For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building. Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. . .1 Corinthians 3:9-10
Interestingly here Paul doesn’t start with a new illustration. Rather he combines the two. We are both God’s workers in God’s field or on God’s building. The principle holds true for both. Although there are two illustrations, Paul combines them for emphasis. It doesn’t matter which way you look at it the effect is the same. Whether you are talking about the field and the co-operation that takes place there or the building of a building and the co-operation there, it is the same principle. All working together for the good of the whole, synergising to the same end. The cooperation that is needed on the field, or the cooperation that is needed in building a building illustrate the kind of synergy that is needed.
The word γεώργιον [geōrgion] means “tillage” or the cultivated field. The idea is, that the church at Corinth was the field, that which is the focus of the labour to produce fruit. The sense is that all their activity was of God. All that had been produced in them was a result of His cultivation, His work.
The building is another metaphor. Paul’s purpose was to show that all that had been done for them had been really accomplished by God. For this purpose he first says that they were God’s cultivated field; then he changes the figure; draws his illustration from architecture, and says, that they had been built by him as an architect overseas the building of a house. It does not build itself; but it is built by another. So he says of the Corinthians, “Ye are the building which God erects.” The same figure is used in 2 Cor 6:16, and Eph 2:21; see also Heb 3:6; 1 Peter 2:5. The idea is, that God is the supreme agent in the founding and establishing of the church, in all its gifts and graces.
This is a continuation of Paul’s point related to their partisan spirit in focusing on the importance of one of those involved. Paul is saying all are part of the whole and the whole is in God’s hands. Inferring that the partisan spirit is not appropriate because all are needed in the same way that all the activities in the field are needed and therefore all are important. So too all the various “subbies” working on the building are important too. You can’t build a building with just a plumber, or just an electrician. All workers are needed to complete the building. Paul he started and laid the foundation and not other are working/building on it. There are two meanings here. The one fits with his intention of the notions of unity and each working to a common goal. Many workers needed, Paul started, others are completing the work.
The second meaning we will look at tomorrow.
If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more & become more, you are a leader.John Quincy Adams
If life has put you on hold, don’t hang up! Just enjoy the hold-music…life will get back to you!Scott R Jones