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Geneva Study Notes
1 Corinthians Chapter 3

1 Corinthians 3:1
3:1 And {1} I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto
    spiritual, but as unto {a} carnal, [even] as unto babes in
    Christ.

 (1) Having declared the worthiness of heavenly wisdom, and of
     the Gospel, and having generally condemned the blindness of
     man's mind, now at length he applies it particularly to the
     Corinthians, calling them carnal, that is, those in whom
     the flesh still prevails against the Spirit.  And he brings
     a twofold testimony of it: first, because he had proved them
     to be such, in so much that he dealt with them as he would
     with ignorant men, and those who are almost babes in the
     doctrine of godliness, and second, because they showed
     indeed by these dissensions, which sprang up by reason of
     the ignorance of the power of the Spirit, and heavenly
     wisdom, that they had profited very little or nothing.
     (a) He calls them carnal, who are as yet ignorant, and
         therefore to express it better, he calls them "babes".

1 Corinthians 3:2
3:2 I have fed you with milk, and not with {b} meat: for
    hitherto ye were not {c} able [to bear it], neither yet now
    are ye able.

    (b) Substantial meat, or strong meat.
    (c) To be fed by me with substantial meat: therefore as the
        Corinthians grew up in age, so the apostle nourished
        them by teaching, first with milk, then with strong
        meat.  The difference was only in the manner of
        teaching.

1 Corinthians 3:3
3:3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas [there is] among you
    envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and
    walk as {d} men?

    (d) Using the tools of man's intellect and judgment.

1 Corinthians 3:5
3:5 {2} Who then is Paul, and who [is] Apollos, but ministers by
    whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?

 (2) After he has sufficiently reprehended ambitious teachers,
     and those who foolishly esteemed them, now he shows how the
     true ministers are to be esteemed, that we do not attribute
     to them more or less than we ought to do.  Therefore he
     teaches us that they are those by whom we are brought to
     faith and salvation, but yet as the ministers of God, and
     such as do nothing of themselves, but God so working by
     them as it pleases him to furnish them with his gifts.
     Therefore we do not have to regard or consider what
     minister it is that speaks, but what is spoken: and we must
     depend only upon him who speaks by his servants.

1 Corinthians 3:6
3:6 {3} I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the
    increase.

 (3) He beautifies the former sentence, with two similarities:
     first comparing the company of the faithful to a field
     which God makes fruitful, when it is sown and watered
     through the labour of his servants.  Second, be comparing
     it to a house, which indeed the Lord builds, but by the
     hands of his workmen, some of whom he uses in laying the
     foundation, others in building it up.  Now, both these
     similarities are for this purpose, to show that all things
     are wholly accomplished only by God's authority and might,
     so that we must only have an eye to him.  Moreover,
     although God uses some in the better part of the work, we
     must not therefore condemn others, in respect of them, and
     much less may we divide or set them apart (as these
     factious men did) seeing that all of them labour in God's
     business.  They work in such a way, that they serve to
     finish the very same work, although by a different manner
     of working, in so much that they all need one another's
     help.

1 Corinthians 3:9
3:9 For we are {e} labourers together with God: ye are God's
    husbandry, [ye are] God's building.

    (e) Serving under him: now they who serve under another do
        nothing by their own strength, but as it is given them
        of grace, which grace makes them fit for that service.
        See 1 Corinthians 15:10, 2 Corinthians 3:6.  All the increase that
        comes by their labour proceeds from God in such a way
        that no part of the praise of it may be given to the
        servant.

1 Corinthians 3:10
3:10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a
     wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another
     buildeth thereon. {4} But let every man take heed how he
     buildeth thereupon.

 (4) Now he speaks to the teachers themselves, who succeeded him
     in the church of Corinth, and in this regard to all that
     were after or will be pastors of congregations, seeing that
     they succeed into the labour of the apostles, who were
     planters and chief builders.  Therefore he warns them first
     that they do not persuade themselves that they may build
     after their own fantasy, that is, that they may propound
     and set forth anything in the Church, either in matter, or
     in type of teaching, different from the apostles who were
     the chief builders.

1 Corinthians 3:11
3:11 {5} For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid,
     which is Jesus Christ.

 (5) Moreover, he shows what this foundation is, that is, Christ
     Jesus, from whom they may not turn away in the least amount
     in the building up of this building.

