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But as unto carnal (αλλ ως σαρκινοις all' hōs sarkinois). Latin carneus. “As men o‘flesh,” Braid Scots; “as worldlings,” Moffatt. This form in ινος ̇inos like λιτινος lithinos in 2 Corinthians 3:3 means the material of flesh, “not on tablets of stone, but on fleshen tablets on hearts.” So in Hebrews 7:16. But in Romans 7:14 Paul says, “I am fleshen (σαρκινος sarkinos) sold under sin,” as if σαρκινος sarkinos represented the extreme power of the σαρχ sarx Which does Paul mean here? He wanted to speak the wisdom of God among the adults (1 Corinthians 2:6), the spiritual (οι πνευματικοι hoi pneumatikoi 1 Corinthians 2:15), but he was unable to treat them as πνευματικοι pneumatikoi in reality because of their seditions and immoralities. It is not wrong to be σαρκινος sarkinos for we all live in the flesh (εν σαρκι en sarki Galatians 2:20), but we are not to live according to the flesh (κατα σαρκα kata sarka Romans 8:12). It is not culpable to a babe in Christ (νηπιος nēpios 1 Corinthians 13:11), unless unduly prolonged (1 Corinthians 14:20; Hebrews 5:13.). 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” (ως νηπιοις εν Χριστωι hōs nēpiois en Christōi), 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 (Colossians 1:28).
I fed you with milk, not with meat (γαλα υμας εποτισα ου βρωμα gala humas epotisaεποτισα ou brōma). Note two accusatives with the verb, ποτιζω epotisa first aorist active indicative of ρωμα 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. εποτισα Brōma does not mean meat (flesh) as opposed to bread, but all solid food as in “meats and drinks” (Hebrews 9:7). It is a zeugma to use βρωμα 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.
For ye are yet carnal (ετι γαρ σαρκικοι εστε eti gar sarkikoi este). Σαρκικος Sarkikos unlike σαρκινος sarkinos like ικος ikos formations, means adapted to, fitted for the flesh (σαρχ sarx), one who lives according to the flesh (κατα σαρκα kata sarka). Paul by πσυχικος psuchikos describes the unregenerate man, by πνευματικος pneumatikos the regenerate man. Both classes are σαρκινοι sarkinoi made in flesh, and both may be σαρκικοι sarkikoi though the πνευματικοι pneumatikoi should not be. The πνευματικοι pneumatikoi who continue to be σαρκινοι sarkinoi are still babes (νηπιοι nēpioi), not adults (τελειοι teleioi), while those who are still σαρκικοι sarkikoi (carnal) have given way to the flesh as if they were still πσυχικοι psuchikoi (unregenerate). It is a bold and cutting figure, not without sarcasm, but necessary to reveal the Corinthians to themselves.Jealousy and strife (ζηλος και ερις zēlos kai eris). Zeal (ζηλος zēlos from ζεω zeō to boil) is not necessarily evil, but good if under control. It may be not according to knowledge (Romans 10:2) and easily becomes jealousy (same root through the French jaloux) as zeal. Ardour may be like the jealousy of God (2 Corinthians 11:2) or the envy of men (Acts 5:17). Ερις Eris is an old word, but used only by Paul in N.T. (see note on 1 Corinthians 1:11). Wrangling follows jealousy. These two voices of the spirit are to Paul proof that the Corinthians are still σαρκικοι sarkikoi and walking according to men, not according to the Spirit of Christ.
For when one saith (οταν γαρ λεγηι τις 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 (Παυλου Paulou). Predicate genitive, belong to Paul, on Paul‘s side. Of Apollos (Απολλω Apollō). Same genitive, but the form is the so-called Attic second declension. See the nominative Απολλως Apollōs in 1 Corinthians 3:5. Men (αντρωποι anthrōpoi). Just mere human creatures (αντρωποι anthrōpoi generic term for mankind), in the flesh (σαρκινοι sarkinoi), acting like the flesh (σαρκικοι sarkikoi), not πνευματικοι pneumatikoi as if still πσυχικοι psuchikoi It was a home-thrust. Paul would not even defend his own partisans.
