1 Corinthians 3

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1 Corinthians 3
Page 79 of Papyrus 46 (ca. AD 200) showing 1 Corinthians 2:11-3:5. P. Mich Inv. 6238. University of Michigan.
BookFirst Epistle to the Corinthians
Bible partNew Testament
Order in the Bible part7
CategoryPauline epistles

1 Corinthians 3 is the third chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. It is authored by Paul the Apostle and Sosthenes in Ephesus. In this chapter, Paul begins to deal with the issue of factionalism in the Corinthian church which is one of his main reasons for writing the letter.


Cross references[edit]

Paul's purpose[edit]

Paul's intention in this chapter is to address the spiritual immaturity of the Corinthian church, which is displayed through its intense factionalism.

New King James Version

I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; [1]

A similar image is used by the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews.[2] The Corinthian church appears to be divided into factions supporting or allied with Paul, Apollos and Cephas (1 Corinthians 3:4 and 3:22). "Allegiance to people was obliterating the Gospel for them. Instead of being wise, they were becoming worldly fools".[3]

Verse 16[edit]

New King James Version

Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?[4]

Also stated in 1 Corinthians 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16

  • In KJV Know ye not that ye are the temple of God

The apostle having spoken of the saints as God's building, of himself as a wise master builder, of Christ as the only foundation, and of various doctrines as the materials laid thereon, proceeds to observe to this church, and the members of it, that they being incorporated together in a Gospel church state, were the temple of God; and which was what they could not, or at least ought not, to be ignorant of: and they are so called, in allusion to Solomon's temple; which as it was a type of the natural, so of the mystical body of Christ. There is an agreement between that and the church of Christ, in its maker, matter, situation, magnificence, and holiness; and the church is said to be the temple of God, because it is of his building, and in which he dwells: what the apostle here says of the saints at Corinth, the Jewish doctors say of the Israelites (F14 R. Alshech in Hag. ii. 5.), היכל יהוה אתס, "the temple of the Lord are ye"; and which being usually said of them in the apostle's time, he may refer unto; and much better apply to the persons he does, of which the indwelling of the Spirit was the evidence:

  • In KJV and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you:

in particular members, as a spirit of regeneration, sanctification, faith, and adoption, and as the earnest and pledge of their future glory; in their ministers to fit and qualify them for their work, and carry them through it; and in the whole church, to bless the word and ordinances, for their growth, comfort, and establishment. This furnishes out a considerable proof of the deity and distinct personality of the Spirit, since this is mentioned as an evidence of the saints being the temple of God, which would not be one, if the Spirit was not God, who dwells therein; and since a temple is sacred to deity, and therefore if he dwells here as in a temple, he must dwell here as God; and since he is mentioned as distinct from God, whose Spirit he is, and dwelling, a personal action is ascribed to him, he must be a distinct divine person.[5]

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