1 Corinthians 3:1-23

Note:  The opening section refers to the competitive spirit around “celebrities” – including Paul and Barnabas. The topic is returned to at the end of the chapter. this chapter gives two metaphors to understand the Corinthian ecclesia – God’s husbandry and God’s building (temple). The first is illustrated by a series of triplets to do with the role of Paul and Barnabas. The second is illustrated by abb’a’ and abcb’a’ chiasms which have to do with accountability towards God.  

A. 1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not 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 men? 4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

B. [the metaphor of farming]

a. 5 Who then is Paul,
b. and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed,
c. even as the Lord gave to every man?

a’. 6 I have planted,
b’. Apollos watered;
c’. but God gave the increase.

a’’. 7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing,
b’’. neither he that watereth;
c’’. but God that giveth the increase.

a”’. 8 Now he that planteth
b”’. and he that watereth are one:
c”’. and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. 9 For we are labourers together with God:

C. ye are God’s husbandry,

C’. ye are God’s building.

B’. [the building metaphor]

a. 10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation,

b. and another buildeth thereon.

b’. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

a’ 11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

a. 12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it,

b. because it shall be revealed by fire;

b’. and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.

a’. 14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

a.16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God,

 b. and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

c. 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy;

b’. for the temple of God is holy,

a’. which temple ye are.

A’ 18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. 20 And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. 21 Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; 22 Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; 23 And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.

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