1 Corinthians 3

 

CHAPTER 3

 

Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly— mere infants in Christ. 1 Corinthians  3:1

The Corinthians may have felt themselves to be quite spiritual because of their abundance of spiritual gifts, as seen in chapter 14. 1  However, Paul quickly brings them down to reality.  They were not spiritual, because they were not acting in a spiritual manner. The apostle therefore could not address them as pneumatikos, or as spiritual persons, but as sarkinos, people who live in the flesh.  Obviously, there is nothing wrong with being in the flesh physically, but there is something wrong with living according to the flesh (Gal. 2:20; Rom. 8:12-13). 2

Paul refers to the Corinthians as mere infants in Christ (nēpiois).  Again, there is nothing wrong with being an infant in Christ when one is born anew from above, but a person certainly should not wish to remain as an infant.  That is why we find infants guzzling milk, so that they may grow naturally.  As was probably true at Corinth, the recent Charismatic Movement, although doing some good things, produced multitudes of new babes in Christ.  Many of these were gifted with astounding spiritual gifts, but a good number continued on as immature.  Wiersbe says of this situation, “A mature Christian uses his gifts as tools to build with, while an immature believer uses gifts as toys to play with or trophies to boast about.” 3

Some churches today make an effort to preach only evangelistic sermons.  It is good to do this at certain times but it should not be the regular church diet.  When my wife and I visit some of the churches in the Bible Belt where we grew up, we are amazed that they are still preaching evangelistic sermons, but the members seem not to have grown and developed.  It seems like a team and wagon religion trying to compete in the space age.

“I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready” (3:2).  Milk represents the basic and elementary truths of the Christian faith.  The church fathers Tertullian and Hippolytus (third century) inform us of the custom of giving a glass of milk to new converts before their first communion to symbolize this.4  Of course solid food or meat is the more advanced teaching in the faith (cf. Heb. 5:11-14; 1 Pet. 2:2).  Guzik says, “Paul kept his teaching on the basics, even though they had an inflated view of their spirituality. They believed they were ready for the ‘deeper things,’ but were not living any deeper in the basic things he already preached to them…” 5

“You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?” (3:3).  When people begin to grow spiritually they produce spiritual fruit.  Some of this fruit is listed for us in Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”  In the previous verses, 19-21, he lists some of the fruit of the flesh: “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like…” 

Already, the sorry fruits of jealousy (zēlos) and quarreling or discord (eris), were springing up in Corinth.  Paul will go on to point out dissensions, factions and envy.  While the Corinthians thought they were spiritual, they had the ugly fruit of the flesh hanging from their trees.  We might ask ourselves exactly what is hanging on our trees and vines today.  Are we producing only crabapples on our trees and sour grapes on our vines?

Meyer says, “A man may be in Christ, truly regenerate and forgiven for his past sins, and yet be carnal; that is, according to Romans 7:18, he may be ruled by ‘me,’ ‘I’, ‘self.’” 6  So, there is such a thing as a carnal Christian after all.  Trapp comments, “It is a shame for Christians to be like other men, as Samson was after he had lost his hair.” 7

“For when one says, ‘I follow Paul,’ and another, ‘I follow Apollos,’ are you not mere human beings?” (3:4).  It seems that the Corinthians had gotten themselves into quite a preacher contest.  Eloquent Apollos certainly had an edge over Paul, whose speaking apparently wasn’t much (2 Cor. 10:10).  Apollos carried on ministry in Corinth after Paul’s work there (Acts 18:1-28).  Interestingly, there never seemed to be the slightest dissension between Apollos and Paul.  Lipscomb says, “Paul always spoke of Apollos with the highest esteem and affection.” 8   Perhaps the Corinthians were doing the thing that came naturally for the Greeks.  Keener reminds us that, “Greek culture sometimes divinized heroes into gods…” 9

 

MINISTERIAL GIFTS AND LABORS

 

What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe— as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 1 Corinthians 3:5

Paul points out that ministers are only servants (diakonoi) or mere table waiters.  They are but workers in God’s cultivated field.  Maclaren comments, “So what was the use of fighting about which of two nothings was the greater?” 10  We know from 1:12 that Peter or Cephas also had his admirers in Corinth.

