5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.
judge — tense is “do not continue your practice of judging”
time = season, with reference to a distinguishing characteristic — here, the Lord’s return to judge
hidden things — might refer to things hidden from our own consciences or purposely-kept secrets, or both
bring to light — God knows our thoughts, secret actions and our motivations behind them
praise of God — praise to which we are rightly due, as opposed to that of men
I once heard a sermon on this verse wherein the pastor used it as a proof text for his point that we won’t go into heaven with any unresolved issues. While I think that is true, and even that some application for it can be gotten from this verse, I think the primary application here is to our service and our motivation for doing it. Paul isn’t worried about what others think about his ministry. He’s willing to let the Lord be the judge while at the same time, He’s confident that the true motives of others who seem to be working for the Lord will be revealed.