4 Let a man rate us as agents, and trustees of God’s secrets. 2 Now then, what is wanted in trustees is that one should be found faithful. 3 * But to me it is highly unimportant that I should be examined by you or by a human investigation. Why, I do not even examine myself; 4 for I have nothing on my conscience, but I am not made out righteous by this. But it is the Lord that is my examiner. 5 Consequently do not pass judgment on anything too soon; not till the Lord comes, who will both throw light on the things hidden in darkness and make the intentions of hearts visible; and then each will get his praise from God. 6 ** But in treating all this as though it applied to myself and Apollos I did it on your account, brothers, in order that you might learn on us not to go beyond the record, so that you should not be puffed up one of you on one’s behalf against another. 7 For who is differentiating you? and what do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why are you boasting as if you had not? 8 You have had all you could hold already; you have already grown rich; you have come into the kingship without us—and I wish you had come into the kingship so that we too might come into it with you. 9 For I guess God has put us apostles last on the program like men condemned to death, because we have become a spectacle for the world, men and angels both. 10 We are fools for Christ, but you are intelligent men in Christ; we weak, but you strong; you in high standing, but we disreputable. 11 Down to the present moment we go hungry, go thirsty, go naked, get hit with fists, go homeless, 12 work hard with our own hands, pronounce blessings while we are being abused, bear up while we are being persecuted, 13 * give encouragement while we are being disparaged; it comes to be as if we were the offscourings of the world, the scum of everything, up to now. 14 I am not writing these things to shame you, but to admonish you as dearly-loved children of mine. 15 For if you should have ten thousand tutors in Christ, many fathers you would not; for I, through the gospel, brought you to birth in Christ Jesus. 16 So I urge you, be imitators of me. 17 That was the very reason why I sent you Timothy, who is my dearly-loved and trusted child in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ Jesus, as I teach everywhere in every church. 18 But some have been puffed up as if I were not coming to you; 19 * but come to you I speedily will, if the Lord permit, and know not the words of the puffed-up ones but their power, 20 for the Reign of God is not in words but in power. 21 What do you want? am I to come to you with a rod or in love and the spirit of meekness?
^ 4:3 Lit. a human day
^ 4:6 Lit. all these things as though they
^ 4:6 Or beyond the Scriptures Lit. learn on us the “not beyond what is written”
^ 4:13 Or disparaged; we have come to be as it were the world’s scapegoats, everybody’s whipping-boy, up to now
^ 4:19 Lit. if the Lord will