Much fragmentation has resulted in the church because of powerful leaders who have drawn people after themselves.  No doubt many denominations have resulted because of the same reason.  We must understand that whoever our leaders are, we all are still part of the Body of Christ and he is the one who is important.  When we served in Israel those many years we seldom heard anyone saying “I am a Baptist,” “I am a Methodist,” or “I am a Pentecostal.”  When Christians make up less than 2 percent of the population they just hang together and worship together as one.  Regardless of differences, they are happy to be together.

So, what are the differences in ministries anyway?  They all are workers in God’s field.  Stedman says, “…It is like asking which blade of a pair of scissors is more important, the upper or the lower.” 11

“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.” (3:6-7).  Paul was a church planter par excellence.  Apollos came along afterward and watered what Paul had planted (Acts 18:1; Acts 19:1).  This is especially important in the arid Middle East.  The little nation of Israel has blossomed and flourished because she early invented a drip irrigation system, which now has been marketed all over the world.

After all, it is God who makes the seed grow.  There is no farmer, regardless of how successful or how wise, who can describe exactly how a seed germinates and grows into a plant.  The wise farmer is content to wait and let God produce the crop.

“The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor” (3:8). Obviously, there are a lot of other ministries in God’s field.  Some must fertilize, cultivate, prune and pull weeds.  Others must fight off pests of all kinds.  There are many jobs in farming.  One big problem has always been jealousy among ministries.  Guzik says, “Some people are frustrated because they want to water when God has called them to plant, or they want to plant when God has called them to water. Others are frustrated because they want to make the increase happen, when only God can do that. Real fruitfulness in ministry happens when we are peacefully content with what God has called us to do.” 12  Wiersbe adds: “The sower and the reaper not only work together, but one day they shall rejoice together and receive their own rewards.” 13

What grace has been poured out upon us that we are allowed to labor together (sun-ergos) with God himself! 14  We must not take this honor lightly but we must work with all our hearts.  “Young preachers used to ask G. Campbell Morgan the secret to his preaching success. He would answer: ‘I always say to them the same thing: work; hard work; and again, work!’” 15

Utley points out how the New Testament tells us that there are different rewards and punishments for God’s servants (cf. Matt. 10:15; 11:22,24; 18:6; 25:21, 23; Mk. 12:40; Lk. 12:47-48; 20:47; Jam. 3:1).16  It is clear that Christians will not stand before the Great White Throne Judgment that happens after the resurrection of the wicked (Rev. 20:11-12).  Rather, they will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10).  This judgment seems to have nothing to do with whether or not eternal life is granted, but rather it is a judgment related to the faithfulness and rewards of each of his servants.  This judgment appears to happen after the First Resurrection.  If so, Christ’s followers will already have received their resurrected bodies and will have already been made like Christ (1 Jn. 3:2).

“For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building” (3:9).  Here the apostle reemphasizes the metaphor of the field and makes a transition to the next picture, the building of Christ.  Before we leave the metaphor of the field there are a couple more things we can say about it.  The word for field is geōrgion, and it means “husbandry,” “tillage,” or “cultivated field.” 17  It has been suggested that this word might have been the reason the name “George” became popular in Christianity.

God has assigned each of us a job to do in his field or his vineyard.  We should work in that spot without complaint so that our Master can finally say “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matt. 25:21).  Stedman quotes this poem:

     Father, Where shall I work today?
     And my love flowed warm and free.
     Then he pointed me out a tiny spot and said,
     “Tend that for me.”
     I answered quickly, “Oh, no, not that.
     Why, no one would ever see
     No matter how well my work was done.
     Not that little place for me.”
     And the word he spoke, it was not stern.
     He answered me tenderly,
     “Ah, little one, search that heart of thine.
     Art thou working for them or me?
     Nazareth was a little place,
     and so was Galilee.” 18 

 

