1Co 3: 1-4 In chapter 2 Paul was talking about God’s wisdom which can only be understood by the spiritual man. Does he regard the Corinthians as such? Why not? What does Paul mean by milk as opposed to solid food? See Heb 5:11-14. Why were the Corinthians not yet ready for solid food? What evidence did Paul have that the Corinthians were still fleshly and walking like mere men? See 1Co 3:3. What is the danger of the spiritually immature not growing up into a mature man in Christ? See Gal 5:20-21, Eph 4:11-14, Heb 5:11-6:8. What does 1Co 3:4 teach us about the importance of not comparing one servant of God against another?
1Co 3: 5-9 In 1Co 3:5, what word does Paul use to describe himself and Apollos? Was this the word the Corinthians would have used to describe them? What part did Paul and Apollos play in establishing the Corinthian church? To whom does Paul give the credit? What does he mean that “he who plants and he who waters are one”? See 1Co 3:9. By what two metaphors does Paul describe the church in 1Co 3:9? In the metaphor of a field, how is the farmer a fellow laborer with God, i.e., what part does the farmer do, and what part must God do? Likewise, in the metaphor of the building, how are the workers seen as fellow workers with God who is seen as the owner and Grand Architect?
1Co 3: 10-15 How did Paul view the importance of his part in establishing the Corinthian church? Note: “master builder” = avrci + te,ktwn from which we get our word “architect”. The te,ktwn were workers, and the arch- te,ktwn was the chief worker. What is the foundation of the Christian Church? What other foundations have people laid for their churches besides this one? What does Paul mean by “gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay stubble? See 2 Tim 2:19-21. To whom does Paul refer in 1Co 3:14 as receiving a reward? See 1Co 3:8. What is the nature of such a reward? See Mat 20:1-6, 1 Cor 9:17-18, 2 Cor 1:14, Phil 2:16, 4:1, 1 Thess 2:19. In 1Co 3:15, what is the work that is burned up and who is it that “shall be saved, yet so as through fire”? What warning does this offer both those who are infants and those who are mature in Christ? See 1 Pet 4:17-18.
1Co 3: 16-17 What sort of building is it that Paul has been describing for which he laid the foundation? See Eph 2:19-22. What is the building material? See 1Co 3:12, 1 Pet 2:5. Does “you” in 1Co 3:16 refer to individuals or to the church as a whole? Note: “temple” in 1Co 3:16 is more specifically the inner sanctuary of the temple, the holy of holies! Note: “destroy” in 1Co 3:17 may be better translated using the word “corrupt”. See 1Co 15:33, 2 Cor 7:2, 11:3, and Eph 4:22 for Paul’s other uses of this word. What insight do these 1Co 3: give us into how one might destroy the temple of God? Do you think Paul has Apollos in mind in 1Co 3:17? See 1Co 3:15, 16:12. What warning does 1Co 3:17 give those who were causing divisions in the church of Corinth?
1Co 3: 18-23 In what regard does Paul mean in 1Co 3:18 for a man to not deceive himself? What problem had the world’s wisdom led to in the Corinthian church? What does Paul mean that such should become fools in order that they may become wise? What warning does 1Co 3: 19 and 20 offer us for operating according to the world’s wisdom? In 1Co 3:21, what conclusion does Paul draw from his previous words as pertaining to the Corinthian’s divisions? See 1Co 1:31. How does Paul’s statement that “all things belong to you” answer the Corinthian’s notion that they should try and follow the “most eminent apostles” (2 Cor 11:5, 12:11), which was causing the divisions in their church? How does his statement that “you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God” qualify his words that “all things belong to you”?