1 Corinthians 4:1–2 (KJV 1900)
Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
In 3:23, Paul told the Corinthians that they are Christ’s… now he says, so consider us (the us probably meaning Paul and Apollos, but could he also mean (see 1:1) Sosthenes and “us”, you and me); in other words consider us also to be Christ’s like you are! We are as servants of Christ, The word in Greek used here for servants is ὑπηρέτης [huperetes /hoop·ay·ret·ace/], huper from the word hupo meaning under, and ertes from from the world eresso meaning rower: Under rowers. Paul seems to be saying, “Look, don’t elevate us above Christ or even equal with Him. We are like you, servants of Christ. Let’s row together!
And, we are stewards of the mysteries of God. Steward means a manager of household or household affairs. Here Paul states he and Apollos are managing the mysteries of God. He uses the plural for mysteries, which he might mean three things (or more, like in 1 Corinthians 15:51?),
- Gentiles are fellowheirs with Jews.
- Both are of the same body of Christ.
- Both partake in his promise of Christ by the gospel.
All of these mysteries were hidden from the prophets, according to Ephesians 3:6,7: “Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: Whereof I was made a minister…”
These are no longer mysteries since God has made them known through his ministers, and stewards.
Faithful. What is required of a steward of the Word of God? Faithfulness. Paul is faithfully teaching the mysteries of God to the church as it transitions from the dispensation of Law to the dispensation of Grace.
Stewards are required to be found faithful. This would hold for any leader (pastor) within the church. Many men today are not being faithful stewards of the Word of God. We need faithful men! Often the Bible is never opened in some churches. Could it be that too many programs and the drive for success can be leading men away from faithfulness? There is a tendency for churches to compete with the world to get people in the doors. What if we just said, “We want to be faithful to God’s Word” and then do it, teach it, faithfully–I wonder what would happen in our churches?
And by the way, one be found faithful. Paul writes this in the masculine. He is making the point we need faithful men. We also need faithful women, but it is men Paul is saying God is looking for in the church.
In the sense of teaching the word, all men are required to be stewards. Stay faithful to the Word, don’t place your hope and trust in men.