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THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS - Chapter 4 - Verse 2

Verse 2. Moreover, etc. The fidelity required of stewards seems to be adverted to here, in order to show that the apostles acted from a higher principle than a desire to please man, or to be regarded as at the head of a party; and they ought so to esteem them as bound, like all stewards, to be faithful to the Master whom they served.

It is required, etc. It is expected of them; it is the main or leading thing in their office. Eminently in that office fidelity is required as an indispensable and cardinal virtue. Fidelity to the master, faithfulness to his trust, as THE virtue which by way of eminence is demanded there. In other offices other virtues may be particularly required. But here fidelity is demanded. This is required particularly because it is an office of trust; because the master's goods are at his disposal; because there is so much opportunity for the steward to appropriate those goods to his own use, so that his master cannot detect it. There is a strong similarity between the office of a steward and that of a minister of the gospel. But it is not needful here to dwell on the resemblance. The idea of Paul seems to be,

(1.) that a minister, like a steward, is devoted to his Master's service, and should regard himself as such.

(2.) That he should be faithful to that trust, and not abuse or violate it.

(3.) That he should not be judged by his fellow-stewards, or fellow-servants, but that his main desire should be to meet with the approbation of his Master. A minister should be faithful for obvious reasons: because

(a) he is appointed by Jesus Christ;

(b) because he must answer to him;

(c) because the honour of Christ, and the welfare of his kingdom, are entrusted to him; and

(d) because of the importance of the matter committed to his care; and the importance of fidelity can be measured only by the consequences of his labours to those souls in an eternal heaven or an eternal hell.

{b} "in stewards" Lu 12:42; Tit 1:7; 1 Pe 4:10

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