“For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. 16Therefore I urge you, imitate me. 17For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church.”
For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers;
The word “instructors” is the word from which we get the English word pedagogue. We use the word pedagogue for “teacher,” but the Greek word is literally child leader. The child leader in the first century was usually a slave who cared for the entire wellbeing of a child or children. This included far more than formal education. He stayed with this child until the child reached maturity.
Paul’s point is that you can have many people guiding you through the Christian walk, but you do not have many people who led you to Christ (“fathers”). The father stands in a separate relation to those he leads to Christ. Paul had a prior claim on the Corinthians.
for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.
Paul won the majority of the Corinthian church to Christ through the gospel. The power was in the gospel.
Therefore I urge you, imitate me.
The point is not to imitate Paul in every respect to the degree he walks in the Spirit. The Corinthians were to follow Paul’s example as a father who was willing to run the risk of admonishing followers of Christ.
For this reason I have sent Timothy to you,
Paul sent Timothy to remind the Corinthians of the importance of “admonition” (previous verses).
who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord,
Timothy was Paul’s spiritual son, who accepted Paul’s admonitions.
who will remind you of my ways in Christ,
Evidently, the problem lay in the Corinthians, forgetting what Paul previously taught them.
as I teach everywhere in every church.
Paul did not ask anything exceptional of the Corinthian church. He admonished churches everywhere.
Christians should be willing to risk relationships for the advancement of the cause of Christ.
Do you love people enough to confront them?
Ga 6:1, Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.