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1 Corinthians 3

3
Laying a true foundation
1And yet, I myself, brethren, did not speak to you as spiritually minded beings, possessing the mind of Christ, but I spoke to you as to carnal men, still entangled in the mind of the flesh, and in Christ the merest babes, 2needing milk, not real meat. That was your condition. You were not able to receive what I might have told you. And that is still your state. 3The mind of the flesh works in you still. You are not spiritual, you are the human being, the human rent by division and strife, 4one of you saying that he is Paul's disciple, another that he is Apollos'. 5-6That is not the divine unity, wherein Paul planted and Apollos watered, and wherein all life and growth is of God. What is Paul or Apollos? Servants of your faith, each one according to the task assigned by God. 7-9In this great oneness each receives the fulfilment and reward of his own function, sower and tiller all belong to one unity which is God's field and harvest, or God's building. In ourselves we are nothing. 10What if I, resembling a good and skilful architect, laid a foundation on which another is building? My function was an expression of God's own grace imparted to me, and all the building similarly is of God, its parts expressing the grace which He confers. 11If a man misapply his own mission, and attempt to lay a foundation other than that already laid which is Christ Jesus, let him be sure he will receive the appropriate reward for such a corruption and reversal of the grace God gave him. 12Or if, instead of building on this foundation gold and silver and costly marble and stone, he build wood, thatch, straw, 13he shall certainly receive the appropriate reward of this faithlessness. The fire will burn up his work. 14-15The great day of truth will dawn, and reveal his faithless evil work, and the havoc he has made of the Church. It will all be destroyed, all pass away, yet shall he himself thereby be saved. 16For this is God's temple, God's building, the Spirit of God dwells here, 17and you yourselves are the one building of God, and therefore not one shall perish though the evil doer reap his own destruction.
Self-deception to be guarded against
18Cleverness and the wisdom of the world are not sufficient for these things. Thereby you may become self-deceived. 19And if one must become a fool in order to be wise, this is the wisest course, for the world's wisest is a species of folly. “He taketh the wise in their own craftiness” (Job v. 13.). 20“The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man that they are vanity” (Ps. xciv. 11.). 21There is nothing in merely human wisdom, and why? because you already have the wisdom that includes all, 22that includes Paul, Apollos and Cephas, yes, and the world, life, death, the present and the future; 23it is yours because it and you are Christ's, who is of God, and who therefore includes it all.
3
Foundations for Living
1However, brothers and sisters, I could not talk to you as to spiritual people, but [only] as to #Lit fleshly.worldly people [dominated by human nature], mere infants [in the new life] in Christ! 2I fed you with milk, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Even now you are still not ready. 3You are still #Lit fleshly.worldly [controlled by ordinary impulses, the sinful capacity]. For as long as there is jealousy and strife and discord among you, are you not #Lit fleshly.unspiritual, and are you not walking like ordinary men [unchanged by faith]? 4For when one of you says, “I am [a disciple] of Paul,” and another, “I am [a disciple] of Apollos,” are you not [proving yourselves unchanged, just] ordinary people?
5What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Just servants through whom you believed [in Christ], even as the Lord appointed to each his task. 6I planted, Apollos watered, but God [all the while] was causing the growth. 7So neither is the one who plants nor the one who waters anything, but [only] God who causes the growth. 8He who plants and he who waters are one [in importance and esteem, working toward the same purpose]; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9For we are God’s fellow workers [His servants working together]; you are God’s cultivated field [His garden, His vineyard], God’s building.
10According to the [remarkable] grace of God which was given to me [to prepare me for my task], like a skillful master builder I laid a foundation, and now another is building on it. But each one must be careful how he builds on it, 11for no one can lay a foundation other than the one which is [already] laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12But if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13each one’s work will be clearly shown [for what it is]; for the day [of judgment] will disclose it, because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality and character and worth of each person’s work. 14If any person’s work which he has built [on this foundation, that is, any outcome of his effort] remains [and survives this test], he will receive a reward. 15But if any person’s work is burned up [by the test], he will suffer the loss [of his reward]; yet he himself will be saved, but only as [one who has barely escaped] through fire.
16 # Paul repeats “Do you not know” nine more times, each time followed by an important truth (cf 5:6; 6:2, 3, 9, 15, 16, 19; 9:13, 24). Do you not know and understand that you [the church] are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells [permanently] in you [collectively and individually]? 17If anyone destroys the temple of God [corrupting it with false doctrine], God will destroy the destroyer; for the temple of God is holy (sacred), and that is what you are.
18Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool [discarding his worldly pretensions and acknowledging his lack of wisdom], so that he may become [truly] wise. 19For the wisdom of this world is foolishness (absurdity, stupidity) before God; for it is written [in Scripture], “[He is] The one who catches the wise and clever in their craftiness;” 20and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the [humanly] wise, that they are useless.” 21So let no one boast in men [about their wisdom, or of having this or that one as a leader]. For all things are yours, 22whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas (Peter) or the world or life or death or things present or things to come; all things are yours, 23and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God.