I Corinthians, Studies in
Corinth, Greece, is a port city lying about 84 kilometers (60 miles) west of Athens. Paul had traveled there for the first time after leaving Athens where he had been located for about two weeks, and during which time he had written the two epistles to Thessaloniki.
Corinth contained a teeming population of mixed peoples – mostly working class folk, driven there by the active transport of shipped goods across the narrow Isthmus of Corinth – an overland ocean freight link that prevented ships having to sail far southward around the huge peninsula of Peloponnesia (Thrace).
The account of his first visit is recorded in Acts 18.
The major thrust of this epistle is intended to effect the healing of the breach that has overtaken the brethren at Corinth since Paul had established the Ecclesia.
This letter was written from Philippi according to the postscript, and carried to Corinth by four trusted brethren listed there.
1Co 1:3 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Note, please, that prayer is always among the first expressions that Paul voices in nearly every epistle: intercessory prayer ... as being offered on behalf of his brethren at Corinth, beseeching extended grace from the Father upon them.
1Co 1:4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;
That grace (charis) is to be understood as the divine influence upon the heart and its reflection exhibited in the life and teachings of a Believer.
1Co 1:5 That in every thing ye are enriched (the Greek literally means “made wealthy,” but the connotation is wealth in spiritual blessings, not in carnal ones, examples of which are named immediately) by him, in all utterance (logos), and in all knowledge (gnosis);
1Co 1:6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:
His prayer is for their veracity to be upheld as soundly as that of the LORD Jesus Himself as they venture forth to enlighten and enrich the Gentile world as to the articles of salvation.
1Co 1:7 So that ye come behind in no gift (Greek, charisma, a spiritual endowment, which would include Spirit gifts of that day); waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:
It is indeed remarkable that two millennia later, we are still expectantly “waiting” for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. But the outward signs of His imminent return have only lately appeared. For about 1,800 years the prospects of His return had not become apparent...
1Co 1:8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1Co 1:9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
Divisions in the Church (Ekklesia)
As follow up to his petitions to God, he enters into a reasonable discussion with his brethren – advising that there be unity among them as to doctrines and practices of their convictions, without divisions of concept or content, a practice which would give to them the divine gift of being of one mind and one spirit.
1Co 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
His words to them are cautionary, for he now informs them of the reliable information that he has learned – that they are not of one accord; that quarrelsome differences exist within the body of Christ.
1Co 1:11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
Chloe is a female believer, her name relating to the Greek word for “green, or green shoot.” We are not informed of her identity beyond this verse, for she is named nowhere else in scripture. But she is a trusted sister in Christ whose communication to Paul has required a written answer, reference to which is made in I Corinthians 5;9.
This is the proof that the present parchment is not the first epistle to Corinth but actually is the second. The text of the earlier letter is not extant, however, so our knowledge of its content is lacking, except that it concerned sexual impropriety.
Paul’s concern is immediately revealed as being the existence of a party spirit among his brethren, some claiming to follow one or another of their mentors as the most diligent purveyors of the riches of the Truth; he mentions four by name in the next verse.
His reasoning is first logically that Christ is not divided – that all these brethren teach and believe a common body of doctrines and follow a common pathway of practice. All have their proper roles, just as various parts of our bodies perform special functions while being parts of the whole body.
1Co 1:12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
The apostle’s next words point up the implausibility of their disruptive assertions as he poses more incisive questions of the roles played by individuals, contrasting these crucial roles with the comparatively mundane role of those favorites that they were following... In reality, all were of similar value for they all stood or the same things - but Christ was the Chief of all, His teachings being the embodiment of all the crucial elements of salvation!
1Co 1:13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?
Those considerations should have settled the matter for all time. But to divorce himself, at least, from their misplaced devotions, he reminds them that he has baptized only a few of their fellow servants, lest he be accused of baptizing anyone in his own name.
1Co 1:14 I thank God that I baptized none of you, but (except) Crispus and Gaius;
It is evident that Paul had thought of this possibility of an inappropriate following by some who he might physically baptize into Christ, and had purposely stood aside from that function for this specific reason. Paul knew the heart of man better than the average man!
1Co 1:15 Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.
1Co 1:16 And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.
His next words draw a dividing line which we really had never considered – that of conducting baptisms as being entirely separate from preaching the Gospel. Although they are closely related, they are indeed discrete functions of service. Paul’s unction was to preach the Gospel; he left the baptismal function to others.
