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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(1 Corinthians: Chapter 3)

3:1 {But as unto carnal} (\all' hōs sarkinois\). Latin _carneus_.
"As men o' flesh," Braid Scots; "as worldlings," Moffatt. This
form in \-inos\ like \lithinos\ in 2Co 3:3 means the material
of flesh, "not on tablets of stone, but on fleshen tablets on
hearts." So in Heb 7:16. But in Ro 7:14 Paul says, "I am
fleshen (\sarkinos\) sold under sin," as if \sarkinos\
represented the extreme power of the \sarx\. Which does Paul mean
here? He wanted to speak the wisdom of God among the adults (1Co
, the spiritual (\hoi pneumatikoi\, 2:15), but he was
unable to treat them as \pneumatikoi\ in reality because of their
seditions and immoralities. It is not wrong to be \sarkinos\, for
we all live in the flesh (\en sarki\, Ga 2:20), but we are not
to live according to the flesh (\kata sarka\, Ro 8:12). It is
not culpable to a babe in Christ (\nēpios\, 1Co 13:11), unless
unduly prolonged (1Co 14:20; Heb 5:13f.). It is one of the
tragedies of the minister's life that he has to keep on speaking
to the church members "as unto babes in Christ" (\hōs nēpiois en
, who actually glory in their long babyhood whereas
they ought to be teachers of the gospel instead of belonging to
the cradle roll. Paul's goal was for all the babes to become
adults (Col 1:28).

3:2 {I fed you with milk, not with meat} (\gala humas epotisa, ou
. Note two accusatives with the verb, \epotisa\, first
aorist active indicative of \potizō\, as with other causative
verbs, that of the person and of the thing. In the LXX and the
papyri the verb often means to irrigate. \Brōma\ does not mean
meat (flesh) as opposed to bread, but all solid food as in "meats
and drinks" (Heb 9:7). It is a zeugma to use \epotisa\ with
\brōma\. Paul did not glory in making his sermons thin and
watery. Simplicity does not require lack of ideas or dulness. It
is pathetic to think how the preacher has to clip the wings of
thought and imagination because the hearers cannot go with him.
But nothing hinders great preaching like the dulness caused by
sin on the part of auditors who are impatient with the high
demands of the gospel.

3:3 {For ye are yet carnal} (\eti gar sarkikoi este\).
\Sarkikos\, unlike \sarkinos\, like \ikos\ formations, means
adapted to, fitted for the flesh (\sarx\), one who lives
according to the flesh (\kata sarka\). Paul by \psuchikos\
describes the unregenerate man, by \pneumatikos\ the regenerate
man. Both classes are \sarkinoi\ made in flesh, and both may be
\sarkikoi\ though the \pneumatikoi\ should not be. The
\pneumatikoi\ who continue to be \sarkinoi\ are still babes
(\nēpioi\), not adults (\teleioi\), while those who are still
\sarkikoi\ (carnal) have given way to the flesh as if they were
still \psuchikoi\ (unregenerate). It is a bold and cutting
figure, not without sarcasm, but necessary to reveal the
Corinthians to themselves. {Jealousy and strife} (\zēlos kai
. Zeal (\zēlos\ from \zeō\, to boil) is not necessarily
evil, but good if under control. It may be not according to
knowledge (Ro 10:2) and easily becomes jealousy (same root
through the French _jaloux_)
as zeal. Ardour may be like the
jealousy of God (2Co 11:2) or the envy of men (Ac 5:17).
\Eris\ is an old word, but used only by Paul in N.T. (see on ¯1Co
. Wrangling follows jealousy. These two voices of the
spirit are to Paul proof that the Corinthians are still
\sarkikoi\ and walking according to men, not according to the
Spirit of Christ.

3:4 {For when one saith} (\hotan gar legēi tis\). Indefinite
temporal clause with the present subjunctive of repetition
(Robertson, _Grammar_, p. 972). Each instance is a case in point
and proof abundant of the strife. {Of Paul} (\Paulou\). Predicate
genitive, belong to Paul, on Paul's side. {Of Apollos}
(\Apollō\). Same genitive, but the form is the so-called Attic
second declension. See the nominative \Apollōs\ in verse 5.
{Men} (\anthrōpoi\). Just mere human creatures (\anthrōpoi\,
generic term for mankind)
, in the flesh (\sarkinoi\), acting like
the flesh (\sarkikoi\), not \pneumatikoi\, as if still
\psuchikoi\. It was a home-thrust. Paul would not even defend his
own partisans.

