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1 Corinthians 3

You are God's house

1 Christian friends, in past times, I could not talk to you as I wanted to talk. I should have been able to talk to you as people who understand things by God's Spirit. But instead, I could only talk to you as people who understand things about this world. You were like babies because you did not understand very much about Christ. 2 I had to give milk to you, instead of proper food, because you were not ready to receive proper food. You are not ready for it even now! 3 You are still living like people who do not know God. You want things that other people have. And you quarrel with each other. This shows that you are not like God's people. You are still like people who do not know God. 4 One of you says, ‘Paul is my leader.’ And another person says, ‘Apollos is my leader.’ With words like these, you are talking like people who do not know God.

5 You should know that we, Apollos and Paul, are not important really. God used us as his servants, who could help you to believe Christ. The Lord has given a special job to each of us. 6 I was like a servant who planted seeds. Apollos was like the servant who gave water to the young plants. But it was God who caused the seeds and the plants to grow. 7 The servant who plants the seeds is not important really. The servant who gives water to the plants is not important really. The important person is God, because he causes the plants to grow. 8 The person who plants is doing God's work. The person who gives water is doing God's work also. We are equal servants. And God will pay each of us what is right because of our own work. 9 We work together with God. You are like God's field and you are like God's building.

10 God has made me able to work for him like a very good builder. So, I built the foundation for God's building. Now someone else is building on this foundation. But each person must be careful how he builds. 11 God has already put Jesus Christ as the only foundation of this building. So, nobody can put any other foundation there.

12 People may build on this foundation with gold, silver or valuable stones. Or instead, they may build on it with wood, grass or leaves. 13 But God will show how good each person's work is. He will show it on the day when Christ returns. There will be a fire on that day and God will put each person's work into the fire. The fire will show whether the work is good or not. 14 If the fire does not destroy the work, then the work is good. So, the person who did it will receive good things from God. 15 But if the fire destroys the work, then the work is not good. The person who did that work will lose it. God will still save that person. But that person will be like someone who must run through the fire to a safe place.

16 You ought to know that you yourselves are God's house. You ought to know that God's Spirit lives in you. 17 God's house belongs only to God. So, God will destroy anyone who destroys God's house. And you yourselves are God's house.

18 Nobody should think things about himself that are not really true. The people in this world who do not know God think differently from God. Maybe one of you thinks like them, that you are a very clever person. But instead, you should be ready for other people to think that you are a fool. Then you will really be clever. 19 The people in this world think that their ideas are very clever. But God thinks that they are crazy. It says in the Bible:

‘People may try to show that they themselves are very clever.

But God causes those people to become confused.’

20 In another place, the Bible says:

‘The Lord knows that clever people's thoughts are worth nothing.’

21 So, nobody should think that clever or great people are important really. Do not think like that, because all things are yours. 22 Paul, Apollos and Peter, all of us are yours. All of this world is yours. While you live, all things are yours. And when you die, all things are yours. Both today and tomorrow are yours, because all things are yours. 23 And you are Christ's, and Christ is God's.