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1 Corinthians 3 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Teachers Are Only God’s Servants

Brothers and sisters, when I was there, I could not talk to you the way I talk to people who are led by the Spirit. I had to talk to you like ordinary people of the world. You were like babies in Christ. And the teaching I gave you was like milk, not solid food. I did this because you were not ready for solid food. And even now you are not ready. You are still not following the Spirit. You are jealous of each other, and you are always arguing with each other. This shows that you are still following your own selfish desires. You are acting like ordinary people of the world. One of you says, “I follow Paul,” and someone else says, “I follow Apollos.” When you say things like that, you are acting like people of the world.

Is Apollos so important? Is Paul so important? We are only servants of God who helped you believe. Each one of us did the work God gave us to do. I planted the seed and Apollos watered it. But God is the one who made the seed grow. So the one who plants is not important, and the one who waters is not important. Only God is important, because he is the one who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have the same purpose. And each one will be rewarded for his own work. We are workers together for God, and you are like a farm that belongs to God.

And you are a house that belongs to God. 10 Like an expert builder I built the foundation of that house. I used the gift that God gave me to do this. Other people are building on that foundation. But everyone should be careful how they build. 11 The foundation that has already been built is Jesus Christ, and no one can build any other foundation. 12 People can build on that foundation using gold, silver, jewels, wood, grass, or straw. 13 But the work that each person does will be clearly seen, because the Day will make it plain. That Day will appear with fire, and the fire will test everyone’s work. 14 If the building they put on the foundation still stands, they will get their reward. 15 But if their building is burned up, they will suffer loss. They will be saved, but it will be like someone escaping from a fire.

16 You should know that you yourselves are God’s temple.[a] God’s Spirit lives in you. 17 If you destroy God’s temple, God will destroy you, because God’s temple is holy. You yourselves are God’s temple.

18 Don’t fool yourselves. Whoever thinks they are wise in this world should become a fool. That’s the only way they can be wise. 19 I say this because the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say, “He catches those who think they are wise in their own clever traps.”[b] 20 The Scriptures also say, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise. He knows that their thoughts are worth nothing.”[c] 21 So there is not a person on earth that any of you should be boasting about. Everything is yours: 22 Paul, Apollos, Peter, the world, life, death, the present, and the future—all these are yours. 23 And you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Corinthians 3:16 temple God’s house—the place where God’s people worship him. Here, it means that believers are the spiritual temple where God lives.
  2. 1 Corinthians 3:19 Quote from Job 5:13.
  3. 1 Corinthians 3:20 Quote from Ps. 94:11.
Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Copyright © 2006 by Bible League International

1 Corinthians 3 New International Version (NIV)

The Church and Its Leaders

Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings?

What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.

10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.

16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.

18 Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”[a]; 20 and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.”[b] 21 So then, no more boasting about human leaders! All things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas[c] or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Corinthians 3:19 Job 5:13
  2. 1 Corinthians 3:20 Psalm 94:11
  3. 1 Corinthians 3:22 That is, Peter
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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