As for us Apostles, let any one take this view of us--we are Christ's officers, and stewards of God's secret truths.
This being so, it follows that fidelity is what is required in stewards.
I however am very little concerned at undergoing your scrutiny, or that of other men; in fact I do not even scrutinize myself.
Though I am not conscious of having been in any way unfaithful, yet I do not for that reason stand acquitted; but He whose scrutiny I must undergo is the Lord.
Therefore form no premature judgements, but wait until the Lord returns. He will both bring to light the secrets of darkness and will openly disclose the motives that have been in people's hearts; and then the praise which each man deserves will come to him from God.
In writing this much, brethren, with special reference to Apollos and myself, I have done so for your sakes, in order to teach you by our example what those words mean, which say, "Nothing beyond what is written!" --so that you may cease to take sides in boastful rivalry, for one teacher against another.
Why, who gives you your superiority, my brother? Or what have you that you did not receive? And if you really did receive it, why boast as if this were not so?
Every one of you already has all that heart can desire; already you have grown rich; without waiting for us, you have ascended your thrones! Yes indeed, would to God that you had ascended your thrones, that we also might reign with you!
God, it seems to me, has exhibited us Apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; for we have come to be a spectacle to all creation--alike to angels and to men.
We, for Christ's sake, are labeled as "foolish"; you, as Christians, are men of shrewd intelligence. We are mere weaklings: you are strong. You are in high repute: we are outcasts.
To this very moment we endure both hunger and thirst, with scanty clothing and many a blow.
Homes we have none. Wearily we toil, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we bear it patiently;
when slandered, we try to conciliate. We have come to be regarded as the mere dirt and filth of the world--the refuse of the universe, even to this hour.
I am not writing all this to shame you, but I am offering you advice as my dearly-loved children.
For even if you were to have ten thousand spiritual instructors--for all that you could not have several fathers. It is I who in Christ Jesus became your father through the Good News.
I entreat you therefore to become like me.
For this reason I have sent Timothy to you. Spiritually he is my dearly-loved and faithful child. He will remind you of my habits as a Christian teacher--the manner in which I teach everywhere in every Church.
But some of you have been puffed up through getting the idea that I am not coming to Corinth.
But, if the Lord is willing, I shall come to you without delay; and then I shall know not the fine speeches of these conceited people, but their power.
For Apostolic authority is not a thing of words, but of power.
Which shall it be? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in a loving and tender spirit?