Scripture: I Corinthians 4

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READ and STUDY the WORD

Apostles Of Christ

1 Corinthians 4:1-21 (WEB) So let a man think of us as Christ’s servants, and stewards of God’s mysteries. Here, moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you, or by man’s judgment. Yes, I don’t judge my own self. For I know nothing against myself. Yet I am not justified by this, but He who judges me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each man will get his praise from God. Now these things, brothers, I have in a figure transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that in us you might learn not to think beyond the things which are written, that none of you be puffed up against one another. For who makes you different? And what do you have that you didn’t receive? But if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? You are already filled. You have already become rich. You have come to reign without us. Yes, and I wish that you did reign, that we also might reign with you. For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last of all, like men sentenced to death. For we are made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and men. 10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You have honor, but we have dishonor. 11 Even to this present hour we hunger, thirst, are naked, are beaten, and have no certain dwelling place. 12 We toil, working with our own hands. When people curse us, we bless. Being persecuted, we endure. 13 Being defamed, we entreat. We are made as the filth of the world, the dirt wiped off by all, even until now. 14 I don’t write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15 For though you have ten thousand tutors in Christ, you don’t have many fathers. For in Christ Jesus, I became your father through the Good News. 16 I beg you therefore, be imitators of me. 17 Because of this I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, even as I teach everywhere in every assembly. 18 Now some are puffed up, as though I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord is willing. And I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power. 20 For God’s Kingdom is not in word, but in power. 21 What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness?

Questions and Answers:

1. How did Paul think men should regard him (I Corinthians 4:1)? Paul thought men ought to regard him as a minister of Christ and as a steward of the mysteries (secret things) of God.

2. What did Paul say is required in stewards (I Corinthians 4:2)? It is required for stewards to be faithful.

3. Who does Paul say judges him (I Corinthians 4:4)? Paul said he was judged by the Lord.

4. What will happen when the Lord comes (I Corinthians 4:5)? The Lord will both 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.

5. What lesson did Paul want to teach the Corinthians (I Corinthians 4:6)? Paul wanted them to learn to not think to highly of any man.

6. What character trait was Paul discouraging (I Corinthians 4:7)? Paul was discouraging boasting, that is taking credit for something that they received.

7. What did Paul call Apollos and himself (I Corinthians 4:10a)? Paul called Apollos and himself fools for Christ’s sake.

8. What comparisons did Paul make between himself and Apollos and those to whom he was speaking (I Corinthians 4:10b)? Paul said “we are weak, but you are strong; we are despised but you are honorable.”

9. What did Paul say he and Apollos were experience at the present time (I Corinthians 4:11-13)? Paul said they were hunger, thirst, naked (in rags), buffeted (brutally treated) and had no home. They were being reviled (cursed), persecuted, and defamed (slandered). He said they were being made as the filth (dirt) of the world and the offscouring (refuse) of all things.

10. Why did Paul say he was telling them the above (I Corinthians 4:14-15)? Paul said it was not to shame them but to warn them.  He believed he had begotten (become a father to) them through the gospel.

11. What did Paul beseech them to do (I Corinthians 4:16)? Paul beseeched (urged) them to follow (imitate) him.

12. Why had Paul sent Timotheus to them (I Corinthians 4:17)? Timotheus was sent to remind them of Paul’s way of life in Christ Jesus.

13. Why were some puffed up (I Corinthians 4:18)? They were upset because they believed he wasn’t coming to see them.

14. What was Paul’s response (I Corinthians 4:19-21)? Paul said he would come very soon, if the Lord was willing and then he would find out not only how the arrogant people were talking but what power they had. And Paul said the kingdom of God was not in word, but in power. And Paul asked them if they preferred him to come with a rod, or in love and in the spirit of meekness.

HEAR the WORD

1 Corinthians 4:3-4 (NIV) I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.

I Corinthians 4:3-4 (AMP) But [as for me personally] it matters very little to me that I may be judged by you or any human court [on this point]; in fact, I do not even judge myself.  I am aware of nothing against myself and I feel blameless, but I am not by this acquitted [before God]. It is the Lord who judges me.

I Corinthians 4:3-4 (NLT) As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority. I don’t even trust my own judgment on this point. My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide.

MEDITATE on the WORD

Ponder the three translations of the same verses.  What do you believe these verses mean? My Bible notes: It is tempting to judge fellow Christians, evaluating whether or not they are good followers of Christ.  But only God knows a person’s heart, and He is the only one with the right to judge.  

MEMORIZE the WORD

I Corinthians 4:20 (NIV) For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.

LOVE and LIVE the WORD

Each day God presents us with needs and opportunities that challenge us to do what we know is right.

TEACH and SHARE the WORD

We are to confront those who are sinning but we must not judge who is a better servant for Christ.  For we may decide we are better and that is arrogance at work in us. 

PRAY the WORD

Lord, I pray we too will serve You (I Corinthians 4:1). Lord, I pray we will be faithful (I Corinthians 4:2). Lord, I pray we will judge no one but will leave judging to You (I Corinthians 4:4).  Lord, I pray You will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of our hearts (I Corinthians 4:5). Lord, I pray we honor You above all else (I Corinthians 4:6).  Lord, I pray we will seek Your plan and Your will for our lives (I Corinthians 4:19).  In Christ Jesus’ name I pray.  AMEN.

ENCOURAGEMENT

“May you and I seek to serve God.” <>< Dona