July 12/1Corinthians 4

Verses 1-3 > The people in the Corinthian Church had made heroes out of Paul, Peter and Apollos to the point where each of them had their own following. Paul is pointing out in these verses that he, Peter, and Apollos are nothing special and the people are making a huge mistake by putting them up on a pedestal. Paul uses the word servant to describe himself, Peter and Apollos that the Corinthians would understand.

Servants = under rowers. These are the slaves in the belly of the big Roman Galley ships who row the ship to the beat of the guy on the big drum. Paul is saying that he, Peter and Apollos are nothing but under rowers following the beat of Jesus. They are just being faithful to carry out instructions from Jesus > go into all the world and preach the gospel. They are the guys who row the others to their destination and in this case the destination of the Church in Corinth was to bring glory to God; however they weren’t doing this hence the letter Paul is writing to them.

Do you consider yourself and under rower, a servant of Jesus? Are you marching to the beat or instructions of the scriptures? Does Jesus get the credit for all the good in your life? Is your destination to bring glory to Christ in all you think and do? How does that change things in you life when you realize like Paul you have been called to be an under rower? Have you been a faithful under rower? Verse 2 > an under rower is also a manager of all that God has given him or her. In the big ships they only had to manage the oars well. We however, because God has blessed us, have more than an oar to manage. In what areas of your life could you be a better faithful manager? Do you manage your tongue well, your eyes, your mind, your money, your time, your responsibilities, your stuff, your relationships, and your church?

Verses 4-9 > Under rowers have nothing to brag about; they know that all they have comes from the hand of God.

Verses 10-13 > An under rower isn’t always appreciated, isn’t always treated well, endures hardships and criticism, doesn’t fight back when being mistreated but instead blesses and is patient. Hilltop how are we doing with this under rower gig? It describes our Lord Jesus doesn’t. Ok so now who wants to be like Jesus?

Matthew 20:25–28 (CEV) — 25 But Jesus called the disciples together and said: You know that foreign rulers like to order their people around. And their great leaders have full power over everyone they rule. 26 But don’t act like them. If you want to be great, you must be the servant of all the others. 27 And if you want to be first, you must be the slave of the rest. 28 The Son of Man did not come to be a slave master, but a slave who will give his life to rescue many people.

Paul had said all of this in this chapter to remind the Corinthians that they had elevated themselves above the position of servant, of slave, of under rower. They had wandered up on the main deck instead of staying down below doing their duty for Jesus. That happens to all of us at times. We wander up top because the air is fresher, the scenery prettier,  life is easier, the service is better and so is the food. Oops we find out we like being served! But we aren’t called to be served. Wow how do we handle all of this? I guess the same way Jesus did. He came from the deck above where the air was fresher, the scenery prettier, life was easier, the service better, and came down below so that one day we all might come up to the top deck, but not today! Jesus I will thank you by living as I ought to.

Psalm 119:7 (NLT) — 7 As I learn your righteous regulations, I will thank you by living as I should!

Verses 14-21 > Paul was their spiritual father; it was under his teaching that they came to know Jesus as Savior and Lord. He encourages them to imitate him. He said that the Church shouldn’t be about talking but about being and doing. When he comes to them it will be as a father and he wants to give them praise for a job well done; however if they don’t change he may have to come and discipline. The choice is theirs.

If our heavenly Father came to us today would he come with praise or discipline?

Holy Spirit help us to be under rowers for Jesus. Help us to not grumble or complain. Help us to serve with joy and enthusiasm. We want to make Jesus Famous. Thank you, Holy Spirit.

Be Inspired Hilltop!











  1. Mark Gundersen says

    The Corinthian church was very worldly and suffered from pride, judgement attitudes, and worldly excesses. Paul was hoping to bring them down a notch and remind them that everything comes from God and to not think that they did it themselves. He reminds them that he, their spiritual father, suffers greatly for the cause and does not lord his position over them. He likens himself to a captive in a victory parade but unlike a defeated enemy he will accept capture to bring Christ’s word to the enemy camp.