructors and tutors, but they could have but one father; and as father he might have to use the rod. Love can be stern and punitive. Spare the rod and spoil the child. It is not pure but selfish love that forbears to speak and act strongly when eternal interests are at stake. This is an aspect of God’s love which is likely to be overlooked. If we escape chastisement, we are bastards and not sons. “What son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” Hebrews 12:5-11.
   The beloved Timothy was sent to bring the recreant church back to its old love and faith. He was well fitted to represent the Apostle till Paul could tear himself from his thronging duties at Ephesus. Notice that God’s kingdom comes in power, not in word, I Corinthians 4:20. Is not this the reason why it comes so slowly? We treat it as though it would come through our much speaking, through eloquent and honeyed speech. But it is not so. It comes in the power of the Holy Spirit, and in that supremacy of the Divine Spirit over all other spirit forces. God send us more of this great dynamic! —Through the Bible Day by Day