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THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS - Chapter 3 - Verse 10

Verse 10. According to the grace of God. By the favour of God which is given to me. All that Paul had done had been by the mere favour of God. His appointment was from him; and all the skill which he had shown, and all the agency which he had employed, had been from him. The architectural figure is here continued with some striking additions and illustrations. By the "grace of God" here, Paul probably means his apostleship to the Gentiles, which had been conferred on him by the mere favour of God, and all the wisdom, and skill, and success which he had evinced in founding the church.

As a wise master-builder. Greek, Architect. The word does not imply that Paul had any pre-eminence over his brethren, but that he had proceeded in his work as a skilful architect, who secures first a firm foundation. Every builder begins with the foundation; and Paul had proceeded in this manner in laying first a firm foundation on which the church could be reared. The word wise here means skilful, judicious, Comp. Mt 7:24.

I have laid the foundation. What this foundation was he states in 1 Co 3:11. The meaning here is, that the church at Corinth had been at first established by Paul. See Ac 18:1, etc.

And another. Other teachers. I have communicated to the church the first elements of Christian knowledge. Others follow out this instruction, and edify the church. The discussion here undergoes a slight change. In the former part of the chapter, Christians are compared to a building; here the doctrines which are taught in the church are compared to various parts of a building.—Grotius. See similar instances of translation in Mt 13; Mr 4; Joh 10

But let every man, etc. Every man who is a professed teacher. Let him be careful what instructions he shall give to a church that has been founded by apostolic hands, and that is established on the only true foundation. This is designed to guard against false instruction, and the instructions of false teachers. Men should take heed what instruction they give to a church,

(1.) because of the fact that the church belongs to God, and they should be cautious what directions they give to it.

(2.) Because it is important that Christians should not only be on the true foundation, but that they should be fully instructed in the nature of their religion, and the church should be permitted to rise in its true beauty and loveliness.

(3.) Because of the evils which result from false instruction. Even when the foundation is firm, incalculable evils will result from the want of just and discriminating instruction. Error sanctifies no one. The effect of it even on the minds of true Christians is to mar their piety; to dim its lustre; and to darken their minds. No Christian can enjoy religion except under the full-orbed shining of the word of truth; and every man, therefore, who gives false instruction, is responsible for all the darkness he causes, and for all the want of comfort which true Christians under his teaching may experience.

(4.) Every man must give an account of the nature of his instructions; and he should therefore take heed unto himself, and unto his doctrine, (1 Ti 4:16,) and preach such doctrine as shall bear the test of the great day. And from this we learn, that it is important that the church should be built on the true foundation; and, that it is scarcely less important that it should be built up in the knowledge of the truth. Vast evils are constantly occurring in the church, for the want of proper instruction to young converts. Many seem to feel that provided the foundation be well laid, that is all that is needed. But the grand thing which is wanted at the present time is, that those who are converted should, as soon as possible, be instructed FULLY in the nature of the religion which they have embraced. What would be thought of a farmer who should plant a tree, and never water or trim it; who should plant his seed, and never cultivate the corn as it springs up; who should sow his fields, and then think that all is well, and leave it to be overrun with weeds and thorns? Piety is often stunted, its early shootings blighted, its rapid growth checked, for the want of early culture in the church. And, perhaps, there is no one thing in which pastors more frequently fail than in regard to the culture which ought to be bestowed on those who are converted—especially in early life. Our Saviour's views on this were expressed in the admonition to Peter, "Feed my lambs," Joh 21:15.

{b} "According" Ro 12:3

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