Today’s One Year Bible reading from 1 Corinthians 4-7 covers topics as diverse as attitudes towards leaders (ch. 4), immorality in the church (ch. 5), lawsuits among believers (ch. 6), teaching on sexual immorality (ch. 6) and teaching on marriage and divorce (ch. 7). Wow, that’s a lot to think about! Still, the various teachings are relevant and needed today even as they were for the Corinthian believers in Paul’s time.

But the perspective and attitude of Paul toward his critics, which he gives in the first few verses of chapter 4, are perhaps especially instructive for our time when there are considerable differences and opinions even among believers: “…to me it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself… the one who examines me is the Lord… do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts…” (1 Corinthians 4:3-5). God is the one who sees things we don’t see, things that could be hidden to us, and He knows even our motives. Oh!

Of course we do at times need to examine and evaluate others, and certainly ourselves (see 2 Cor. 13:5), but at other times reserve and caution are needed; we should also realize that even our own judgement or examination of ourselves, not to mention our judgement or examination of others, may be inaccurate and misguided—in the end, when we stand before the Lord, “then each man’s praise will come to him from God,” (1 Cor. 4:5).

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