GOD’S BUILDERS 

 

By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 1 Corinthians 3:10

Paul and the other apostles laid the foundations of Christianity.  They left us their letters and these have become our Holy Scriptures.  Thus, the church is built on the word of God.  Ephesians 2:20 tells us that the church is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.”  Barclay says of Paul, “He was of necessity a foundation layer and was forever on the move…It was only when he was in prison that his restless spirit could stay in the one place…” 19

The apostle was a “wise builder” (architekton).  Many other translations have “master-builder” here (NKJ, NRS, NET, NAB, NAS, NJB).  Although we have gotten our term “architect” from this word, it more fittingly describes one who superintends the work of building.20  It probably has more in common with our general contractor today.  Paul as a master-builder did not like to build on other people’s work (Rom. 15:20).  That would probably be true of most modern master-builders.  Ambrosiaster says, “The wise master-builder is one who preaches the same gospel as that which was preached by the Savior.” 21  Morris adds concerning the building, “…Incidentally, the metaphor of building is a favorite one with Paul, but it is not often found in the New Testament outside his writings.” 22

“For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ” (3:11).  It is clear in the Bible that Jesus is the only foundation (cf. Matt. 21:42; 14:6; Acts 4:11-12; Eph. 2:20; 2 Tim. 2:19; 1 Pet. 2:6.).  Chrysostom has written:” The foundation is already in place, and no one can change it.” 23  All other attempts to build Christianity without Christ as the sole foundation are doomed to failure and judgment.

 

GOD’S BUILDING

 

If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw,” (3:12).  

It is obvious here that we are contrasting permanent and passing things.  When we think of permanent things we think of Jesus Christ who, “…is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8).  We also think of the word of God which endures forever (1 Pet. 1:25).  The gold and silver are certainly things that abide, even in the midst of earth’s refining fires.  One of the world’s largest depositories of gold and silver was stored underneath the US World Trade Center.  It was owned by a group of commercial banks.  Several days after the 9/11 destruction, $230 million in precious metals was removed from basement vaults of the center. 24  These treasures had all come through the awful fire in very good shape.

We should note here that costly stones are listed along with the gold and silver.  Although some ancient buildings and temples were adorned with gemstones, this is probably not what Paul has in mind here.  Several commentators see these stones as the polished marble and valuable granite stones often used in building. 25

When we think of passing things, we would include things like wood, hay and straw. Wiersbe says, “You can find wood, hay, and stubble in your backyard, and it will not take too much effort to pick it up.  But if you want gold, silver, and jewels, you have to dig for them.” 26   Smith points out that Paul seems to be listing things in two halves.  These halves would include materials that can withstand the fire and materials that are flammable and cannot withstand fire. 27

Paul says, “their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work” (3:13).  The apostle is obviously speaking about the Day of the Lord here (1 Cor. 5:5; 2 Thess. 2:2; 2 Pet. 3:10).  This was a very common expression in the Old Testament and in the New Testament as well.  There are many other expressions that speak of this time.  There seems to be no good reason for us to separate the concepts of “the Day of the Lord,” “the Day of Christ,” “the Day,” and “that Day” as they are used in Scripture.  All these speak of the same event.  The entire book of Revelation likewise speaks in detail of this day.

The Bible tells us that the Day of the Lord will burn as an oven (Mal. 4:1), and that Jesus will come with flaming fire (2 Thess. 1:7).  Peter tells us that our many trials are preparing us for this day.  He says, “These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire— may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Pet. 1:7).  The wicked, who are like wood, hay and stubble, will be burned out of the earth on that day.  Also, the works of Christians that resemble wood, hay and straw will go up in flames.  It is clear in the Bible that God is in the process of making us fireproof for that day.  After all, our God is a consuming fire (Deut. 4:24).  Isaiah once asked, “…Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?” (Isa. 33:14).

