The Book of 1 Corinthians Bible Study Chapter 4 Part 1

We are going to read 1 Cor 4:1-7
 
In this chapter Paul gives these individuals truth (a right/heavenly perspective) so that they can understand what they need to know in order to be valuable to G-d. Our value to G-d can be understood in two ways: we are valuable to Him (in and of ourselves) because of what Yeshua did for us on the cross, but we are also valuable to Him because we can be of use to Him – He has invested Himself (His plans and purposes) in His people. We are called the body of Messiah so that, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can carry out the ministry of Messiah on earth – setting things in order. However, if we are not in order ourselves, if we do not understand the things of G-d, then we cannot be a G-dly influence in the lives of others. 
 
v1: Us: Paul is speaking here about himself and his companions. 
·      Servants: This word in Greek is the same word used for ‘hired hands’ – Paul wanted the Corinthians to think of Paul etc as having been employed in order to assist them.  They weren’t working in this congregation for some personal objective, but they were there in G-d’s “employ”, for the spiritual benefit they would be to the Corinthians. 
·      Of Messiah: Paul was not employed by the Corinthians, and he did not take his orders from them – he was faithful to the truth of G-d and took his instructions from Messiah. Paul’s objective was to benefit this congregation, but his allegiance was to Messiah.
·      Stewards: A steward is the overall manager of a household. Paul was chosen, equipped and empowered by G-d to rule over these spiritual things for the betterment of this people.
·      Stewards of the mysteries (written in the plural) of G-d: One of the mysteries in the Scripture is the relationship between Messiah and the church (Eph 5:32). The church was a mystery that was not revealed to the prophets in the Old Testament. After Messiah’s work was complete there was a period of time (which time we are in right now – many call it the “church age” or the “time of the Gentiles” – Luke 21:24) in which the church was going to be used for G-d’s purposes. This was one of the mysteries that Paul was stewarding. Another mystery that Paul spoke often about was G-d’s future rescue of His church – the transformation that the church is going to go through at the time of the blessed hope or the rapture (1 Cor 15:51-53). 
 
v2: If someone (in this case the steward) has a position of oversight in managing the
things of G-d it is necessary for him to be found faithful. Faithfulness is foundational and is a response to the truth of G-d. A faithful person does not do what he thinks is right in his own eyes. A faithful person acts according to the truth, will and Word of G-d. 
·      Found faithful: Faithfulness is proved through testing. Faithful people have a track record of demonstrating the truth of G-d in their lives. 
 
v3: It is a small thing that I should be judged by you: Paul was not interested or concerned about people’s impressions of him.
·      Human court: He was not even concerned about what governmental authorities would have to say about what he was teaching. 
·      I do not even judge myself: In this verse Paul is not speaking about judging in terms of condemnation, he is speaking about influence. His teachings were not influenced by others, they weren’t even influenced by his own thoughts. He taught what G-d had revealed to him. As G-d’s steward he had to give account to G-d and no one else. 
 
v4: I know nothing against myself: Paul’s conscience was clear.
·      Yet I am not justified by this: A clear conscience wasn’t something that Paul was willing to stake his life on.
·      He who judges me is the L-rd: Paul submitted to the mind of G-d, the revelation he received from G-d. G-d’s evaluation of Paul was more important than the evaluation of himself or the evaluation of others. Paul lived to please the L-rd. 
 
v5: Judge nothing before the time: Don’t jump to a conclusion prematurely (we don’t reach a conclusion in the first half of a game. It is only when that final whistle blows that we know who the winners or losers are). 
·      Bring to light the hidden things of darkness: People often reach a conclusion before they have all the information – there are hidden things that they don’t take into consideration. Yeshua renders judgment upon not only what is presented but also upon those things that are held back – the hidden things. 
·      Counsels: The intentions. Not only are our actions and words going to be called into account but also our intentions – why we did what we did. The L-rd judges thoroughly and completely.
·      Each one’s praise will come from G-d: He is Judge and it’s only the things that He sees as praiseworthy that are truly good, right or correct. 
 
v6: Brethren: Paul did not see this congregation as below him, but he saw them as fellow servants. Paul and the Corinthians were on the same level before G-d. 
·      Figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos: The same things Paul expected of them he also expected of himself and Apollos. He didn’t follow a different set of standards to them. 
·      That you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written: All of us should think according to the truth of Messiah – and this truth is found in Scripture. We must NOT think beyond what the Scripture clearly says. If G-d doesn’t address something in the Word, then neither should we. 
·      Puffed up…one against the other: When we put ourselves above someone else this leads to vanity and pride. This is not the way we have been called to behave. We have been called to love others in the way that we love ourselves. We need to be mindful to build others up and not tear them down. 
 
v7: Who makes you differ from one another?: This is talking about those who want to make a distinction between themselves and other people (set themselves above others) – this is not a right way of thinking. 
·      What do you have that you did not receive? Everything we have that’s good and pleasing to G-d we have received from Him. Nothing that’s praiseworthy or pleasing to G-d originates with man. It is all from Him. 
·      Why do you glory as if you had not received it?: Why do we act differently or better than someone else as though we hadn’t received it from G-d? Why do we act as if we earned it ourselves….is what Paul is saying here. 

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