1 Corinthians 4:1-5 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but He that judgeth me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God. KJV
Paul just finished saying to them that “no man boast or glory in men” and now he opens up here to these Corinthian believers declaring to them his status or position before God and them. Paul as we stated recently was tremendously grieved by the Corinthians attaching so much lofty status to him, Apollos, or Peter. The idea that he was some sort of super saint simply because he was an Apostle troubled Paul. So now after explaining to them or reminding them of the great privilege they have been granted by God being adopted by Him as sons and daughters through our Lord Jesus Christ being drawn by the Holy Spirit, Paul continues to put things in proper perspective for them by making clear to them who he, Apollos, and Peter truly are. Paul says, “Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God” (1 Corinthians 4:1) KJV. Paul uses the English word “account” to speak of how he, Apollos, and Peter should be understood or described and this word is translated by the Greek word logizomai which means to take an inventory; to reckon, count, compute, calculate, or conclude. This word logizomai is the same word Paul used when writing to the brothers and sisters in Rome declaring to them “our freedom from sin” that we are empowered to live under now that we are “in Christ”, as it is written, Romans 6:11 Likewise reckon (logizomai) ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. KJV
Paul says take an inventory of who I am in the sight of God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ and then Paul says that conclusion should be of him as nothing more or less than a “minister” of Christ. This English word minister is translated by the Greek word huperetes which means servant an under rower or under oarsman, subordinate rower or anyone who serves with hands; someone under another of inferior position or condition. Paul, Apollos, and Peter are merely under shepherds of our Lord Jesus Christ (The Chief Shepherd) and are never to be elevated or lifted up to any lofty status or position and that is the reason for Paul’s statement of “let no one boast in men” (1 Corinthians 3:21). Paul then concludes his “account” of himself, Apollos, and Peter as being “stewards” of the mysteries of God. The English word steward is translated by the Greek word oikonomos which means the manager of household or of household affairs especially a steward, manager, superintendent (whether free-born or as was usually the case, a freed-man or a slave) to whom the head of the house or proprietor has entrusted the management of his affairs, the care of receipts and expenditures, and the duty of dealing out the proper portion to every servant and even to the children not yet of age the manager of a farm or landed estate, an overseer the superintendent of the city’s finances, the treasurer of a city (or of treasurers or quaestors of kings); metaphorically the apostles and other Christian teachers and bishops and overseers.
Paul knew his place before our Lord Jesus Christ even if these Corinthian believers did not. Paul was simply managing the affairs of our Lord Jesus Christ down here upon the earth and he thought of himself in no great prideful or arrogant way that would make him see himself as entitled (as the false teachers did then and continue to do today). Paul proves that this was the desire of his heart and expressed in his actions by saying this, “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2) KJV The English phrase “it is required” is translated from the Greek word zeteo which means to seek in order to find, to seek a thing, to seek [in order to find out] by thinking, meditating, reasoning, to enquire into, to seek after, seek for, aim at, strive after to seek i.e. require, demand, to crave, demand something from someone. Paul’s one desire was to be found honoring our Lord Jesus Christ with his life every single day and he took it so serious that he said this later in this letter, “I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27) NKJV. Paul uses the English word “faithful” and it is translated by the Greek word pistos which means to be trustworthy; trustful; sure; true or one worthy of trust that can be relied on easily. Paul wanted his life to be lived in this manner before our Lord Jesus Christ because he recognized that when all was said and done he had an appointment with our Lord Jesus at His Judgment seat (2 Corinthians 5:10) (see article entitled “Give an Account” http://www.faithwriters.com/article-details.php?id=91341).
Paul knew that even his own “judgment” of himself would be flawed because he is a fallen man and even though he declared himself the “least of the Apostles” (1 Corinthians 15:9) and the “least of all the saints” (Ephesians 3:8) in saying such things of himself it would appear to show forth his humility, but Paul knows our Lord Jesus sees “in us” what we could never see wrong or wanting in ourselves and therefore, His Judgment alone is sure, solid, and sound with no partiality shown to anyone, not even the Apostle Paul or Apollos or Peter. As Paul declared to the believers in Rome in his letter to them in Romans 2:16, so again he does here to the Corinthian believers that our Lord Jesus sees all of our motives and intentions for everything we say and do and Paul declares it with these words which also give credence and acceptance to the way he lived his life with such vigilance, virtue, and vitality knowing that he would receive the final examination above all examinations, 1 Corinthians 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God. KJV
“At the most the ministers or teachers of God’s Gospel are but stewards of the hidden things of God, according to Matthew 13:51-52. They ought not to attract attention to themselves or to the way they purvey their Master’s goods. Their prime object is to be faithful to their trust; to make much of the Master and as little as possible of themselves. Paul was not aware that he had violated his Master’s confidence, but he could not be content till he had heard the Master’s verdict on his life-work. Notice the four courts of appeal-my own judgment, your judgment, man’s judgment, and Christ’s. The Master will reverse many human judgments, but all will bear witness to the absolute justice of His verdict.” F. B. Meyer
“The stewards in Christ’s family must appoint what He hath appointed. They must not set their fellow-servants to work for themselves. They must not require any thing from them without their Master’s warrant. They must not feed them with the chaff of their own inventions, instead of the wholesome food of Christian doctrine and truth. They must teach what He hath commanded, and not the doctrines and commandments of men. They must be true to the interest of their Lord, and consult His honour.” Matthew Henry
“Paul may appear to many “modern day” believers as some sort of radical fanatic when he talks about “beating his own body into submission” or “enslaving his own body” (1 Corinthians 9:27), but Paul knew who his true audience consisted of and he sought to please Him above all others, even if it meant he was misunderstood and that is the same way I want to be as I sojourn and go about my pilgrimage as the alien my Lord Jesus Christ has made me, no matter the consequences.” Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reade, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…