3:5 {What then?} (\ti oun;\). He does not say \tis\ (who), but
\ti\ (what), neuter singular interrogative pronoun. {Ministers}
(\diakonoi\). Not leaders of parties or sects, but merely
servants through whom ye believed. The etymology of the word
Thayer gives as \dia\ and \konis\ "raising dust by hastening." In
the Gospels it is the servant (Mt 20:26) or waiter (Joh 2:5).
Paul so describes himself as a minister (Col 1:23,25). The
technical sense of deacon comes later (Php 1:1; 1Ti 3:8,12).
{As the Lord gave to him} (\hōs ho Kurios edōken\). Hence no
minister of the Lord like Apollos and Paul has any basis for
pride or conceit nor should be made the occasion for faction and
strife. This idea Paul enlarges upon through chapters 1Co 3; 4
and it is made plain in chapter 1Co 12.

3:6 {I planted} (\egō ephuteusa\). First aorist active indicative
of old verb \phuteuō\. This Paul did as Luke tells us in Ac
18:1-18. {Apollos watered} (\Apollōs epotisen\). Apollos
irrigated the church there as is seen in Ac 18:24-19:1. Another
aorist tense as in verse 2. {But God gave the increase} (\alla
ho theos ēuxanen\)
. Imperfect tense here (active indicative) for
the continuous blessing of God both on the work of Paul and
Apollos, co-labourers with God in God's field (verse 9).
Reports of revivals sometimes give the glory to the evangelist or
to both evangelist and pastor. Paul gives it all to God. He and
Apollos cooperated as successive pastors.

3:7 {So then neither--neither--but} (\Hōste oute--oute--all'\).
Paul applies his logic relentlessly to the facts. He had asked
{what} (\ti\) is Apollos or Paul (verse 5). The answer is here.
{Neither is anything} (\ti\) {the one who plants nor the one who
. God is the whole and we are not anything.

3:8 {Are one} (\hen eisin\). The neuter singular again (\hen\,
not \heis\)
as with the interrogative \ti\ and the indefinite
\ti\. By this bold metaphor which Paul expands he shows how the
planter and the waterer work together. If no one planted, the
watering would be useless. If no one watered, the planting would
come to naught as the dreadful drouth of 1930 testifies while
these words are written. {According to his own labour} (\kata ton
idion kopon\)
. God will bestow to each the reward that his labour
deserves. That is the pay that the preacher is sure to receive.
He may get too little or too much here from men. But the due
reward from God is certain and it will be adequate however
ungrateful men may be.

3:9 {God's fellow-workers} (\theou sunergoi\). This old word
(co-workers of God) has a new dignity here. God is the major
partner in the enterprise of each life, but he lets us work with
him. Witness the mother and God with the baby as the product.
{God's husbandry} (\theou geōrgion\). God's tilled land (\gē,
. The farmer works with God in God's field. Without the
sun, the rains, the seasons the farmer is helpless. {God's
(\theou oikodomē\). God is the Great Architect. We work
under him and carry out the plans of the Architect. It is
building (\oikos\, house, \demō\, to build). Let us never forget
that God sees and cares what we do in the part of the building
where we work for him.