1Co 1:17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
By the phrase “wisdom of words” we suspect the apostle is reminding them that his teachings had not been tainted by worldly wisdom or elegant techniques of speech – but had been simple, straightforward words of scriptural veracity, certified by one or more of the gifts of the Spirit when he deemed that a necessity.
Christ the Wisdom and Power of God
He next voices the convictions of many who heard his word (such as the philosophers of Athens) and had turned them aside as “foolishness,” and had thus adjudged themselves as unworthy of salvation. By far the wiser choice was and is a more sober consideration of his preaching ... resulting in salvation for those who attended and absorbed his ministrations.
1Co 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
See verse 21 below for a repetition of this concept...
1Co 1:19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom (Greek, sophia, or worldly wisdom, the source or our word sophistication) of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
These ironic phrases set all the holders of worldly wisdom as being opposed to Christ and His direct and gracious words of salvation – concepts which represent true wisdom, or true sophistication.
The apostle’s straightforward argument is that those who exhibit worldly sophistry are not the truly “wise” ones in God’s eyes. The simple wisdom of the Almighty always shows up their actual, baseless, shallowness of wisdom. The know little of eternal things!
1Co 1:20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer (the sophist!) of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
The intellectuals of Athens had shunted aside the serious discussions of the apostle in favor of their “intellectual” platforms; likewise, the leaders of the Jews who clung to the Law as their firm convictions as opposed to the freedom which was evident in Christ Jesus.
1Co 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom (note the irony here!) knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
Belief, then, or faith, becomes the weighty factor in all these considerations. Simple faith, or conviction, that Paul’s witness had veracity and weight ... and was effective.
1Co 1:22 For the Jews require a sign (a superficial or ceremonial observance), and the Greeks seek after wisdom (worldly considerations):
The abstract concept of the sacrificial death of Christ (crucifixion) was sufficient to bring salvation to the masses who would listen. But these concepts were too simplistic for the Greek thinkers and the Jewish leaders.
1Co 1:23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
1Co 1:24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
1Co 1:25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
The concept is too earthy – too “unsophisticated” – for the Greek and the Jewish minds.
1Co 1:26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
The “wise” and the “mighty” and the “noble” are evaluations of self by those holding those identities; but they are in reality “the foolish things” of God that regularly defeat the “wise” of this world...
1Co 1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world (foolish in their estimation) to confound the wise (he indicates the worldly-wise ones); and God hath chosen the weak things (principles that they consider weak) of the world to confound the things which are (in reality) mighty;
1Co 1:28 And base things of the world (of ignoble descent in the eyes of the world), and things which are despised (or detested – by the world), hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not (are denied as being important or relevant), to bring to nought things that are (that are reality):
Such elements almost invariably appear foolish and irrelevant to the “wise ones” of this world. Yet their true efficacy brings glory to those who have faith in them...
1Co 1:29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
1Co 1:30 But of him (because of the Almighty) are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
Those four qualities are the core values of The Way as taught by the Master, and as such are worthy of our elevation and our adherence to them in every circumstance.
1Co 1:31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
<HEL> ~2,000 words. I Corinthians, Chapter One. June 14, 2021.
When Paul had encountered the philosophers and sophists of Athens he had tailored his presentations to them in their language of logic and sophistication, seeking to penetrate their defenses with the highest human, philosophical reasoning coupled with the deeply spiritual message of salvation. But they did not respond well.
As he moved over to Corinth he encountered the vast community of commercial interests and those in government who trafficked in more basic terms – workable language of reason and common sense.
He therefore changed his approach to his audiences accordingly. He related to them the wonderful testimonies of the Almighty in the rudimentary language of their society, speaking in plain words and largely without eloquence. His communications became direct and basic, putting the hope of Israel into simple, easy-to-understand terms.
Proclaiming Christ Crucified
1Co 2:1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of (worldly) wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.
Accordingly, he did not resort to esoteric arguments by which to gain their attention and during following discussions his approach was basic, straightforward, and always empathetic to their plight.
1Co 2:2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
Although we cannot determine the precise nature of Paul’s disability, he hints at his own weakness in 2 Corinthians 11:6: But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been throughly made manifest among you in all things.
