World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
3. On Division in the Church
1And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, as unto babes in Christ. 2I fed you with milk, not with meat; for ye were not yet able to bear it: nay, not even now are ye able; 3for ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you jealousy and strife, are ye not carnal, and do ye not walk after the manner of men? 4For when one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not men? 5What then is Apollos? and what is Paul? Ministers through whom ye believed; and each as the Lord gave to him. 6I planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. 7So then neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. 8Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: but each shall receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9For we are God's fellow-workers: ye are God's husbandry, God's building. 10According to the grace of God which was given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder I laid a foundation; and another buildeth thereon. But let each man take heed how he buildeth thereon. 11For other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12But if any man buildeth on the foundation gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13each man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it is revealed in fire; and the fire itself shall prove each man's work of what sort it is. 14If any man's work shall abide which he built thereon, he shall receive a reward. 15If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as through fire. 16Know ye not that ye are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17If any man destroyeth the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, and such are ye. 18Let no man deceive himself. If any man thinketh that he is wise among you in this world, let him become a fool, that he may become wise. 19For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He that taketh the wise in their craftiness: 20and again, The Lord knoweth the reasonings of the wise that they are vain. 21Wherefore let no one glory in men. For all things are yours; 22whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; 23and ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's.
1Co 3:1-23. Paul Could Not Speak to Them of Deep Spiritual Truths, as They Were Carnal, Contending for Their Several Teachers; These Are Nothing but Workers for God, to Whom They Must Give Account in the Day of Fiery Judgment. The Hearers Are God's Temple, Which They Must Not Defile by Contentions for Teachers, Who, as Well as All Things, Are Theirs, Being Christ's.
1. And I—that is, as the natural (animal) man cannot receive, so I also could not speak unto you the deep things of God, as I would to the spiritual; but I was compelled to speak to you as I would to MEN OF FLESH. The oldest manuscripts read this for "carnal." The former (literally, "fleshy") implies men wholly of flesh, or natural. Carnal, or fleshly, implies not they were wholly natural or unregenerate (1Co 2:14), but that they had much of a carnal tendency; for example their divisions. Paul had to speak to them as he would to men wholly natural, inasmuch as they are still carnal (1Co 3:3) in many respects, notwithstanding their conversion (1Co 1:4-9).
babes—contrasted with the perfect (fully matured) in Christ (Col 1:28; compare Heb 5:13, 14). This implies they were not men wholly of flesh, though carnal in tendencies. They had life in Christ, but it was weak. He blames them for being still in a degree (not altogether, compare 1Co 1:5, 7; therefore he says as) babes in Christ, when by this time they ought to have "come unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" (Eph 4:13). In Ro 7:14, also the oldest manuscripts read, "I am a man of flesh."
2. (Heb 5:12).
milk—the elementary "principles of the doctrine of Christ."
3. envying—jealousy, rivalry. As this refers to their feelings, "strife" refers to their words, and "divisions" to their actions [Bengel]. There is a gradation, or ascending climax: envying had produced strife, and strife divisions (factious parties) [Grotius]. His language becomes severer now as He proceeds; in 1Co 1:11 he had only said "contentions," he now multiplies the words (compare the stronger term, 1Co 4:6, than in 1Co 3:21).
carnal—For "strife" is a "work of the flesh" (Ga 5:20). The "flesh" includes all feelings that aim not at the glory of God, and the good of our neighbor, but at gratifying self.
4. (1Co 1:12).
are ye not carnal—The oldest manuscripts read, "Are ye not men?" that is, "walking as men" unregenerate (1Co 3:3).