Paul in Chapter 3 has given instructions for good Christian living.
He then switches gears and begins Chapter 4 with a sort of defense of his ministry. As you can imagine from the name and verses selected to represent this ministry we are partial to 1st Corinthians here.
v.1-2 Paul declares himself a servant and faithful steward of Christ Jesus and the true Gospel message.
v.3-5 Paul says he cares little if he is judged (wrongly) by the Corinthians, for the final Judgement Seat of Christ is the one that really matters. I need to note Paul is not saying DO NOT JUDGE OTHERS, he is saying do not unrighteously judge others. For he has done nothing against God or the Corinthians for them to condemn him.
v.6 The church at Corinth has become uppity and self righteous based upon who taught them. They have split into little factions and boast one is better than the other. They quarrel over minor details and forget (because of pride) the things of God Romans 14:1, 2 Timothy 2:23-24, Titus 3:9.
Paul finishes this part of his letter to the church at Corinth, with a series of 4 questions (here from the NLT):
For what gives you the right to make such a judgment? – We used to say when I was a kid “who died and made you boss”. Paul in a way makes a similar statement here asking the Corinthians ‘what is so different or special about them‘ that they can pass unfounded judgement upon him.
What do you have that God hasn’t given you? – What have they done to earn the right and their righteousness? Has not God given and provided all they have? What special quality did they bring to the table on their own?
And if everything you have is from God, – If you can not acknowledge all you have is from God James 1:17 , YOU ARE NOT A CHRISTIAN. To some them is fighting words, to a true child of God they are just the plain biblical truth.
why boast as though it were not a gift? – If the only good we have in us is from God, the only thing we should be boasting about is GOD, Psalm 34:2, Romans 15:17, 1 Corinthians 1:31.
Boasting and Bragging about anything except God is never looked upon favorably in the bible. The world may teach us to brag about our accomplishments to display our trophies loud and proud. yet for a “Christian” to be boastful about their own accomplishments is a sign of weakness and immaturity in their faith.
I love how James 4:16 puts it (AMP) But as it is, you boast [vainly] in your pretension and arrogance. All such boasting is evil. It is evil because it casts God aside for pride and self.
We are a to follow examples like the apostle Paul 2 Corinthians 11:16-31, to humbly serve as Faithful Stewards of all God has given us, giving Him all the Glory.