1 Corinthians Chapter 3: Christ as the Foundation of the Growing Church
Key Verses (1 Corinthians 3:3–23)
3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?
5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe — as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.
16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.
21 So then, no more boasting about human leaders! All things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future — all are yours, 23 and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.
Paul points out in chapter 3 (v. 3) that the Corinthians, in their jealousy and quarreling, are acting as mere humans. In other words, their actions are carnal, not spiritual.
He goes on in verses 5–11 to emphasize that he (Paul) and Apollos are only servants through whom God is working and that the real foundation of the faith is Jesus Christ.
And in verses 16 and 17, he reminds the Corinthians that the true construction is going on, in and through their own lives, that they are God’s sacred temple and that they must work to build and not tear down that growing structure that rests on Christ as its foundation.
He then implores the Corinthians to stop boasting about human leaders or arguing over who is better. Instead, he wants them to focus on all that God has given them in Christ.
A Moment to Reflect:
In today’s multi-denominational and often fractured perspectives of Christianity, we hear people criticize elements of doctrine that may differ from our own. Instead of focusing on our differences and arguing about which evangelists or preachers “have it right” or are better leaders and builders, shouldn’t we focus more on the true foundation of the faith, the key element of commonality in almost all denominational doctrine — Jesus Christ? Have you experienced dissension and quarreling over non-essential doctrine within your own faith family?
Even though Paul wrote his letters many centuries ago, he was speaking to us today and urging us to remember that the Church will grow and flourish if we focus more on our solid foundation in Jesus.