1 Corinthians 3
 Spiritually, you need milk; you are worldly; strife 1
You argue between Paul and Apollos; we both work with Christ 4
We work with God; you are his field 9
Christ is the sure foundation 11
Everyone's work is tested according to the foundation 13
You are the temple of God; don't defile your bodies 16
Worldly wisdom is foolishness; the Lord reads thoughts 18
Don't praise men; you all belong to Christ 21


.1 ¶ And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
 2  I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
 3  For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

  1 - Not speak ... as unto spiritual Although all have a sense of the spiritual even though not walking in the light of truth. Paul explains this to the Romans ro0805-9.
  2 - Milk ... not ... meat "I fed you with milk, not solid food; for you were not ready for it; and even yet you are not ready," (RSV) "Meat" means solid food.
  3 - Carnal The bad relationships demonstrate the lack of understanding spiritual things.
.4  For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?
.5 ¶ Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?
  4 - Paul ... Apollos "It was notorious [noteworthy] that both Paul and Apollos held the same creed; between them there was not the slightest difference: [jn1335] ... Their preferring one to another on such an account proved that they were carnal led by their senses and mere outward appearances, without being under the guidance either of reason or grace. There are thousands of such people in the Christian Church to the present day." (Clarke).
.6  I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
 7  So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
 8  Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.
  6 - Planted ... watered ... increase The work of leading souls to Christ is rarely done by one person. The Holy Spirit uses all who accept.
  7 - Neither Who gets the credit? A temptation for some of us. Praising preachers is not good for us or for them.
  8 - Every man Paul doesn't want us to get the idea that workers should expect no rewards. What a reward of joy it is to see people give their hearts to the Lord! Of course the real reward will be in heaven. "God does not reward his servants according to the success of their labour, because that depends on himself." (Clark)
.9  For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.
 10  According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
  9 - Labourers Paul and others plus God are the workers. The people are the field they plant or the building they build.
  10 - I laid the foundation This is evident. He felt called to start churches and others were probably more comfortable and gifted in nurturing them.
.11 ¶ For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
.12  Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
  11 - No other foundation A qualification of verse 10. We may lay a foundation by leading people to Christ who is the underlying foundation mt1618.
.13  Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.
 14  If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
 15  If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
  13 - Every man's work Work in this case is behavior, not righteousness by works. Our problem is that our works be good. They are acceptable as they reveal our faith ja02.
  15 - Revealed by fire First, Paul isn't saying that people who persist in sin will be saved ez0319, re2215. Some have built their lives on a poor foundation but finally realize their error and come to Christ. Those thus saved are a minority. It is hard to change old ways. Christ gives the strength, of course, but it's "by fire" that these make the change. This isn't the fire of the final destruction of the wicked. It's the refiner's fire of cleansing, mal0305. The testing that leads to cling to Christ purifies our character re0210. Jesus spoke of the fire as His trying experience in Gethsemane lu1249-51, mt2022,23, mt2639.
.16 ¶ Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
.17  If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
  Temple of God This is an awesome concept. We are responsible to preserve our bodies and souls both spiritually and physically. We cannot destroy our bodies with bad habits and feel that it makes no difference.
.18 ¶ Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
.19  For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
 20  And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.
  18 - Wise The world sets a different standard for greatness. A mother guiding small children and working in the field may be a giant in the eyes of God. The comment about craftiness is from Job 5:13.
.21 ¶ Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;
 22  Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours;
 23  And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's.
A good concluding thought for this chapter.
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