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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Corinthians 3:13

 

 

each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work.

Adam Clarke Commentary

The day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire - There is much difference of opinion relative to the meaning of the terms in this and the two following verses. That the apostle refers to the approaching destruction of Jerusalem I think very probable; and when this is considered, all the terms and metaphors will appear clear and consistent.

The day is the time of punishment coming on this disobedient and rebellious people. And this day being revealed by fire, points out the extreme rigour, and totally destructive nature, of that judgment.

And the fire shall try every man's work - If the apostle refers to the Judaizing teachers and their insinuations that the law, especially circumcision, was of eternal obligation; then the day of fire - the time of vengeance, which was at hand, would sufficiently disprove such assertions; as, in the judgment of God, the whole temple service should be destroyed; and the people, who fondly presumed on their permanence and stability, should be dispossessed of their land and scattered over the face of the whole earth. The difference of the Christian and Jewish systems should then be seen: the latter should be destroyed in that fiery day, and the former prevail more than ever.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:13". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-corinthians-3.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Every man‘s work shall be made manifest - What every man has built on this foundation shall be seen. Whether he has held truth or error; whether he has had correct views of piety or false; whether what he has done has been what he should have done or not.

For the day - The Day of Judgment. The great Day which shall reveal the secrets of all hearts, and the truth in regard to what every man has done. The event will show what edifices on the true foundation are firmly, and what are weakly built. Perhaps the word “day” here may mean time in general, as we say, “time will show” - and as the Latin adage says, dies docebit; but it is more natural to refer it to the Day of Judgment.

Because it shall be revealed by fire - The work, the edifice which shall be built on the true foundation shall be made known amidst the fire of the great Day. The “fire” which is here referred to, is doubtless that which shall attend the consummation of all things - the close of the world. That the world shall be destroyed by fire, and that the solemnities of the Judgment shall be ushered in by a universal conflagration, is fully and frequently revealed. See Isaiah 66:15; 2 Thessalonians 1:8; 2 Peter 3:7, 2 Peter 3:10-11. The burning fires of that Day, Paul says, shall reveal the character of every man‘s work, as fire sheds light on all around, and discloses the true nature of things. It may be observed, however, that many critics suppose this to refer to the fire of persecution, etc. Macknight. Whitby supposes that the apostle refers to the approaching destruction of Jerusalem. Others, as Grotius, Rosenmuller, etc. suppose that the reference is to “time” in general; it shall be declared ere long; it shall be seen whether those things which are built on the true foundation, are true by the test of time, etc. But the most natural interpretation is that which refers it to the Day of Judgment.

And the fire shall try every man‘s work - It is the property of fire to test the qualities of objects. Thus, gold and silver, so far from being destroyed by fire, are purified from dross. Wood, hay, stubble, are consumed. The power of fire to try or test the nature of metals, or other objects, is often referred to in the Scripture. Compare Isaiah 4:4; Isaiah 24:15; Malachi 3:2; 1 Peter 1:7. It is not to be supposed here that the material fire of the last Day shall have any tendency to purify the soul, or to remove that which is unsound; but that the investigations and trials of the Judgment shall remove all that is evil, as fire acts with reference to gold and silver. As they are not burned but purified; as they pass unhurt through the intense heat of the furnace, so shall all that is genuine pass through the trials of the last great Day, of which trials the burning world shall be the antecedent and the emblem. That great Day shall show what is genuine and what is not.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:13". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-corinthians-3.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

Each man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it is revealed in fire; and the fire itself shall prove each man's work of what sort it is.

The day ... according to McGarvey, and many others, is a reference to the judgment day when Jesus shall be revealed from heaven "in flaming fire" (2 Thessalonians 1:7); but some have understood it as a day of terrible persecutions such as the "fiery trial" (1 Peter 4:12) prophetically mentioned by both Paul and Peter. Despite the fact of there being an element of testing in times of great persecution, agreement is felt with Morris who declared: "THE DAY is clearly the day when Christ returns, the day of judgment."[22]

Only the judgment day will reveal what is and what is not a part of the true temple of God; and, according to Christ himself it will be a time of many surprises (Matthew 7:15-23; 25:34-46).

ENDNOTE:

[22] Leon Morris, op. cit., p. 68.


Copyright Statement
James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:13". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/1-corinthians-3.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Every man's work shall be made manifest,.... The doctrine he preaches shall be sooner or later made manifest to himself, and to his hearers; who shall see the inconsistency, irregularity, and deformity of such a building; at first so well laid, then piled up with such excellent materials, and at last covered in with such trifling or incoherent stuff:

for the day shall declare it; meaning not the day of judgment, though that is often called the day, or that day, and will be attended with fire, and in it all secrets shall be made manifest; but the apostle intends a discovery that will be made of doctrines in this world, before that time comes: wherefore this day rather designs a day of tribulation; as of persecution, which tries men's principles, whether they are solid or not; and of error and heresy, when men are put upon a re-examination of their doctrines, whereby persons and truths that are approved are made manifest; or of some great calamity, such as the destruction of Jerusalem, whereby many wrong notions the Jews yet retained were discovered: but it is best of all to understand this day of the Gospel day, and of the progress of Gospel light, especially in some particular periods of it; as in the primitive times, at the reformation from popery, and the more remarkable Gospel daylight, which will be in the latter times, when the impertinence and inconsistency of many things which now obtain in the ministry will be seen; see Ephesians 5:13.

Because it shall be revealed by fire: not that day, but the man's work, or doctrine:

and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is; by the fire is meant, not the general conflagration of the world, when that, and all that is therein, will be burnt up; much less the fire of purgatory, the "papists" dream of, for the punishment of evil actions; for the apostle is not speaking of the actions of men, good or bad, but of the doctrines of ministers; rather the fire of tribulation and affliction, which, as it is for the trial of the grace of faith, so of the doctrine of faith, whereby it becomes much more precious than of gold that perisheth; or of some fiery dispensation of God's vengeance, as on Jerusalem: though the word of God, which is as fire, seems to be intended; which in some certain times so blazes forth, and will more especially in the latter day, that by the light of it, both ministers and churches will be able to see clearly the bright shining lustre of the gold, silver, and precious stones; and with so much heat, as to burn up the wood, hay, and stubble; when the difference between these things will be most easily discerned.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:13". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-corinthians-3.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

7 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.

(7) He testifies, as indeed it truly is, that all are not good builders, not even all of those who stand upon this one and only foundation. However, this work of evil builders, he says, stands for a season, yet it will not always deceive, because the light of the truth appearing at length, as day, will dissolve this darkness, and show what it is. And as that stuff is tried by the fire, whether it is good or not, so will God in his time, by the touch of his Spirit and word, try all buildings, and so will it come to pass, that those which are found pure and sound, will still continue so, to the praise of the workmen. But they that are otherwise will be consumed and vanish away, and so will the workman be frustrated of the hope of his labour, who pleased himself in a thing of nothing.

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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:13". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/1-corinthians-3.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Every man‘s work — each teacher‘s superstructure on the foundation.

the day — of the Lord (1 Corinthians 1:8; Hebrews 10:25; 1 Thessalonians 5:4). The article is emphatic, “The day,” that is, the great day of days, the long expected day.

declare itold English for “make it clear” (1 Corinthians 4:4).

it shall be revealed by fire — it, that is, “every man‘s work.” Rather, “He,” the Lord, whose day it is (2 Thessalonians 1:7, 2 Thessalonians 1:8). Translate literally, “is being revealed (the present in the Greek implies the certainty and nearness of the event, Revelation 22:10, Revelation 22:20) in fire” (Malachi 3:3; Malachi 4:1). The fire (probably figurative here, as the gold, hay, etc.) is not purgatory (as Rome teaches, that is, purificatory and punitive), but probatory, not restricted to those dying in “venial sin”; the supposed intermediate class between those entering heaven at once, and those dying in mortal sin who go to hell, but universal, testing the godly and ungodly alike (2 Corinthians 5:10; compare Mark 9:49). This fire is not till the last day, the supposed fire of purgatory begins at death. The fire of Paul is to try the works, the fire of purgatory the persons, of men. Paul‘s fire causes “loss” to the sufferers; Rome‘s purgatory, great gain, namely, heaven at last to those purged by it, if only it were true. Thus this passage, quoted by Rome for, is altogether against, purgatory. “It was not this doctrine that gave rise to prayers for the dead; but the practice of praying for the dead [which crept in from the affectionate but mistaken solicitude of survivors] gave rise to the doctrine” [Whately].


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:13". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/1-corinthians-3.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

The day (η ημεραhē hēmera). The day of judgment as in 1 Thessalonians 5:4 (which see), Romans 13:12; Hebrews 10:25. The work (εργονergon) of each will be made manifest. There is no escape from this final testing.

It is revealed in fire (εν πυρι αποκαλυπτεταιen puri apokaluptetai). Apparently “the day” is the subject of the verb, not the work, not the Lord. See 2 Thessalonians 1:8; 2 Thessalonians 2:8. This metaphor of fire was employed in the O.T. (Daniel 7:9.; Malachi 4:1) and by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:12; Luke 3:16.). It is a metaphor that must not be understood as purgatorial, but simple testing (Ellicott) as every fire tests (the fire itself will test, το πυρ αυτο δοκιμασειto pur auto dokimasei) the quality of the material used in the building, of what sort it is (οποιον εστινhopoion estin), qualitative relative pronoun. Men today find, alas, that some of the fireproof buildings are not fireproof when the fire actually comes.


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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:13". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/1-corinthians-3.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.

The time is coming when every one's work shall be made manifest: for the day of the Lord, that great and final day, shall declare it - To all the world.

For it is revealed — What faith beholds as so certain and so near is spoken of as already present.

By fire; yea, the fire shall try every one's work, of what sort it is — The strict process of that day will try every man's doctrines, whether they come up to the scripture standard or not. Here is a plain allusion to the flaming light and consuming heat of the general conflagration. But the expression, when applied to the trying of doctrines, and consuming those that are wrong, is evidently figurative; because no material fire can have such an effect on what is of a moral nature. And therefore it is added, he who builds wood, hay, or stubble, shall be saved as through the fire - Or, as narrowly as a man escapes through the fire, when his house is all in flames about him. This text, then, is so far from establishing the Romish purgatory, that it utterly overthrows it. For the fire here mentioned does not exist till the day of judgment: therefore, if this be the fire of purgatory, it follows that purgatory does not exist before the day of judgment.


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:13". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/1-corinthians-3.html. 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

Revealed by fire; tried and exposed by the terrible scrutiny of the great day.


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Bibliography
Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:13". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/1-corinthians-3.html. 1878.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

13.For the day will declare it In the old translation it is the day of the Lord, (179) but it is probable that the words of the Lord were added by some one by way of explanation. The meaning unquestionably is complete without that addition. For with propriety we give the name of day to the time when darkness and obscurity are dispelled, and the truth is brought to light. Hence the Apostle forewarns us, that it cannot always remain a secret who have acted fraudulently in the work of the Lord, or who have conducted themselves with fidelity, as though he had said: “The darkness will not always remain: the light will one day break forth; which will make all things manifest.” That day, I own, is God’s — not man’s, but the metaphor is more elegant if you read simply — the day, because Paul in this way conveys the idea, that the Lord’s true servants cannot always be accurately distinguished from false workmen, inasmuch as virtues and vices are concealed by the darkness of the night. That night, however, will not always continue. For ambition is blind — man’s favor is blind — the world’s applause is blind, but this darkness God afterwards dispels in his own time. Take notice, that he always discovers the assurance of a good conscience, and with an unconquerable magnanimity despises perverse judgments; first, in order that he may call back the Corinthians from popular applause to a right rule of judgment; and secondly, for the purpose of confirming the authority of his ministry.

Because it will be revealed by fire. Paul having spoken of doctrine metaphorically, now also applies metaphorically the name offire to the very touchstone of doctrine, that the corresponding parts of the comparison may harmonize with each other. The fire, then, here meant is the Spirit of the Lord, who tries by his touchstone what doctrine resembles gold and what resembles stubble The nearer the doctrine of God is brought to this fire, so much the brighter will be its luster. On the other hand, what has had its origin in man’s head will quickly vanish, (180) as stubble is consumed in the fire. There seems also to be an allusion to the day of which he makes mention: “Not only will those things which vain ambition, like a dark night, concealed among the Corinthians, be brought to light by the brightness of the sun, but there will also be a strength of heat, not merely for drying up and cleansing away the refuse, but also for burning up everything wrong.” For however men may look upon themselves, as forming acute judgments, their discernment, notwithstanding, reaches no farther than appearance, which, for the most part, has no solidity. There is nothing but that day to which the Apostle appeals, that tests everything to the quick, not merely by its brightness, but also by its fiery flame.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:13". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/1-corinthians-3.html. 1840-57.

Vv. 13. The same figure continues. The edifice before being inhabited by the Master must pass through the proof of fire, in which the materials of bad quality will be reduced to ashes, but from which the good materials will come forth intact.

Commentators are mostly at one in our time in applying the day of which the apostle speaks to the epoch of the Lord"s advent. Grotius thought of the meaning of the Latin dies in the phrase dies docebit: "time will show." Neander also held that the history of the Church is the grand means of putting to the proof the doctrines of teachers. Calvin, adopting a similar interpretation, understands by the day the time when true Christian knowledge comes out in its clearness; as happened, for example, at the epoch of the Reformation. But it is impossible to prove that this meaning, with its different shades, can be that of the term the day. Others have applied it to the date of the destruction of Jerusalem, because this event was particularly suited to dissipate in the Church the Jewish opinions which Paul was combating; but what Paul combats in this whole passage is worldly wisdom rather than theocratic prejudices. St. Augustine thought of the day of affliction which puts to the proof the reality of the inner life; and Hofmann, of Antichrist"s great persecution, which will bring victory to the good, defeat to the bad. It seems that such was the meaning already given to our passage by the author of the διδαχὴ τῶν δώδεκα ἀποστόλων (the doctrine of the twelve apostles) in the second century; for in chap. 16 the warning, "Watch," is first founded on the calamities of the last days, and next the author adds: "Then will appear, like a Son of God, the seducer of the world, and the race of men will come εἰς τὴν πύρωσιν τῆς δοκιμασίας (into the burning of trial)," words which can only be taken from our passage. But, when that day is referred to in Scripture, it is more distinctly qualified; comp. Ephesians 6:13 (the evil day); Hebrews 3:8 (the day of temptation); 1 Peter 2:12 (the day of visitation); Revelation 3:10 (the hour of trial), etc. It is therefore more natural to abide by the first meaning: the day of Christ, when the separation will be made between believers themselves; comp. 1 Corinthians 1:8, 1 Corinthians 4:5.

The manifestation which will take place at that time will be effected by means of fire. Many, and Meyer himself, seem to take this word in its literal sense, quoting as parallel 2 Thessalonians 1:8, where the Lord is represented as coming from heaven with flames of fire. But it must not be forgotten that the building to be proved exists only figuratively, and that consequently the fire which is to put it to the proof can only be also a figurative fire. The term therefore can only denote here the incorruptible judgment pronounced by the omniscience and consuming holiness of the Judge who appears. His Spirit will thoroughly explore the fruit due to the ministry of every preacher. When, in the Apocalypse, the judgment is described which the Lord passes on the Seven Churches, it is said in connection with that of Thyatira (Revelation 2:18): "These things saith the Son of God, who hath eyes like unto a flame of fire." The look of a holy man may become an insupportable fire to the wicked, how much more that of the Lord! This penetrating look will then separate between what is real, solid, indestructible, and what is only transient, apparent, factitious. The subject ordinarily assigned the verb ἀποκαλύπτεται, is manifested, is that of the preceding proposition, the day: "The day of Christ is manifested with fire or by fire. But then it seems no more possible to take the term fire in the figurative sense. Others take as subject that of the first proposition of the verse, the work: "The work is manifested by means of fire." But this sense leads to an intolerable tautology with the following proposition; the apostle does not so repeat himself. Bengel and Osiander understand as subject, the Lord; but to reach this subject we must go back to 1 Corinthians 3:11; then it is difficult to suppose that Paul would have said: "The Lord is manifested with fire." Is it not better to take ἀποκαλύπτεται in the impersonal sense? "For it is by fire that manifestation takes place," that is to say, that things are manifested as what they really are. This proposition enunciates not a fact, but a principle; hence the verb in the present ἀποκαλύπτεται, which contrasts with the two futures the preceding ( δηλώσει) and the following ( δοκιμάσει).

The ὅτι, because, supposes the principle recognised, that judgment, of which fire is the emblem, accompanies the day of the Lord.

From this principle flows the consequence enunciated in the last proposition. — If the pronoun αὐτό is authentic, which is read after πῦρ by the Vatic. and three other Mjj., it may be taken as relating to the fire: "the fire itself," that is to say: the fire in virtue of its own proper nature; or what seems simpler, it should be taken in relation to the work, ἔργον, and made the object of δοκιμάσει: "the fire will attest it, the work, so as to bring out what it is" ( ὁποῖόν ἐστι).

The double result of this putting to the proof is described in 1 Corinthians 3:14-15.


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Bibliography
Godet, Frédéric Louis. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:13". "Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsc/1-corinthians-3.html.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

TESTED BY FIRE

‘The fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.’

1 Corinthians 3:13

How best can we prepare for the ordeal that awaits us all? The day of Christ’s appearing will be a day of joy and gladness, but it will be a solemn day too. The day of the Lord’s Advent will be a searching day even to His own. If we would be successful in our building, we must conform to plan. What is God’s plan for our sanctification? What is the Divine method of purifying the heart? There is a prophecy which supplies the answer—we shall find it in Malachi 3:1-4 Its primary fulfilment was long ago, when the Child Jesus was presented in the Temple (St. Luke 2:22). Its ultimate fulfilment is still future, reserved for this very day of the revelation of Christ from heaven.

I. The day of revelation is the day of reward.—Salvation is of grace, yet faithful service is reckoned as a debt, and God will be no man’s debtor. There shall be a reward, a reward exactly proportioned to the work accomplished. ‘Every man shall receive his own reward, according to his own labour.’ Other parts of Scripture (the Parables of the Talents and the Pounds, for instance), teach us how careful and how liberal the reward will be.

II. Nothing done for Christ shall be forgotten.—‘A cup of cold water,’ even, given for His name, shall be remembered in that day (St. Matthew 10:42). What a glorious ending to a life of faithful toil! The Master’s glad ‘Well done!’ the hallelujahs of the saints; the acclamation of the angels; all the labours and sufferings of life forgotten. The work of time a possession for eternity. This is indeed a glorious prospect. ‘Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like His.’

III. But what is to be said of the work that will not stand the testing?—‘If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: yet he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.’ ‘Suffer loss!’ Dread and ominous words. Suffer loss even in heaven itself—how can that be? Alas! it may too easily be realised. The work of a lifetime; the work which all men praised; the work to which the builder had devoted sleepless nights and weary days—must it all perish? must it count for nought? must the builder begin life in heaven as a pauper? Yes, it is nothing less; if the work will not abide the flame, ‘he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire.’

Do you wish to be saved like that? If not, see to it that your house is ‘fireproof’ now. Let the fire of God play through and through it while you build, that the materials you use may be such as will endure.

—Rev. E. W. Moore.

Illustration

‘In the elder days of art

Builders wrought with greatest care

Each minute and unseen part,

For the gods see everywhere.

‘Let us do our work as well,

Both the unseen and the seen;

Make the house where God may dwell

Beautiful, entire, and clean.

‘Else our lives are incomplete,

Standing in these walls of Time,

Broken stairways, where the feet

Stumble as they seek to climb.’


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Bibliography
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:13". Church Pulpit Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/1-corinthians-3.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.

Ver. 13. For the day shall declare it] That is, the light of the truth, or time, the father of truth, or the day of death, when many recognize and recant their errors, shall show them their sin.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:13". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-corinthians-3.html. 1865-1868.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

13.] Each man’s work (i.e. that which he has built: his part in erecting the οἰκοδομὴ θεοῦ) shall (at some time) be made evident (shall not always remain in the present uncertainty, but be tested, and shewn of what sort it is): for the day shall make it manifest (the day of the Lord, as Vulg., ‘dies domini:’ see reff.,—and so most Commentators, ancient and modern. The other interpretations are (1) ‘the day of the destruction of Jerusalem,’ which shall shew the vanity of Judaizing doctrines: so Hammond (but not clearly nor exclusively), Lightf., Schöttg., al.,—against both the context, and our Apostle’s habit of speaking, and under the assumption, that nothing but Jewish errors are spoken of:—(2) ‘the lapse of time,’ as in the proverb, ‘dies docebit;’—so Grot., Wolf, Mosheim, Rosenm., al., which is still more inconsistent with the context, which necessitates a definite day, and a definite fire:—(3) ‘the light of day,’ i.e. of clear knowledge, as opposed to the present time of obscurity and night: so Calv., Beza, Erasm.:—but the fire here is not a light-giving, but a consuming flame; and, as Meyer remarks, even in that case the ἡμέρα would be that of the παρουσία, see Romans 13:12 :—(4) ‘the day of tribulation:’—so Augustine, Calov.: but this again is not definite enough: μισθὸν λήμψεται can hardly be said of mere abiding the test of tribulation);—because it (the day—not, the work, as Theophyl., Œcum., al., which would introduce a mere tautology with the next clause) is (to be) revealed (the present ἀποκαλύπτεται expresses the definite certainty of prophecy: or perhaps rather the attribute of that day, which is, to be revealed, &c., as in the expressions ὁ πειράζων, ὁ σπείρων, &c.) in fire (‘accompanied,’ ‘clothed,’ ‘girt,’ ‘with fire;’ i.e. fire will be the element in which the day will be revealed. Cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:8, and Malachi 3:2-3; Malachi 4:1, to which latter place the reference is,—see LXX. But notice, that this is not the fire of hell, into which the gold, silver, and costly stones will never enter, but the fire of judgment, in which Christ will appear, and by which all works will be tried. This universality of trial by fire is equally against the idea of a purgatorial fire, which lucrative fiction has been mainly based by the Romanists on a perversion of this passage. See Aug(7) de Civ. Dei, xxi. 26. 4, vol. vii. p. 745, who mentions the idea with ‘non redarguo, quia forsitan verum est.’ See Estius, who does not maintain the allusion to Purgatory here; and Bisping, who does), and each man’s work, of what kind it is, the fire itself shall try (this clause does not depend upon ὅτι, but ranges with the following futures. It is a question whether ἔργον is nom. or acc.,—of what kind each man’s work is (Meyer),—or as above. In the only other places where Paul uses ὁποῖος, Galatians 2:6, 1 Thessalonians 1:9 (see also Acts 26:29), it commences a clause, as here if ἔργον be accus.;—we have a very similar expression, Galatians 6:4, τὸ ἔργον ἑαυτοῦ δοκιμαζέτω ἕκαστος:—and it seems more natural that the action of the fire should be described as directly passing upon the work. For these reasons, I prefer the accus. τὸ πῦρ αὐτό, the fire itself, of its own power, being a πῦρ καταναλίσκον.


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Bibliography
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:13". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/1-corinthians-3.html. 1863-1878.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

1 Corinthians 3:13. Apodosis: So will what each has done on the building ( τὸ ἔργον) not remain hidden ( φανερὸν γενήσ.). Then the ground of this assurance is assigned: γὰρ ἡμέρα δηλώσει, sc(521) ἑκάστου τὸ ἔργον. The day is κατʼ ἐξοχήν, the day of the Parousia (comp Hebrews 10:24), which is obvious from what follows on to 1 Corinthians 3:15. So, rightly, Tertullian, contra Marc. iv. 2; Origen, Cyprian, Ep. iv. 2; Lactantius, Inst. vii. 21; Hilarius, Ambrosiaster, Sedulius, Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact, the Roman Catholics (some of whom, however, in the interests of purgatory, make it out to be the day of death), Bengel, and others, including Pott, Heydenreich, Billroth, Schott, Schrader, Rückert, Olshausen, de Wette, Osiander, Ewald, Hofmann. It is un-Pauline, and also against the context (for wood, etc., does not apply to the doctrines of the Judaizers alone), to interpret the phrase, with Hammond, Lightfoot, Gusset, Schoettgen, of the destruction of Jerusalem, which should reveal the nullity of the Jewish doctrines. The following expositions are alien to the succeeding context: of time in general (comp dies docebit: χρόνος δίκαιον ἄνδρα δείκνυσιν μόνος, Sophocles, Oed. Rex, 608; Stob. Ecl. I. p. 234,—so Grotius, Wolf, Wetstein, Stolz, Rosenmüller, Flatt, and others); or of the time of clear knowledge of the gospel (Erasmus, Beza, Calvin, Vorstius(524)); or of the dies tribulationis (Augustine, Calovius, and others).

ὅτι ἐν πυρὶ ἀποκαλ.] We are neither to read here ὅτε(525) instead of ὅτι (Bos, Alberti), nor does the latter stand for the former (Pott), but it has a causative force: because it is revealed in fire,—the day, namely (Estius, Pott, Billroth, Rückert, Olshausen, de Wette, Ewald, Hofmann), not τὸ ἔργον, as Luther and the majority of interpreters (among them Heydenreich, Flatt, Schott, Neander) hold, following Ambrosiaster and Oecumenius; for this would yield a tautology with what comes next. Bengel, joined by Osiander, imagines as the subject of the verb κύριος, which can be evolved from ἡ΄έρα only by a very arbitrary process, since the whole context never speaks of Christ Himself.

ἐν πυρί] i.e. encompassed with fire (see Bernhardy, p. 209; Matthiae, p. 1340), so that fire is the element in which the revelation of that day takes place. For Christ, when His Parousia draws nigh, is to appear coming from heaven ἐν πυρὶ φλογός (2 Thessalonians 1:8; comp Daniel 7:9-10; Malachi 4:1), i.e. surrounded by flaming fire (which is not to be explained away, as is often done: amid lightnings; rather comp Exodus 3:2 ff; Exodus 19:18). This fire, however, is not, as Chrysostom would have it, that of Gehenna (Matthew 6:22; Matthew 6:29, al(528)); for it is in it that Christ appears, and it seizes upon every ἔργον, even the golden, etc., and proves each, leaving the one unharmed, but consuming the other. The correct supplying of ἡ΄έρα with ἀποκαλ. supersedes at once the older Roman Catholic interpretation about purgatory (against which see, besides, Scaliger and Calovius), as the correct view of ἡμέρα sets aside the explanations of the wrath of God against the Jews (Lightfoot), of the Holy Spirit, who tries “quae doctrina sit instar auri et quae instar stipulae” (Calvin), of the fire of trial and persecution (Rosenmüller, Flatt, following Augustine, de civ. Dei, xxi. 26, Erasmus, and many old commentators; comp Isaiah 48:10; 1 Peter 1:7; 1 Peter 4:12; Sirach 2:5), and of a progressive process of purifying the mind of the church (Neander). The idea rather is: “The decision on the day of the Parousia will show how each has worked as a teacher; if any one has taught what is excellent and imperishable, that, as belonging to the divine ἀλήθεια, will stand this decision and survive; if any one has taught what is worthless and perishable, that will by the decision of that day cease to have any standing, fall away, and come to nought” (comp on 1 Corinthians 3:12). This idea Paul, in accordance with his figure of a building, clothes in this form: “At the Parousia the fire, in which it reveals itself, will seize upon the building; and then through this fiery ordeal those parts of the fabric which are of gold, silver, and precious stones will pass unharmed; but those consisting of wood, hay, and stubble will be burnt up.”

ἀποκαλύπτεται] The result of this act of revelation is the δηλώσει already spoken of. The present marks the event as beyond doubt; the sentence is an axiom.

καὶ ἑκάστου κ. τ. λ(531)] not to be connected with ὅτι (Rückert), but with the clause in the future, γὰρ ἡμ. δγλώσει. Is ἔργον in the nominative (Theophylact, Oecumenius, and many others) or accusative (Billroth, Schott, de Wette, Osiander, Ewald)? The former is more in harmony with the sense of the passage, for so ὁπ. ἐστι is made to appear not as merely inserted, but in its befitting emphasis. For the form of the statement advances from the general to the particular: the day will show it, namely, what each has wrought; and (now follows the definite specification of the quality) what is the character of the work of each,—the fire itself will test.

τὸ πῦρ αὐτό] ignis ipse (see the critical remarks), i.e. the fire (in which the ἀποκάλυψις of the day takes place) by its own proper working, without intervention from any other quarter. Respecting the position of αὐτό after πῦρ, see Bornemann, a(532) Xen. Mem. ii. 5. 1. Were we to take it as the object of δοκιμάσει, pointing back to the preceding statement (Hofmann), it would be superfluous in itself, and less in keeping with the terse, succinct mode of expression of this whole passage.

δοκιμάσει] “probabit, non: purgabit. Hic locus ignem purgatorium non modo non fovet, sed plane extinguit,” Bengel.


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Bibliography
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:13". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/1-corinthians-3.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

1 Corinthians 3:13. ἔργον) the work, which any one has erected.— ἡμέρα, the day) of the Lord. So Hebrews 10:25, comp. presently ch. 1 Corinthians 4:3; 1 Corinthians 4:5, where, after an interval, as usual, he speaks more clearly. Previous days, which vividly realize to us the fire, for instance, in adversity and at death, are not altogether excluded.— δηλώσει, shall declare) to all.—[Many things are also revealed sooner, at least to some, but Paul lays down the last and most certain day of fiery trial.—V. g.]— ἐν πυρὶ ἀποκαλύπτεται) is revealed in fire, viz., the Lord, whose day that is; or, the work [so Engl. Vers.]; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8, is revealed, as present, because it is certain and near, Revelation 22:20.— τὸ πὺρ, the fire) a metaphor, as throughout this whole discourse. The fire of the last day and of the Divine judgment is intended, as is evident from the subsequent language, which peculiarly applies to the last judgment, 1 Corinthians 4:5; 2 Corinthians 5:10 [2 Thessalonians 1:8]; to which the visible fire on that day will correspond.— δοκιμάσει) shall try, not shall purge. This passage not only does not support [add fuel to] the fire of purgatory, but entirely extinguishes it; for it is at the last day, and not till then, that the fire shall finally try every man’s work; therefore the fire of purgatory does not precede it. Nor on that very day, shall the work be purged; but it shall be tried, of what sort it previously was on either side [good or bad], when it shall either remain or be burnt up.


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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:13". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/1-corinthians-3.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Now, saith he, there will come a time when every man’s, that is, every teacher’s, work, or doctrine, shall be made manifest. As the metal is brought to the touchstone to be tried, whether it be gold or silver, or some baser metal; so there will come a time, when all doctrines shall be tried and made manifest, whether they be of God or no.

For the day shall declare it: what day shall declare it is not so steadily agreed by interpreters. Some by a day here understand a long time, in process of time it shall be declared; as indeed erroneous doctrines have not used to obtain or prevail long: Dagon falls before the ark. Others understand it of a day of adversity and great affliction, the day of God’s vengeance; and indeed thus it is often seen, a false faith, or a lie believed, will not carry a man through the difficulties which he meeteth with in an evil day: the truths of the gospel are of that nature, that they will give a soul relief and support in a day of affliction and under God’s severest dispensations, but errors and falsehoods will not do it. Others understand by the day here mentioned, the day of judgment, which is indeed often called the day of the Lord, 1 Corinthians 1:8, and described by fire, Joel 2:3 2 Thessalonians 1:8 2 Peter 3:10; but this text saith not the day of the Lord, but only the day. It seemeth, therefore, rather to signify the bright shining out of the gospel; for the text seemeth to speak of such a manifestation as shall be in this life, not in the day of judgment.

Because it shall be revealed by fire; the same thing is also to he understood.

The fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is: by the fire here mentioned, not the fire of God’s wrath, or the fire of affliction and adversity, nor the fire of the last judgment, but the truth of the gospel shining forth in the world, and burning up the dross and stubble of corrupt, false doctrine, that shall bring all the doctrines which men teach, to the trial.


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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:13". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/1-corinthians-3.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Made manifest; shown to be what it really is.

The day; the day of judgment will make it known.

Revealed by fire; as fire shows the difference between gold and wood, or silver and stubble, so the day of judgment will show the difference between the works of different men. A day is coming when every man’s character and work will be tried. Those who have attempted to build a church on Peter or Paul, or any mere creature, or who are trusting for salvation to any outward connection with the church, without being justified by faith in Christ and governed by love to him, will be disappointed and condemned.


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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:13". "Family Bible New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/1-corinthians-3.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

13. ἡ ἡμέρα. The judgment day, otherwise called ‘the day of the Lord’ as in ch. 1 Corinthians 1:8, 1 Corinthians 5:5; 2 Peter 3:10, &c.

ἐν πυρὶ ἀποκαλύπτεται. It is revealed in fire, as that in which the judgment day shall consist, i.e. the fire of God’s judgment, fire being one of His many attributes (Hebrews 12:29; Deuteronomy 4:24; Deuteronomy 9:3; Psalms 50:3; Psalms 97:3; Isaiah 66:15-16; Malachi 3:2-3; 2 Thessalonians 1:8). As fire does, so does God in the end thoroughly search out and destroy all that is vile or refuse, all that is not thoroughly genuine and durable. The present tense indicates the certainty of the coming of that day, like the perfect in Hebrew. Cf. Matthew 17:11; John 4:21; John 4:23; John 4:25; John 16:2.

δοκιμάσει. This word is used with different shades of meaning in this Epistle. Here it means to test simply (like its use in Arist. Nic. Eth. III. 10, where it is used of tasting wines). In 1 Corinthians 11:28 it signifies to test yourself with a view to a satisfactory result. In ch. 1 Corinthians 16:3 it means to approve.


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"Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:13". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/1-corinthians-3.html. 1896.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

13. Work—Whether doctrine he has taught, or morals he has enjoined, or Church organization he has founded.

Made manifest—Shall come under clear review.

The day—Not as Calvin, the day of millennial enlightenment; nor the day of Jerusalem’s destruction, with which the Corinthians had no relation; nor the process of time: but the day of Christ’s coming to judgment. See notes on 1 Corinthians 4:3-5.

Declare it—As if the shades of uncertainty were dispersed by the light of the judgment blaze.

Revealed by fire—Its true, indestructible character be disclosed by the fiery test.

Every man—No teacher or founder’s work will evade this trial.


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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:13". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/1-corinthians-3.html. 1874-1909.

William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament

13. The work of each one shall be made manifest, for the day will reveal it.” The great judgment day, for which all other days were made, will reveal the work of every human being. There are many other days constituting salient and notable epochs in Christian experience, and significantly adumbratory of the final Judgment, “because it is revealed in fire, and the same fire shall prove the work of each one what sort it is.” These are prominent allusions to the fires of the final judgment. This whole earth is to be sanctified by fire (2 Peter 3:10), consuming out of it all the effects of sin, utterly cremating it preparatory to its transformation into a new heavenly sphere (Revelation 21), to be occupied by redeemed saints and unfallen angels forever. This combustion of the earth will be going on during the Judgment, which will be no twenty-four-hours day, but a period adequate to the magnitude of the occasion. Fire throughout the Bible symbolizes purity, and consequently typifies all the castigatory judgments of the Almighty conducively to the purification of humanity and the earth, and the vindication of Divine government. Hence fire is prominently characteristic of the final judgment.


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Godbey, William. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:13". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ges/1-corinthians-3.html.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

1 Corinthians 3:13. each man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it—not ‘some day’ sooner or later (as some critics), nor (with Calvin and others) ‘the day of clearer light’ or advancing knowledge; least of all, that never-failing refuge of poor critics, ‘the day of Jerusalem’s destruction;’—for what had those Corinthians to do with that? One definite day alone suits all that is here said—“the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ” (Romans 2:16).

because it shall of revealed by fire (see 2 Thessalonians 1:7)—literal fire, as seems clearly taught, the bursting forth of which will perhaps be the visible herald of Christ’s coming. At the same time, this fire—as elsewhere so here—is but as the symbol of that “fiery” judgment which shall search to the bottom every case, as indeed is immediately expressed.

and the fire itself shall prove each man’s work of what sort it is—and with what result?


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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:13". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/1-corinthians-3.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

1 Corinthians 3:13. “The work of each ( ἑκάστου resuming the ἕκαστος of 10) will become manifest:” while the Wheat and Tares are in early growth (Matthew 13:24 ff.), they are indistinguishable; one man’s work is mixed up with another’s—“for the Day will disclose (it)”.— ἡμέρα can only mean Christ’s Judgment Day: see parls., esp. 1 Corinthians 1:8, 1 Corinthians 4:3 ff., and notes; also Romans 2:16, Acts 17:31, Matthew 25:19. “The day” suggests (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:2 ff., Romans 13:11 ff.) the hope of daylight upon dark problems of human responsibility. But this searching is figured as the scrutiny of fire, which at once detects and destroys useless matter: ὅτι ἐν πυρὶ ἀποκαλύπτεται, “because it (the Day) is revealed in fire”. For ἀποκαλύπτεται (pr(564), implying certainty, perhaps nearness), see notes on 1 Corinthians 1:7, 1 Corinthians 2:10—a supernatural, unprecedented “day,” dawning not like our mild familiar sunrise, but “in” splendour of judgment “fire”: cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:8. This image comes from the O.T. pictures of a Theophany: Daniel 7:9 f., Malachi 4:1, Isaiah 30:27; Isaiah 64:1 ff., etc.— καὶ ἑκάστου τὸ ἔργον ὁποῖόν ἐστι κ. τ. λ.: “and each man’s work, of what kind it is,—the fire will prove it”. The pleonastic αὐτὸ is due to a slight anacoluthon: the sentence begins as though it were to end, “the fire will show”; φανερώσει is, however, replaced by the stronger δοκιμάσει suitable to πῦρ, and this altered vb(565) requires with it αὐτό, to recall the object τὸ ἔργον. Mr(566) and El(567) attach the pronoun to το πῦρ, “the fire itself,” but with pointless emphasis. Others avoid the pleonasm by construing ἑκάστου τὸ ἔργον at the beginning as a nominativus pendens (“as to each man’s work”), resembling that of John 15:2; but the qualification that follows, ὁποῖόν ἐστιν, makes this unlikely: cf. Galatians 2:6, for the interpolated interr(568) clause.— δοκιμάζω is to assay (see LXX parls.),—suggested by the “gold, silver” above: “probabit, non purgabit. Hic locus ignem purgatorium non modo non fovet, sed plane extinguit” (Bg(569)).— ἕκαστος, thrice repeated in 1 Corinthians 3:10-13, with solemn individualising emphasis.


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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:13". The Expositor's Greek Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/1-corinthians-3.html. 1897-1910.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

1 Corinthians 3:13. Every man’s work shall be made manifest — God will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil, Ecclesiastes 12:14. There is nothing covered that shall not be revealed, neither hid, that shall not be known. But the apostle’s primary meaning here is, that it shall be made manifest what kind of materials every spiritual builder uses, that is, what kind of doctrines every minister of Christ preaches, whether they are true or false, important or trivial, calculated to produce genuine repentance, faith, and holiness in the hearers, or not; to promote the real conversion of sinners, and edification of believers, or otherwise: and of consequence, what kind of converts every minister makes, whether they be such as can stand the fiery trial or not. For the day shall declare it — Perhaps, 1st, η ημερα δηλωσει, might be rendered, time will declare it; for time, generally a little time, manifests whether a minister’s doctrine be Scriptural and sound, and his converts genuine or not. If his preaching produce no saving effect upon his hearers, if none of them are reformed in their manners, and renewed in their hearts; if none of them are turned from sin to righteousness, and made new creatures in Christ Jesus, there is reason to suspect the doctrine delivered to them is not of the right kind, and therefore is not owned of God. 2d, The expression means, The day of trial shall declare it; (see 1 Peter 4:12;) for a day of trial is wont to follow a day of merciful visitation; a time of suffering to succeed a season of grace. Where the gospel is preached, and a church is erected for Christ, the religion of such as profess to receive the truth is generally, in the course of divine providence, put to the test; and if it be a fabric of wood, hay, and stubble, and not of gold, silver, and precious stones, it will not be able to bear the fiery trial, but will certainly be consumed thereby. The religion (if it can be called religion) of those who are not grounded on, and built up in Christ, (Colossians 2:7,) will evaporate like smoke from wood, hay, and stubble, in the day of trial. But, 3d, and especially the day of final judgment, the great day of the Lord, is here intended, and this day shall declare it; shall declare every man’s work to all the universe: because it shall be revealed by fire — Which shall consume the earth with its increase, and shall melt down the foundations of the mountains; the heavens and the earth, which are now, being kept in store, reserved unto fire, against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men, 2 Peter 3:7. And the fire shall try every man’s work — As fire tries metals, and finds out and separates whatever dross is mixed with them; or, as the fire of that great and awful day will penetrate the earth to its centre, and consume whatever is combustible, so shall the strict process of the final judgment try, not only the religion of every private Christian, but the doctrine of every public teacher, and manifest whether it came up to the Scripture standard or not. Although there is here a plain allusion to the general conflagration, yet the expression, when applied to the trying of doctrines, and consuming those that are wrong, and the trying of the characters of professors, is evidently figurative; because no material fire can have such an effect on what is of a moral nature.


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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:13". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/1-corinthians-3.html. 1857.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

1 Corinthians 3:13 each man"s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it is revealed in fire; and the fire itself shall prove each man"s work of what sort it is.

"made manifest"-"evident" (NASV) "The character of each one"s work will come to light." (Wms); "The quality of each man"s work will become known" (TCNT)

"for the day shall declare it"-"show it" (NASV). The "Day of Judgement" will certainly reveal the true nature of those that a teacher has converted. And yet, so do periods of trial. (Luke 8:13)

"because it is revealed in fire"- 2 Thessalonians 1:7; 2 Peter 3:10-12

"of what sort it is"-"the fire will test the quality of everyone"s work" (Gspd)

"It"s unusual, says one writer, for a builder to build a house so that it might survive fire. He usually builds in hope that it will never face fire. But the building the Christian teacher builds will pass through the fire. The teacher"s.....converts will one day face trial (not just the final judgement) and that trial will demonstrate if he worked in hay and stubble or something more durable. If the converts or students burn up under pressure the teacher loses." [Note: _ McGuiggan p. 53]

Points to Note:

1. Hence the great need for plain preaching and teaching. Every teacher needs to ask themselves, "Have I given this student everything they need to resist temptation?" "Have I equipped them to the best of my ability?"

2. The necessity of no subject being off-limits due to it"s uncomfortable nature. People are going to face "the fire" one day, therefore character flaws, wrong attitudes or anything that might trip up the student needs to be pointed out now.

3. This section of Scripture also demands some self-examination on the part of the student. It"s hard to read these verses without asking yourself, at this point in my life, am I "gold or stubble"?


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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:13". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/1-corinthians-3.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

be made = become.

manifest. App-106.

the day. i.e. the day of the Lord. See Acts 2:20.

declare. Greek. deloo. See 1 Corinthians 1:11.

revealed. App-106.

by = in. App-104.

try = test, or prove. Greek. dokimazo.


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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:13". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/1-corinthians-3.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.

Every man's work - each superstructure on the foundation.

The day - of the Lord (1 Corinthians 1:8; Hebrews 10:25). "The day" - i:e., the day of days, the long-expected day.

Declare it - old English for 'make it clear,' (1 Corinthians 4:5).

It shall be revealed by fire - it, i:e., "every man's work." 'He,' the Lord, whose day it is (2 Thessalonians 1:7-8). Literally, 'is being revealed (the present implies the certainty and nearness of the event, Revelation 22:10; Revelation 22:20) in fire' (Malachi 3:2-3; Malachi 4:1). The fire (figurative here, as the gold, hay, etc.) is not purgatory (as Rome teaches, i:e., purificatory and punitive), but probatory; not restricted to those dying in 'venial sin'-the supposed intermediate class between those entering heaven at once, and those dying in mortal sin, who go to hell-but universal, testing the godly and ungodly alike (2 Corinthians 5:10 : cf. Mark 9:49). This fire is not until the last day; the supposed fire of purgatory begins at death. The fire of Paul is to try the works, the fire of purgatory the persons, of men. Paul's fire causes "loss" to the sufferers; Rome's purgatory, great gain-namely, heaven at last to those purged by it, if only it were true. It was not this doctrine that gave rise to prayers for the dead, but the practice of praying for the dead (which crept in from the mistaken solicitude of survivors), that gave rise to practice of praying for the dead (which crept in from the mistaken solicitude of survivors), that gave rise to the doctrine.


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:13". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/1-corinthians-3.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(13) Revealed by fire.—Better, revealed in fire. For the general scope of this passage, see 1 Corinthians 3:12 above. The day of the coming of the Lord is always thus represented as bursting suddenly with a rush of light and blaze of fire upon the earth. (See Malachi 3:1-3; Malachi 4:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:8; 2 Thessalonians 2:8.)


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:13". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/1-corinthians-3.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.
man's
14,15; 4:5; 2 Timothy 3:9
the day
1:8; Malachi 3:17; Romans 2:5,16; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; 2 Timothy 1:18; 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 20:12
shall be revealed
Gr. is revealed.
Luke 2:35
and the fire
Isaiah 8:20; 28:17; Jeremiah 23:29; Ezekiel 13:10-16; Zechariah 13:9; 1 Peter 1:7; 4:12

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:13". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-corinthians-3.html.

Hodge's Commentary on Romans, Ephesians and First Corintians

Now, if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work, of what sort it is.

In consistency with the context, gold, silver and precious stones, can only mean truth; and wood, hay and stubble, error. If by the foundation which Paul had laid were intended the first converts in Corinth, then the above terms would naturally be understood of good and bad members of the church. The sense would then be, ‘I laid the foundation of the church in Corinth by receiving true believers to its communion; let others take heed with what kind of members they build up the church.' But as the foundation which Paul laid is expressly declared to be Jesus Christ, or the truth concerning his person and work, the words above mentioned must refer to true and false doctrines. ‘I have laid the foundation of Christ crucified; do you take heed with what kind of doctrine you carry on the work.' Besides, the whole discussion has reference to preachers and their duties. Precious stones here mean stones valuable for building, such as granite and marble. Gold and silver were extensively employed in adorning ancient temples, and are therefore appropriately used as the symbols of pure doctrine. Wood, hay, and stubble are the perishable materials out of which ordinary houses were built, but not temples. Wood for the doors and posts; hay, ( קן ́ ספןע) dried grass mixed with mud for the walls; and straw, ( ךבכב ́ לח) for the roof. These materials, unsuitable for the temple of God, are appropriate symbols of false doctrines.

Every man's work shall be made (or, become) manifest. In this life it may be disputed whether a man's doctrines are true or false. He may have great confidence in their truth, and set himself above his brethren and even above the Bible. But his work hereafter will appear in its true character. For the day shall declare it. The day does not mean indefinitely time, ‘Time shall declare it;' nor the day of tribulation; nor the day of light and knowledge as distinguished from the present ignorance; but the great day, the day of judgment, or, as it is so often called, the day of the Lord. That day shall make manifest the truth or falsehood of the doctrines taught, because it is (i.e. is certainly to be) revealed by fire; literally, in or with fire ( ו ̓ ם נץסי ́). In 2 Thessalonians 1:8, it is said, "The Lord Jesus shall be revealed in flaming fire," i.e. in the midst of flaming fire. Fire is the constant symbol of trial and judgment. The meaning therefore is, that the day of the Lord will be a day of severe trial. Every work will then be subjected to a test which nothing impure can stand. The context shows that the word day, and not work, is the nominative to revealed. ‘The day of judgment shall declare every man's work, because that day shall be revealed with fire.'

And the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. The figure is that of a building on which many workmen are engaged. Some use proper materials, others wood, hay and stubble. The building is to be subjected to the test of fire. The wood, hay and stubble will be burnt up; only the solid materials will stand. False doctrine can no more stand the test of the day of judgment, than hay or stubble can stand a raging conflagration.


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Bibliography
Hodge, Charles. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:13". Hodge's Commentary on Romans, Ephesians and First Corintians. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hdg/1-corinthians-3.html.

The Bible Study New Testament

And the quality. The real proof of each man's work will be clearly demonstrated by the fire of persecution. The Day of Christ. MacKnight sees this as the severe persecution which would shortly come. Compare Luke 21:22. For that Day's fire. MacKnight says: "That the fire of which the apostle speaks is the fire of persecution, I think evident from 1 Peter 4:12 . . ." The false teacher had built into the church some who were still wicked, such as the man guilty of incest, others who said the dead would not be raised, etc. Such would go back to the world when tested by persecution (unless they repented, as the man guilty of incest did).


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Bibliography
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:13". "The Bible Study New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/1-corinthians-3.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

: each man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it is revealed in fire; and the fire itself shall prove each man"s work of what sort it is.

Paul spoke of "each man's work" (i.e. evangelism). In verses6 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 Paul spoke of starting and nurturing congregations. Now additional material about this topic is provided. Paul said evangelistic work will be "made manifest" and each man's work will be "proven." That Isaiah , all the people who became Christians will be seen for what they were. In the secular world, building projects must meet "code requirements." Various inspectors evaluate construction projects to be sure the work is up to prescribed standards. A similar thing will be true for all people. On "the day" it will be "declared" whether or not people are like gold or like hay. The word declared (deloo) means "reveal, make clear, show" (Gingrich and Danker, p178). Manifest (phaneros) in13a is used about twenty times in the New Testament, and it occurs two more times in this book (; 14:25). Paul also used it in Galatians 5:19 to say the works of the flesh are manifest. Here it further stresses that at a future time all will be disclosed; everything will be made visible.

This day (there is a definite article in the Greek text) is interpreted in many ways. Some have suggested it refers to the destruction of Jerusalem in A. D70. Considering the context and the fact that Jerusalem was far from Corinth, this is a wild suggestion that does not merit serious consideration. Others have proposed this day describes the passage of time. That Isaiah , God allows time to pass so converts can have time to show what they are really like. The passage of time shows whether a person is genuinely converted to Christ or made an impulsive decision that is later abandoned. The passage of time also helps separate the hypocrites from those who are truly trying to serve the Lord. This explanation is a possibility, especially because the word revealed is in the present tense. Too, such an interpretation is consistent with Jesus' parable of the sower ( Matthew 13:1-8; Matthew 13:18-23). It seems that Christians reveal their true nature while they live their lives, and the ultimate or final revelation of their personality and works will be disclosed on the Day of Judgment. I understand the day in this verse to describe the coming Day of Judgment. At the judgment there will be no doubt as to whether Christians were like gold or hay. Jesus made this same point in one of His parables ( Matthew 13:39). Saved people will be like seeds sown in good soil and thus accepted by God. Unsaved people will be like seeds that did not produce and will be condemned to hell.

The word "fire" is often used to describe punishment in the New Testament. It is also used in other ways. Sometimes, it conveys the idea of "human passion" ( James 3:5-6; 1 Corinthians 7:9). It is used to describe Jesus' final return ( 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8), the final destruction of the world ( 2 Peter 3:7; 2 Peter 3:12), and punishing the wicked in eternity ( Matthew 25:41). Fire is one "of the most arresting and suggestive metaphors in the Bible" and "a phenomenon common to all cultures ancient and modern" (Baker's Theological Dictionary of the Bible, p256).

Here fire is used twice in a single verse to describe a future and final examination of each Christian. That Isaiah , fire is used to describe the power needed to judge the quality of our life and works. Paul described a testing or an inspection (the life of each Christian will be thoroughly investigated), and this investigation will be comprehensive. Those who lived true Christian lives will pass the test and appear as gold, stone, and silver. The examination will also show that others were like wood, hay, and stubble (unsuitable for Christ's church, verse12). Those unfit for the kingdom of God will be spend eternity separated from God and salvation.

These verses leave no doubt that some who become Christians will miss heaven. There is more to salvation than becoming a Christian, and this is what the Corinthians were told in very strong terms. We must be a Christian who is like gold, silver, and costly stones (i.e. an active participant in the Lord's body). We must be dedicated to the Lord (compare Matthew 6:33). Though many congregations have members who are like hay and stubble (people are on the attendance roll but are inactive and lifeless), these people ought not to expect to be with the righteous at the end of time. Paul affirmed that being a member of the right faith is not enough. A final point is also worthy of inclusion. In the ASV the translators used the present tense ("is revealed in fire").


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Bibliography
Price, Brad "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:13". "Living By Faith: Commentary on Romans". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bpc/1-corinthians-3.html.

Commentary by J.C.Philpot on select texts of the Bible

1 Corinthians 3:13

"The fire shall test every man"s work of what sort it is." 1 Corinthians 3:13

How careful and anxious we should be to have two points well secured in our hearts. First, to be right as concerns the foundation. "Do I believe in the Son of God? Have I clear views of the Sonship, the Deity, and the pure humanity of Christ? Have I drunk in no secret error? Am I hiding in my bosom no corrupt doctrine? Is my creed sound? Is the word of God received by me, as God has revealed it, into a believing heart?" How many are wrong as to the foundation itself.

Then comes, "Am I upon the foundation? Did God himself put me there? Did I see its suitability to my lost and undone soul? Did the blessed Spirit take of the things of Christ and reveal them to me in the hour of need? Was the Son of God made precious to my soul by an act of faith? Am I looking to him, cleaving to him, longing for him, hanging upon him, and trusting wholly to his Person and work? How stands the foundation? Am I on it?"

The next important question Isaiah , "How stands the superstructure? Has the Holy Spirit wrought anything with a divine power in my soul? The faith I profess, is it of God? The hope I enjoy, do I believe it came from the Lord himself to support my soul in the trying storm? My repentance, is it genuine? My profession, is it sincere? My walk, is it consistent? My conscience, is it tender? My desires, are they spiritual? My prayers, are they fervent? My heart, is it honest? My soul, is it right before God? What am I looking to as the foundation, and what am I looking to as the superstructure? Do I hang all my hopes upon Christ as the Rock, and all my religion upon the work of the Holy Spirit in my heart?"

If you can answer these questions as in the sight of God, "Yes, yes, ten times yes;" then you are right, you are right. If you stand upon the foundation that God has laid in Zion, you are right; you are right if God the Spirit has wrought a living faith in your heart. But you are wrong, you are wrong if you stand not upon God"s foundation; you are wrong, you are wrong, and that for eternity, unless the Holy Spirit is at work upon your conscience.

"The fire shall try every man"s work of what sort it is." 1 Corinthians 3:13

The fire which is to prove every man"s work of what sort it Isaiah , is not merely God"s wrath as manifested at the last day; but his fire as significative of the fiery trial which takes place in this life, and which God mercifully brings upon his people to burn up their wood, hay, and stubble. Now it is an inestimable mercy to have all this combustible material burnt up before we come to a death-bed. Fiery trials, such as God sends through afflictions, temptations, distressing feelings, and painful soul exercises, will burn up the wood, hay, and stubble which any of his saints may have gathered up as a superstructure. Guilt pressing upon a man"s conscience; the terrors of the Almighty in a fiery law; his arrows deeply fixed in the breast and drying up the spirit; fears of death, hell, and judgment; and the terrible consequences of dying under the wrath of God; all these are a part of the fiery trial which burns up the wood, hay, and stubble heaped by Babel builders on the foundation. All sink into black ashes before this fire, which proves what they are, and what a vain refuge they afford in the day of trouble.

What then stands the fiery trial? God"s work upon the soul, the faith that he implants by his own Spirit. It may be weak; it must be tried; it may seem at times scarcely to exist; and yet being of God, it stands every storm, and lives at last. A good hope through grace, a hope of God"s own communicating and maintaining—like a well-tried anchor, this will stand the storm; like gold and silver, this will bear the hottest furnace; lose its dross, but not lose the pure material, but be refined, purified, and manifested all the more as genuine metal. Song of Solomon , also, these "precious stones" ( 1 Corinthians 3:12), these heavenly visits, sweet manifestations, blessed promises, comforting discoveries, and gracious revelations of the Son of God, with the whispers of his dying, bleeding love—these heavenly jewels can never be lost and never be burnt up. They may be tried, and that keenly and sharply, but being of God"s gift and operation, they are essentially indestructible.


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Bibliography
Philpot, Joseph Charles. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:13". Commentary by J.C.Philpot on select texts of the Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jcp/1-corinthians-3.html.

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