4Think of us in this way, as servants of Christ and stewards of Gods mysteries. 2Moreover, it is required of stewards that they should be found trustworthy. 3But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. I do not even judge myself. 4I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. 5Therefore do not pronounce judgement before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive commendation from God.
6 I have applied all this to Apollos and myself for your benefit, brothers and sisters,* so that you may learn through us the meaning of the saying, Nothing beyond what is written, so that none of you will be puffed up in favour of one against another. 7For who sees anything different in you?* What do you have that you did not receive? And if you received it, why do you boast as if it were not a gift?
8 Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! Quite apart from us you have become kings! Indeed, I wish that you had become kings, so that we might be kings with you! 9For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, as though sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels and to mortals. 10We are fools for the sake of Christ, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honour, but we in disrepute. 11To the present hour we are hungry and thirsty, we are poorly clothed and beaten and homeless, 12and we grow weary from the work of our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; 13when slandered, we speak kindly. We have become like the rubbish of the world, the dregs of all things, to this very day.
14 I am not writing this to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children.
15For though you might have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers. Indeed, in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.
16I appeal to you, then, be imitators of me.
17For this reason I sent* you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ Jesus, as I teach them everywhere in every church.
18But some of you, thinking that I am not coming to you, have become arrogant.
19But 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.
20For the kingdom of God depends not on talk but on power.
21What would you prefer? Am I to come to you with a stick, or with love in a spirit of gentleness?
The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized Edition), copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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10 February 2011