1. Let everyone then see us as the servants of Christ and stewards of the secret works of God.
2. Being stewards, faithfulness shall be demanded of us;
3. but I do not mind if you or any human court judges me. I do not even judge myself;
4. my conscience indeed does not accuse me of anything, but that is not enough for me to be set right with God: the Lord is the one who judges me.
5. Therefore, do not judge before the time, until the coming of the Lord. He will bring to light whatever was hidden in darkness and will disclose the secret intentions of the hearts. Then each one will receive praise from God.
6. Brothers and sisters, you forced me to apply these comparisons to Apollos and to myself. Learn by this example not to believe yourselves superior by siding with one against the other.
7. How then are you more than the others? What have you that you have not received? And if you received it, why are you proud, as if you did not receive it?
8. So, then, you are already rich and satisfied, and feel like kings without us! I wish you really were kings, so that we might enjoy the kingship with you!
9. It seems to me that God has placed us, the apostles, in the last place, as if condemned to death, and as spectacles for the whole world, for the angels as well as for mortals.
10. We are fools for Christ, while you show forth the wisdom of Christ. We are weak, you are strong. You are honored, while we are despised.
11. Until now we hunger and thirst, we are poorly clothed and badly treated, while moving from place to place.
12. We labor, working with our hands. People insult us and we bless them, they persecute us and we endure everything;
13. they speak evil against us, and ours are works of peace. We have become like the scum of the earth, like the garbage of humankind until now.
14. I do not write this to shame you, but to warn you as very dear children.
15. Because even though you may have ten thousand guardians in the Christian life, you have only one father; and it was I who gave you life in Christ through the Gospel.
16. Therefore I pray you to follow my example.
17. With this purpose I send to you Timothy, my dear and trustworthy son in the service of the Lord. He will remind you of my way of Christian life, as I teach it in all churches everywhere.
18. Some of you thought that I could not visit you and became very arrogant.
19. But I will visit you soon, the Lord willing, and I will see, not what those arrogant people say, but what they can do.
20. Because the kingdom of God is not a matter of words, but of power.
21. What do you prefer, for me to come with a stick or with love and gentleness?