Christians understand the role “judgment” has in the lives of each. We understand that we are not to use a standard of judgment that is unrighteous (Matthew 7:1-2). We also understand that the standard we are to use is to be a righteous one (John 7:24). With this in mind read I Corinthians 4:1-5.
Paul was a preacher doing the Lord’s work. It appears from the text that some were calling into question what Paul was doing; in fact, they were calling into question not just his method, but his motivation. Learning this, Paul said the following: (1) he is a servant of God, with God’s mystery of redemption in hand (if you will); (2) as a servant (or steward) he understood the importance of being faithful with that task given him (cf. Acts 26:19); (3) Paul was unaware of anything that could stand against him; (4) thus, when others, who called themselves Christians, did judge him it meant nothing to him. He brings it to a close with the exhortation that Christians are to judge nothing before the proper time, but at that time it will be the Lord who judges.
Someone might reply, did not Paul say we are to judge those inside (within the church) in the next chapter (5:12)? That he did. How shall we understand the apparent problem? The context of both chapters clear up any misunderstanding. In C-4 the problem was judgments of the heart that was made by man, but only belongs to the Lord. In C-5 the problem was a failing to judge what man is obligated to judge: immoral actions. Paul called upon the brethren to address the outward actions that brought discredit upon the Lord, His church, and name of the guilty one. Those who fail to hear what Paul says will have the Lord judge them at the proper time. RT