1 Corinthians 4:5 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Corinthians 4:5, NIV: "Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God."

1 Corinthians 4:5, ESV: "Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God."

1 Corinthians 4:5, KJV: "Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God."

1 Corinthians 4:5, NASB: "Therefore 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 human hearts; and then praise will come to each person from God."

1 Corinthians 4:5, NLT: "So don't make judgments about anyone ahead of time--before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due."

1 Corinthians 4:5, CSB: "So don't judge anything prematurely, before the Lord comes, who will both bring to light what is hidden in darkness and reveal the intentions of the hearts. And then praise will come to each one from God."

What does 1 Corinthians 4:5 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul understands himself to be the Lord's steward, given the task of managing the delivery of the revelation of the Lord's mysteries about Christ and Him crucified, among other things. He agrees that stewards must be found to be faithful. He has rejected any human judgment of his integrity and performance in that role, however. Whatever the Corinthians or others may think of his work among them, it does not matter much. In fact, he knows even he is unqualified to judge himself. In this teaching, Paul is neither claiming to be flawed, nor perfect—merely noting that it is God's judgment, not man's, which matters.

With that in mind, Paul tells his readers to quit the work of pronouncing judgment on the quality of another person's service to the Lord. Rather, they should wait for the Lord to come and pronounce the final verdict. God's verdict is the only one that matters, and He is the only one qualified to evaluate what is inside of a person, the purposes of someone's heart that are hidden in darkness from human eyes (1 Samuel 16:7).

Based on the Lord's verdict, each servant will receive praise from God. This echoes what Paul wrote about the day of Christ's judgment of the work of believers in the previous chapter (1 Corinthians 3:13).