1 Corinthians 3: Exhortation to Grow Up

Why do you think the Corinthians were spiritually immature?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
1 Corinthians 3:1 When I was with you, my friends, I could not speak to you as spiritually mature adults, but I had to address you as baby Christians,
3:2 feeding you milk instead of meat. You could not handle what I wanted to tell you, and you’re still not ready,
3:3 for your desires are driven by what satisfies your flesh. When you are jealous of one another, quarreling and taking sides, are you not carnal, living as those who don’t know God?
King James
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.
3:2 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.
3:3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

By what authority did Jesus preach?

Author’s Thoughts
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John 16:12 I have much more to tell you, but you cannot handle it right now.
1 Corinthians 3:1 When I was with you, my friends, I could not speak to you as spiritually mature adults, but I had to address you as baby Christians,
3:2 feeding you milk instead of meat. You could not handle what I wanted to tell you, and you’re still not ready,
3:3 for your desires are driven by what satisfies your flesh. When you are jealous of one another, quarreling and taking sides, are you not carnal, living as those who don’t know God?
King James
John 16:12 have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
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.
3:2 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.
3:3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

What makes Christians different from others?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
John 13:35 If you love one another, people will know you are my disciples.
1 Corinthians 3:1 When I was with you, my friends, I could not speak to you as spiritually mature adults, but I had to address you as baby Christians,
3:2 feeding you milk instead of meat. You could not handle what I wanted to tell you, and you’re still not ready,
3:3 for your desires are driven by what satisfies your flesh. When you are jealous of one another, quarreling and taking sides, are you not carnal, living as those who don’t know God?
King James
John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
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.
3:2 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.
3:3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

Why might people have chosen to identify themselves as followers of a certain person?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
1 Corinthians 3:4 When one of you says, “I am a follower of Paul,” and another says, “I follow Apollos,” aren’t you behaving like ordinary people of the world?
King James
1 Corinthians 3:4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

How should Paul’s and Apollos’s service to God have affected people’s allegiance?

Author’s Thoughts
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1 Corinthians 3:5 Don’t you know that Paul and Apollos are God’s servants who led you to faith? We are not leaders of political parties.
King James
1 Corinthians 3:5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?

Who should be credited for the results of our efforts in ministry? Why?

Author’s Thoughts
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1 Corinthians 3:6 I planted seeds and Apollos watered, but God is the one who brings spiritual growth and produces the harvest.
3:7 The one who plants and the one who waters are not people to be idolized, because God is the one who does the miracle. He makes the seeds grow.
King James
1 Corinthians 3:6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
3:7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

Why should people be rewarded for their efforts?

Author’s Thoughts
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1 Corinthians 3:8 The one who plants works with the one who waters, each one seeing the benefit of his work in the harvest.
King James
1 Corinthians 3:8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.

What is the benefit of having God as our co-worker?

Author’s Thoughts
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1 Corinthians 3:9 We are co-workers with God, in his garden where we bear fruit, his building where he is glorified.
King James
1 Corinthians 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.

Why might a foundation contractor be proud of his work when it is never seen?

Author’s Thoughts
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1 Corinthians 3:10 God gave me grace to be the wise master-builder and lay a strong foundation upon which others will build.
King James
1 Corinthians 3:10 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.

How would you describe what Paul meant by Jesus Christ being the foundation?

Author’s Thoughts
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1 Corinthians 3:11 The foundation I have laid is Jesus Christ, and no man should lay any other.
King James
1 Corinthians 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

What are some of the different things that can be built upon Jesus, the foundation?

Author’s Thoughts
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1 Corinthians 3:12 Build upon this foundation gold, silver, and precious stones, or wood, hay, and stubble.
King James
1 Corinthians 3:12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble.

Why must every person’s work be tested?

Author’s Thoughts
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1 Corinthians 3:13 Every person’s work will be tested. The fire on Judgment Day will reveal the eternal value of each person’s work.
3:14 Those who have built a surviving structure on the sure foundation will receive their reward.
King James
1 Corinthians 3:13 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.
3:14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

Why do you think there will be salvation even in failure?

Author’s Thoughts
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1 Corinthians 3:15 The builder whose work is burned up will suffer great loss, but through the fire he will be saved.
King James
1 Corinthians 3:15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

How does the people being God’s temple differ from the Jewish practice of Temple worship?

Author’s Thoughts
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1 Corinthians 3:16 Don’t you know that the people are God’s temple, the Holy Spirit living among you?
King James
1 Corinthians 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

What makes a temple holy?

Author’s Thoughts
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Exodus 3:4 And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.
3:5 And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.
1 Corinthians 3:17 His temple is holy, and God will destroy anyone who defiles it.
King James
Exodus 3:4 When God saw Moses turn his way, God spoke from the bush, saying, “Moses.” And he said, “Yes, I am here.”
3:5 “Don’t come any closer,” God said. “Remove your shoes, because you’re standing on holy ground.
1 Corinthians 3:17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

How does the wisdom of the world compare to the wisdom of God?

Author’s Thoughts
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1 Corinthians 3:18 Quit deceiving yourselves. If you think you are wise by the world’s standards, admit how foolish you have been and become truly wise with God’s truth.
King James
1 Corinthians 3:18 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.

What example can you give of the world’s wisdom turning out to be foolish?

Author’s Thoughts
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Job 5:13 God traps the wise with their own cleverness, so their scheming is thwarted.
1 Corinthians 3:19 The wisdom of the world is nonsense compared to what God knows. As Eliphaz the Temanite said: God traps the wise with their own cleverness, so their scheming is thwarted.
King James
Job 5:13 He taketh the wise in their own craftiness: and the counsel of the froward is carried headlong.
1 Corinthians 3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.

How is it possible for God to know people’s thoughts when nobody else does?

Author’s Thoughts
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Psalm 94:11 The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, how useless they are.
1 Corinthians 3:20 As the psalmist wrote: The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, how useless they are.
King James
Psalm 94:11 The LORD knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity.
1 Corinthians 3:20 And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.

If there is safety in the good advice of many counselors, what should the role of the Holy Spirit be?

Author’s Thoughts
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Proverbs 11:14 Where there is no guidance, people fall. But with the good advice of many counselors, there is safety.
1 Corinthians 3:21 Take no pride in people and their philosophies. Your source of truth is in the Holy Spirit.
King James
Proverbs 11:14 Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.
1 Corinthians 3:21 Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours.

What limits exist in our ability to understand?

Author’s Thoughts
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1 Corinthians 3:22 Whether by Paul, Apollos, Peter, or someone else, in life or death, for the present or the future, all knowledge is yours through Jesus Christ.
King James
1 Corinthians 3:22 Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours.

What does it mean to “belong to Christ”)?

Author’s Thoughts
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1 Corinthians 3:23 You belong to Christ, and he belongs to God.
King James
1 Corinthians 3:23 And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.