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1 Corinthians 3 Good News Translation (GNT)

Servants of God

As a matter of fact, my friends, I could not talk to you as I talk to people who have the Spirit; I had to talk to you as though you belonged to this world, as children in the Christian faith. I had to feed you milk, not solid food, because you were not ready for it. And even now you are not ready for it, because you still live as the people of this world live. When there is jealousy among you and you quarrel with one another, doesn't this prove that you belong to this world, living by its standards? When one of you says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos”—aren't you acting like worldly people?

After all, who is Apollos? And who is Paul? We are simply God's servants, by whom you were led to believe. Each one of us does the work which the Lord gave him to do: I planted the seed, Apollos watered the plant, but it was God who made the plant grow. The one who plants and the one who waters really do not matter. It is God who matters, because he makes the plant grow. There is no difference between the one who plants and the one who waters; God will reward each one according to the work each has done. For we are partners working together for God, and you are God's field.

You are also God's building. 10 Using the gift that God gave me, I did the work of an expert builder and laid the foundation, and someone else is building on it. But each of you must be careful how you build. 11 For God has already placed Jesus Christ as the one and only foundation, and no other foundation can be laid. 12 Some will use gold or silver or precious stones in building on the foundation; others will use wood or grass or straw. 13 And the quality of each person's work will be seen when the Day of Christ exposes it. For on that Day fire will reveal everyone's work; the fire will test it and show its real quality. 14 If what was built on the foundation survives the fire, the builder will receive a reward. 15 But if your work is burnt up, then you will lose it; but you yourself will be saved, as if you had escaped through the fire.

16 Surely you know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you! 17 God will destroy anyone who destroys God's temple. For God's temple is holy, and you yourselves are his temple.

18 You should not fool yourself. If any of you think that you are wise by this world's standards, you should become a fool, in order to be really wise. 19 For what this world considers to be wisdom is nonsense in God's sight. As the scripture says, “God traps the wise in their cleverness”; 20 and another scripture says, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are worthless.” 21 No one, then, should boast about what human beings can do. Actually everything belongs to you: 22 Paul, Apollos, and Peter; this world, life and death, the present and the future—all these are yours, 23 and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.

Good News Translation (GNT)

Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

1 Corinthians 3 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

On Divisions in the Corinthian Church

And so, brothers and sisters,[a] I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but rather as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for solid food. Even now you are still not ready, for you are still of the flesh. For as long as there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving according to human inclinations? For when one says, “I belong to Paul,” and another, “I belong to Apollos,” are you not merely human?

What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. The one who plants and the one who waters have a common purpose, and each will receive wages according to the labor of each. For we are God’s servants, working together; you are God’s field, God’s building.

10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building on it. Each builder must choose with care how to build on it. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 the work of each builder will become visible, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each has done. 14 If what has been built on the foundation survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If the work is burned up, the builder will suffer loss; the builder will be saved, but only as through fire.

16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?[b] 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

18 Do not deceive yourselves. If you think that you are wise in this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written,

“He catches the wise in their craftiness,”

20 and again,

“The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise,
    that they are futile.”

21 So let no one boast about human leaders. For all things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all belong to you, 23 and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Corinthians 3:1 Gk brothers
  2. 1 Corinthians 3:16 In verses 16 and 17 the Greek word for you is plural
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

1 Corinthians 3 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

As for me, brothers, I couldn’t talk to you as spiritual people but as worldly people, as babies, so far as experience with the Messiah is concerned. I gave you milk, not solid food, because you were not yet ready for it. But you aren’t ready for it now either! For you are still worldly! Isn’t it obvious from all the jealousy and quarrelling among you that you are worldly and living by merely human standards? For when one says, “I follow Sha’ul” and another, “I follow Apollos,” aren’t you being merely human? After all, what is Apollos? What is Sha’ul? Only servants through whom you came to trust. Indeed, it was the Lord who brought you to trust through one of us or through another. I planted the seed, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. So neither the planter nor the waterer is anything, only God who makes things grow — planter and waterer are the same.

However, each will be rewarded according to his work. For we are God’s co-workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. 10 Using the grace God gave me, I laid a foundation, like a skilled master-builder; and another man is building on it. But let each one be careful how he builds. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Yeshua the Messiah. 12 Some will use gold, silver or precious stones in building on this foundation; while others will use wood, grass or straw. 13 But each one’s work will be shown for what it is; the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire — the fire will test the quality of each one’s work. 14 If the work someone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward; 15 if it is burned up, he will have to bear the loss: he will still escape with his life, but it will be like escaping through a fire.

16 Don’t you know that you people are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? 17 So if anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you yourselves are that temple.

18 Let no one fool himself. If someone among you thinks he is wise (by this world’s standards), let him become “foolish,” so that he may become really wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is nonsense, as far as God is concerned; inasmuch as the Tanakh says, “He traps the wise in their own cleverness,”[a] 20 and again, “Adonai knows that the thoughts of the wise are worthless.”[b] 21 So let no one boast about human beings, for all things are yours — 22 whether Sha’ul or Apollos or Kefa or the world or life or death or the present or the future: they all belong to you, 23 and you belong to the Messiah, and the Messiah belongs to God.

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Corinthians 3:19 Job 5:13
  2. 1 Corinthians 3:20 Psalm 94:11
Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.

1 Corinthians 3 The Message (MSG)

1-4 But for right now, friends, I’m completely frustrated by your unspiritual dealings with each other and with God. You’re acting like infants in relation to Christ, capable of nothing much more than nursing at the breast. Well, then, I’ll nurse you since you don’t seem capable of anything more. As long as you grab for what makes you feel good or makes you look important, are you really much different than a babe at the breast, content only when everything’s going your way? When one of you says, “I’m on Paul’s side,” and another says, “I’m for Apollos,” aren’t you being totally infantile?

5-9 Who do you think Paul is, anyway? Or Apollos, for that matter? Servants, both of us—servants who waited on you as you gradually learned to entrust your lives to our mutual Master. We each carried out our servant assignment. I planted the seed, Apollos watered the plants, but God made you grow. It’s not the one who plants or the one who waters who is at the center of this process but God, who makes things grow. Planting and watering are menial servant jobs at minimum wages. What makes them worth doing is the God we are serving. You happen to be God’s field in which we are working.

9-15 Or, to put it another way, you are God’s house. Using the gift God gave me as a good architect, I designed blueprints; Apollos is putting up the walls. Let each carpenter who comes on the job take care to build on the foundation! Remember, there is only one foundation, the one already laid: Jesus Christ. Take particular care in picking out your building materials. Eventually there is going to be an inspection. If you use cheap or inferior materials, you’ll be found out. The inspection will be thorough and rigorous. You won’t get by with a thing. If your work passes inspection, fine; if it doesn’t, your part of the building will be torn out and started over. But you won’t be torn out; you’ll survive—but just barely.

16-17 You realize, don’t you, that you are the temple of God, and God himself is present in you? No one will get by with vandalizing God’s temple, you can be sure of that. God’s temple is sacred—and you, remember, are the temple.

18-20 Don’t fool yourself. Don’t think that you can be wise merely by being up-to-date with the times. Be God’s fool—that’s the path to true wisdom. What the world calls smart, God calls stupid. It’s written in Scripture,

He exposes the chicanery of the chic.
The Master sees through the smoke screens
    of the know-it-alls.

21-23 I don’t want to hear any of you bragging about yourself or anyone else. Everything is already yours as a gift—Paul, Apollos, Peter, the world, life, death, the present, the future—all of it is yours, and you are privileged to be in union with Christ, who is in union with God.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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