Useful Bible Studies > 1 Corinthians Commentary > chapter 4

True honour

1 Corinthians 4:11

Sometimes today, church leaders complain, perhaps about their wages or the amount of work that they do.

But Paul was not really complaining. He considered it an honour to suffer because of Christ (Colossians 1:24). And certainly, it is honourable to do Godís work.

We may say that it is not honourable to be without food or water or clothes. Paul had suffered all of these things so that he could declare Godís message. Also, people had hit him with their fists, and sometimes he had nowhere to live. Such a hard life would cause anyone to feel ashamed. And shame is the opposite of honour.

However, the officials of a great king could suffer insults on behalf of their ruler (see 2 Samuel 10:1-5). His soldiers may suffer injury and death for the honour of their country. Although such people may feel personal shame, their actions can bring honour to their country and its ruler. It is an honour to any country to have inhabitants who have behaved in a noble manner, especially in such circumstances.

Paul considered it wonderful that he could actually bring honour to Christ (1 Timothy 1:12-15). Formerly, Paul had opposed Christ. Now Paul desired to serve Christ in an even more eager manner. Paul even refused to accept any wages from the churches where he worked (1 Corinthians 4:12; 2 Corinthians 11:7-10). He worked with his hands; he made tents to earn his money (Acts 18:3).

Of course God does not expect every Christian leader to behave like Paul. But no Christian leader should ever be ashamed that he works for God.

Next part: How Christians should behave when other people are cruel to them (1 Corinthians 4:12-13)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.