1 This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you, or by any human court; I do not even judge myself. 4 I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not acquitted by this. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men's hearts. Then every man will receive his praise from God.
6 Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that in us you may learn not to go beyond what is written, so that no one of you will become arrogant in favor of one against the other. 7 For who regards you as different? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? 8 You are already filled! You have already become rich! You have become kings without us! And indeed, I wish that you had become kings so that we also might reign with you. 9 For, I think that God has exhibited us apostles last of all, like men condemned to death; because 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 distinguished, but we are without honor. 11 To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and we are poorly clothed, and roughly treated, and homeless; 12 and we toil, working with our own hands. When we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; 13 when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become, and are now, as the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.
14 I do not write this to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15 For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. 16 Therefore I urge you, be imitators of me. 17 For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, and he will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, just 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 soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out, not the words of these arrogant people, but their power. 20 For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. 21 What do you desire? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love and a spirit of gentleness?