1 Corinthians 3:12
3:12 {6} Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver,
     precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;

 (6) Thirdly he shows that they must take heed that the upper
     part of the building is answerable to the foundation.  That
     is that admonitions, exhortations, and whatever pertains to
     the edifying of the flock, is answerable to the doctrine of
     Christ, in the matter as well as in form.  This doctrine is
     compared to gold, silver, and precious stones: of which
     material Isaiah also and John in the Revelation build the
     heavenly city.  And to these are the opposites, wood, hay,
     stubble, that is to say, curious and vain questions or
     decrees: and to be short, all the type of teaching which
     serves to vain show.  For false doctrines, of which he does
     not speak here, are not correctly said to be built upon
     this foundation, unless perhaps in show only.

1 Corinthians 3:13
3:13 {7} Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day
     shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and
     the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.

 (7) He testifies, as indeed it truly is, that all are not good
     builders, not even all of those who stand upon this one and
     only foundation.  However, this work of evil builders, he
     says, stands for a season, yet it will not always deceive,
     because the light of the truth appearing at length, as day,
     will dissolve this darkness, and show what it is.  And as
     that stuff is tried by the fire, whether it is good or not,
     so will God in his time, by the touch of his Spirit and
     word, try all buildings, and so will it come to pass, that
     those which are found pure and sound, will still continue
     so, to the praise of the workmen.  But they that are
     otherwise will be consumed and vanish away, and so will
     the workman be frustrated of the hope of his labour, who
     pleased himself in a thing of nothing.

1 Corinthians 3:15
3:15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss:
     but {8} he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

 (8) He does not take away the hope of salvation from the
     unskilful and foolish builders, who hold fast the
     foundation, of which sort were those rhetoricians, rather
     than the pastors of Corinth.  However, he adds an
     exception, that they must nonetheless suffer this trial of
     their work, and also abide the loss of their vain labours.

1 Corinthians 3:16
3:16 {9} Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that]
     the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

 (9) Continuing still in the metaphor of building, he teaches us
     that this ambition is not only vain, but also sacrilegious:
     for he says that the Church is as it were the Temple of
     God, which God has as it were consecrated to himself by his
     Spirit.  Then turning himself to these ambitious men, he
     shows that they profane the Temple of God, because those
     vain arts in which they please themselves so much are, as
     he teaches, many pollutions of the holy doctrine of God,
     and the purity of the Church.  This wickedness will not
     go unpunished.

1 Corinthians 3:17
3:17 If any man {f} defile the temple of God, him shall God
     destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which [temple] ye
     are.

     (f) Defiles it and makes it unclean, being holy: and surely
         they do defile it, by Paul's judgment, who by fleshly
         eloquence defile the purity of the Gospel.

1 Corinthians 3:18
3:18 {10} Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you
     seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool,
     that he may be wise.

 (10) He concludes by the opposite, that they profess pure
      wisdom in the Church of God, who refuse and cast away all
      those vanities of men.  Further, if they are mocked by the
      world, it is sufficient for them that they are wise
      according to the wisdom of God, and as he will have them
      to be wise.

1 Corinthians 3:19
3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For
     it is written, He {g} taketh the wise in their own
     craftiness.

     (g) Be they ever so crafty, yet the Lord will take them
         when he will discover their treachery.

1 Corinthians 3:21
3:21 {11} Therefore let no man {h} glory in men. For all things
     are {i} yours;

 (11) He returns to the proposition of the second verse, first
      warning the hearers, that from now on they do not esteem
      as lords those whom God has appointed to be ministers and
      not lords of their salvation.  This is done by those that
      depend upon men, and not upon God that speaks by them.
      (h) Please himself.
      (i) Helps, appointed for your benefit.

1 Corinthians 3:22
3:22 Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the {12} world, or
     life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all
     are yours;

 (12) He passes from the persons to the things themselves, that
      his argument may be more forcible.  Indeed, he ascends from
      Christ to the Father, to show that we rest ourselves not
      in Christ himself, in that he is man, but because he
      carries us up even to the Father, as Christ witnesses of
      himself everywhere that he was sent by his Father, that by
      this band we may be all united with God himself.



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