1Let a man so appraise us as being subordinates of Christ and stewards of sacred secrets of God.2Besides, in this case, what is looked for in stewards is for a man to be found faithful.3Now to me it is a very trivial matter that I should be examined by YOU or by a human tribunal. Even I do not examine myself.4For I am not conscious of anything against myself. Yet by this I am not proved righteous, but he that examines me is Jehovah.5Hence do not judge anything before the due time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring the secret things of darkness to light and make the counsels of the hearts manifest, and then each one will have his praise come to him from God.
6Now, brothers, these things I have transferred so as to apply to myself and A‧pol′los for YOUR good, that in our case YOU may learn the [rule]: “Do not go beyond the things that are written,” in order that YOU may not be puffed up individually in favor of the one against the other.7For who makes you to differ from another? Indeed, what do you have that you did not receive? If, now, you did indeed receive [it], why do you boast as though you did not receive [it]?
8YOU men already have YOUR fill, do YOU? YOU are rich already, are YOU? YOU have begun ruling as kings without us, have YOU? And I wish indeed that YOU had begun ruling as kings, that we also might rule with YOU as kings.9For it seems to me that God has put us the apostles last on exhibition as men appointed to death, because we have become a theatrical spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men.10We are fools because of Christ, but YOU are discreet in Christ; we are weak, but YOU are strong; YOU are in good repute, but we are in dishonor.11Down to this very hour we continue to hunger and also to thirst and to be scantily clothed and to be knocked about and to be homeless12and to toil, working with our own hands. When being reviled, we bless; when being persecuted, we bear up;13when being defamed, we entreat; we have become as the refuse of the world, the offscouring of all things, until now.
14I am writing these things, not to shame YOU, but to admonish YOU as my beloved children.15For though YOU may have ten thousand tutors in Christ, [YOU] certainly [do] not [have] many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have become YOUR father through the good news.16I entreat YOU, therefore, become imitators of me.17That is why I am sending Timothy to YOU, as he is my beloved and faithful child in [the] Lord; and he will put YOU in mind of my methods in connection with Christ Jesus, just as I am teaching everywhere in every congregation.
18Some are puffed up as though I were in fact not coming to YOU.19But I will come to YOU shortly, if Jehovah wills, and I shall get to know, not the speech of those who are puffed up, but [their] power.20For the kingdom of God [lies] not in speech, but in power.21What do YOU want? Shall I come to YOU with a rod, or with love and mildness of spirit?