1 Corinthians Chapter 4

November 3, 2011

This Preaching in Shorts Bible study is on 1 Corinthians. Each chapter is read verse by verse with the major points highlighted and discussed.

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As we move into chapter 4, the Apostle Paul continues to deal with the problem of division in the church in Corinth.

1 Corinthians 4:1-21 (NIV)
1 So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. 2 Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. 3 I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. 4 My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God. 6 Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not take pride in one man over against another. 7 For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? 8 Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have become kings–and that without us! How I wish that you really had become kings so that we might be kings with you! 9 For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like men condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to men. 10 We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! 11 To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. 12 We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; 13 when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world. 14 I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn you, as my dear children. 15 Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. 16 Therefore I urge you to imitate me. 17 For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church. 18 Some of you have become arrogant, as if I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have. 20 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. 21 What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a whip, or in love and with a gentle spirit?

1 Corinthians 4:1-5

Paul reminds us that all who minister for Christ are responsible to Christ. They are to be under submission to Christ. He is the authority. As ministers entrusted with the secret things of God, (this refers to the message of the Cross which is known by the revelation of the Spirit)

1 Corinthians 2:7-10 (NIV)
7 No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”– 10 but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.

They are to be faithful in sharing the message. All of us have some impure motives, and ultimately it is Jesus who will deal with that in all of our lives. Because none of us is perfect, all of us have issues, we need to be careful not to exalt men. When we do, they disappoint us.

1 Corinthians 4:6-8

The biggest problem in the divisions they were facing?


The solution?


What does humility look like?

Philippians 2:5-11 (NIV)
5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

This pattern is marked first by humiliation (humility) which is followed by exaltation. The Corinthians (like most of us) want the exaltation part without first going through the humility part. We don’t want to deal with sickness, pain, and suffering, and yet the promise of no more sickness, no more suffering, no more pain is a future promise.

1 Corinthians 4:9-13

Paul isn’t saying that he likes dealing with the brokenness, he is just saying that it is part of the deal. The path to real life often feels like death. The Corinthians could not escape this process.

1 Corinthians 4:14-17

Paul tells them that they do not have many good examples to follow. So he encourages them to imitate his life. This is not Paul saying that he has everything figured out. He is saying that as he lives his life trying to follow the model of Christ, they should do that as well. Timothy has been doing this, so they can also look to him for help in this area.

1 Corinthians 4:18-21

Paul then addresses those who unfortunately refuse to repent and will remain stuck in their pride. Paul reminds them that the Spirit of God is more than able to deal with these people, and that when Paul comes back, they will be dealt with. The last two verses sum this up very well:

1 Corinthians 4:20-21 (NIV)
20 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. 21 What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a whip, or in love and with a gentle spirit?

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2 thankful5(s) and/or Comments

  1. Ruth Koson says:

    Pastor Steve,

    What can I say? It is a blessing to be here in my cabin in the Forest and still maintain hearing my all time favorite preacher/teacher from the Vineyard movement which I consider to be closer to true Christianity than what I have seen in other Churches. Thank-you so much for your preaching in shorts! I am sure that I am not the only one who is reaching out and being touched in a special way watching your video’s. I just can’t seem to find a Church that I want to go to in the area and unfortunately, my little family does not want to go at all due to what “man” created and the crisis that moved us from the keys. I feel blessed and internally happy and I get it whether or not, others do or they don’t! Thank-you for your example and letting Christ work through you to help others. Your family has been a true blessing! Have a wonderday day and weekend, brother.

    Sister Ruth :-)

  2. Ruth Koson says:

    Also, West Plains, Missouri could use a Vineyard so bad! There are no Vineyard’s anywhere in the area. I would be willing to help in any way that I can to get one started here and I know that is saying a lot! I am only saying that I would help whoever would do it and of course, I can not do it alone, but a Vineyard Church in this area would probably take off well as it is much needed. Just another comment, but it would be my prayer that someone would read it and make it happen! Off to pray for this.

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