1 Let any man look upon us as servants of Christ, and stewards of the secret truths of God. 2 Now it is required of stewards, that a man be found faithful. 3 But to me it matters very little that I am judged by you, or by any earthly court. 4 Indeed I do not even judge myself; for though I know nothing against myself, yet that does not vindicate me; for he who judges me is the Lord. 5 So make no hasty judgment until the Lord come, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make plain the purpose of men's hearts. Then each man's due praise will come to him from God.
6 Now these things, brothers, I have applied in a figure to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that in us you might learn not to go beyond what is written; that none of you be puffed up for the one, against the other. 7 For who makes you a differ, brother? Or what have you that you did not receive? But if you did receive it, why are you boasting as if you had not received it? 8 But you, forsooth, are already full, are you? You are already rich? Without us you are already reigning? Yes, and I would that you did reign, so that we also might reign with you. 9 But it seems to me that God has exhibited us apostles, last of all, like men doomed to death; for we are made a spectacle to the whole world, both to men and to angels. 10 For Christ's sake we are fools, but you are quite philosophic in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong; you are honorable, but we are outcast. 11 Even to his very hour we are enduring hunger and thirst and nakedness and blows. 12 Homeless men, we toil, working with our own hands. 13 When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when defamed, we conciliate. We have been made, as it were, scum-o'-the-earth, the very refuse of the world, to this very hour!
14 I am not writing this to shame you, but to admonish you, as my beloved children. 15 For though you have ten thousand tutors in Christ Jesus, you can have but one father. For in Christ Jesus I begot you through the gospel. 16 I beg you then to imitate my example. 17 With this in mind I have sent Timothy to you. He is my dear and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ; the manner in which I ever teach everywhere in every church. 18 Now some are puffed up, as though I were not coming to you. 19 But come to you I will, and that soon, if it please the Lord, and then I shall learn not the talk of these boasters, but their power. 20 For the kingdom of God is not in talk, but in power. 21 Which do you want? Am I to come to you with a rod, or in a loving and tender spirit?