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1 Corinthians 3


 1 And (1) I could not speak unto you, brethren, as unto spiritual men, 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 applieth it particularly to the Corinthians, calling them carnal, that is, such in whom as yet the flesh prevaileth against the Spirit. And he bringeth a double testimony of it; first, for that he had proved them to be such, in so much that he dealt with them no otherwise than with ignorant men, and such as are almost babes in the doctrine of godliness; and secondly, because they shewed indeed by these dissensions, which sprang up by reason of the ignorance of the virtue of the Spirit, and heavenly wisdom, that they had profited very little or nothing.
(a) He calleth them carnal, which are as yet ignorant; and therefore to express it the better, he termeth them babes.

(*) Being engrafted in Christ by faith, we begin to move by his Spirit, and as we profit in faith, we grow up to a ripe age. And here let him take heed that teacheth, lest for milk he give poison; for milk and strong meat in effect are one, but only differ in manner and form.


 2 I gave you milk to drink, and not (b) meat; for ye were not yet (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, which difference was only but in the manner of teaching.


 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) By the square and compass of man's wit and judgment. (The square and compass refers to the carnal practices of Freemasonry and their many secret societies.)


 4 For when one saith, I am Paulís, and another, I am Apollosí, are ye not carnal?


 5  (2) Who is Paul then? And who is Apollos, but the ministers by whom ye believed, and as the Lord gave to every man?


(2) After that he hath sufficiently reprehended ambitious teachers, and their foolish esteemers, now he sheweth how the true ministers are to be esteemed, that we attribute not unto them, more or less than we ought to do. Therefore he teacheth us, that they are they 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 pleaseth him to furnish them with his gifts. Therefore we have not to mark or consider what minister it is that speaketh, but what is spoken, and we must depend only upon him which speaketh by his servants.


 6  (3) I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.


(3) He beautifieth the former sentence, with two similitudes; first comparing the company of the faithful, to a field which God maketh fruitful, when it is sowed and watered through the labor of his servants; next, by comparing it to an house, which indeed the Lord buildeth, but by the hands of his workmen, some of whom, he useth in laying the foundation, others in building of it up. Now, both these similarities tend to this purpose, to shew that all things are wholly accomplished by God's only authority and might, so that we must only have an eye to him. Moreover, although that God useth some in the better part of the work, we must not therefore contemn 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 labor in God's business, and in such sort, that they serve to finish one selfsame work, although by a divers manner of working, insomuch that they need one another's help.


 7 So then, neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase.


 8 And he that planteth, and he that watereth, are (♣) one, (*) and every man shall receive his wages, according to his labor.


(♣) He chargeth them with two faults: the one, that they attributed to much to the ministers, and the other, that they preferred one minister to another.

(*) Psalm 62:12; Galatians 6:5 .


 9 For we together are Godís (e) (*) laborers; ye are Godís husbandry, and Godís building.


(e) Serving under him: Now they which serve under another, do nothing of their own strength, but as it is given them by grace, which grace maketh them fit to that service. Look at 1 Corinthians 15:10; 2 Corinthians 3:6; and all the increase that cometh by their labor, doth so proceed from God, that no part of the praise of it may be given to the under servant.

(*) So made by his grace.


 10 According to the grace of God given to me, as a skilful master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. (4) But let every man (*) take heed how he buildeth upon it.


(4) Now he speaketh to the teachers themselves, which succeeded him in the Church of Corinth, and in their person, to all that were after or shall be Pastors of Congregations, seeing that they succeed into the labor of the Apostles, which were planters and chief builders. Therefore he warneth them first, that they persuade not 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 kind of teaching, different from the Apostles which were the chief builders.

(*) He reproveth the ministers of Corinth, as teachers of curious doctrines and questions.


 11  (5) For other foundation can no man lay, than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.


(5) Moreover, he sheweth what this foundation is, to wit, Christ Jesus, from which they may not turn away one jot in the building up of his building.


 12  (6) And if any man build on this foundation, gold, silver, precious stones, timber, hay, or stubble,


(6) Thirdly, he sheweth that they must take heed that the upper part of the building be answerable to the foundation, that is, that admonitions, exhortations, and whatever pertaineth to the edifying of the flock, be answerable to the doctrine of Christ, as well in matter as in form; which doctrine is compared to gold, silver, and precious stones; of which matter, Isaiah also and John in the Revelation build the heavenly city. And to these are opposite, wood, hay, stubble, that is to say, curious and vain questions or decrees; and besides to be short, all that kind of teaching which serveth of ostentation. For false doctrines, whereof he speaketh not here, are not said properly to be built upon this foundation, unless peradventure in shew only.


