4 This is the way any person is to regard us: as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.2 In this case, moreover, it is required [a]of stewards that one be found trustworthy.3 But to me it is an insignificant matter that I would be examined by you, or by any human [b]court; in fact, I do not even examine myself.4 For I am not aware of anything against myself; however I am not vindicated by this, but the one who examines me is the Lord.5 Therefore do not go on [c]passing judgment before [d]the time, but waituntil the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of human hearts; and then praise will come to each person from God.
6 Now these things, brothers and sisters, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos on your account, so that in us you may learn not to exceed what is written, so that no one of you will become [e]arrogant in behalf of one against the other.7 For who considers you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?
8 You are already filled, you have already become rich, you have become kings without us; and indeed, I wish that you had become kings so that we also might reign with you!9 For I think, God has exhibited us, the apostles, last of all as men condemned to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to mankind.10 We are fools on account of Christ, but you are prudent in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are without honor!11 Up to this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed and roughly treated and homeless;12 and we labor, working with our own hands; when we are verbally abused, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it;13 when we are slandered, we [f]reply as friends; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now.
14 I do not write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children.15 For if you were to have countless tutors in Christ, yet you would not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.16 Therefore I urge you, be imitators of me.17 For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, and he will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, just as I teach everywhere in every church.18 Now some have become [g]arrogant, as though I were not coming to you.19 But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I shall find out, not the [h]words of those who are arrogant, but their power.20 For the kingdom of God is not in [i]words, but in power.21 What do you desire? That I come to you with a rod, or with love and a spirit of gentleness?
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