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1 Corinthians 3J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)

But I cannot yet call you spiritual

1-4 I, my brothers, was unable to talk to you as spiritual men: I had to talk to you as unspiritual, as yet babies in the Christian life, And my practice had been to feed you, as it were, with “milk” and not with “meat”. You were unable to digest “meat” in those days, and I don’t believe you can do it now. For you are still unspiritual; all the time that there is jealousy and squabbling among you you show that you are—you are living just like men of the world. While one of you says, “I am one of Paul’s converts” and another says, “I am one of Apollos’”, are you not plainly unspiritual?

5-8 After all, who is Paul? Who is Apollos? No more than servants through whom you came to believe as the Lord gave each man his opportunity. I may have done the planting and Apollos the watering, but it was God who made the seed grow! The planter and the waterer are nothing compared with him who gives life to the seed. Planter and waterer are alike insignificant, though each shall be rewarded according to his particular work.

We work on God’s foundation

In this work, we work with God, and that means that you are a field under God’s cultivation, or, if you like, a house being built to his plan.

10-15 I, like an architect who knows his job, by the grace God has given me, lay the foundation; someone else builds upon it. I only say this, let the builder be careful how he builds! The foundation is laid already, and no one can lay another, for it is Jesus Christ himself. But any man who builds on the foundation using as his material gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay or stubble, must know that each man’s work will one day be shown for what it is. The day will show it plainly enough, for the day will arise in a blaze of fire, and that fire will prove the nature of each man’s work. If the work that the man has built upon the foundation will stand this test, he will be rewarded. But if a man’s work be destroyed under the test, he loses it all. He personally will be safe, though rather like a man rescued from a fire.

Make no mistake: you are God’s holy building

16-17 Don’t you realise that you yourselves are the temple of God, and God’s Spirit lives in you? God will destroy anyone who defiles his temple, for his temple is holy—and that is exactly what you are!

18-19 Let no one be under any illusion over this. If any man among you thinks himself one of the world’s clever ones, let him discard his cleverness that he may learn to be truly wise. For this world’s cleverness is stupidity to God. It is written: ‘He catches the wise in their own craftiness’.

20 And again: ‘The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile’.

21-23 So let no one boast of men. Everything belongs to you! Paul, Apollos or Cephas; the world, life, death, the present or the future, everything is yours! For you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God!

J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)

The New Testament in Modern English by J.B Phillips copyright © 1960, 1972 J. B. Phillips. Administered by The Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England. Used by Permission.

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