The apostle continues on with two very important verses.  He says, “If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward.  If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved— even though only as one escaping through the flames.” (3:14-15).  We come here to the very significant subject of rewards and punishments.  Comfort says, “These builders will be saved, but only as through fire, as if they jumped out of a burning building and lost everything but their lives.  They will enter heaven but will not receive the same reward as those who built well.” 28  It is almost like they escaped from the burning building with their shirt-tails on fire.

These verses tell us something very significant about the coming judgment and end of the age.  No doubt what is pictured here is the judgment seat of Christ spoken of later in 2 Corinthians 5:10: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”  This judgment is one for Christians only and it is different from the Great White Throne Judgment of all people mentioned in Revelation 20:11-12.  The judgment seat of Christ seems more like a debriefing for our own information and benefit.  It is not a matter of who will or will not go to heaven.  That is already settled.  It is all about rewards.

The Bible seems very clear that there will be different rewards for different people.  Jesus  himself speaks of this in Luke 19:13-19.  Again, there are obviously thirty, sixty and hundredfold Christians (Matt. 13:23).  We are not all the same and we will not get the same rewards.

This is not Bible, but a few of the church fathers reported on something that seemed to be an early church tradition.  This was apparently from the mouth of Papias, a very early writer (c. 120):

As the presbyters say, those who are deemed worthy of a habitation in heaven will go there, others will enjoy the delights of Paradise, and others will possess the splendor of the city.  For everywhere the Savior will be seen according to the worthiness of those who see him… 29

So, we need to take stock of our building.  Are we building on Christ the sure foundation and are we building with precious things or with wood, hay and stubble?  When we first moved to Israel in 1982, we gathered one morning at the burned out hull of what had been the Baptist church in Jerusalem.  Some Orthodox troublemakers had burned the old wooden building down.  The church met in a tent for several years afterward, but in time they built a new structure with stone and concrete, like most other buildings in the city.  Since that rebuilding, the agitators have tried twice to burn it down again but they have failed both times.  About the only damage they caused was a little scorched paint.

Today, some Christians seem to not be building at all.  It has become very customary for Christians in the west to avoid coming together as the church.  A mid 90s study in the US found that 54 percent of evangelicals thought it was better to be alone and meditate than to worship with others.30  Such as these, if they are truly believers, may enter heaven with their shirt-tails on fire.

 

GOD’S TEMPLE

 

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?  1 Corinthians  3:16

It is interesting that in Ephesians chapter 2 we see the picture of God’s house or household (made up of redeemed people) transformed into God’s Holy Temple (Eph. 2:20-21).  We see similar pictures in several other places (cf. 2 Cor. 6:16; Heb. 3:6; 1 Pet. 2:5). This is a great mystery as we see in Ephesians 3:6.  Actually, Jesus once revealed this mystery to the woman of Samaria.  This woman wanted to know if she should worship in Samaria or in Jerusalem. He said to her, “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth” (Jn. 4:23-24).

Jesus once said, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matt. 18:20).  This once again stresses the importance of Christians being together. Today the concept of “temple of God” is greatly abused.  Many Christians think that they individually are God’s temple.  Therefore, they can stay home and meditate rather than be with the Lord’s flock, as we have seen.  This is a grave error.  The devil, being the lion and wolf that he is, must always be looking for a sheep who has gotten itself separated from the flock.  We see in nature that this is disastrous.  We need the help of others in order to be Christians.  We need all the eyes and ears of the flock to alert us to the lion’s presence.

The word used here for temple is not the temple compound in general (hieron) but (naos), the inner shrine or sanctuary where God dwells.31  It is as if the Shechinah of God hovers over us as we come together in the Jesus’ name.  Once again, we individually are not the temple of God but we “plural” make up that temple.  Smith says, “The ‘you’ does not refer to the individual but to the community as a whole.” 32  The concept of the people of God as the temple of God was also seen in the Dead Sea community, even before the time of Jesus’ ministry.  No doubt Paul’s readers could have already had some understanding of this important picture. 33

There are many other supporting pictures of this spiritual temple in Scripture.  Peter talks about it in 1 Peter 2:5.  He says, “you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”  He tells us that we together form not only a holy temple but a holy priesthood, and that we are offering up acceptable sacrifices to God.