3:10 {As a wise masterbuilder} (\hōs sophos architektōn\). Paul
does not shirk his share in the work at Corinth with all the sad
outcome there. He absolves Apollos from responsibility for the
divisions. He denies that he himself is to blame. In doing so he
has to praise himself because the Judaizers who fomented the
trouble at Corinth had directly blamed Paul. It is not always
wise for a preacher to defend himself against attack, but it is
sometimes necessary. Factions in the church were now a fact and
Paul went to the bottom of the matter. God gave Paul the grace to
do what he did. This is the only New Testament example of the old
and common word \architektōn\, our architect. \Tektōn\ is from
\tiktō\, to beget, and means a begetter, then a worker in wood or
stone, a carpenter or mason (Mt 13:55; Mr 6:3). \Archi-\ is an
old inseparable prefix like \archaggelos\ (archangel),
\archepiscopos\ (archbishop), \archiereus\ (chiefpriest).
\Architektōn\ occurs in the papyri and inscriptions in an even
wider sense than our use of architect, sometimes of the chief
engineers. But Paul means to claim primacy as pastor of the
church in Corinth as is true of every pastor who is the architect
of the whole church life and work. All the workmen (\tektones\,
work under the direction of the architect (Plato,
_Statesman_, 259)
. "As a wise architect I laid a foundation"
(\themelion ethēka\). Much depends on the wisdom of the architect
in laying the foundation. This is the technical phrase (Lu 6:48;
, a cognate accusative for \themelion\. The substantive
\themelion\ is from the same root \the\ as \ethēka\ (\ti-thēmi\).
We cannot neatly reproduce the idiom in English. "I placed a
placing" does only moderately well. Paul refers directly to the
events described by Luke in Ac 18:1-18. The aorist \ethēka\ is
the correct text, not the perfect \tetheika\. {Another buildeth
(\allos epoikodomei\). Note the preposition \epi\ with
the verb each time (10,11,12,14). The successor to Paul did not
have to lay a new foundation, but only to go on building on that
already laid. It is a pity when the new pastor has to dig up the
foundation and start all over again as if an earthquake had come.
{Take heed how he buildeth thereon} (\blepetō pōs epoikodomei\).
The carpenters have need of caution how they carry out the plans
of the original architect. Successive architects of great
cathedrals carry on through centuries the original design. The
result becomes the wonder of succeeding generations. There is no
room for individual caprice in the superstructure.

3:11 {Other foundation} (\themelion allon\). The gender of the
adjective is here masculine as is shown by \allon\. If neuter, it
would be \allo\. It is masculine because Paul has Christ in mind.
It is not here \heteron\ a different kind of gospel (\heteron
euaggelion\, Ga 1:6; 2Co 11:4)
which is not another (\allo\,
Ga 1:7)
in reality. But another Jesus (2Co 11:4, \allon
is a reflection on the one Lord Jesus. Hence there is no
room on the platform with Jesus for another Saviour, whether
Buddha, Mahomet, Dowie, Eddy, or what not. Jesus Christ is the
one foundation and it is gratuitous impudence for another to
assume the role of Foundation. {Than that which is laid, which is
Christ Jesus}
(\para ton keimenon, hos estin Iēsous Christos\).
Literally, "alongside (\para\) the one laid (\keimenon\),"
already laid (present middle participle of \keimai\, used here as
often as the perfect passive of \tithēmi\ in place of
. Paul scouts the suggestion that one even in the
interest of so-called "new thought" will dare to lay beside Jesus
another foundation for religion. And yet I have seen an article
by a professor in a theological seminary in which he advocates
regarding Jesus as a landmark, not as a goal, not as a
foundation. Clearly Paul means that on this one true foundation,
Jesus Christ, one must build only what is in full harmony with
the Foundation which is Jesus Christ. If one accuses Paul of
narrowness, it can be replied that the architect has to be narrow
in the sense of building here and not there. A broad foundation
will be too thin and unstable for a solid and abiding structure.
It can be said also that Paul is here merely repeating the claim
of Jesus himself on this very subject when he quoted Ps
118:22f. to the members of the Sanhedrin who challenged his
authority (Mr 11:10f.; Mt 21:42-45; Lu 20:17f.). Apostles and
prophets go into this temple of God, but Christ Jesus is the
chief corner stone (\akrogōnaios\, Eph 2:20). All believers are
living stones in this temple (1Pe 2:5). But there is only one
foundation possible.

3:12 {Gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble}
(\chrusion, argurion, lithous timious, xula, chorton, kalamēn\).
The durable materials are three (gold, silver, marble or precious
, perishable materials (pieces of wood, hay, stubble), "of
a palace on the one hand, of a mud hut on the other" (Lightfoot).
Gold was freely used by the ancients in their palaces. Their
marble and granite pillars are still the wonder and despair of
modern men. The wooden huts had hay (\chortos\, grass, as in Mr
and stubble (\kalamē\, old word for stubble after the
grain is cut, here alone in the N.T., though in LXX as Ex 5:12)

which were employed to hold the wood pieces together and to
thatch the roof. It is not made clear whether Paul's metaphor
refers to the persons as in God's building in verse 9 or to the
character of the teaching as in verse 13. Probably both ideas
are involved, for look at the penalty on shoddy work (verse 15)
and shoddy men (verse 17). The teaching may not always be
vicious and harmful. It may only be indifferent and worthless. A
co-worker with God in this great temple should put in his very
best effort.