In another place, he admits to being a better writer than a speaker: For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible. 2 Corinthians 10:10.
In the next two verses he stresses his own ineptitude, admitting that he often shared his listeners’ feelings of inadequacy and frustration, recognizing that his message would be enhanced and reinforced by the Spirit within him.
That same spirit resides in us as it did in him and in them if we but allow it to be manifested as in verses 10-12 below...
We tend to think of the apostle as a stalwart in the Lord, never fearing and never having cause for any sort of alarm as to personal safety or consequences. Such is not the case...
1Co 2:3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.
1Co 2:4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
That application of his Spirit gifts rise well above us of this day, those gifts having been given him in order to certify that his words were indeed the words of salvation. Today we are adequately supported by the Word of Life which is now accessible to practically everyone. But at his time in history, the New Testament was in process of being composed and published, so it was not available as the textual proof that it later became.
That level of witness from Paul made it clear to his listeners that his words were indeed the word of God and of Christ his Savior, and was conveying to them the pure words of life that emanated from Them.
1Co 2:5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
Wisdom from the Spirit
1Co 2:6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect (the Greek word is telios, not yet perfect, but looking toward perfection through growth): yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:
Perfection is not a quality having already been obtained by them, but is their ultimate goal as implied in Paul’s further comment in 2 Corinthians 13:11, where he instructs them in its attainment – their pathway to perfection: Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.
Such a course of action trumpets to observers that here is a people who are blessed and confident in their convictions and ideals – in the power of the salvation which has apprehended them and possesses them even in their daily lives. See Philippians 3: 12.
1Co 2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery (a body of information not unknowable, but largely unknown), even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
In his next words Paul references the “princes of this world.”
Just who are these?
They are the sovereigns and governors of earthly regimes as in verse 8, both Jew and Gentile.
In the Jewish world they were the priests and the elders of Israel who believed that they had a “lock” on God’s favor, never imagining that His salvation should ever be offered directly to the Gentiles – for that is the “mystery” of which Paul speaks. Col0ssians 1:26: Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory...
In the Gentile world they were the regents and governors who had never allowed themselves to be apprised of God’s plan of salvation, so they did by no means anticipate such a boon to their constituents or themselves. It was a “mystery” to them as well.
1Co 2:8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
Those nominated, of course, are the Jewish leaders who insisted on Jesus’ crucivision and the Roman leaders who carried it out.
Paul here states the ideal truth in the matter – giving the “world” credit for wishing genuinely for the blessings that the Almighty offers through Jesus His Son. But given the world’s subsequent history, and its behavior lately, we wonder if it really does wish to have peace and tranquility – or does it thrive on warfare and unrest?
The profuse blessings of the future day cannot be visualized by the heart or mind of mankind. He cannot possibly form a visual or mental image of the blessings that shall flow effusively from His bounty in the future day. That is not their mindset or ambition in our thinking...
1Co 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
But it IS the mindset and ambition of another select group – those who have been called out of the darkness of this world into the marvelous light of His Truth. By the sage writings of holy men of old, both speaking and writing as moved by the Holy Spirit. Their informative words to their contemporaries have well informed those who are the called according to His purpose. Their hope plumbs the depth of His promises – His immutable purpose for the earth and its people.
But these elements are only understood through the workings of the Spirit of God working in each convicted Believer – those who have undertaken to understand and accept His Plan and Purpose ... and have acted upon their convictions by baptism into His name and by striving to walk faithfully in the pathways that He has revealed.
1Co 2:10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
The apostle’s next statement is an obvious declaration of fact: mankind understands the elements of his natural life by natural instinct – his native instincts and his well-known general expectations.
1Co 2:11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit (the pneuma, in Greek; the rational soul, or his own natural lucidity) of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
The key to this reasoning is that if we be Christ’s we must possess the Spirit of Christ, as Truth is made known only by God’s Holy Spirit.
That power (dunamis, or strength) has made it possible for each Believer to have comprehended the Truth that our Father has conveyed for our understanding and salvation. It is grossly different from the “things of man,” and elevates those who possess it to an higher calling – to the election of God – admitting each to Sonship in His family ... and a provisional place in the Kingdom Age which is rapidly approaching if he remains true to his calling...
That difference in quality of the “spirit” that each exhibits in his life is the separator of those who have a sure Hope from those who have NO hope.
