1 Corinthians 4 Expanded Bible (EXB)
Apostles Are Servants of Christ
4 People should think of us as servants of Christ, ·the ones God has trusted with his [and stewards/household managers of God’s] ·secrets [mysteries]. 2 Now in this way ·those who are trusted with something valuable [stewards; household managers] must ·show they are worthy of that trust [L be found faithful]. 3 As for myself, ·I do not care [or it is of no consequence; L it is a minor thing] if I am judged by you or by any human court. I do not even judge myself. 4 I know of no wrong I have done, but this does not make me ·right before the Lord [innocent; acquitted; justified]. The Lord is the One who judges me. 5 So do not judge before the ·right [appointed] time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light things that are now hidden in darkness, and will make known the secret ·purposes [motives] of people’s hearts. Then God will ·praise [give appropriate commendation to] each one of them.
6 Brothers and sisters, I have used Apollos and myself as examples so you could learn through us the meaning of the saying, “·Follow only [L Do not go beyond] ·what is written in the Scriptures [or what I have already written to you; L what is written].” Then you will not ·be more proud of one person than another [or arrogantly support one person over another]. 7 [L For] Who ·says you are better than others [made you so important; or sees anything different in you]? What do you have that was not given to you? And if it was given to you, why do you ·brag [boast] as if you did not ·receive it as a gift [L receive it]?
8 ·You think you already have everything you need [L Already you have been satisfied/filled up!; C the Corinthians believed they had reached a higher spiritual status because of their wisdom]. ·You think you are rich [L Already you are rich!]. You ·think you have become kings [have begun to reign…!] without us. I wish you really were ·kings [reigning] so we could ·be kings [reign] together with you. 9 But it seems to me that God has put us apostles ·in last place [or on display at the end of the procession], like those sentenced to die [C the image is of prisoners of war being led through the city in disgrace, condemned to die in the arena]. We are like a ·show [spectacle; display] for the whole world to see—angels and people. 10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are very wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You receive honor, but we are ·shamed [disgraced; dishonored]. 11 Even ·to this very hour [or now] we do not have enough to eat or drink or to wear. We are often beaten, and we have no homes in which to live. 12 We work hard with our own hands [C Paul earned his own living so as not to burden the church and to avoid accusations of profiting from the Gospel; 1 Thess. 2:9]. When people ·curse [insult; revile] us, we bless them. When they ·hurt [persecute] us, we ·put up with it [endure; persevere]. 13 When they ·tell evil lies about [slander] us, we ·speak nice words about them [answer gently; or humbly appeal; entreat]. Even today, we are treated as though we were the garbage of the world—·the filth of the earth [L everyone’s scum/filth; or scum/filth in everyone’s eyes].
14 I am not writing this to make you feel ashamed, but to ·warn [admonish; correct] you as my own ·dear [beloved] children. 15 For though you may have ten thousand ·teachers [guardians; tutors] in Christ, you do not have many fathers. [L For; Because] Through the ·Good News [Gospel] I became your father in Christ Jesus, 16 so I ·beg [urge; encourage; exhort] you, ·please follow my example [L be imitators of me]. 17 That is why I am sending to you Timothy, my ·dear [beloved] and faithful son in the Lord. He will ·help you remember [remind you about] my way of life in Christ Jesus, just as I teach it in all the churches everywhere.
18 Some of you have become ·proud [arrogant; puffed up], thinking that I will not come to you again. 19 But I will come to you very soon if the Lord ·wishes [wills; allows]. Then I will ·know [find out; learn] ·what the proud ones do, not what they say [L not just the talk/word of these arrogant people, but also their power], 20 because the kingdom of God ·is present [or consists] not in talk but in power. 21 Which do you want: that I come to you with ·punishment [L a rod] or with love and ·gentleness [or a gentle spirit]?