Acts + Letters Lesson 21 Day 5

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1 Corinthians 4

Questions for Acts and Letters of the Apostles Lesson 21

Stewards of the mysteries of God

12. Spiritual leaders are servants and stewards for Christ.

Servant—a subordinate functioning as a free man.

The Greek language has several words to describe a servant.

Here, Paul uses the word “hyperetas,” which describes a subordinate servant functioning as a free man. He does not use the more common New Testament word for a servant (doulos) which designated a common slave.

i. The word hyperetas literally means an “under-rower,” in the sense that someone is a rower on a big galley ship. . . . Under-rowers serve “Christ the master-pilot, helping forward the ship of the Church toward the haven of heaven.” (Trapp)

ii. Morgan describes this “under-rower” as “one who acts under direction, and asks no questions, one who does the thing he is appointed to do without hesitation, and one who reports only to the One Who is over him.” (

Stewards of the mysteries of God

 “The steward… was the master’s deputy in regulating the concerns of the family, providing food for the household, seeing it served out at proper times and seasons, and in proper quantities. He received all the cash, expended what was necessary for the support of the family, and kept exact accounts, for which he was obliged at certain times to lay before the master.” (Clarke)

For stewards, the important thing was faithfulness. They had to be efficient managers of the master’s resources. A steward never owned the property or resource he dealt with; He simply managed it for his master and had to manage it faithfully. (

Paul encouraged his spiritual children to follow his example.

Paul couldn’t hand out printed Bibles, but people could learn the gospel by watching his life.

For Paul, wrong behavior was anything that was not of faith in Christ (Romans 14:23) and was “contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God” (1 Timothy 1:10-11, NIV). (AWLC)

He didn’t refer new covenant believers back to the law of Moses for ethics; “rather, he argued and reasoned Christian ethics from the truth of the believer’s identification with Christ in His death and resurrection.” (AWLC)

13. Arrogance and pride can’t compete against true spiritual power.

Some Corinthian Christians were so arrogant they thought Paul was afraid to visit them. When they thought Paul was afraid of them, it made them all the more proud in their hearts. (

They talked big when Paul wasn’t around, but they wouldn’t speak the same to his face. (v. 18)

Paul wrote something similar to verse 18 in 1 Corinthians 2:4-5

My speech and my preaching were not in persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith wouldn’t stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

“Paul was proposing a test similar to what Elijah did with the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18. Those who opposed Paul would have to show the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives or shut up. Talk is cheap, but actions are powerful.” (AWLC)

14. Paul’s example

He “was so confident that he was correctly following the Lord that he could say ‘follow me’ and he knew they would be following Christ.” (AWLC).

Paul was accountable directly to God, so their judgment of him was “a very small thing.” He considered himself a father to them and loved them as his children. He noted their rejection and used it as a teaching opportunity.

We try to serve and reach others but we shouldn’t try to please them. We are accountable to God and seek to obey and please Him.

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My answers to BSF Bible Study Fellowship questions Acts + Letters of the Apostles Lesson 21 Day 5