1 Corinthians 4:1

Ministers of Christ (uphreta Cristou). Paul and all ministers (diakonou) of the New Covenant ( 1 Corinthians 3:5 ) are under-rowers, subordinate rowers of Christ, only here in Paul's Epistles, though in the Gospels ( Luke 4:20 the attendant in the synagogue) and the Acts ( Acts 13:5 ) of John Mark. The so (outw) gathers up the preceding argument ( 1 Corinthians 3:5-23 ) and applies it directly by the as (w) that follows. Stewards of the mysteries of God (oikonomou musthriwn qeou). The steward or house manager (oiko, house, nemw, to manage, old word) was a slave (doulo) under his lord (kurio, Luke 12:42 ), but a master ( Luke 16:1 ) over the other slaves in the house (menservants paida, maidservants paidiska Luke 12:45 ), an overseer (epitropo) over the rest ( Matthew 20:8 ). Hence the under-rower (uphreth) of Christ has a position of great dignity as steward (oikonomo) of the mysteries of God. Jesus had expressly explained that the mysteries of the kingdom were open to the disciples ( Matthew 13:11 ). They were entrusted with the knowledge of some of God's secrets though the disciples were not such apt pupils as they claimed to be ( Matthew 13:51 ; Matthew 16:8-12 ). As stewards Paul and other ministers are entrusted with the mysteries (see on "1Co 2:7" for this word) of God and are expected to teach them. "The church is the oiko ( 1 Timothy 3:15 ), God the oikodespoth ( Matthew 13:52 ), the members the oikeioi ( Galatians 6:10 ; Ephesians 2:19 )" (Lightfoot). Paul had a vivid sense of the dignity of this stewardship (oikonomia) of God given to him ( Colossians 1:25 ; Ephesians 1:10 ). The ministry is more than a mere profession or trade. It is a calling from God for stewardship.