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But with me it is a very small thing ° that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.
Therefore judge nothing ° before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.
And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.
For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?
Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us: and I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you.
For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.
And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:
Being defamed, we entreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.
But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power.
What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

4:2 required in stewards. Christian stewards are “stewards of the mysteries of God” (I Corinthians 4:1), and “stewards of the manifold grace of God” (I Peter 4:10). God expects His stewards to be faithful in these responsibilities, not fruitful. Any fruit to be borne as we testify to His grace and share the Biblical explanations of the great mysteries of God is His responsibility, for God gives the increase.

4:5 before the time. “The time” is “the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Corinthians 1:8) and “the day [that] shall declare it” (I Corinthians 3:13). At that time, at Christ’s judgment seat, “shall every man have praise [literally “his praise”] of God.” Not even Paul was qualified to judge himself (I Corinthians 4:3); the Lord will judge each of us in that day, regardless of man’s judgment.

4:9 spectacle. The word is better translated “theater;” in its only other occurrence in the New Testament, this word is so translated (Acts 19:29,31). It is sobering, as well as amazing, to realize that Christians—especially Christian leaders, such as Paul and the apostles—are on a stage, as it were, being carefully watched by an audience which even includes the angels. Compare similar intimations of an angelic audience in Ephesians 3:10; I Corinthians 11:10, I Peter 1:12.

4:13 Being defamed, we intreat. Bible-believing Christians—especially literal creationists—are constantly being vilified by the media and by self-appointed spokesmen of the academic and educational establishments. But the proper way to respond is given in Christ’s response to more intense opposition than we can ever face (I Peter 2:21-23). Note also Matthew 5:11,44).

4:16 followers of me. See note on Philippians 3:17.

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