1 Corinthians 4


1 Corinthians 4:5

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; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.

Wait until the Lord comes; see entry for 1 Cor. 1:7.


1 Corinthians 4:12

and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure;

Working with our own hands. When Paul first came to Corinth he supported himself by making tents (Acts 18:3). Paul worked day and night in order not to be a burden to small and young churches (1 Th. 2:9, 2 Th. 3:8).


1 Corinthians 4:14

I do not write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children.

Beloved children. The original word (agapetos) means dearly loved, esteemed, favorite and worthy of love. It is closely related to a verb (agapao) that means to be well pleased or fond of or contented. This word captures God’s heart for you. Your heavenly Father is fond of you. You are his esteemed favorite and he is well pleased with you. He looks at you with a feeling of deep contentment knowing that you are his dearly loved child. All the epistle writers referred to believers as the beloved or dearly-loved children of God (see entry for Rom. 1:7).


1 Corinthians 4:15

For if you were to have countless tutors in Christ, yet you would not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.

(a) I became your father through the gospel. Paul had no interest in worldly wealth that rusts and fades away. He desired spiritual offspring. As a result of his labor he became a father to the Corinthians, and he called men like Timothy and Onesimus his sons in the Lord (1 Tim. 1:2, Phm. 1:10).

(b) The gospel refers to the gospel of Christ or the gospel of God or the gospel of the kingdom. These are all different labels for what Paul referred to as “my gospel” or the gospel of grace. See entry for The Gospel.


1 Corinthians 4:20

For the kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power.

Any false apostle or teacher can talk a good line, but the evidence of the gospel is the supernatural power to save, heal, and deliver people (Rom. 1:17). Wherever Paul travelled, lives were transformed. People were added to the kingdom of God, sick people were healed, and the oppressed were set free (2 Cor. 12:12).


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