PLUS Resource: 6 Prayers for When You Are Fighting Anxiety

1 Corinthians 4

SUMMARY.--The Apostles Stewards of the Mysteries of God. Forming Judgments of Religious Teachers. The Apostles Made a Spectacle to the World. The Apostolic Trials. Counted by the World as Offscouring. Yet, Paul the Spiritual Father of the Corinthian Church. And His Example should be Imitated.

      10-13. We are fools for Christ's sake. The sad worldly lot of the apostles is set forth. For Christ's sake they chose a path of sorrow that made the world call them fools. Ye are wise in Christ. Think you are wise in your religious speculations. We are weak. See 2:3 . Ye are strong. In your own conceits. 11. Unto this present hour, etc. All through our ministry we suffer want for the needs of life, are often in want of food and drink and clothing, are beaten (buffeted), and, like the Master, have no certain home. 12. And labor. Support ourselves by our own hands, while preaching the gospel, returned good for evil. 13. Are made as the filth of the world. Are accounted by the world as its very sweepings, as scum, as refuse utterly worthless and repulsive. Such passages, which are not overdrawn, show the greatness of faith, the devotion, the heroism of and the debt we owe to such men as Paul.

      14-17. I write not these things to shame you. I do not contrast your pride and glorying with our humiliation to shame you, but as a fatherly admonition to beloved children. 15. Yet have ye not many fathers. They might have many tutors, who sought to train them as children, but Paul was their father who had begotten them in the gospel; that is, converted them. 16. Be ye followers of me. Hence, since he was their spiritual father, they ought all to imitate him, his lowliness and self-denial. Children should seek to be like the parent, rather than like the tutor. 17. For this cause I sent Timotheus. Timothy, Paul's "son in the gospel" ( Acts 16:1-3 ), had already been sent onward toward Corinth ( 1 Cor. 16:10 ), but going round by land would not arrive until after this letter, if it went across by sea. Of my ways in Christ. Timothy will revive their remembrance of Paul's life, conduct and teachings, so that they can the better "follow" him.

      18-21. Now some are puffed up. Some of those who were factious thought, as Paul was sending Timothy, he would not come himself, and this encouraged them to continue their factious conduct. 19. I will come to you shortly. If God permitted, he would soon follow ( 1 Corinthians 16:7 1 Corinthians 16:8 ), and would put to the test those puffed up. Not the speech, . . . but the power. He will confront these vain boasters, and see what power is behind their swelling words. 20. For the kingdom of God. For in the kingdom of God it is not words or professions which avail, but the power of God in the heart. 21. What will ye? When he comes, how shall he come? Will it be necessary to rebuke and exert his apostolic authority, or will the condition of the church be such that only love and gentleness will be called for?

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