Tuesday 03 May 2022

Bible Book:
1 Corinthians

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ. (v. 11)

1 Corinthians 3:10-23 Tuesday 3 May 2022

Psalm 122


Paul is writing about building a temple, which would have been a familiar scenario to members of the church in Corinth. Temples would have been rife in Corinth given its cosmopolitan nature, and the number of different faiths and beliefs practised in the city.

But it is just as likely that when Paul is talking about a temple he is referring to the great Temple in Jerusalem (which was destroyed in AD 76). This would have been where Jesus was dedicated (Luke 2:22-40), where Jesus debated with the teachers as a 12 year old (Luke 2:41-51), and from where Jesus threw out the money changers (Luke 19:45-47). The Temple was a focus for the Jewish people and a focus for their faith. It was there in the Holy of Holies that God was believed to be present.

Paul stresses that the church's foundation must be Jesus Christ and goes on to say "you are God's temple". It is difficult to establish from the English whether he is referring to individuals Christians in Corinth or the church as a whole. It could be either.

The Methodist Church describes discipleship as "whole life, life long and world transforming", so acknowledging that we are God's temple adds a new dimension to discipleship. How we treat ourselves, how we treat others is a reflection on how we treat and value God. And as if that isn't enough, Paul adds the warning "If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy that person." (v. 17)

If taken corporately (ie referring to the church being a temple), then Paul is returning to the familiar theme of the opening chapters of this letter - unity. It is God's temple and God's Spirit dwells in you –it is not Paul's temple or Apollos' or Cephas' (Peter's) and certainly the spirit of Paul or Apollos or Cephas does not dwell in them.

As a theme throughout the passage there is the affirmation from Paul: "Jesus Christ is your foundation... You are God's temple and  ... God's Spirit dwells in you ... God's temple is holy, and you are that temple" (vs 16, 17) and finally "you belong to Christ" (v. 23).

To Ponder:

  • What does it mean to you to be 'God's temple' and founded on Jesus Christ? How does that influence the way you live?
  • How does the fact that 'you are founded on Jesus Christ' sustain you in your faith and discipleship?

First published February 2015.

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