Respect those people that work for Jesus
So when you think about me and Apollos, remember that we are just workers for Jesus Christ. You see, at first God didn’t tell anyone his message, but now he wants Apollos and me to tell that message to people. That is the special job that God gave us. And, you know, if a boss gives his worker an important job, the worker has to be careful to do it properly.
And when you mob think about me, maybe you think I’m doing a good job, or maybe not. Well, I don’t care what you think. I don’t care what anybody thinks about me. It doesn’t even matter what I think about myself. I reckon I haven’t done anything wrong, but that doesn’t make me right. You see, God is my judge, and I only care about what he thinks about me.
So I’m telling you, don’t judge people before the right time comes. You have to wait until our leader Jesus comes back again from heaven. He knows every secret. He will show everyone the secret things that people think about doing. And at that time God will praise each of his good workers, and he will say good things about them.
My Christian friends, I’ve been talking about Apollos and me, to help you to understand the things we teach you. You know that wise people say this, “Don’t do anything more than what is in God’s book.” We want to help you learn what that means. You see, nobody can say that one person is better than another person. You yourselves are no better than other people. God gave you everything that you have. So you can’t reckon that you are really smart, and that you got it for yourselves.
You think you know everything, and you think you don’t need to learn anything more, but you are wrong. You think that you are spiritually rich, but you are not. You think you have a lot of power, like you think you are big bosses, and you think that we haven’t got any power, but you are wrong again. You know, it would be good if you had God’s power so that you can be big bosses for him, and Apollos and me can be bosses with you, but that is not the way it is. No, I reckon it is like this. Even though we are Jesus’s special workers, God lets us look weak. You know how soldiers take prisoners out to kill them in a place where everybody can watch them die. Well, I reckon it is like that with us. God lets us look weak, like those prisoners, so that everyone on the earth, and in heaven too, can look at us. 10 They see that we work for Jesus Christ, and lots of people think we are fools. But you mob reckon you are different from us. You reckon you are really smart because you know Jesus Christ. Yes, everyone thinks we are weak, but you reckon you are strong. You reckon everyone has to respect you, but you don’t care if they respect us or not. 11 You see, the bad people of this world were always hard on us special workers, and they are still hard on us right up to now. We go hungry, and thirsty, and our clothes are old rags. We haven’t got anywhere to live. 12 We have to work hard all the time to get money for food. Some people swear at us and ask bad spirits to hurt us, but we just ask God to be good to them. If people are hard on us, we just put up with it.* 13 If people say bad things about us, we answer with good words. But people keep on treating us like we are the world’s worst rubbish.
14 I’m telling you all this to help you see that what you are doing is wrong. I’m not trying to shame you. You see, I love you like you are my own kids, and I want you to live the right way. 15 I’m like a father to you. I was the first person to tell you the good news about Jesus Christ, and he gave your spirits new life, so I’m your spiritual father on this earth. And even if you have lots of other people teaching you about God, I was the first person to tell you about him, so I’m the only one that is like your father in Christian things. 16 So I’m asking you to live the way I live, and to do the same sorts of things that I do.*
17 That is the reason why I sent Timothy to you. He will help you do that. He is like a son to me, and I love him very much. He always keeps on working properly for Jesus. He will help you remember the way I live for Jesus Christ. He will teach you the same things that I teach in every church everywhere.
18 You see, some of you reckon you are really great, and you say, “Paul is frightened to come back here.” 19 But you are wrong. I want to go back and visit you. So if our leader Jesus wants me to, I will do that soon. And then I will find out if you really have Gods power, or if you are just talking. 20 You see, if people are really in God’s family, they have God’s power, and they will live God’s way. They don’t just talk and keep on living the bad way.
21 So think about this. Will you keep on doing bad things, or will you stop? I am coming to you, and if I find you still doing bad things, I will punish you. Is that what you want? But if you stop doing bad things, I will love you, and I will be easy on you.
* 4:12 Acts 18:3 * 4:16 1 Corinthians 11:1; Philippians 3:17