New International Version

1 Corinthians 3:1-23

The Church and Its Leaders

1Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. 2I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? 4For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings?

5What, 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. 6I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. 9For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.

10By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.

16Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? 17If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.

18Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. 19For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”3:19 Job 5:13; 20and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.”3:20 Psalm 94:11 21So then, no more boasting about human leaders! All things are yours, 22whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas3:22 That is, Peter or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.

New International Reader’s Version

1 Corinthians 3:1-23

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. 2The 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. 3You 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? 4One of you says, “I follow Paul.” Another says, “I follow Apollos.” Aren’t you acting like ordinary human beings?

5After 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. 6I planted the seed. Apollos watered it. But God has been making it grow. 7So 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. 8The one who plants and the one who waters have the same purpose. The Lord will give each of them a reward for their work. 9We work together to serve God. You are like God’s field. You are like his building.

10God 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. 11No one can lay any other foundation than what has already been laid. That foundation is Jesus Christ. 12A person may build on it using gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay or straw. 13But 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. 14If the building doesn’t burn up, God will give the builder a reward for the work. 15If the building burns up, the builder will lose everything. The builder will be saved, but only like one escaping through the flames.

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

18Don’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. 19The 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) 20It is also written, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of wise people don’t amount to anything.” (Psalm 94:11) 21So no more bragging about human leaders! All things are yours. 22That means Paul or Apollos or Peter or the world or life or death or the present or the future. All are yours. 23You are joined to Christ and belong to him. And Christ is joined to God.