Christian Basics Bible Sampler - Page 17

page 1307 • 1 Corinthians 4
“He traps the wise
in the snare of their own cleverness.”*
And again,
“The Lord knows the thoughts of the
he knows they are worthless.”*
So don’t boast about following a partic­
ular human leader. For every­thing belongs
to you—22 whether Paul or Apol­los or Pe­ter,*
or the world, or life and death, or the pres­
ent and the future. Everything belongs to
you, 23 and you belong to Christ, and Christ
belongs to God.
Paul’s Relationship with the Corinthians
So look at Apol­los and me as mere ser­
vants of Christ who have been put in
charge of explaining God’s mysteries. 2Now,
a person who is put in charge as a manager
must be faithful. 3 As for me, it matters very
little how I might be evaluated by you or by
any human authority. I don’t even trust my
own judgment on this point. 4My conscience
is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is
the Lord himself who will examine me and
So don’t make judgments about anyone
ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For
he will bring our darkest secrets to light and
will reveal our private motives. Then God
will give to each one whatever praise is due.
Dear brothers and sisters,* I have used
Apol­los and myself to illustrate what I’ve
been saying. If you pay attention to what
I have quoted from the Scriptures,* you
won’t be proud of one of your leaders at the
expense of another. 7 For what gives you the
right to make such a judgment? What do
you have that God hasn’t given you? And if
every­thing you have is from God, why boast
as though it were not a gift?
You think you already have every­thing
you need. You think you are already rich.
You have begun to reign in God’s kingdom
without us! I wish you real­ly were reigning
already, for then we would be reigning with
you. 9Instead, I sometimes think God has put
us apostles on display, like prisoners of war
at the end of a victor’s parade, condemned
to die. We have become a spectacle to the
entire world—to people and angels alike.
Our dedication to Christ makes us look
like fools, but you claim to be so wise in
Christ! We are weak, but you are so powerful!
You are honored, but we are ridiculed.
3:16 Or among. 
3:19 Job 5:13. 3:20 Ps 94:11. 3:22 Greek
4:6a Greek Brothers. 
4:6b Or If you learn not to go
beyond “what is written.” 
Paul’s commendation of his spiritual son Timothy as a “faithful child in the
Lord” (1 Corinthians 4:17) brings home to us the importance of faithfulness in
the Christian life. Faithfulness is one of God’s own characteristics, noted in
Scripture again and again (e.g., Exodus 34:6; Deuteronomy 7:9; 32:4; Psalm 89:8;
1 Corinthians 1:9; 10:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:24; 2 Timothy 2:13). It is not surprising
therefore that God calls his children to demonstrate this same kind of faithfulness,
both to him (e.g., Joshua 24:14) and to one another (e.g., Hebrews 13:4).
Faithfulness is about being loyal and true in all we say and do. It finds expression
in things like keeping our promises, fulfilling our obligations, telling the truth,
serving others even when it costs us, being honest and reliable in the workplace,
and handling money with absolute integrity (especially when we are handling it on
behalf of others). The story of Ruth is a wonderful example of selfless faithfulness
to others, demonstrated even at cost to herself (e.g., Ruth 1:16-17). Faithfulness
in marriage—something often neglected in our modern world—is particularly
demanded of God’s people (e.g., Malachi 2:13-16; Hebrews 13:4).
If we do not live as faithful people in every part of our lives, it seriously
undermines our message that God is faithful and is always there for people. If
they cannot see faithfulness in us, whom they can see, why should they believe
in a faithful God whom they cannot see?

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