|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:1-6 Apostles were no more than servants of Christ, but they were not to be undervalued. They had a great trust, and for that reason, had an honourable office. Paul had a just concern for his own reputation, but he knew that he who chiefly aimed to please men, would not prove himself a faithful servant of Christ. It is a comfort that men are not to be our final judges. And it is not judging well of ourselves, or justifying ourselves, that will prove us safe and happy. Our own judgment is not to be depended upon as to our faithfulness, any more than our own works for our justification. There is a day coming, that will bring men's secret sins into open day, and discover the secrets of their hearts. Then every slandered believer will be justified, and every faithful servant approved and rewarded. The word of God is the best rule by which to judge as to men. Pride commonly is at the bottom of quarrels. Self-conceit contributes to produce undue esteem of our teachers, as well as of ourselves. We shall not be puffed up for one against another, if we remember that all are instruments, employed by God, and endowed by him with various talents.
Verse 2. - Moreover. The true reading (א, A, B, C, D, F) is ω΅δε κοιπὸν, here, moreover; i.e. "on this earth." It may be required of him as a minister that he should be faithful, but if, being faithful, he is misjudged and depreciated, his appeal lies to a truer and loftier tribunal. It is required. This is the reading of א, A, C, D. Other manuscripts have "ye require;" but the sound of the two words in Hellenistic Greek would have been almost indistinguishable. That a man be found faithful. We have a right to demand that on trial he be proved to be honest and diligent. So our Lord has described the "faithful and wise steward" in Luke 12:42, 43. What is required of ministers is neither brilliancy, nor eloquence, nor profound knowledge, nor success, but only - fidelity.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Moreover, it is required in stewards,.... Upon mentioning that part of the character of Gospel preachers, as stewards, the apostle is put in mind of, and so points out that which is principally necessary in such persons: as,
that a man be found faithful; to the trust reposed in him; to his Lord and master that has appointed him to this office; and to the souls that are under his care: and then may a minister be said to be so, and which is his greatest glory, when he preaches the pure Gospel of Christ without any human mixtures, the doctrines and inventions of men; and the whole Gospel, declaring all the counsel of God, keeping back nothing which may be profitable to souls; when he seeks not to please men, but God; and not his own glory, and the applause of men, but the honour of Christ, and the good of souls: and such a faithful steward was the apostle himself.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. Moreover—The oldest manuscripts read, "Moreover here" (that is, on earth). The contrast thus is between man's usage as to stewards (1Co 4:2), and God's way (1Co 4:3). Though here below, in the case of stewards, inquiry is made, that one man be found (that is, proved to be) faithful; yet God's steward awaits no such judgment of man, in man's day, but the Lord's judgment in His great day. Another argument against the Corinthians for their partial preferences of certain teachers for their gifts: whereas what God requires in His stewards is faithfulness (1Sa 3:20, Margin; Heb 3:5); as indeed is required in earthly stewards, but with this difference (1Co 4:3), that God's stewards await not man's judgment to test them, but the testing which shall be in the day of the Lord.
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