New International Reader's Version

1 Corinthians 3

The Church and Its Leaders

1Brothers and sisters, I couldn’t speak to you as people who live by the Holy Spirit. I had to speak to you as people who were still following the ways of the world. You aren’t growing as Christ wants you to. You are still like babies. The words I spoke to you were like milk, not like solid food. You weren’t ready for solid food yet. And you still aren’t ready for it. You are still following the ways of the world. Some of you are jealous. Some of you argue. So aren’t you following the ways of the world? Aren’t you acting like ordinary human beings? One of you says, “I follow Paul.” Another says, “I follow Apollos.” Aren’t you acting like ordinary human beings?

After all, what is Apollos? And what is Paul? We are only people who serve. We helped you to believe. The Lord has given each of us our own work to do. I planted the seed. Apollos watered it. But God has been making it grow. So the one who plants is not important. The one who waters is not important. It is God who makes things grow. He is the important one. The one who plants and the one who waters have the same purpose. The Lord will give each of them a reward for their work. We work together to serve God. You are like God’s field. You are like his building.

10 God has given me the grace to lay a foundation as a wise builder. Now someone else is building on it. But each one should build carefully. 11 No one can lay any other foundation than what has already been laid. That foundation is Jesus Christ. 12 A person may build on it using gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay or straw. 13 But each person’s work will be shown for what it is. On judgment day it will be brought to light. It will be put through fire. The fire will test how good each person’s work is. 14 If the building doesn’t burn up, God will give the builder a reward for the work. 15 If the building burns up, the builder will lose everything. The builder will be saved, but only like one escaping through the flames.

16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple? Don’t you know that God’s Spirit lives among you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. God’s temple is holy. And you all together are that temple.

18 Don’t fool yourselves. Suppose some of you think you are wise by the standards of the world. Then you should become “fools” so that you can become wise. 19 The wisdom of this world is foolish in God’s eyes. It is written, “God catches wise people in their own evil plans.” (Job 5:13) 20 It is also written, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of wise people don’t amount to anything.” (Psalm 94:11) 21 So no more bragging about human leaders! All things are yours. 22 That means Paul or Apollos or Peter or the world or life or death or the present or the future. All are yours. 23 You are joined to Christ and belong to him. And Christ is joined to God.