1 Corinthians 4

Talks for Growing Christians

Paul Exhorts the Corinthians Not to Judge or Boast

1 Corinthians 4

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Lesson Number 5

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Everything we do will be reviewed, so don’t judge now.
  2. Everything we have has been received, so don’t boast now.
  3. Everything we are is being reviled, so don’t reign now.

Practical Application

  1. Can we say as Paul said, “Imitate me”?


  1. Why is Paul’s epistle to the Corinthians good for us to study today?
  2. What does it mean to be a steward of the mysteries of God?
  3. What was Paul’s point in mentioning Apollos in verse 6?
  4. What tone was Paul using when he wrote verses 8-10?
  5. Why did Paul want to warn the Corinthians that he was coming to see them?


  1. Because the Corinthian church was not a perfect church. No church is perfect, so we can all learn from Paul’s exhortations.
  2. It means we are responsible to care for the truth that God has revealed to us.
  3. Paul used himself and Apollos as examples of the fact that the Corinthian Christians were wrongly picking favorite speakers and leaders and as a result were creating divisions in the church.
  4. Paul was using irony to communicate his point that the carnal and worldly Corinthian believers did not have the right viewpoint and lifestyle that Christians should have now.
  5. Because as their spiritual father he wanted to come to them with love and gentleness, but because of their arrogance and carnality, he might have to come to them with a rod of discipline if they continued in their worldly ways.


  1. Discuss how focusing on our role as stewards of God’s truth can keep us from being judgmental. Remember that the Lord is the Judge, and He will review our actions and motives.
  2. “The cross must come before the crown.” Discuss what you have learned in this lesson that would contradict the “health and wealth” gospel that says all Christians deserve prosperity in this life. Review 1 Corinthians 4:8-13, and also refer to 2 Timothy 3:12 and 1 John 3:13.


  1. Do you say to your children or others you influence, “Do as I say, not as I do”? Or can you say as Paul, “Imitate me”?

Key Verses

  • “What do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” 1 Corinthians 4:7
  • “Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; being defamed, we entreat.” 1 Corinthians 4:12-13
  • “Therefore I urge you, imitate me.” 1 Corinthians 4:16

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