Foundations for Living
1 However, brothers and sisters, I could not talk to you as to spiritual people, but [only] as to (a)worldly people [dominated by human nature], mere infants [in the new life] in Christ! 2 I fed you with milk, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Even now you are still not ready. 3 You are still (b)worldly [controlled by ordinary impulses, the sinful capacity]. For as long as there is jealousy and strife and discord among you, are you not (c)unspiritual, and are you not walking like ordinary men [unchanged by faith]? 4 For 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?
5 What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Just servants through whom you believed [in Christ], even as the Lord appointed to each his task. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God [all the while] was causing the growth. 7 So neither is the one who plants nor the one who waters anything, but [only] God who causes the growth. 8 He 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. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers [His servants working together]; you are God’s cultivated field [His garden, His vineyard], God’s building.(A)
10 According 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, 11 for no one can lay a foundation other than the one which is [already] laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 But if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each 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.(B) 14 If 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. 15 But 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.(C)
16 (d)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]? 17 If 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.
18 Let 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.(D) 19 For 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;”(E) 20 and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the [humanly] wise, that they are useless.”(F) 21 So let no one boast in men [about their wisdom, or of having this or that one as a leader]. For all things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas (Peter) or the world or life or death or things present or things to come; all things are yours, 23 and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God.
a. 1 Corinthians 3:1: Lit fleshly.
b. 1 Corinthians 3:3: Lit fleshly.
c. 1 Corinthians 3:3: Lit fleshly.
d. 1 Corinthians 3:16: 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).