13 February 2015
1 Corinthians 3:1-15
"Only God ... gives the growth" (v. 7)
Psalm: Psalm 107:17-32
The church in Corinth comprised of new Christians, Paul was
aware of this and tempered his words and teaching accordingly (v.
2). Despite his role as an evangelist and proclaimer of the good
news of Jesus Christ, he was (first and foremost) the founder and
pastor of the church in that city. Today's passage shows his care
and devotion to its members.
It is no great surprise that the new Christians would have had a
loyalty to the person through whom they came to believe (verse 5):
this is human nature (verse 4). Paul has already mentioned Apollos
Corinthians 1:12), whom he considers considers to be his
colleague (verse 9). What grieves Paul, however, is that their
loyalty to these people appears greater than their loyalty to God
Rather than criticise the Corinthians again (as he did in
chapter 1), Paul takes a softer approach and encourages the
Corinthians to reflect on their spiritual formation. He uses the
two images of a gardener and a builder to try and get his message
across. Is Paul perhaps alluding to the parable of the two
housebuilders in Matthew's Gospel (Matthew 7:24-27) or drawing upon Jesus' words
in John 15 about the vine and the vinegrower?
The message is the same - Paul and Apollos are agents in a
process, but it is "God who gives the growth" (v. 7) or Jesus who
is the foundation (verse 11).
- Who has helped form your faith? Give thanks to God for
- As you nurture people in faith, either formally or by mutual
support, how can you ensure that the focus is God and not
- How would you describe the foundation of your faith?
Bible notes author: Ken Kingston
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