1 So let a man think of us as ministers of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 And the rest, it is sought among stewards that one be found faithful. 3 But to me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you, or by a man's day; but I do not judge my own self, 4 for I know nothing by myself. Yet I have not been justified by this, but He who judges me is the Lord. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts. And then shall each one have praise of God.
6 And these things, brothers, I have in a figure transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that you might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, so that no one of you may be puffed up against one another. 7 For who makes you to differ from another? And 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 Already you are full! Already you are rich! You have reigned as kings without us! And oh that indeed you did reign, that we also might reign with you. 9 For I think that God has set forth us last, the apostles, as it were appointed to death; for we have become a spectacle to the world and 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 honorable, but we are despised. 11 Even until this present hour we both hunger and thirst and are naked and are buffeted and have no certain dwelling place. 12 And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it; 13 being defamed, we entreat. We are made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now.
14 I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you. 15 For though you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for I have begotten you in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 16 Therefore I beseech you, be imitators of me. 17 For this cause I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved son and faithful in the Lord, who shall remind you of my ways which are in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church. 18 As to my not coming to you now, some are puffed up. 19 But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills. And I will not know the speech of those who are puffed up, 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 the spirit of meekness?