The Problem of Immaturity

Brothers, I was not able to speak to you as spiritual people but as people of the flesh, as babies in Christ.(A) I gave you milk to drink, not solid food, because you were not yet ready for it. In fact, you are still not ready, because you are still fleshly. For since there is envy(B) and strife[a](C) among you, are you not fleshly and living like unbelievers?[b] For whenever someone says, “I’m with Paul,” and another, “I’m with Apollos,”(D) are you not unspiritual people?[c][d]

The Role of God’s Servants

What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? They are servants through whom you believed, and each has the role the Lord has given. I planted,(E) Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. Now the one planting and the one watering are one in purpose, and each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s coworkers.[e] You are God’s field, God’s building.(F) 10 According to God’s grace that was given to me, I have laid a foundation as a skilled master builder, and another builds on it. But each one must be careful how he builds on it. 11 For no one can lay any other foundation(G) than what has been laid down. That foundation is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on that foundation with gold, silver,(H) costly stones,(I) wood, hay, or straw, 13 each one’s work will become obvious, for the day[f] will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire;(J) the fire will test the quality of each one’s work.(K) 14 If anyone’s work that he has built survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, it will be lost, but he will be saved;(L) yet it will be like an escape through fire.[g](M)

16 Don’t you yourselves know that you are God’s sanctuary(N) and that the Spirit of God lives in you?(O) 17 If anyone destroys God’s sanctuary, God will destroy him;(P) for God’s sanctuary is holy,(Q) and that is what you are.

The Folly of Human Wisdom

18 No one should deceive(R) himself. If anyone among you thinks he is wise in this age,(S) he must become foolish(T) so that he can become wise.(U) 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness(V) with God, since it is written:(W) He catches the wise in their craftiness;(X)[h] 20 and again, The Lord knows that the reasonings(Y) of the wise are meaningless.(Z)[i] 21 So no one should boast in human leaders, for everything is yours(AA) 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas(AB) or the world or life(AC) or death(AD) or things present or things to come(AE)—everything is yours, 23 and you belong to Christ,(AF) and Christ belongs to God.


  1. 1 Corinthians 3:3 Other mss add and divisions
  2. 1 Corinthians 3:3 Lit and walking according to man
  3. 1 Corinthians 3:4 Other mss read are you not carnal
  4. 1 Corinthians 3:4 Lit not [just] human
  5. 1 Corinthians 3:9 Or are coworkers belonging to God
  6. 1 Corinthians 3:13 The day of Christ’s judgment of believers
  7. 1 Corinthians 3:15 Lit yet so as through fire
  8. 1 Corinthians 3:19 Jb 5:13
  9. 1 Corinthians 3:20 Ps 94:11

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