3 1 He yieldeth a reason why he preached small matters unto them: 4 He showeth how they ought to esteem of Ministers: 6 The minister’s office. 10 A true form of edifying. 16 He warneth the Corinthians, that they be not drawn away to profane things, 18 through the proud wisdom of the flesh.
1 And [a]I could not speak unto you, brethren, as unto spiritual men, but as unto [b]carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
2 I gave you milk to drink, and not [c]meat: for ye were not yet [d]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 [e]men?
4 For when one saith, I am Paul’s, and another, I am Apollos’s, are ye not carnal?
5 [f]Who is Paul then? and who is Apollos, but the ministers by whom ye believed, and as the Lord gave to every man?
6 [g]I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.
7 So then, neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase.
8 And he that planteth, and he that watereth, are one, and every man shall receive his wages, according to his labor.
9 For we together are God’s [h]laborers: ye are God’s husbandry, and God’s building.
10 According to the grace of God given to me, as a skillful master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon: [i]but let every man take heed how he buildeth upon it.
11 [j]For other foundation can no man lay, than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12 [k]And if any man build on this foundation, gold, silver, precious stones, timber, hay, or stubble,
13 [l]Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by the fire: and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
14 If any man’s work, that he hath built upon, abide, he shall receive wages.
15 If any man’s work burn, he shall lose, but [m]he shall be saved himself: nevertheless yet as it were by the fire.
16 [n]Know ye not that ye are the Temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
17 If any man [o]destroy the Temple of God, him shall God destroy: for the Temple of God is holy, which ye are.
18 [p]Let no man deceive himself: If any man among you seem to be wise in this world, let him be a fool, that he may be wise.
19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God: for it is written, He [q]catcheth the wise in their own craftiness.
20 And again, The Lord knoweth that the thoughts of the wise be vain.
21 [r]Therefore let no man [s]rejoice in men: for all things are [t]yours.
22 Whether it be Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the [u]world, or life, or death, whether they be things present, or things to come, even all are yours,
23 And ye Christ’s, and Christ God’s.
1 Corinthians 3:1Having declared the worthiness of heavenly wisdom, and of the Gospel, and having generally condemned the blindness of man’s mind, now at length he applieth it particularly to the Corinthians, calling them carnal, that is, such in whom as yet the flesh prevaileth against the spirit. And he bringeth a double testimony of it: first, for that he had proved them to be such, insomuch that he dealt with them no otherwise than with ignorant men, and such as are almost babes in the doctrine of godliness; and secondly, because they showed indeed by these dissensions, which sprang up by reason of the ignorance of the virtue of the Spirit, and heavenly wisdom, that they had profited very little or nothing.
1 Corinthians 3:1He calleth them carnal, which are as yet ignorant, and therefore to express it the better, he termeth them babes.
1 Corinthians 3:2To be fed by me with substantial meat: therefore as the Corinthians grew up in age, so the Apostle nourished them by teaching first with milk, then with strong meat, which difference was only but in the manner of teaching.
1 Corinthians 3:5After that he hath sufficiently reprehended ambitious teachers, and their foolish esteemers, now he showeth how the true ministers are to be esteemed, that we attribute not unto them, more or less than we ought to do. Therefore he teacheth us, that they are they by whom we are brought to faith and salvation, but yet as the ministers of God, and such as do nothing of themselves, but God so working by them as it pleaseth him to furnish them with his gifts. Therefore we have not to mark or consider what minister it is that speaketh, but what is spoken: and we must depend only upon him which speaketh by his servants.
1 Corinthians 3:6He beautifieth the former sentence, with two similitudes: first comparing the company of the faithful, to a field which God maketh fruitful, when it is sowed and watered through the labor of his servants: next, by comparing it to a house, which indeed the Lord buildeth, but by the hands of his workmen, some of whom, he useth in laying the foundation, others in building of it up. Now, both these similitudes tend to this purpose, to show that all things are wholly accomplished by God’s only authority and might, so that we must only have an eye to him. Moreover, although that God useth some in the better part of the work, we must not therefore contemn others, in respect of them, and much less may we divide, or set them apart, (as these factious men did) seeing that all of them labor in God’s business, and in such sort, that they serve to finish one selfsame work, although by a divers manner of working, insomuch that they need one another’s help.
