View 1st Corinthians 3 in the note window.
1: And I, brethren - He spoke before,(1Co 2:1), of his entrance, now of his progress, among them.
Could not speak to you as unto spiritual - Adult, experienced
Christians. But as unto men who were still in great measure
carnal, as unto babes in Christ - Still weak in grace, though
eminent in gifts, (1Co 1:5).
2: I fed you, as babes, with milk - The first and
plainest truths of the gospel. So should every preacher
suit his doctrine to his hearers.
3: For while there is among you emulation in your
hearts, strife in your words, and actual divisions, are ye
not carnal, and walk according to men - As mere men; not as
Christians, according to God.
4: I am of Apollos - St. Paul named himself and Apollos,
to show that he would condemn any division among them, even
though it were in favour of himself, or the dearest friend he
had in the world. Are ye not carnal - For the Spirit of God
allows no party zeal.
5: Ministers - Or servants. By whom ye believed, as the
Lord, the Master of those servants, gave to every man.
7: God that giveth the increase - Is all in all: without
him neither planting nor watering avails.
8: But he that planteth and he that watereth are one
- Which is another argument against division. Though their
labours are different. they are all employed in one general
work, - the saving souls. Hence he takes occasion to speak of
the reward of them that labour faithfully, and the awful account
to be given by all. Every man shall receive his own peculiar
reward according to his own peculiar labour - Not according to
his success; but he who labours much, though with small success,
shall have a great reward.
Has not all this reasoning the same force still? The
ministers are still surely instruments in God's hand, and
depend as entirely as ever on his blessing, to give the
increase to their labours. Without this, they are nothing:
with it, their part is so small, that they hardly deserve to
be mentioned. May their hearts and hands be more united;
and, retaining a due sense of the honour God doeth them in
employing them, may they faithfully labour, not as for
themselves, but for the great Proprietor of all, till the day
come when he will reward them in full proportion to their
fidelity and diligence!
9: For we are all fellowlabourers - God's labourers, and
fellowlabourers with each other. Ye are God's husbandry - This
is the sum of what went before: it is a comprehensive word,
taking in both a field, a garden, and a vineyard. Ye are
God's building - This is the sum of what follows.
10: According to the grace of God given to me - This he
premises, lest he should seem to ascribe it to himself. Let
every one take heed how he buildeth thereon - That all his
doctrines may be consistent with the foundation.
11: For other foundation - On which the whole church: and
all its doctrines, duties, and blessings may be built. Can no
man lay than what is laid - In the counsels of divine wisdom,
in the promises and prophecies of the Old Testament, in the
preaching of the apostles, St. Paul in particular. Which is
Jesus Christ - Who, in his person and offices, is the firm,
immovable Rock of Ages, every way sufficient to bear all the
weight that God himself, or the sinner, when he believes, can
lay upon him.
12: If any one build gold, silver, costly stones - Three
sorts of materials which will bear the fire; true and solid
doctrines. Wood, hay, stubble - Three which will not bear the
fire. Such are all doctrines, ceremonies, and forms of
human invention; all but the substantial, vital truths of
13: The time is coming when every one's work shall be
made manifest: for the day of the Lord, that great and final
day, shall declare it - To all the world. For it is revealed
- What faith beholds as so certain and so near is spoken of as
already present. By fire; yea, the fire shall try every one's
work, of what sort it is - The strict process of that day will
try every man's doctrines, whether they come up to the
scripture standard or not. Here is a plain allusion to the
flaming light and consuming heat of the general conflagration.
But the expression, when applied to the trying of doctrines,
and consuming those that are wrong, is evidently figurative;
because no material fire can have such an effect on what is
of a moral nature. And therefore it is added, he who builds
wood, hay, or stubble, shall be saved as through the fire
- Or, as narrowly as a man escapes through the fire, when his
house is all in flames about him.
This text, then, is so far from establishing the Romish
purgatory, that it utterly overthrows it. For the fire here
mentioned does not exist till the day of judgment: therefore,
if this be the fire of purgatory, it follows that purgatory
does not exist before the day of judgment.
14: He shall receive a reward - A peculiar degree of
glory. Some degree even the other will receive, seeing he
held the foundation; though through ignorance he built
thereon what would not abide the fire.
15: He shall suffer loss - The loss of that peculiar
degree of glory.
16: Ye - All Christians. Are the temple of God - The most
noble kind of building, (1Co 3:9).
17: If any man destroy the temple of God - Destroy a real
Christian, by schisms, or doctrines fundamentally wrong. Him
shall God destroy - He shall not be saved at all; not even as
through the fire."
18: Let him become a fool in this world - Such as the
world accounts so. That he may become wise - In God's account.
19: For all the boasted wisdom of the world is mere
foolishness in the sight of God. He taketh the wise in their
own craftiness - Not only while they think they are acting
wisely, but by their very wisdom, which itself is their snare,
and the occasion of their destruction.(Job 5:13).
20: That they are but vain - Empty, foolish; they and all
their thoughts.(Ps 94:11).
21: Therefore - Upon the whole. Let none glory in men - So
as to divide into parties on their account. For all things
are yours - and we in particular. We are not your lords, but
rather your servants.
22: Whether Paul or Apollos, or Cephas - We are all
equally yours, to serve you for Christ's sake. Or the
world - This leap from Peter to the world greatly enlarges
the thought, and argues a kind of impatience of enumerating
the rest. Peter and every one in the whole world, however
excellent in gifts, or grace, or office, are also your
servants for Christ's sake. Or life, or death - These, with
all their various circumstances, are disposed as will be
most for your advantage. Or things present - On earth.
Or things to come - In heaven. Contend, therefore, no more
about these little things; but be ye united in love, as ye are
23: And ye are Christ's - His property, his subjects. his
members. And Christ is God's - As Mediator, he refers all his
services to his Father's glory.