Monday, February 12, 2018

The Apostle by Chapter | 1 Corinthians Chapter 3

By Sam Nobles

Continuing to address the problem of division within the Corinthian church, the Apostle Paul puts his finger on the key issue: Christian maturity. By using a few illustrations, the Apostle Paul instructs the Corinthian believers to not get so caught up giving glory to human teachers and glorify the Lord.

Maturing (v.1-4)
Upon setting up the church in Corinth, Paul taught the believers elementary truths concerning Christ, which he speaks of as milk, because at the time the Corinthians were not able to understand the deeper things, referred to as solid food, due to their spiritual immaturity. The problem Paul had was that they had not gone any further in their Christian maturity than the last time he had taught them, and that was the root of the division they were experiencing. Here’s a very simple way to evaluate whether you are carnal or not: How is your appetite? Do you crave the meat of the Word, or are you still only able to digest milk?i

Harvesting (v.5-9)
Every believer has a different part to play in the kingdom of God. No one part exists without the other, and all parts are used to give God glory. Using agriculture as an illustration, Paul looked at his part as planting and his fellow minister Apollos as a waterer of that which was planted. Both parts were different, but worked together so God could bring forth a harvest.

Building (v.10-17)
Using the illustration of a building, Paul sees Christ as the foundation; that which everything else is built upon for believers. The results of our works will all be manifest and serve to prove the foundation that we have built upon, but if the foundation is wrong then everything else is wrong. The illustration is given further clarity as Paul teaches that they are not just any building, but the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Glorifying God (v.18-23)
The Corinthian believers gloried in human teachers and human wisdom, and robbed God of the Glory that rightfully belonged to him.ii  The command to “let no one boast in men” is not a suggestion.  To God be the glory!

Scripture to Claim:
I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” (1 Corinthians 3:6 ESV)
Courson’s Application Commentary on the New Testament, accessed May 16, 2017,
[1] Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Wise, New edition (David C. Cook, 2010).

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