1 Corinthians 3:1-4:21 – Correcting the Problem

A.   Outline 1

1.Party Spirit in the Church, chs 1-4

a.The Letter Opens (1:1-9)

b.Unity in Jesus Christ (1:10-17)

c.Concerning Wisdom (1:18-2:16)

i. “God’s Foolishness / Wisdom and ours”; “The Wisdom of the Cross is Only Perceived by Believers” (1:18-25)

ii.“To the Praise of God”; “God in All His Fullness”; “God Always with Us” (1:26-31)

iii.“The Crucified Christ”; “Paul’s Humility”; “Superiority of Christ”; “God’s Eloquence, Man’s Stupidity”; “Reliance on the Spirit”; “We Preach Christ Crucified” (2:1-5)

iv.“God’s Wise Plan Revealed”; “The Gospel Contains God’s Wisdom”; “The Natural & the Spiritual Man”; “Natural Man Cannot Understand” (2:6-16)

d.Correcting the Problem (3:1-4:21)


                            (1)  3:1-4 Problem Diagnosed; Proof of Immaturity; Stumbling-block of Pride

                            (2)  3:5-9         _________________________________________


                            (1)  3:10-15     _________________________________________

                            (2)  3:16-23     _________________________________________


                            (1)  4:1-5         _________________________________________

                            (2)  4:6-13       _________________________________________

                                    (a)   6-7     _________________________________________

                                    (b)   8-13   _________________________________________

                            (3)  4:14-21     _________________________________________

                                    (a)   14-17 _________________________________________

                                    (b)   18-21 _________________________________________

2.Moral Disorders in the Church, chs 5-7

3.Social Relations in the Church, chs 8-11

4.Spiritual Gifts in the Church, chs 12-14

5.Fundamental Doctrine of the Church, chs 15

6.Conclusion of the Letter, ch 16

B.    Correcting the Problem (3:1-4:21)                           Key idea on verse by verse basis


a.3:1-4Their Problem Diagnosed; Proof of Immaturity; Stumbling-block of Pride

1 ¶ And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to babes in Christ. 2 I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, 3 for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? 4 For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not mere men? B

                     i.     Verse 1  Their carnality; Still spiritual babies; Babes in Christ.

                            (1)  How do individuals hold back the progress of the (local) church?


                     ii.    Verse 2  Their poor digestion; Stuck in natural realm; Milk not solid food.

                            (1)  What does ‘milk’ teaching mean here (phps Hebrews 6:1-2)?


                     iii.   Verse 3  Marked by envy, strife & division; Carnally driven, still in squalor; Jealous & strife reveals their immaturity. What are the biblical opposites to envy, strife, division?

                     iv.   Verse 4  Shown by party spirit; Involved in petty carnal dissension; Factions are worldly. What marks Christians as ‘mere men’?



5 ¶ What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. 7 So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. 8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. B

i.Verse 5


ii.Verse 6


iii.Verse 7


iv.Verse 8


v.Verse 9




10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building upon it. But let each man be careful how he builds upon it.

11 ¶ For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If any man’s work which he has built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire. B

i.Verse 10


ii.Verse 11


iii.Verse 12


iv.Verse 13


v.Verse 14


vi.Verse 15


16 ¶ Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.

18 ¶ Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become foolish that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, “He is the One who catches the wise in their craftiness”; 20 and again, “The Lord knows the reasonings of the wise, that they are useless.”

21 ¶ So then let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things present or things to come; all things belong to you, 23 and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God.” 2

i.Verse 16


ii.Verse 17


iii.Verse 18


iv.Verse 19


v.Verse 20


vi.Verse 21


vii.Verse 22


viii.Verse 23