1Co 4:15-17, 15 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. 16 Therefore I urge you, imitate me.
The bond between the Apostle and his converts was incredibly tender, as he affectionately referred to them as his beloved children. His purpose in writing was not to scold them as enemies, but rather to offer guidance and correction as a loving father would to his cherished offspring. This particular phrase holds significance as it emphasizes the tone and motivation behind his approach. When a father disciplines his child, he typically addresses their relationship and the reasons behind his actions. In this case, the converts were considered Paul’s spiritual children, even though they may have had other mentors and teachers.
While both a father and an instructor may share certain similarities, one notable difference is that a father possesses a deep affection and concern for his children, fighting for their well-being, whereas an instructor primarily imparts knowledge for a specific period or until graduation. Therefore, it is important for the converts to aspire to emulate their spiritual parent rather than their temporary tutor as Paul outlines.