4 Let a man so appraise us as being subordinates*+ of Christ and stewards+ of sacred secrets+ of God. 2 Besides, in this case, what is looked for in stewards*+ is for a man to be found faithful.+ 3 Now to me it is a very trivial matter that I should be examined by YOU or by a human tribunal.*+ Even I do not examine myself. 4 For I am not conscious+ of anything against myself. Yet by this I am not proved righteous, but he that examines me is Jehovah.*+ 5 Hence do not judge+ anything before the due time, until the Lord comes,+ who will both bring the secret things of darkness to light+ and make the counsels of the hearts manifest,+ and then each one will have his praise come to him* from God.+
6 Now, brothers, these things I have transferred so as to apply to myself and A·polʹlos+ for YOUR good, that in our case YOU may learn the [rule]: “Do not go beyond the things that are written,”+ in order that YOU may not be puffed up+ individually in favor of the one against the other.+ 7 For who makes you to differ+ from another? Indeed, what do you have that you did not receive?+ If, now, you did indeed receive [it],+ why do you boast+ as though you did not receive [it]?
8 YOU men already have YOUR fill, do YOU? YOU are rich already, are YOU?+ YOU have begun ruling as kings+ without us, have YOU? And I wish indeed that YOU had begun ruling as kings, that we also might rule with YOU as kings.+ 9 For it seems to me that God has put us the apostles last on exhibition+ as men appointed to death,+ because we have become a theatrical spectacle*+ to the world, and to angels,+ and to men.*+ 10 We are fools+ because of Christ, but YOU are discreet+ in Christ; we are weak,+ but YOU are strong;+ YOU are in good repute,+ but we are in dishonor.*+ 11 Down to this very hour we continue to hunger+ and also to thirst+ and to be scantily clothed*+ and to be knocked+ about and to be homeless+ 12 and to toil,+ working with our own hands.+ When being reviled, we bless;+ when being persecuted, we bear up;+ 13 when being defamed, we entreat;+ we have become as the refuse of the world, the offscouring of all things, until now.+
14 I am writing these things, not to shame YOU, but to admonish YOU as my beloved children.+ 15 For though YOU may have ten thousand tutors+ in Christ, [YOU] certainly [do] not [have] many fathers;+ for in Christ Jesus I have become YOUR father through the good news.+ 16 I entreat YOU, therefore, become imitators of me.+ 17 That is why I am sending Timothy to YOU,+ as he is my beloved and faithful child+ in [the] Lord; and he will put YOU in mind of my methods in connection with Christ Jesus,*+ just as I am teaching everywhere in every congregation.
18 Some are puffed up+ as though I were in fact not coming to YOU. 19 But I will come to YOU shortly, if Jehovah* wills,+ and I shall get to know, not the speech of those who are puffed up, but [their] power. 20 For the kingdom of God [lies] not in speech, but in power.+ 21 What do YOU want? Shall I come to YOU with a rod,+ or with love and mildness of spirit?+