So look at Apollos and me as mere servants of Christ who have been put in charge of explaining God’s mysteries. Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful. As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authorit y. I don’t even trust my own judgment on this point. My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord Himself who will examine me and decide. 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.1 Corinthians 4:1-5
ministers [ὑπηρετης means an under-rower] of Christ and stewards [οικονομους] of the mysteries of God
Ministers of Christ – The word means one who rowed the Roman galley from one of the lower decks (third, fourth or fifth level). The inference here is that of an inferior officer or assistant. Paul is meaning that they, Paul or Apollos or any other, are far from being heads or chiefs, rather they considered themselves as inferior officers. Those who minister from the lower decks. They are merely servants and subservient to Christ Himself. This puts in context the Corinthians esteem for one above another. It all becomes nonsense and human trivia in the light of Christ and His glory.
Stewards of the mysteries of God – The steward, or oikonomos, was the master’s deputy or manager, overseer or treasurer who regulated the concerns of the family. He received all the money and kept exact accounts, which he was obliged at certain times to lay before the master. They are not to be seen as the bosses or the ones in the know, but rather dispensers of the treasures that God has revealed.
The mysteries are the same mysteries Paul referred to in 1 Cor 2:7. Yes, the doctrines of God related to the salvation of the world by the passion and death of the Christ; the inspiration and revelation of the soul by the Spirit of Christ, the Divine treasure entrusted to the stewards by their heavenly Master. The minister’s office is to preach or explain “the mysteries or the deep truths of God.
1 Cor 4:2 “Moreover here” (that is, on earth). The contrast is between man’s stewardship and God’s way (1 Cor_4:3). Here below the steward must be found faithful on the day. What day? Man’s day, when man passes judgement? No, on that great day when the Lord passes judgement. The Corinthians showed their partiality or preferences for certain teachers whereas what God requires in His stewards or earthly stewards is faithfulness. The difference is that God’s stewards wait not for man’s judgment (i.e. the Corinthians partiality) but the testing which shall be the Lord’s. In that context Paul says it doesn’t matter if Paul is evaluated by the Corinthians or any human authority. He doesn’t even trust his own evaluation of himself on this matter. What matters is what God has to say about it.
God looks inside and knows the inner motivations, the private thoughts, the darkest secrets. God will hand out the praise and commendation that really counts. Not what the Corinthians have to offer. Now that is what matters! Paul is making light of himself and his fellow ministers in the light of Christ. Furthermore he is setting the Corinthians judgements in the right light as well: Totally irrelevant as they really know nothing. They are judging on the wrong basis. As he has demonstrated above, they are still at first base in awareness of reality. When they should be more mature and have depth in their evaluations they are far from it. All of Paul comments should tell the Corinthians where their judgements really are. Totally baseless and irrelevant.
Everyone is ignorant – just on different subjects.Will Rogers
God allows in his wisdom what he could easily prevent by his power.A R Bernard
God has called us to pray for each other, not prey on each other.Francis Frangipane