Study Notes on 1 Corinthians 3
This is a wonderful chapter on the eternal security of the believer.
1 Corinthians 3
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.
The church at Corinth was mostly immature Christians. Better a babe in Christ than a grown man without Christ.
Hebrews 5:12-14; Ezra 7:10
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?
So the congregation at this church was focused on the flesh, they were outwardly no different than the world.
4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?
Following people and arguing about it (again, 1 Cor 1:12).
5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?
Ministers = deacon διακονος = servant. We are just servants, messengers. Fine to have respect for good preachers, but we shouldn’t elevate people too much.
This is a lesson for “regular” believers as well as pastors. Pride is a dangerous temptation.
6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
We both did different kinds of work, but the result is on God. Everything we do is nothing unless God is with us and God wants to bless that work.
7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.
How are they one? Next verse. All just servants, just workers. Often roles of a believer overlap. We are ALL called towards the Great Commission but some have many other functions as well.
9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.
We are God’s “field” or “farm”. We are what God works through to produce things, like churches, saving people etc.
10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
So Paul built wisely by the grace of God (how? By starting with Christ, next verse); he was a great church planter.
11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
What is the foundation Paul laid? What he talks about in the previous two chapters: the gospel (1 Cor 1:17). Christ is the foundation, and must be our starting point for anything we do.
This is a great section on eternal security, that you can’t lose salvation. Once we are saved and start with Christ as the foundation of our work for God……
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, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.
The day of the Lord, judgment day. 2 Cor 5:10
14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
Matthew 6:19-21 treasure in heaven
15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
We lose out but not doing lasting work for the lord! But we will be saved by the skin of our teeth. We can do no good works and still have that salvation. Not a common scenario or recommended scenario. We’ll be saved by fire. We can lose out on a lot, there’s a sin unto death and God might kill us early, but we don’t lose salvation.
2 John 1:8
16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
How defile temple? By being divisive and following people, Apollos, Paul etc. Look back at verse 3. So this all ties in. Pointing to Christ.
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.
(1Cor1:20, 27) To become foolish doesn’t mean be an idiot, but to be foolish to worldly wisdom. By rejecting worldly wisdom we become wise by following Christ.
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.
1Cor1:20. The emptiness of human reason is enough to not put our trust in men – going back to the divisions Paul Apollos….etc
21 Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are your's;
22 Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are your's;
Why not boast in men like Apollos/Paul etc? It limits/restricts our riches that we have. The world is yours. We seek somebody that we really like, instead of looking far above to Christ. We are joint heirs with Christ: Romans 8:17; James 2:5
23 And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's.
This is only hierarchy in that Christ is the Son, as fully man and fully God. As the man Christ (a temporary condition) He is subordinate to God, but still eternal and co-equal in the Godhead.