Chapter Four OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER 1) To learn further how we should regard preachers and teachers 2) To learn a lesson in humility by observing the examples of the apostles SUMMARY With this chapter Paul brings to a conclusion his treatment of the problem of division as it existed in the church at Corinth. He describes the proper estimate one should have of those who serve God, and why we should leave the ultimate evaluation of such men to God (1-5). Having already used himself and Apollos as examples to help them see the errors of their arrogance (cf. "puffed up"), Paul also uses the example of the apostles in a passage filled with irony (6-13). His purpose is not to shame them, but to warn them, for he is sending Timothy to remind them of what is proper, and he himself is coming to deal with those who are "puffed up", if necessary (14-21). OUTLINE I. THE PROPER ESTIMATE OF PAUL & OTHERS (1-5) A. SERVANTS & STEWARDS (1-2) 1. Servants of Christ, stewards of the mysteries of God (1) 2. Their chief responsibility: faithfulness (2) B. THE PROPER JUDGE OF SUCH THINGS (3-5) 1. Not Christians, or any human court (3a) 2. Not even one's own self, but rather, the Lord (3b-4) 3. Therefore leave it up to Him (5) II. LESSONS IN HUMILITY (6-13) A. PAUL & APOLLOS ALREADY USED AS EXAMPLES (6) 1. To learn in them not to think beyond what is written (6a) 2. That none be "puffed up" on behalf of one against the other (6b) B. REBUKE IN THE FORM OF IRONY (7-8) 1. For they act as though they were the source of what they have (7) 2. With irony, Paul rebukes them (8) C. THE EXAMPLE OF THE APOSTLES (9-13) 1. Made a "spectacle" to the world (9) 2. Contrasted with the pride of the Corinthians, using more irony (10) 3. The plight of the apostles (11-13) III. PAUL'S PURPOSE IN WRITING THESE THINGS (14-21) A. NOT TO SHAME, BUT TO WARN (14-16) 1. Those whom he considers as beloved children (14) 2. Those whom he has begotten through the gospel (15) 3. Those whom he charges to imitate him (16) B. TO COMPLEMENT VISITS BY TIMOTHY AND HIMSELF (17-21) 1. He is sending Timothy to remind them (17) 2. He himself will soon come, Lord willing, to deal with those who are "puffed up" (18-21) REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER 1) List the main points of this chapter - The Proper Estimate Of Paul And Others (1-5) - Lessons In Humility (6-13) - Paul's Purpose In Writing (14-21) 2) What two terms properly describe preachers of the gospel? (1) - Servants of Christ - Stewards of the mysteries of God 3) Who is to be the judge of those who serve the Lord? (3-5) - The Lord 4) Why was Paul writing these things? (6) - That none be "puffed up" on behalf of one against the other 5) What technique did Paul use in teaching lessons about humility? (8,10) - Irony 6) Who did Paul use as an example of humility? (9-13) - The apostles 7) Why was Paul writing these things to them? (14) - To warn those he loved 8) How had Paul become like a "father" to them? (15) - Through teaching them the gospel by which they had been "begotten" in Christ Jesus 9) Why was he sending Timothy to them? (17) - To remind them of Paul's ways in Christ 10) What one phrase is used repeatedly in this chapter to describe some at Corinth? (6,18,19) - "puffed up" 11) What choices did Paul leave them as to how he might come to them? (21) - With a rod - In love and a spirit of gentleness
Stewards of the mysteries of God
[1Co 4:1-21 NKJV] 1 Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one's praise will come from God.
Fools for Christ's sake
6 Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other. 7 For who makes you differ [from another]? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive [it], why do you boast as if you had not received [it]? 8 You are already full! You are already rich! You have reigned as kings without us--and indeed I could wish you did reign, that we also might reign with you! 9 For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. 10 We [are] fools for Christ's sake, but you [are] wise in Christ! We [are] weak, but you [are] strong! You [are] distinguished, but we [are] dishonored! 11 To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. 12 And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; 13 being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now.
Paul's paternal care
14 I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn [you]. 15 For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet [you do] not [have] many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. 16 Therefore I urge you, imitate me. 17 For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church. 18 Now some are puffed up, as though I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills, and I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power. 20 For the kingdom of God [is] not in word but in power. 21 What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness?