Don’t argue with each other
Now listen, my Christian friends, when I was there with you, you started to believe in Jesus, but you didn’t understand a lot about him, and you didn’t let the Holy Spirit control you. You still let your old human spirits control you. You were just like babies that don’t understand things. You know, babies can’t eat hard food. They can only drink milk. Well, that is a picture of you mob. I couldn’t teach you hard things. You couldn’t understand them. And even now you are not ready to listen to me.* Even though you are Christians you still don’t live like Christians. You still let your old human spirits control you. You want things that other people have. And you argue with each other. That shows that you are letting your human spirits control you, not the Holy Spirit. You are still like people that don’t know God. You see, some of you say, “Paul is our leader,” and others say, “No, not Paul, Apollos is our leader.” And you argue with each other. You are just like the people of the world, not God’s people.*
Paul and Apollos worked together for God
5-8 Just think about Apollos and me, Paul. We are not important bosses. We are only workers for God. God gave each of us our jobs, and we helped you believe in Jesus Christ.
I’ll use picture talk now. Think about a garden. One worker plants seeds, and another worker puts water on the young plants to help them grow properly. But it is God that makes the seeds grow up to be big plants. The worker that plants the seeds is not important, and the worker that gives water to the plants is not important. The important one is God. He makes the plants grow. Well, that picture story about a garden is a picture of you mob. God is making you grow like he makes those plants grow. And Apollos and me, we work in God’s team, just like those workers in that garden. I started telling you about Jesus, and Apollos taught you more about him. We both want you to have life, but we can’t give you new life. God is the one that gives you new life. We are just his workers, and you know, God will pay each of us for our work.* We are like 2 men that work for God in his garden, and you are like God’s garden.
Christians are like God’s house
And I’ll use another picture story. This picture story shows that you are like God’s house that he is building for himself. 10-11 This is the picture story. One builder starts to build a house. First, he puts cement down on the ground for the building to stand on. That cement is called the foundation. Then other builders build the house on that cement foundation. This story is a picture of you getting into God’s family. God was good to me and gave me the power to work for him. I told you about Jesus, and it is like I put down a good foundation for you at that time. And now other Christian workers are teaching you more about Jesus. They are like the builders that build on that foundation. They have to do it properly. Jesus is the only strong foundation. Nobody can put down any other foundation for God’s family.
12 I’ll tell you more of this picture story about the builders. Good builders build with really good things like gold, or silver, or jewels. But other builders don’t work properly, they don’t care, they only use wood, or grass, or leaves. If a fire comes, the parts of the house that are made of wood, or grass, or leaves, those parts will burn up. But the parts that are made of gold, or silver, or jewels, those parts will stay good. So you can know which builders did a good job. Christian workers are like those builders in the picture story. Some Christian workers do a good job and tell God’s word properly, and some don’t do a good job. 13 One day, Jesus Christ will come back, and then God will show which workers did a good job, like the fire in the picture story shows if part of the house is good or not. 14 If they did a good job, it will stay good a long time, like the good parts in the picture story. And if they did a good job, God will pay those good workers. 15 But if it is no good, it will finish up, like the rubbish parts in the picture story. And if it is no good, God will not pay those workers, but he will still save them.
16 You know that God’s spirit lives in you Christian people. You are like a special house that God lives in.* 17 Yes, you mob are God’s special people, like his special house here on earth. So if somebody makes a Christian mob split up, it is like they break up God’s house, and God will punish that person properly.
18 Some of you mob think you are really smart, but you are thinking wrong, like the people of this world that don’t know God. So stop tricking yourselves. Instead, you have to think God’s way. Other people might think you are fools, but really, you will be wise. 19 The people of this world think they are very smart, but God knows they are fools. We can read this in God’s book,
People reckon they are smart,
but God uses their own smart ideas like a trap, and he catches them.”*
20 And we can read this in another place in Gods book,
“Smart people think up great ideas, but God knows those ideas are useless.”*
21 So don’t think that any human person is the important leader. You see, Jesus is your leader, and God gives you everything you need. 22 Yes, he gives you his workers to help you. He gave you me, and he gave you Apollos, and he gave you Peter. We are all here to help you. God uses everything to help you. If you live, or if you die, God will make it good for you. He will use things that happen now to help you, and he will use things that will happen later, to help you. 23 You see, you belong to Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ belongs to God. And God is the most important one.
* 3:2 Hebrews 5:12-13 * 3:4 1 Corinthians 1:12 * 3:5-8 Acts 18:4-11, 24-28 * 3:16 1 Corinthians 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16 * 3:19 Job 5:13 * 3:20 Psalm 94:11