1 Corinthians 3:9Serving under him: Now they which serve under another, do nothing by their own strength, but as it is given them by grace, which grace maketh them fit to that service. See 1 Cor. 15:10; 2 Cor. 3:6, and all the increase that cometh by their labor, doth so proceed from God, that no part of the praise of it may be given to the under servant.
1 Corinthians 3:10Now he speaketh to the teachers themselves, who succeeded him in the Church of Corinth, and in their person, to all that were after or shall be Pastors of Congregations, seeing that they succeed into the labor of the Apostles, which were planters and chief builders. Therefore he warneth them first, that they persuade not themselves that they may build after their own fantasy, that is, that they may propound and set forth anything in the Church, either in matter, or in kind of teaching, different from the Apostles which were the chief builders.
1 Corinthians 3:11Moreover, he showeth what this foundation is, to wit, Christ Jesus, from which they may not turn away one iota in the building up of this building.
1 Corinthians 3:12Thirdly, he showeth that they must take heed that the upper part of the building be answerable to the foundation, that is, that admonitions, exhortations, and whatsoever pertaineth to the edifying of the flock, be answerable to the doctrine of Christ, as well in matter as in form: which doctrine is compared to gold, silver, and precious stones: of which matter, Isaiah also and John in the Revelation build the heavenly city. And to these are opposite, wood, hay, stubble, that is to say, curious and vain questions or decrees: and besides to be short, all that kind of teaching which serveth to ostentation. For false doctrines, whereof he speaketh not here, are not said properly to be built upon this foundation, unless peradventure in show only.
1 Corinthians 3:13He testifieth, as indeed the truth is, that all are not good builders, no not some of them which stand upon this one and only foundation: but howsoever this work of evil builders, saith he, stand for a season, yet shall it not always deceive, because that the light of the truth appearing at length, as day shall dissolve this darkness, and show what it is. And as that stuff is tried by the fire, whether it be good or not, so will God in his time by the touch of his Spirit and word, try all buildings, and so shall it come to pass, that such as be found pure and sound, shall still continue so, to the praise of the workman; but they that are otherwise, shall be consumed, and vanish away, and so shall the workman be frustrated of the hope of his labor, which pleased himself in a thing of nought.
1 Corinthians 3:15He taketh not away hope of salvation from the unskillful and foolish builders, which hold fast the foundation, of which sort were those Rhetoricians rather than pastors of Corinth: but he addeth an exception, that they must notwithstanding suffer this trial of their work, and also abide the loss of their vain labors.
1 Corinthians 3:16Continuing still in the metaphor of a building, he teacheth us that this ambition is not only vain, but also sacrilegious: For he saith that the Church is as it were the Temple of God, which God hath as it were consecrated unto himself by his Spirit. Then turning himself to these ambitious men: he showeth that they profane the Temple of God, because those vain arts wherein they please themselves so much, are as he teacheth, so many pollutions of the holy doctrine of God, and the purity of the Church. Which wickedness shall not be suffered unpunished.
1 Corinthians 3:17Defileth it, and maketh it unclean, being holy: and surely they do defile it, by Paul’s judgment, which by fleshly eloquence defile the purity of the Gospel.
1 Corinthians 3:18He concludeth by the contrary, that they profess pure wisdom in the Church of God, which refuse and cast away all those vanities of men, and if they be mocked of the world, it is sufficient for them that they be wise according to the wisdom of God, and as he will have them to be wise.
1 Corinthians 3:19Be they never so crafty, yet the Lord will take them when he shall discover their treachery.
1 Corinthians 3:21He returneth to the proposition of verse 2, first warning the hearers, that henceforward they esteem not as lords, those whom God hath appointed to be ministers, and not lords of their salvation, which thing they do, that depend upon men, and not upon God, that speaketh by them.
1 Corinthians 3:22He passeth from the persons to the things themselves, that his argument may be more forcible, yea, he ascendeth from Christ to the Father, to show us that we rest ourselves no not in Christ himself, in that that he is man, but because he carrieth us up even to the Father, as Christ witnesseth of himself everywhere, that he was sent of his Father, that by this band we may be all knit with God himself.
Geneva Bible, 1599 Edition. Published by Tolle Lege Press. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without written permission from the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations in articles, reviews, and broadcasts.
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