 13  (7) Every manís work shall be made manifest; for the (*) day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by the (♣) fire, and the fire shall try every manís work of what sort it is.


(7) He testifieth, as indeed the truth is, that all are not good builders, not some of them which stand upon this one and only foundation; but howsoever this work of evil builders, saith he, stand for a season, yet shall it not always deceive, because that the light of the truth appearing at length, as day shall dissolve this darkness, and shew what it is. And as that stuff is tried by the fire, whether it be good or not, so will God in his time by the touch of his Spirit and word, try all buildings, and so shall it come to pass, that such as be found pure and sound, shall still continue so, to the praise of the workman; but they that are otherwise, shall be consumed, and vanish away, and so shall the workman be frustrated of the hope of his labor, which pleased himself in a thing of nought.

(*) Or the time; which is, when the light of the truth shall expel the darkness of ignorance, then the curious ostentation of manís wisdom shall be brought to nought.

(♣) By the trial of Godís Spirit.


 14 If any manís work, that he hath built upon, abide, he shall receive wages.


 15 If any manís work burn, he shall (*) lose; but (8) he (♣) shall be (♠) saved himself, nevertheless yet as it were by the fire.


(*) Both his labor and reward.

(8) He taketh not away the hope of salvation from the unskillful and foolish builders, which hold fast the foundation, of which sort were those Rhetoricians rather than the pastors of Corinth; but he addeth an exception, that they must notwithstanding suffer this trial of their work, and also abide the loss of their vain labors.

(♣) He reproveth them not as false apostles, but as curious teachers of humane sciences, as they which loathing at the simplicity of Godís word, preach philosophical speculations.

(♠) As touching his life, if he hold fast the foundation.


 16  (*) (9) Know ye not that ye are the Temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?


(*) 1 Corinthians 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16 .

(9) Continuing still in the metaphor of a building, he teacheth us that this ambition is not only vain, but also sacrilegious; for he saith that the Church is as it were the Temple of God, which God hath as it were consecrated unto himself by his Spirit. Then turning himself to these ambitious men, he sheweth that they profane the Temple of God, because those vain arts wherein they please themselves so much, are as he teacheth, so many pollutions of the holy doctrine of God, and the purity of the Church. Which wickedness shall not be suffered unpunished.


 17 If any man (f) destroy the Temple of God, him shall God destroy, for the Temple of God is holy, which ye are.


(f) Defileth it, and maketh it unclean, being holy, and surely they do defile it, by Paul his judgment, which by fleshly eloquence defile the purity of the Gospel.


 18  (10) Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seem to be wise in this world, let him be a fool, that he may be wise.


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


 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, (*) He (g) catcheth the wise (♣) in their own craftiness.


(*) Job 5:13 .

(g) Be they never so crafty, yet the Lord will take them when he shall discover their treachery.

(♣) When they themselves are entangled in the same snares, which they laid for others.


 20  (*) And again, The Lord knoweth that the thoughts of the wise be vain.


(*) Psalm 94:11 .


 21  (11) Therefore let no man (h) (*) rejoice in men. For all things are (i) yours.


(11) He returneth to the proposition of the second verse, first warning the hearers, that henceforward they esteem not as lords, those whom God hath appointed to be ministers, and not lords of their salvation, which thing they do, that depend upon men, and not upon God, that speaketh by them.
(h) Please himself.

(*) But in God who worketh by his ministers to his own glory and comfort of is Church.
(i) Helps, appointeth for your benefit.


 22 Whether it be Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the (12) world, or life, or death; whether they be things present, or things to come, even all are yours,


(12) He passeth from the persons to the things themselves, that his argument may be more forcible, yea, he ascendeth from Christ to the Father, to shew us that we rest ourselves no not in Christ himself, in that which he is man, but because he carrieth us up even to the Father, as Christ witnesseth of himself everywhere, that he was sent of his Father, that by this band we may be all knit with God himself.


 23 And ye Christís, and Christ Godís.




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 1 Corinthians 14:8

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