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1 Korintus 3:1-9

Immaturity and Self-deception

3:1 So, brothers and sisters, 1  I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but instead as people of the flesh, 2  as infants in Christ. 3:2 I fed you milk, 3  not solid food, for you were not yet ready. In fact, you are still not ready, 3:3 for you are still influenced by the flesh. 4  For since there is still jealousy and dissension among you, are you not influenced by the flesh and behaving like unregenerate people? 5  3:4 For whenever someone says, “I am with Paul,” or “I am with Apollos,” are you not merely human? 6 

3:5 What is Apollos, really? Or what is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, and each of us in the ministry the Lord gave us. 7  3:6 I planted, 8  Apollos watered, but God caused it to grow. 3:7 So neither the one who plants counts for anything, 9  nor the one who waters, but God who causes the growth. 3:8 The one who plants and the one who waters work as one, 10  but each will receive his reward according to his work. 3:9 We are coworkers belonging to God. 11  You are God’s field, God’s building.

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[3:1]  1 tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:10.

[3:1]  2 tn Grk “fleshly [people]”; the Greek term here is σαρκινός (BDAG 914 s.v. 1).

[3:2]  3 sn Milk refers figuratively to basic or elementary Christian teaching. Paul’s point was that the Corinthian believers he was writing to here were not mature enough to receive more advanced teaching. This was not a problem at the time, when they were recent converts, but the problem now is that they are still not ready.

[3:3]  4 tn Or “are still merely human”; Grk “fleshly.” Cf. BDAG 914 s.v. σαρκικός 2, “pert. to being human at a disappointing level of behavior or characteristics, (merely) human.” The same phrase occurs again later in this verse.

[3:3]  5 tn Grk “and walking in accordance with man,” i.e., living like (fallen) humanity without the Spirit’s influence; hence, “unregenerate people.”

[3:4]  6 tn Grk “are you not men,” i.e., (fallen) humanity without the Spirit’s influence. Here Paul does not say “walking in accordance with” as in the previous verse; he actually states the Corinthians are this. However, this is almost certainly rhetorical hyperbole.

[3:5]  7 tn Grk “and to each as the Lord gave.”

[3:6]  8 sn The expression I planted is generally taken to mean that Paul founded the church at Corinth. Later Apollos had a significant ministry there (watered). See also v. 10.

[3:7]  9 tn Grk “is anything.”

[3:8]  10 tn Grk “are one.” The purpose of this phrase is to portray unified action on the part of ministers underneath God’s sovereign control. Although they are in fact individuals, they are used by God with a single purpose to accomplish his will in facilitating growth. This emphasis is brought out in the translation “work as one.”

[3:9]  11 tn Although 1 Cor 3:9 is frequently understood to mean, “we are coworkers with God,” such a view assumes that the genitive θεοῦ (qeou) is associative because of its relationship to συνεργοί (sunergoi). However, not only is a genitive of association not required by the syntax (cf. ExSyn 130), but the context is decidedly against it: Paul and Apollos are insignificant compared to the God whom they serve (vv. 5-8).

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