I don’t get it. I just really don’t get it.

This year I have been doing a systematic study of 1 Corinthians. I do
about a verse a day, keeping a notebook of my thoughts and questions. I
am currently in chapter 4 verses 1-9. I am stuck and stumped.

Every commentary I read says Paul is defensive. Why? Why is he defensive? Why does he feel the need to defend himself?

1 Corinthians 4 (New American Standard Bible)

1 Corinthians 4

Servants of Christ

 1Let a man regard us in this manner, as (A)servants of Christ and (B)stewards of (C)the mysteries of God.

 2In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy.

 3But to me it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself.

 4For I (D)am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this (E)acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord.

 5Therefore (F)do not go on passing judgment before [a]the time, but wait (G)until the Lord comes who will both (H)bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s (I)praise will come to him from God.

these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and
Apollos for your sakes, so that in us you may learn not to exceed (J)what is written, so that no one of you will (K)become arrogant (L)in behalf of one against the other.

 7For who regards you as superior? (M)What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?

 8You are (N)already
filled, you have already become rich, you have become kings without us;
and indeed, I wish that you had become kings so that we also might
reign with you.

 9For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men (O)condemned to death; because we (P)have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.