1Co 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
Those precious “things” made up the exclusive message that Paul delivered to all his hearers – and were the “power of God unto salvation to everyone who believeth,” which is “the Gospel.” Romans 1: 16.
But they are not messages of human concoction or conclusion; they are the sublime principles of the Spirit of God, elaborating the intricate details of the highest order of spiritual principles to each hearer, being based solely upon spiritual principles and standards.
1Co 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
The apostle’s next phrases disabuse every “natural man” of the notion that these high principles of the spirit can be comprehended by human effort alone; indeed, they make no rational sense to the natural man, going, as they do, beyond the limits of human experience or concept ... of rational logic, even.
They are only spiritually discerned.
1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
The almost mystical difference as to whether the “things of the Spirit” will be understood (discerned) or not lies in the reality of an individual’s response. It is evident that if one subjects himself to the mind of the Spirit, that action opens each to the high standards of the Spirit.
In such a state of conviction, such an one is no longer subject to man’s judgment.
1Co 2:15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
The Prophet Isaiah recognized the Divine character of such esoteric tuition as expressed in his scroll at Isaiah 40:13: Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him? 14 With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?
Such realization and comprehension is above and beyond the limits of the mind of fleshly man.
Those who “discern” His teachings must be disposed to the elevated quality of a spiritual mindset, and always be seeking spiritual guidance – willing to exercise an entirely uncommon ability to comprehend and believe the divine instructions without question. In short, only the mind that is like that of Christ would be able to discern these precious elements.
1Co 2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. <HEL> ~1,950 words. I Corinthians Chapter Two.
Divisions in the Ecclesia
When the apostle had come to them initially he necessarily spoke to them on an elemental level – teaching them the basics of salvation but not in the higher terms of deep spiritual instruction. They had first to be instructed in the fundamental elements of the gospel. Later he would be able to raise his level of instruction into the spiritual realm.
As an human infant, their initial diet could not be “meat” by which he means the concepts that are harder to “digest” or understand. Their initial diet was to be elemental on all levels as they gained the strength and maturity that those teachings would produce.
1Co 3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
1Co 3:2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
The apostle’s judgment is that his brethren at Corinth are still not ready for the weightier concepts of God’s great Plan. Their infestation with the plagues of envy, of strife, and of division defined them as yet babes in Christ, needful of increased instruction in the basics of spiritual life.
1Co 3:3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
The manifestation of that level of “carnality” is seen in the party spirit that he observes:
1Co 3:4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?
Paul sees the critical need to erase this mindset among his brethren. His next statement is intended to “level the field” of players by reducing each named leader to a functional minister of God’s word to them – each with various functions of service to them: one plants; another waters; but it is God Who gives the increase.
1Co 3:5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?
1Co 3:6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
Those who plow the field – who work the soil – who cultivate and fertilize and remove weeds are important, of course, but they are functionaries to the end result – the Father Who grants spiritual progress in every life.
1Co 3:7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing (his inference is “nobody special,” for of course, they are “something,” but only God can give them viability), neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
1Co 3:8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.
That reward is typified by the “penny” of Matthew 20:9 – the wage paid to all the workers in the vineyard regardless of the number of hours each had labored. It is the same with workers in the spiritual vineyard: their common “wage” is immortality in the coming Kingdom.
1Co 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.
Paul now shifts the general figure of speech that he is employing to that of a master builder – the one who is responsible for laying the foundation of any structure – the project manager, so to speak. But it is left to the “finished carpenter” to complete the fine details and give the project life and viability.
1Co 3:10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another (namely, Christ, the Redeemer) buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
Above all considerations, fidelity to the written Plan is expedient. No alterations are permitted. Following the Plan is mandatory in order to erect an acceptable structure just as adherence to the Plan of God is mandatory for one to be properly instructed in the vital matters of salvation. That Plan has long been laid, having originated in The Garden of Eden as the coats of skin were provided symbolically to cover the nakedness (symbolic of sin) of the original pair. It pointed directly to the critical Sacrifice of Christ for its fulfillment.
1Co 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is (the Plan that has already been) laid, which is Jesus Christ.
We believe that the concept that the apostle is advancing here is that every deed which we perform – every row that we plow and every seedling that we plant or water – is improved by a certain quality of material moving up the scale from “stubble” to “gold.”