3:13 {The day} (\hē hēmera\). The day of judgment as in 1Th 5:4
(which see), Ro 13:12; Heb 10:25. The work (\ergon\) of each
will be made manifest. There is no escape from this final
testing. {It is revealed in fire} (\en puri apokaluptetai\).
Apparently "the day" is the subject of the verb, not the work,
not the Lord. See 2Th 1:8; 2:8. This metaphor of fire was
employed in the O.T. (Da 7:9f.; Mal 4:1) and by John the
Baptist (Mt 3:12; Lu 3:16f.). It is a metaphor that must not be
understood as purgatorial, but simple testing (Ellicott) as every
fire tests ({the fire itself will test}, \to pur auto dokimasei\)
the quality of the material used in the building, {of what sort
it is}
(\hopoion estin\), qualitative relative pronoun. Men today
find, alas, that some of the fireproof buildings are not
fireproof when the fire actually comes.

3:14 {If any man's work shall abide} (\ei tinos to ergon menei\).
Condition of the first class with future indicative, determined
as fulfilled, assumed as true. When the fire has done its work,
what is left? That is the fiery test that the work of each of us
must meet. Suitable reward (Mt 20:8) will come for the work
that stands this test (gold, silver, precious stones)

3:15 {Shall be burned} (\katakaēsetai\). First-class condition
again, assumed as true. Second future (late form) passive
indicative of \katakaiō\, to burn down, old verb. Note perfective
use of preposition \kata\, shall be burned down. We usually say
"burned up," and that is true also, burned up in smoke. {He shall
suffer loss}
(\zēmiōthēsetai\). First future passive indicative
of \zēmiō\, old verb from \zēmia\ (damage, loss), to suffer loss.
In Mt 16:26; Mr 8:36; Lu 9:25 the loss is stated to be the
man's soul (\psuchēn\) or eternal life. But here there is no such
total loss as that. The man's work (\ergon\) is burned up
(sermons, lectures, books, teaching, all dry as dust). {But he
himself shall be saved}
(\autos de sōthēsetai\). Eternal
salvation, but not by purgatory. His work is burned up completely
and hopelessly, but he himself escapes destruction because he is
really a saved man a real believer in Christ. {Yet so as through
(\houtōs de hōs dia puros\). Clearly Paul means with his
work burned down (verse 15). It is the tragedy of a fruitless
life, of a minister who built so poorly on the true foundation
that his work went up in smoke. His sermons were empty froth or
windy words without edifying or building power. They left no mark
in the lives of the hearers. It is the picture of a wasted life.
The one who enters heaven by grace, as we all do who are saved,
yet who brings no sheaves with him. There is no garnered grain
the result of his labours in the harvest field. There are no
souls in heaven as the result of his toil for Christ, no
enrichment of character, no growth in grace.

3:16 {Ye are a temple of God} (\naos theou este\). Literally, a
sanctuary (\naos\, not \hieron\, the sacred enclosure, but the
holy place and the most holy place)
of God. The same picture of
building as in verse 9 (\oikodomē\), only here the sanctuary
itself. {Dwelleth in you} (\en humin oikei\). The Spirit of God
makes his home (\oikei\) in us, not in temples made with hands
(Ac 7:48; 17:24).

3:17 {Destroyeth} (\phtheirei\). The outward temple is merely the
symbol of God's presence, the Shechinah (the Glory). God makes
his home in the hearts of his people or the church in any given
place like Corinth. It is a terrible thing to tear down
ruthlessly a church or temple of God like an earthquake that
shatters a building in ruins. This old verb \phtheirō\ means to
corrupt, to deprave, to destroy. It is a gross sin to be a
church-wrecker. There are actually a few preachers who leave
behind them ruin like a tornado in their path. {Him shall God
(\phtherei touton ho theos\). There is a solemn
repetition of the same verb in the future active indicative. The
condition is the first class and is assumed to be true. Then the
punishment is certain and equally effective. The church-wrecker
God will wreck. What does Paul mean by "will destroy"? Does he
mean punishment here or hereafter? May it not be both? Certainly
he does not mean annihilation of the man's soul, though it may
well include eternal punishment. There is warning enough here to
make every pastor pause before he tears a church to pieces in
order to vindicate himself. {Holy} (\hagios\). Hence deserves
reverential treatment. It is not the building or house of which
Paul speaks as "the sanctuary of God" (\ton naon tou theou\), but
the spiritual organization or organism of God's people in whom
God dwells, "which temple ye are" (\hoitines este humeis\). The
qualitative relative pronoun \hoitines\ is plural to agree with
\humeis\ (ye) and refers to the holy temple just mentioned. The
Corinthians themselves in their angry disputes had forgotten
their holy heritage and calling, though this failing was no
excuse for the ringleaders who had led them on. In 6:19 Paul
reminds the Corinthians again that the body is the temple
(\naos\, sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit, which fact they had
forgotten in their immoralities.

