No one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:11 ESV
Paul knew that after he left Corinth , other preachers came. Some preachers said things there were credible, while others brought in new ideas. People have become a little confused about the gospel, because they have heard more than one preacher. Paul wants them to be prepared to examine what preachers say and know the difference between truth and falsehood.
What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building. According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. 1 Corinthians 3:5-10 ESV
- Like Corinthian Christians, American Christians hear a lot of different messages. What messages about Christianity do you hear that don’t sound quite right to you? What is wrong with those messages? What do you consider to be the right way to sort through the many Christian voices you hear in the culture?
- Paul said that everyone who alleges to be preaching Christianity must build on the same foundation he laid: Jesus Christ. In 1 Corinthians 3:11, he says that every Christian preacher must stand on the solid foundation of Jesus Christ. Do you hear contemporary voices who diminish Christ yet claim to be Christian?
In the verses following 1 Corinthians 3:11, Paul talks about the way Christians build on the foundation.
Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.If t he work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 ESV
- How are you building on the foundation? How do you know what Christian leaders to follow as you try to grow in faith? What guidance does Paul give you for these questions?
- What cultural messages encourage you not to be so narrow-minded as to follow Christ exclusively? When you hear about “interfaith dialogue,” what do you think that means? What is the difference between respecting the right God gives to every person to choose whom he or she believes and rejecting every religion except faith in Christ?