4 Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. This is continuation of last statement. Paul and Apollos and Cephas, any ‘preaching’ the gospel, are, belong to, Christ. 2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful. It is REQUIRED of a steward in Christ to be faithful. 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. Paul is now saying the same as before except applying to himself. They, man, may judge him to be faithful or NOT faithful, that is no concern of Paul’s, he does not even pass judgement on himself, because…. 4 For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; 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 reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God. God WILL reveal the reasons behind why we do what we do.
6 Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, 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. 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 boast as if you had not received it? Paul lets them know he has used himself as an example, not because it is he in question, but they. He tells them do not speculate what the word means, ‘do not think beyond what is written”, . The puffed up, seems to be saying don’t think you are better than or understand more because you know differently than another, because what ever you know only comes from God anyway. I think of these ‘new’ theologies that pop up, or reemerge. Someone thinks they ‘get it’ more than everyone else, write a book, on their epiphany and translate God’s Word into what they want, to match their theology, and WA LA” dissention.
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! I think Paul says, you don’t have to have people like us get you to heaven, you can get there yourself, with belief in Christ. 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. 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! Not sure if Paul is complimenting or being sarcastic. If you conclude this with “14 I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you.” I think he is saying something like we are not the ‘in’ people because of all of the worldly shameful things we have gone through for Christ and you snobs would not have anything to do with us if you had found us on the street and not known us. 11 To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. 12 And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; 13 being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now14 I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you. These Corinthians have not suffered to be believers, to preach, to teach, being believers is easy for them, no one has gone to jail, they live well, yet they fight and fuss over something as minimal as who baptised whom. Their only true ‘job’ is to discipline themselves and yet they don’t. 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. Paul is their spiritual leader/father, the one who can and will instruct them with God’s word 16 Therefore I urge you, imitate me. 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. Do as I do. Abide my instructions. Timothy is there to teach you, I taught him.18 Now some are puffed up, as though I were not coming to you. Some of you don’t think I will show up to tell you , “you are screwing up.”. Those that think they are bigger and better, more powerful than Paul, and God 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. 20 For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power.Paul is letting them know that no matter how much they talk it up, try to lie about or manipulate. It does not matter how powerful they are in the church, they can not over throw God. I think of those who are in places of power elders, deacons, preachers, who will work all things to their good. Who twist God’s word to fit their agenda. Who spin the truth and intimidate the sheep to get ahead. Those who benefit for their own personal gain from the church. Who think they have the power. God will show them what power is. 21 What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness? A Godly man,Paul, teaching The Word is giving believers opportunity to straighten up and repent on their own, or he will come and punish, discipline, admonish. So to discipline believers IS Godly. To spare the rod is wrong. To confront those in sin is correct! It sounds as if Paul is saying there will be consequences for sins. It sounds like Paul holds these believers accountable for their actions. It sounds like Paul is not excusing this church and it’s leaders from sin just because he loves them. We must be faithful to God’s commands not mans.