3:18 {Let no man deceive himself} (\Mēdeis heauton exapatō\). A
warning that implied that some of them were guilty of doing it
(\mē\ and the present imperative). Excited partisans can easily
excite themselves to a pious phrenzy, hypnotize themselves with
their own supposed devotion to truth. {Thinketh that he is wise}
(\dokei sophos einai\). Condition of first class and assumed to
be true. Predicate nominative \sophos\ with the infinitive to
agree with subject of \dokei\ (Robertson, _Grammar_, p. 1038).
Paul claimed to be "wise" himself in verse 10 and he desires
that the claimant to wisdom may become wise (\hina genētai
sophos\, purpose clause with \hina\ and subjunctive)
by becoming
a fool (\mōros genesthō\, second aorist middle imperative of
as this age looks at him. This false wisdom of the
world (1:18-20,23; 2:14), this self-conceit, has led to strife
and wrangling. Cut it out.

3:19 {Foolishness with God} (\mōria para tōi theōi\). Whose
standard does a church (temple) of God wish, that of this world
or of God? The two standards are not the same. It is a pertinent
inquiry with us all whose idea rules in our church. Paul quotes
Job 5:13. {That taketh} (\ho drassomenos\). Old verb
\drassomai\, to grasp with the hand, is used here for the less
vivid word in the LXX \katalambanōn\. It occurs nowhere else in
the N.T., but appears in the papyri to lay hands on. Job is
quoted in the N.T. only here and in Ro 11:35 and both times
with variations from the LXX. This word occurs in Ecclesiasticus
26:7; 34:2. In Ps 2:12 the LXX has \draxasthe paideias\, lay
hold on instruction. {Craftiness} (\panourgiāi\). The \panourgos\
man is ready for any or all work (if bad enough). So it means
versatile cleverness (Robertson and Plummer), _astutia_

3:20 {And again} (\kai palin\). Another confirmatory passage from
Ps 94:11. {Reasonings} (\dialogismous\). More than
_cogitationes_ (Vulgate), sometimes disputations (Php 2:14).
Paul changes "men" of LXX to wise (\sophōn\) in harmony with the
Hebrew context. {Vain} (\mataioi\). Useless, foolish, from
\matē\, a futile attempt.

3:21 {Wherefore let no one glory in men} (\hōste mēdeis
kauchasthō en anthrōpois\)
. The conclusion (\hōste\) from the
self-conceit condemned. This particle here is merely inferential
with no effect on the construction (\hōs+te\ = and so) any more
than \oun\ would have, a paratactic conjunction. There are thirty
such examples of \hōste\ in the N.T., eleven with the imperative
as here (Robertson, _Grammar_, p. 999). The spirit of glorying in
party is a species of self-conceit and inconsistent with glorying
in the Lord (1:31).

3:22 {Yours} (\humōn\). Predicate genitive, belong to you. All
the words in this verse and 23 are anarthrous, though not
indefinite, but definite. The English reproduces them all
properly without the definite article except \kosmos\ (the
, and even here just world will answer. Proper names do not
need the article to be definite nor do words for single objects
like world, life, death. Things present (\enestōta\, second
perfect participle of \enistēmi\)
and things to come divide two
classes. Few of the finer points of Greek syntax need more
attention than the absence of the article. We must not think of
the article as "omitted" (Robertson, _Grammar_, p. 790). The
wealth of the Christian includes all things, all leaders, past,
present, future, Christ, and God. There is no room for partisan
wrangling here.

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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(1 Corinthians: Chapter 3)