What happens if we do not come together with others in worship?  We see here that we are designed to be temple stones.  If we are not fitting in with other stones we are hindering the building and functioning of God’s holy temple.  We must make a choice.  We can either be temple stones or stumbling blocks!  If we withdraw from fellowship we damage the building of God.  Barclay says, “No building can stand firm and four-square if sections of it are removed.” 34  The metaphor of the temple, made up of those like living stones, is a beautiful and important one.  Coffman says: “Of all the beautiful metaphors of God’s church such as the bride of Christ, the vineyard of the Lord, the household of God, the pillar and ground of the truth, the spiritual body of Christ, and the flock of Christ, none is more beautiful or intriguing than ‘The Temple of God.’” 35

“If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple” (3:17).  Again, we must understand that we together make up the temple of God.  It is something we can never accomplish alone.  Because God himself comes to dwell in this spiritual temple it becomes holy and must not be violated.  The word for violated is phtheirō.  It can have several meanings in Scripture.  It can mean to corrupt physically or morally.  It can also speak of destruction, either physically or spiritually.36

In the Old Testament, the tabernacle and temple were special and highly restricted places.  If an unqualified person entered these compounds or otherwise defiled them, that person suffered the death penalty (Lev. 15:31).  Even if the Aaronic priesthood violated the temple they too were likewise punished (Exo. 28:43; Lev. 16:2).37  Clarke says: “If any man injure, corrupt, or destroy the Church of God by false doctrine, God will destroy him – will take away his part out of the book of life. This refers to him who wilfully opposes the truth; the erring, mistaken man shall barely escape; but the obstinate opposer shall be destroyed. The former shall be treated leniently; the latter shall have judgment without mercy.” 38

Long ago my wife, our little firstborn son, and myself, made the journey from our pastorate in Kentucky to the western mountains in the US.  We traveled there to pastor a small mission church.  When we arrived, we discovered that the previous pastor had seduced several women in the church and there was talk that he had even murdered his wife.  I don’t know if this man is still alive, but I rather doubt it.  My feeling is that God probably destroyed him for almost destroying the Lord’s church.  Such a person is to be greatly pitied.  This was a tragic situation, but we must wonder how many more like him are trying to destroy the church today with their gossip, sectarian spirits, adulteries, fornications, heresies, pride and other things.  God help us and correct us from such disastrous courses.

 

ATTAINING GOD’S WISDOM

 

Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. 1 Corinthians 3:18

The Greeks were really “hung up” on their own wisdom.  No doubt, the Corinthians were having some problem with this as well.  Perhaps they had forgotten what their own philosopher Plato had once said: “He is the wisest man who knows himself to be very ill-equipped for the study of wisdom.” 39

When we think of  a “wise man” we probably think of someone who has excelled in academics.  While it is true that the wise do increase in learning (Pr. 1:5), this is only a part of being wise in the biblical sense.  There are many other things in the Bible that characterize a wise man.  We are told that a wise man fears God (Pr. 9:10), that he listens to advice (Pr. 12:15), and is industrious (Pr. 6:6).  He has a healthy tongue (Pr. 12:18) and has learned to guard his lips (Pr. 10:19).  He wins souls (Pr. 11:30), honors his parents (Pr. 13:1), and receives God’s commands and keeps his laws (Pr. 10:8 & 28:7).

Unfortunately, these things do not amount to wisdom in our present evil age.  Wisdom is book learning, college and university degrees, success in business or on the job, and a host of other things.  Such wisdom puffs people up and makes them feel more important than they really are.  Paul’s advice for these persons is that they become fools.  “The world depends on promotion, prestige, and the influence of money and important people.  The church depends on prayer, the power of the Spirit, humility, sacrifice, and service.” 40  Such things as these amount to foolishness in the eyes of the world.  The message of the cross itself is foolishness to the world (1 Cor. 1:18).  We will no doubt notice that Paul contrasts wisdom and foolishness often through much of First Corinthians.