What then? (τι ουν ti ouṉ). He does not say τις tis (who), but τι ti (what), neuter singular interrogative pronoun.Ministers (διακονοι diakonoi). Not leaders of parties or sects, but merely servants through whom ye believed. The etymology of the word Thayer gives as δια dia and κονις konis “raising dust by hastening.” In the Gospels it is the servant (Matthew 20:26) or waiter (John 2:5). Paul so describes himself as a minister (Colossians 1:23, Colossians 1:25). The technical sense of deacon comes later (Philemon 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:8, 1 Timothy 3:12). As the Lord gave to him (ως ο Κυριος εδωκεν 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 1 Corinthians 3; 4 and it is made plain in chapter 1 Corinthians 12.
I planted (εγω επυτευσα egō ephuteusa). First aorist active indicative of old verb πυτευω phuteuō This Paul did as Luke tells us in Acts 18:1-18.Apollos watered (Απολλως εποτισεν Apollōs epotisen). Apollos irrigated the church there as is seen in Acts 18:24-19:1. Another aorist tense as in 1 Corinthians 3:2. But God gave the increase (αλλα ο τεος ηυχανεν alla ho theos ēuxanen). Imperfect tense here (active indicative) for the continuous blessing of God both on the work of Paul and Apollos, Corinthians-labourers with God in God‘s field (1 Corinthians 3:9). 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.
So then neither - neither - but (ωστε ουτεουτεαλλ Hōste outė̇outė̇all'). Paul applies his logic relentlessly to the facts. He had asked what (τι ti) is Apollos or Paul (1 Corinthians 3:5). The answer is here.Neither is anything (τι ti) the one who plants nor the one who waters. God is the whole and we are not anything.
Are one (εν εισιν hen eisin). The neuter singular again (εν hen not εις heis) as with the interrogative τι ti and the indefinite τι 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 (κατα τον ιδιον κοπον 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.
God‘s fellow-workers (τεου συνεργοι theou sunergoi). This old word (Corinthians-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 (τεου γεωργιον theou geōrgion). God‘s tilled land (γη εργον gēτεου οικοδομη ergon). The farmer works with God in God‘s field. Without the sun, the rains, the seasons the farmer is helpless. God‘s building (οικος theou oikodomē). God is the Great Architect. We work under him and carry out the plans of the Architect. It is building (δεμω 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.
As a wise masterbuilder (ως σοπος αρχιτεκτων 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 αρχιτεκτων architektōn our architect. Τεκτων Tektōn is from τικτω tiktō to beget, and means a begetter, then a worker in wood or stone, a carpenter or mason (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3). Αρχι Archi̇ is an old inseparable prefix like αρχαγγελος archaggelos (archangel), αρχεπισχοπος archepiscopos (archbishop), αρχιερευς archiereus (chiefpriest). Αρχιτεκτων 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 (τεκτονες tektones carpenters) work under the direction of the architect (Plato, Statesman, 259). “As a wise architect I laid a foundation” (τεμελιον ετηκα themelion ethēka). Much depends on the wisdom of the architect in laying the foundation. This is the technical phrase (Luke 6:48; Luke 14:29), a cognate accusative for τεμελιον themelion The substantive τεμελιον themelion is from the same root τε the as ετηκα ethēka (τιτημι ti̇thēmi). 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 Acts 18:1-18. The aorist ετηκα ethēka is the correct text, not the perfect τετεικα tetheikaAnother buildeth thereon (αλλος εποικοδομει allos epoikodomei). Note the preposition επι epi with the verb each time (1 Corinthians 3:10, 1 Corinthians 3:11, 1 Corinthians 3:12, 1 Corinthians 3:14). 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 (βλεπετω πως εποικοδομει 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.
