1 People should look at us as men who are servants of Christ. We take care of the secret things of God.
2 A man who takes care of things must be a person his master can trust.
3 As for me, I care very little what you think about me or how any man judges me. I do not even judge myself.
4 I do not know of anything wrong in me, but that does not say I am right. The Lord is my judge.
5 So do not judge me before it is time. Wait until the Lord comes. The things which have been kept hidden in the dark he will bring out into the light. He will show what is in peoples hearts. At that time God will tell each man how good his work is.
6 My brothers, I have said these things about Apollos and myself so that you will learn from us to live the way the holy writings say. Then you will not be proud and say, This teacher is better than that one.
7 If you are better, who made you that way? Everything you have was given to you. So then, why are you proud of it? Was it not given to you?
8 So you think you now have everything you need and are rich! You think you are kings and do not need us! I wish that you really were kings. Then we would be kings along with you.
9 It seems to me that God has put us apostles at the end of the line. We are like men who are to be put to death. The whole world, angels and men, look at us.
10 We are fools for Christs sake! But you think Christ has made you wise. We are weak, but you are strong! You have glory, we have shame!
11 Even now we are hungry and thirsty. We need clothes. We are beaten and we have no home.
12 We work hard with our hands. People curse us, but we bless them. They trouble us much, but we must take it.
13 They talk behind our backs, but we still try to win them. People treat us as a dirt pile, the rubbish of the world. And they still do these things.
14 I do not write these things to make you ashamed. But you are my dear children and I want to teach you.
15 Even if you have ten thousand people to take care of you as Christians, yet you do not have many fathers. I am your Christian father because I brought you the good news.
16 So I beg you, do as I do.
17 That is why I am sending Timothy to you. I love Timothy very much. He is my Christian son. I can trust him. He will tell you again my Christian ways of living. I teach these same ways in every church meeting everywhere.
18 Some of you are proud of yourselves. You think I am not coming to visit you.
19 But I will come soon if it is the Lords will. Then I will find, not the talk of those proud people, but their power.
20 The place where God rules is not a matter of talk, but of power.
21 Which do you want? Shall I come to you with a stick to beat you, or shall I come with love and a kind spirit?