Mere Men or Fellow Workers? I Corinthians 3:1-9

1 Corinthians 3:1-9 “Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly — mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere men?  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. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.”
1 Corinzi 3:1-9 “Fratelli, io non ho potuto parlarvi come a spirituali, ma ho dovuto parlarvi come a carnali, come a bambini in Cristo. Vi ho nutriti di latte, non di cibo solido, perché non eravate capaci di sopportarlo; anzi, non lo siete neppure adesso, perché siete ancora carnali. Infatti, dato che ci sono tra di voi gelosie e contese, non siete forse carnali e non vi comportate secondo la natura umana? Quando uno dice: «Io sono di Paolo», e un altro: «Io sono di Apollo», non siete forse carnali? Che cos’è dunque Apollo? E che cos’è Paolo? Sono servitori, per mezzo dei quali voi avete creduto, così come il Signore ha concesso a ciascuno. Io ho piantato, Apollo ha annaffiato, ma Dio ha fatto crescere; quindi colui che pianta e colui che annaffia non sono nulla: Dio fa crescere! Ora, colui che pianta e colui che annaffia sono una medesima cosa, ma ciascuno riceverà il proprio premio secondo la propria fatica. 9 Noi siamo infatti collaboratori di Dio, voi siete il campo di Dio, l’edificio di Dio.”
     One of the issues Paul addresses to the Corinthian church was their immaturity in the things of God. He calls them “infants in Christ” (v. 1). In the first two chapters, you can see how proud they were of their wisdom and knowledge. After a year and a half of discipling the Corinthians believers, it seems they were still prone to jealousy and fighting. Sadly, even today, contentions and factions in congregations are sad evidences of the remaining immaturity that Paul calls worldly!
At the center of these issues was the question of who was most important: Apollos or Paul. Who should they follow? The truth is the Gospel message did not rest on either Paul or Apollos. There is one foundation and that foundation is Christ Jesus (“For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 1 Cor. 3:11). Like any leader, they were but mere men and instruments used by the God of all grace.
      Note the emphasis in this paragraph on growth (repeated twice in verses 6 and 7); only God can make it grow (v. 6)! The planter and the waterer share the same purpose but serve two distinct functions. Since the end goal is the same, the unity of spirit should follow. Paul concludes this portion by reminding the Corinthians that their reward must not be the praise of men, but the reward of God.
Pray with me: Lord, I am thankful for the way You use me to accomplish Your purposes. Help me to always see that each of us has a role in the work of God and that You are the One that gives growth in life and ministry.


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