Other foundation (τεμελιον αλλον themelion allon). The gender of the adjective is here masculine as is shown by αλλον allon If neuter, it would be αλλο allo It is masculine because Paul has Christ in mind. It is not here ετερον heteron a different kind of gospel (ετερον ευαγγελιον heteron euaggelion Galatians 1:6; 2 Corinthians 11:4) which is not another (αλλο allo Galatians 1:7) in reality. But another Jesus (2 Corinthians 11:4, αλλον Ιησουν allon Iēsoun) 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 (παρα τον κειμενον ος εστιν Ιησους Χριστος para ton keimenonclass="normal greek">παρα hos estin Iēsous Christos). Literally, “alongside (κειμενον para) the one laid (κειμαι keimenon),” already laid (present middle participle of τιτημι keimai used here as often as the perfect passive of τετειμενον tithēmi in place of ακρογωναιος tetheimenon). 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 Psalm 118:22. to the members of the Sanhedrin who challenged his authority (Mark 11:10.; Matthew 21:42-45; Luke 20:17.). Apostles and prophets go into this temple of God, but Christ Jesus is the chief corner stone (akrogōnaios Ephesians 2:20). All believers are living stones in this temple (1 Peter 2:5). But there is only one foundation possible.
Gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble (χρυσιον αργυριον λιτους τιμιουσ χυλα χορτον καλαμην chrusionχορτος argurionκαλαμη lithous timiousxulachortonkalamēn). The durable materials are three (gold, silver, marble or precious stones), 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 Mark 6:39) 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 1 Corinthians 3:9 or to the character of the teaching as in 1 Corinthians 3:13. Probably both ideas are involved, for look at the penalty on shoddy work (1 Corinthians 3:15) and shoddy men (1 Corinthians 3:17). The teaching may not always be vicious and harmful. It may only be indifferent and worthless. A Corinthians-worker with God in this great temple should put in his very best effort.
The day (η ημερα hē hēmera). The day of judgment as in 1 Thessalonians 5:4 (which see), Romans 13:12; Hebrews 10:25. The work (εργον ergon) of each will be made manifest. There is no escape from this final testing.It is revealed in fire (εν πυρι αποκαλυπτεται en puri apokaluptetai). Apparently “the day” is the subject of the verb, not the work, not the Lord. See 2 Thessalonians 1:8; 2 Thessalonians 2:8. This metaphor of fire was employed in the O.T. (Daniel 7:9.; Malachi 4:1) and by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:12; Luke 3:16.). It is a metaphor that must not be understood as purgatorial, but simple testing (Ellicott) as every fire tests (the fire itself will test, το πυρ αυτο δοκιμασει to pur auto dokimasei) the quality of the material used in the building, of what sort it is (οποιον εστιν hopoion estin), qualitative relative pronoun. Men today find, alas, that some of the fireproof buildings are not fireproof when the fire actually comes.
If any man‘s work shall abide (ει τινος το εργον μενει 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 (Matthew 20:8) will come for the work that stands this test (gold, silver, precious stones)
Shall be burned (κατακαησεται katakaēsetai). First-class condition again, assumed as true. Second future (late form) passive indicative of κατακαιω katakaiō to burn down, old verb. Note perfective use of preposition κατα kata shall be burned down. We usually say “burned up,” and that is true also, burned up in smoke.He shall suffer loss (ζημιωτησεται zēmiōthēsetai). First future passive indicative of ζημιω zēmiō old verb from ζημια zēmia (damage, loss), to suffer loss. In Matthew 16:26; Mark 8:36; Luke 9:25 the loss is stated to be the man‘s soul (πσυχην psuchēn) or eternal life. But here there is no such total loss as that. The man‘s work (εργον ergon) is burned up (sermons, lectures, books, teaching, all dry as dust). But he himself shall be saved (αυτος δε σωτησεται 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 fire (ουτως δε ως δια πυρος houtōs de hōs dia puros). Clearly Paul means with his work burned down (1 Corinthians 3:15). 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.
