The Book of 1 Corinthians Bible Study Chapter 3 Part 1 Leave a Comment / Love Israel Connection Blog / By Rivka Korman Our last reading this week is from 1 Cor 3:1-11 The Apostle Paul knew the Word of G-d. He had received wisdom from studying it, but he also received supernatural revelation. These two things, together with a commitment to the will of G-d, made Paul into a successful vessel of G-d. So much of the spread of the gospel message outside of Israel, throughout the various nations, can be traced back to Paul and those who served with him. Despite Pauls giftings and his commitment, some of the congregations he was instrumental in establishing were not always G-dly congregations – they had their problems and disputes and didn’t always manifest the fruit of good works before G-d (e.g. This congregation in Corinth, who were far removed from where they should have been spiritually). v1: Brethren: This is important. Paul wasn’t speaking to unbelievers but was speaking to people who were believers and part of this congregation. Paul didn’t call into question their salvation or where they would spend eternity (this was a given), but what was problematic to Paul was that their faith was not producing what it ought to have been. · Could not speak to you as to spiritual people: This was the problem. They did not reflect the order of G-d. When we submit to Biblical truth our lives are changed. G-d’s order in our lives will give rise to the fulfilment of His will. This was not happening in this church in Corinth. · But as to carnal: They were still living in the flesh and according to their fleshly desires. Even though they had believed, their lifestyles did not reflect faith. · Babes in Messiah: They were IN Messiah (their salvation and eternity with Messiah was assured), but they were behaving like infants. Immature faith was common back then and is unfortunately still common in the church today. Are our lives reflecting the will of G-d or are we immature – still living according to our fleshly desires? v2: Fed you with milk and not with solid food: In the spiritual state they were in they were unable to grasp the weightier matters of G-d. It is the solid food (the weightier things of G-d) that produce maturity, and which in turn allow us to do mighty things in regard to the will of G-d.· Until now…and even now: At this point they have still not changed. Time has passed since they received the gospel, but they have not matured at all. When a paediatrician examines a child, they want to see that the child is growing, that it is changing and maturing. The same principle (spiritually) is applicable here. v3: You are still carnal: This is the diagnosis for their stunted growth and immaturity. They are still living according to their flesh.· Envy: Jealousy. Coveting what others have and wanting it for ourselves. · Strife: James 4:1. We want something and there is opposition to getting it. We are therefore against this opposition as it interferes with our desires and plans. · (Strife leads to) division – we split into groups and follow the leaders who we think will accomplish our own desires. · Are you not carnal: Repetition creates emphasis. Paul is emphasising that they are living in the flesh and not by the Spirit. When we live in the flesh, we think about ourselves, rather than about the will of G-d. · Behaving like mere men: Yeshua did not come into this world to live according to the flesh or to think as a man thinks. He came to accomplish the will, the purpose, and the plan of G-d (In Matt 16:23 Yeshua told Peter, who was a man, that he was thinking as a man thinks. When we are IN Messiah, we are called to be new creations – 2 Cor 5:17 – not thinking like mere men, but as people who have the mind of Messiah – 1 Cor 2:16) When we think like mere men we’re going to miss out on the things of G-d. v4: In this verse Paul begins to show them what their problem is. When a person’s allegiance is to another human then we can know that that person is operating in the flesh – we do not follow men but have been called to follow Messiah (Matt 16:24). v5: Ministers: Servants. Paul and Apollos were just vessels that the L-rd had used to bring others to faith. They were not G-d but were mere men. · As the L-rd gave to each one: The L-rd equipped them (with blessing, power and ability) so that they could have a positive impact on others. v6: Although the planting and the watering are necessary, they are not the main objective – the yield/harvest is what the farmer is interested in and happy about. If all the work had been done but there had been no crop/increase, then all the work would have been in vain and would leave the workers discouraged because the goal of a bountiful harvest wasn’t realised. The main thing is the increase – and only G-d can give that. v7: Through this example, Paul is sternly and clearly telling the church that the focus should be on G-d and not on fellow human beings. v8: (They) are one: They have something in common – they do the work and they each receive a reward (based on how well they worked). Note: Only believers can do the work of the L-rd and receive a reward. Unbelievers can be used by the L-rd (eg: Nebuchadnezzar) but they will not receive a reward for what they do. v9: Fellow workers: Fellow servants. By using the word ‘fellow’ Paul again emphasises that we are in this together, we have something in common – and we all belong to G-d. · You: Written in the plural. Paul is still speaking to all of them. · G-d’s field: A field produces a harvest – this fruit manifests the glory of G-d. · G-d’s building: Many scholars see Paul as referring to the body of Messiah as being a temple (1 Cor 3:16, 1 Cor 6:19). The temple was the place where G-d’s glory was manifested (as it should be in our lives). The glory of G-d is not focused on ourselves (we are not called to exalt or call attention to ourselves), but is focussed on G-d getting the glory. v10: Grace of G-d which was given to me: Paul makes this personal. Everything that Paul managed to do or achieve could be attributed to the grace of G-d. The grace of G-d works in our lives to produce the will of G-d.· A wise master builder: An architect – someone who not only designs, but who is also involved in the building process. · I have laid the foundation: G-d led Paul to Corinth in order to share the gospel message. He laid the foundation…he got the process of discipleship started. · Another builds on it: A healthy body works together as a team.· Let each one take heed (watch out, beware) how he builds: Paul is warning believers to build properly – he is not talking about salvation here, as these people are already saved. The expectation when we are saved is that we grow and mature (we build up the Kingdom of G-d and not our own kingdom) so that we can become useful, producing fruit that brings glory to G-d (Matt 3:8). v11: Paul is clarifying that the foundation (something that is built upon) that was laid in Corinth wasn’t really his. Noone is able to build something pleasing to G-d unless we are doing the work (proclaiming the gospel and Biblical truth) that He has called us to do. · Messiah Yeshua: Everything that is done should be done because of Yeshua. He is the foundation of our faith. It is His message, and it is His work (which He did for the purpose of bringing about His Kingdom) that we, His body, are called to carry out in this age that we are living in. If we do not do this, then we are living in disobedience.