Introduction

\\INTRODUCTION TO 1 CORINTHIANS 3\\

In this chapter the apostle returns to the charge of schisms and
contentions upon the Corinthians, which were the occasion of the
epistle; and reproves them for their divisions, which were about
their ministers; and gives them their just and due character, and
who, though they were useful and commendable in their places, were
not to be gloried in; and especially it was a great piece of weakness
and folly, to set up one against another, when they had an equal
interest in them all. Having, in the latter part of the preceding
chapter, made mention of the spiritual man, the apostle tells the
Corinthians, to whom he writes, that he could not address them as
spiritual, but as carnal; and not as perfect men, among whom he spake
the wisdom of God, but as babes in Christ, \\#1Co 3:1\\ and this
rudeness and ignorance of theirs account for his conduct towards
them, in delivering the plain and easy, and not the sublime doctrines
of the Gospel to them, because they were not able to bear them; nor
were they yet able, notwithstanding the length of time, the
proficiency they had made, and the many teachers they had had among
them, \\#1Co 3:2\\ and to prove that they were carnal, and not
spiritual, he instances in their envy, strife, and contentions, which
were carnal works, or works of the flesh, \\#1Co 3:3\\ and gives some
particulars of their contentions about their ministers, which put it
out of all doubt that they were carnal, \\#1Co 3:4\\ and reproves
them for such contentions, and argues the folly and sinfulness of
them; partly from the character of their preachers, as servants and
ministers, who were the instruments of their faith and conversion,
through the grace of God, and therefore not to be set up at the head
of them as their lords and masters, \\#1Co 3:5\\ and partly from the
unprofitableness of their ministry, without a divine blessing,
\\#1Co 3:6,7\\ and also from the unity and equality of the ministers
among themselves, though their labours and reward were different,
\\#1Co 3:8\\ and therefore parties and factions were not to be made on
their account; and besides, as they were labourers with God, and the
church were his husbandry and building, in which they were employed,
\\#1Co 3:9\\, though they might differ in some superstructure points,
yet they agreed in the foundation; and the apostle instances in himself
under the character of a wise master builder, laying the foundation,
and others building on it, \\#1Co 3:10\\ and declares what this
foundation was, which he and other Gospel ministers agreed in laying;
nor was there any other that could be laid, to any good purpose
besides, which is Jesus Christ, \\#1Co 3:11\\ and then distinguishes
between the different sorts of builders, the one laying on the
foundation things of the greatest worth and value, and others things
very trifling and useless, \\#1Co 3:12\\ and intimates that there
would be a time, when there would be a revelation and declaration of
every man's work, of what sort it is, \\#1Co 3:13\\ so that,
according to their different structures, there will be a different
reward, as is suggested, \\#1Co 3:8\\ for though both sorts of
preachers are upon the foundation, and so their persons will be safe,
yet what they have built upon that foundation, according to the
nature of it, shall either abide or be destroyed, \\#1Co 3:14,15\\
wherefore inasmuch then as the church of Christ is a temple, a
building laid on such a foundation as Christ, it ought not to be
defiled by factions and divisions, by errors and heresies; especially
since it is holy, and the Spirit of God dwells in it; and whoever
does defile it shall surely be destroyed; and therefore the apostle
dissuades from it, both from the turpitude of the action, and the
danger of it, \\#1Co 3:16,17\\ he cautions against the wisdom of this
world, which was the cause of their divisions; as being
self-deceiving, and contrary to true wisdom, \\#1Co 3:18\\ and as
being foolishness in the account of God, which he proves by some
passages of scripture, \\#1Co 3:19,23\\ and concludes, therefore,
that no man ought to glory in men, in the best of men, not even in
ministers, \\#1Co 3:21\\ so as to separate and divide them, one from
another, and set up one above another, since they, and all things
else, were theirs, \\#1Co 3:22\\ the ground and evidence of which
their right and property in them are given, they being Christ's, and
Christ's God's, \\#1Co 3:23\\.