The Ministry of Apostles
Let a man so consider us, as ministers of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Now furthermore what is required among stewards, is that one be found faithful. But to me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you, or by a human court. Indeed, I do not even judge myself. For I am conscious of nothing, but I have not been justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord. So then judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who also will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make clear the purposes of the hearts. Then each one's praise shall come from God.
Now these things, brothers, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, in order that you may learn in us not to think above what is written, and that none of you may become arrogant in behalf of one against the other. For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? And if you did indeed receive what you have, why do you boast as though you did not receive it?
You are already full! You are already rich! You have reigned as kings without us; and I wish that indeed you did reign, in order that we also might reign with you! For I think that God has exhibited us, the apostles, last, as men appointed to death; for we have become 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 lauded, but we are despised! 11 Even unto this present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are naked, 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 encourage; we have become as the sweepings of the world, the offscouring of all things, to this day.
14 I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I admonish you. 15 For though you might have ten thousand tutors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. 16 Therefore I exhort you, be imitators of me. 17 Because of this I sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church.
18 Now some have become arrogant, as though I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you quickly, if the Lord wills, and I will know, not the word of those who are arrogant, but the power. 20 For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. 21 What do you desire? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love, and a spirit of gentleness?