Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament1 Corinthians 4:1
- Ministers of Christ (uphretav Xristou).
- Paul and all ministers (diakonouv) of the New Covenant (1 Corinthians 3:5) are under-rowers, subordinate rowers of Christ, only here in Paul's Epistles, though in the Gospels (Luke 4:20 the attendant in the synagogue) and the Acts (Acts 13:5) of John Mark. The
- so (outwv)
- gathers up the preceding argument (1 Corinthians 3:5-23) and applies it directly by the
- as (wv)
- that follows.
- Stewards of the mysteries of God (oikonomouv musthriwn teou).
- The steward or house manager (oikov, house, nemw, to manage, old word) was a slave (doulov) under his lord (kuriov, Luke 12:42), but a master (Luke 16:1) over the other slaves in the house (menservants paidav, maidservants paidiskav Luke 12:45), an overseer (epitropov) over the rest (Matthew 20:8). Hence the under-rower (uphrethv) of Christ has a position of great dignity as steward (oikonomov) of the mysteries of God. Jesus had expressly explained that the mysteries of the kingdom were open to the disciples (Matthew 13:11). They were entrusted with the knowledge of some of God's secrets though the disciples were not such apt pupils as they claimed to be (Matthew 13:51; 16:8-12). As stewards Paul and other ministers are entrusted with the mysteries (see on 1 Corinthians 2:7 for this word) of God and are expected to teach them. "The church is the oikov (1 Timothy 3:15), God the oikodespothv (Matthew 13:52), the members the oikeioi (Galatians 6:10; Ephesians 2:19)" (Lightfoot). Paul had a vivid sense of the dignity of this stewardship (oikonomia) of God given to him (Colossians 1:25; Ephesians 1:10). The ministry is more than a mere profession or trade. It is a calling from God for stewardship.