Our obligation is to build always with the most precious material to the glory of the final product that will either be approved or denied by the Finisher of our faith, Jesus Christ.
The final test as to the favored plant’s productivity or value will be decided at the Judgment Seat of Christ, in our conviction, and will reflect back upon the quality of the materials that each of us has used in our execution of our Vineyard husbandry...
Here we must add that the finished product is of two identities: first, the labor expended upon others as “plantings” in the vineyard.
But the quality of the materials is reflexive upon the vineyard worker himself in his own life and spiritual development.
The figure is extremely broad and deep in this regard, and must be considered as applying to all the actors as well as those acted upon during each one’s vineyard service.
1Co 3:12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
1Co 3:13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day (in the Day of Judgment shall each “work” be assessed as to its final value) shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.
The process is likened to the “fire” of refining, which we understand is the righteous scrutiny of the Lord Jesus in His final judgment of each one. Those “structures” built of the durable metals cannot be destroyed by the “fire,” and shall endure unto eternal life – the “reward!” And the principle applies both to the minister and him that is ministered to...
1Co 3:14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
1Co 3:15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
These words give each worker in the vineyard a great degree of comfort in that perhaps no “work” shall be perfect – wholly constructed of the finest materials – but the inference given is that there is a degree of tolerance in the Judgments rendered – a consideration of which we are not concisely informed. We know that it will be within the bounds of the immense compassion that our Lord shall heap upon every soul that appears before Him for evaluation. May He have mercy upon each of His inept laborers...
The apostle now turns inwardly to a consideration of each vineyard worker as to the validity and quality of his or her own personal development. His terse reminder is that each of us is the Temple of God because of the indwelling of His Spirit within us and the understanding that has thus been conveyed to each of us by that Spirit.
This concept is supported by the words of the apostle in another place, where he said, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” Romans 8:9
1Co 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
Defiling, or tarnishing, the Temple of God is an intolerable sin, and requires retribution of those who so engage themselves. In short, it ends in – destruction!
It is a most calamitous end for all those so engaged as to his own customary corruption of his own Temple by evil conduct. We do not hold that Paul is referring to the inevitable sins that everyone occasionally (not habitually) commits as a result of the weakness of the flesh but is implying consistency of sinning against the will of the Father as a customary practice.
Otherwise there are none who might be saved.
1Co 3:17 If any man defile the temple of God (as a matter of common practice), him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
Paul’s next words remind us sharply of his own words recorded in Romans: ”For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” Romans 12:3.
Both this instruction and the one now following relate to the inflated pride or ego that some have as to their own “importance” in the overall scheme of God’s Plan. The pompous, pretentious, self-estimation that some exhibit shall not be tolerated by our righteous Judge.
Such an attitude inevitably leads to other unsavory dealings with others.
Rather, such an one should abase himself, and submit his will to those his peers with whom he dwells lest he vaunt himself above others.
1Co 3:18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool (the word in Greek is moros, or subdued; it is the root from which we get the English word “moron” meaning dull or insipid – not standing out from the others or proclaiming himself above others), that he may be wise (or truly sagacious and perceptive).
1Co 3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
We believe the apostle is here referring to “worldly wisdom” as in the sophistry of the age we live in, such as the arcane theories of racial superiority, for example, or one’s insistence upon his own intellectual dominance over others.
He is not, in our opinion, referring to the objective principles and disciplines that may be proven, such as in chemistry, biology, physics, astronomy, mathematics or even ethics and logic as maturely applied; all these are principles not only devised by the Almighty as necessary to create the universe and all the principles of its operation, but also wisely applied by the folk who are schooled in these disciplines ... “true science” to be sure.
1Co 3:20 And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise (written in irony – meaning those who think themselves “wise”), that they are vain.
1Co 3:21 Therefore let no man glory in (the superiority of) men. For all things (the Greek word means the whole of everything, but principally the standards of instruction in spiritual matters, for all the following named are purveyors of spiritual values and principles, and the physical realities of the world, life, death, things..., etc. are obviously reality and not fantasy or imaginary) are yours;
1Co 3:22 Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours;
And the conclusion of the entire matter is that the veracity of all these men and principles are certified to be consistent with everything that we know about our Savior and our Father.
1Co 3:23 And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's.
<HEL> ~2,000 words. I Corinthians Chapter Three.