These daily online studies are adapted from our Quiet Time Bible Guide. The studies go through the Old and New Testaments in just over two years. The approach taken by our quiet time Bible studies does not include answers. The goal of the study is to help you dig into Scripture for yourself. You can go deeper using a commentary, Bible background guide or Bible handbook.

1 Corinthians 3: Founded on Christ

For more context before you begin studying, read this introduction to the book of 1 Corinthians.

The Duke of Windsor, recalling his childhood discipline by George V, then King of England, said that his father used to daily remind him, "Never forget who you are." As the spiritual father of the Corinthians, Paul reminds them in this chapter, "Never forget whose you are."

The Corinthians were worldly and quarrelsome because they misunderstood both the message and the messengers of the cross. In chapters one and two, Paul focused on the message—the true wisdom from God. Now he looks at God's messengers. As he does so, Paul reminds the Corinthians and us of our true identity in Christ.

Warming Up to God

Think of a time when someone who really cared for you confronted you with a failure to live up to your values. What qualities of that encounter made it constructive? Praise God for giving you people who care about your spiritual life.

Read 1 Corinthians 3

Discovering the Word

  • Even though the Corinthians had the Spirit, why couldn't they be considered spiritual (3:1-4)?
  • What two illustrations does Paul use to describe himself and Apollos (vv. 6-9, 10-15)?
  • In what ways is God's church like a field being planted (vv. 6-9)?
  • In 3:10-15 Paul changes the metaphor from farming to building. Describe the various ways the church is like a building under construction.
  • In verse 3 Paul accused the Corinthians of being worldly. How can he say to the same people, "You are God's temple" and "God's Spirit lives in you" (v. 16)?
  • The Corinthians had initially claimed, "I belong to Paul" or "I belong to Apollos" (1:12 RSV). Paul claims something more important. In what sense do Paul, Apollos and everything else belong to the Corinthians—and to us (21-23)?

Applying the Word

  • How does this chapter affect your view of your own ministry in the church and that of professional ministers?
  • How does this way of evaluating our lives apply; not only to so-called Christian work but also to other aspects of our vocation in Christ: relationships, occupations, avocations, community involvement and so on?
  • In what way are you challenged to "be careful" about how you build?

Responding in Prayer

Everything we do must be founded on Christ. Before God, search your attitudes and actions, and pray that this would be true of you.