Who Are You?

“Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?”

{1 Corinthians 3:5}

The Corinthian divisions were from the strife and envying going on among them, that were rooted and embedded in the fleshly wisdom of the world. By nature, each man seeks superiority and excellence above others, usually at the depreciation of another. Such self-centeredness produces factions and schisms revolving around those willing to surround one at their center. The followers of these men perceive some carnal gain for their own taking: some wisdom, some mightiness, some nobility.

This wisdom of the world with all its excellency and enticement was actually “evil”. Paul to the Corinthians later states in this epistle, “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” (1 Cor. 15:33) These “evil communications” were at worst, the plain wisdom of the world and at best, the wisdom of the world employed upon the church and its wisdom – a more subtle approach. In chapter three, Paul reveals once again the subtle approach the wisdom of the world has had into their thinking about its leaders. Moreover, it was a worldly view imposed upon that which is “of God”. Such a worldly view made that which is “of God” “of another”, “of the world”. These attempts of manipulation change the glory of what God is doing and makes them of “none effect”. The church is not to exert the wisdom of the world upon that which is not of the world. Paul has taken the bulk of chapter two to express and manifest the unworldly nature of what Paul has received.

Therefore, in like fashion, Paul addresses their schismatic allegiances for what they really are – evil and divisive. Paul corrects the Corinthian thinking in view of what “the Lord gave to every man”, that He “giveth the increase”, and that they “are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.”

Since they are His husbandry and building, such increase is granted by Him, and every man has been granted a minister by God, Paul can provide the proper perspective they ought to have about man and God. First, Paul and Apollos, whom the Corinthians are exacting the world upon from their abstraction from its wisdom, are nothing. Who is Paul? Who is Apollos? Of themselves they are nothing. Of themselves they have nothing to proffer. Their value to the Corinthians stems from their role as “ministers”. Thus, they have been something to “minister” for the Corinthians to believe. Thus, their ministration isn’t “of” themselves, but rather from “the Lord” whom He gave to every man.

Paul and Apollos are “one” because they are ministers whom the Lord gave. Moreover, what they are given to minister, that is, “plant” and “water” although important isn’t the root cause of its “increase”. Rather, it is “God that giveth the increase.” He gives to the ministers that which they are to minister, but they are not given to give increase, such increase is given by God.

Lastly, Paul and Apollos are not only ministers given to every man, and that which they are to minister is given by God and all increase comes from God, but their true ownership and purpose is God’s. The Corinthians are not “of Paul” or “of Apollos”. Instead, they are laborers together with God in what God is doing. The Corinthians, therefore, “are God’s husbandry” and “God’s building.”

Paul’s meticulous correction, of the Corinthians regarding their corruption by interjecting the wisdom of the world upon himself and Apollos, highlights sound thinking concerning God’s work, whom He uses, and the place of the Corinthians. The objective provides the restoration or development of “good manners”; for “every man that is among {them}, 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.” (Rom. 2:3) Such correction works to perfectly join them together practically as many members in one body, that which they are in Christ!

Look Up,
Josh Strelecki, Pastor-Teacher

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