What does 1 Corinthians 4:3 mean?
ESV: But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself.
NIV: I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself.
NASB: But to me it is an insignificant matter that I would be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself.
CSB: It is of little importance to me that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I don't even judge myself.
NLT: As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority. I don’t even trust my own judgment on this point.
KJV: But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.
NKJV: But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself.
Verse Commentary:
Paul has described himself and other Christian teachers who have ministered to the Corinthians as stewards of the revealed mysteries of God. They are servants assigned to the task of delivering the gospel message, among other things. Paul has been urging the Christians to be united in following Christ instead of bickering about to which Christian teacher they should pledge loyalty.

The role of a steward—a servant who manages his master's property—is an important one. Stewards must be found to be faithful people of high integrity, working with excellence and honesty.

Paul is aware that the Corinthians and others have put themselves in the place of judging the worthiness of Paul, Apollos, Peter, and other ministers and deciding if they are faithful enough. Paul now shrugs off their judgment, calling it a very small thing to be judged by them or even by a human court.

It's not that Paul is declaring himself above their judgments because of his position as an apostle or even because he is convinced of his own excellent performance. He will make clear in the following verses that their judgments don't matter because they are not the judge. The Lord will judge him, and it is pointless to speculate about what that judgment will be before the moment arrives.

Paul adds that he is not even qualified to judge himself. Who would know Paul's motives and effectiveness better than Paul? If he cannot adequately judge himself, why should he worry about the opinions of human judges? That doesn't mean Paul is claiming to be perfect, as the next verse will show.
Verse Context:
First Corinthians 4:1–13 begins with Paul's insistence that he is not concerned with anyone's judgment of him. The Lord will judge him, and that's what matters. The Corinthians have become arrogant in their judgment, forgetting that all the good they have is a gift. They feel self-reliant in their wealth and status while Paul and the other apostles live in poverty and under persecution, thought to be scum by the world. Still, they imitate Jesus by blessing those who mistreat them and continuing to serve Christ no matter the cost.
Chapter Summary:
Paul continues to show why the Corinthian Christians must not be divided over loyalties to various Christian leaders. Only the Lord can judge His servants, including Paul. By making themselves judges, they are acting like they have all they need. They are proudly focused on reputation and status while the apostles live for Christ in poverty and under persecution. Paul writes as a father to little children. He urges them to change course and imitate his life. Do they want him to be gentle or come to them with the rod of correction?
Chapter Context:
First Corinthians 4 continues Paul's insistence to the Corinthian Christians to stop making themselves judges of each other. Only the Lord's judgment matters. They are living as if their wealth and status are all they need, while the apostles serve Christ in poverty and under persecution, imitating Christ. Paul urges them to change course and imitate his life. Paul will continue his increasingly stern tone in chapter 5, where he will confront appalling examples of sin in the church at Corinth.
Book Summary:
First Corinthians is one of the more practical books of the New Testament. Paul writes to a church immersed in a city associated with trade, but also with corruption and immorality. These believers are struggling to properly apply spiritual gifts and to resist the ungodly practices of the surrounding culture. Paul's letter gives instructions for real-life concerns such as marriage and spirituality. He also deals with the importance of unity and gives one of the Bible's more well-known descriptions of love in chapter 13.
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