When we humble ourselves and become fools in the world’s sight, then we are able to become wise in God’s sight. Morris says, “True wisdom is found in renouncing ‘the wisdom of this world’ (cf. 2:14-15).” 41

“For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: ‘He catches the wise in their craftiness’; and again, ‘The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.’”  (3:19-20).  Godbey has a good characterization of the worldly wise person.  He says, “The wise people of this world wear out their eyes, craze their brains and paralyze their nerves to accumulate the wisdom of the world, which is all empty bosh when they get it, wearing them out, making them prematurely old, bringing down their gray hairs with sorrow to the grave for naught.” 42

We would be appalled if we knew the kind of subjects that are being studied today in our most prestigious colleges and universities.  Ben Shapiro in his book Brainwashed, How Universities Indoctrinate America’s Youth, details some of the utterly disgusting and foolish subjects now offered. California State University at Northridge offers: “Erotic Literature, Male Sexuality, Gay Literature, and Lesbian Literature and Poetry.” 43 The University of Colorado: “Introduction to Lesbian, Bisexual, and Gay Literature: Queer Theory; Studies in Lesbian, Gay; Bisexual, and Transgender Literature.” 44  The University of Michigan: “How to be Gay; Male Homosexuality and Initiation.” 45  Then there are openly gay courses.  “Almost all major universities have Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual (LGBT) Departments that offer majors or minors to students.”  46

Shapiro says, “Many professors excuse and even encourage pedophilia – sex between adults and children.” 47  He quotes Prof. Peter Singer of Princeton, who says, “Sex with animals does not always involve cruelty….” 48  He tells of a class assignment, where “students went to a gay strip club, where they watched one of the instructors have sex on the stage.” 49  He notes how Prof. Dennis Dailey of Kansas University has a class entitled “Human Sexuality in Everyday Life,” which “shows students three hours of ‘explicit’ videos; most of the videos graphically depict heterosexuals, gays, and lesbians in the act of sex.” 50  My, how we have degenerated into such gross foolishness in such a short amount of time!

In spite of all the foolishness of this age, the wisdom of God stands firm for all who wish to see.  The esteemed physicist, Gerald Schroeder, remarks with Scripture: “‘How manifold are your works, Eternal, You made them all with wisdom’” (Ps. 104:24).  He adds, “Wisdom is the fundamental building block of the universe, and it is inherent in all parts.  In the processes of life it finds its most complex revelation.  Wisdom, information, and idea, is the link between the metaphysical Creator and the physical creation.  It is the hidden face of God.” 51.

Schroeder says, “A single consciousness, an all-encompassing wisdom, pervades the universe.” 52  He adds, “The universe is truly a uni-verse.  All existence is joined through the expression of information, an idea, wisdom.  Our mind is the emergent link that occasionally taps into that unity. You know when it happens as the surge of exhilarating emotion envelopes your entire body.” 53

The highly honored physicist, John Wheeler, has confirmed all this saying, “the universe and all existence may be founded on an expression of information, and expression of an idea or of wisdom.” 54

In the above passage Paul cites Job 5:13 and Psalm 94:11.  God trips up the “wise” in their wisdom.  He also knows all human plans at wisdom are futile.  In view of such worldly wisdom the wise men of Israel once said, “Cursed be the man who rears a pig and cursed be those who instruct their sons in Greek wisdom.” 55

 

THE END OF BOASTING ABOUT WISDOM

 

So then, no more boasting about human leaders! All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future— all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.  1 Corinthians 3:21-23

Occasionally, Paul in his writing simply takes wings and flies.56  This is one of those occasions.  The great apostle tries to lead the flock away from the mundane thoughts of pride and personalities to the heavenly thoughts of the heritage reserved for us all in the spiritual realm.  Paul, Apollos and Cephas all belong to the church, to all believers equally.  They are a part of our heritage, for much of our heritage is in God’s people (Eph. 1:18).  The world and the world to come are ours. Resurrection from the dead and the future are ours.  Jesus is ours and God is ours. In Christ we are heirs of all things. What else could we want?

 Continue to Chapter 4