Ye are a temple of God (ναος τεου εστε naos theou este). Literally, a sanctuary (ναος naos not ιερον hieron the sacred enclosure, but the holy place and the most holy place) of God. The same picture of building as in 1 Corinthians 3:9 (οικοδομη oikodomē), only here the sanctuary itself.Dwelleth in you (εν υμιν οικει en humin oikei). The Spirit of God makes his home (οικει oikei) in us, not in temples made with hands (Acts 7:48; Acts 17:24).
Destroyeth (πτειρει 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 πτειρω 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 destroy (πτερει τουτον ο τεος 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 (αγιος hagios). Hence deserves reverential treatment. It is not the building or house of which Paul speaks as “the sanctuary of God” (τον ναον του τεου ton naon tou theou), but the spiritual organization or organism of God‘s people in whom God dwells, “which temple ye are” (οιτινες εστε υμεις hoitines este humeis). The qualitative relative pronoun οιτινες hoitines is plural to agree with υμεις 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 1 Corinthians 6:19 Paul reminds the Corinthians again that the body is the temple (ναος naos sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit, which fact they had forgotten in their immoralities.
Let no man deceive himself (Μηδεις εαυτον εχαπατω Mēdeis heauton exapatō). A warning that implied that some of them were guilty of doing it (μη 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 (δοκει σοπος ειναι dokei sophos einai). Condition of first class and assumed to be true. Predicate nominative σοπος sophos with the infinitive to agree with subject of δοκει dokei (Robertson, Grammar, p. 1038). Paul claimed to be “wise” himself in 1 Corinthians 3:10 and he desires that the claimant to wisdom may become wise (ινα γενηται σοπος hina genētai sophos purpose clause with ινα hina and subjunctive) by becoming a fool (μωρος γενεστω mōros genesthō second aorist middle imperative of γινομαι ginomai) as this age looks at him. This false wisdom of the world (1 Corinthians 1:18-20, 1 Corinthians 1:23; 1 Corinthians 2:14), this self-conceit, has led to strife and wrangling. Cut it out.
Foolishness with God (μωρια παρα τωι τεωι 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 (ο δρασσομενος ho drassomenos). Old verb δρασσομαι drassomai to grasp with the hand, is used here for the less vivid word in the lxx καταλαμβανων 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 Romans 11:35 and both times with variations from the lxx. This word occurs in Ecclesiasticus 26:7; 34:2. In Psalms 2:12 the lxx has δραχαστε παιδειας draxasthe paideias lay hold on instruction. Craftiness (πανουργιαι panourgiāi). The πανουργος panourgos man is ready for any or all work (if bad enough). So it means versatile cleverness (Robertson and Plummer), astutia (Vulgate).
And again (και παλιν kai palin). Another confirmatory passage from Psalm 94:11.Reasonings (διαλογισμους dialogismous). More than cogitationes (Vulgate), sometimes disputations (Philippians 2:14). Paul changes “men” of lxx to wise (σοπων sophōn) in harmony with the Hebrew context. Vain (ματαιοι mataioi). Useless, foolish, from ματη matē a futile attempt.
Wherefore let no one glory in men (ωστε μηδεις καυχαστω εν αντρωποις hōste mēdeis kauchasthō en anthrōpois). The conclusion (ωστε hōste) from the self-conceit condemned. This particle here is merely inferential with no effect on the construction (ωστε hōŝte = and so) any more than ουν oun would have, a paratactic conjunction. There are thirty such examples of ωστε 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 Corinthians 1:31).
Yours (υμων humōn). Predicate genitive, belong to you. All the words in this 1 Corinthians 3:22 and 1 Corinthians 3:23 are anarthrous, though not indefinite, but definite. The English reproduces them all properly without the definite article except κοσμος kosmos (the world), 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 (ενεστωτα enestōta second perfect participle of ενιστημι 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.
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
the Sixth Week after Easter