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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Corinthians 3:5

 

 

What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one.

Adam Clarke Commentary

Ministers by whom ye believed - The different apostles who have preached unto you the word of life are the means which God has used to bring you to the knowledge of Christ. No one of those has either preached or recommended himself; they all preach and recommend Christ Jesus the Lord.

Even as the Lord gave to every man? - Whatever difference there may be in our talents, it is of God's making; and he who knows best what is best for his Church, has distributed both gifts and graces according to his own mind; and, as his judgment is infallible, all these dispensations must be right. Paul, therefore, is as necessary to the perfecting of the Church of Christ as Apollos; and Apollos, as Paul. Both, but with various gifts, point out the same Christ, building on one and the same foundation.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:5". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-corinthians-3.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Who then is Paul … - See the notes at 1 Corinthians 1:13. Why should a party be formed which should be named after Paul? What has he done or taught that should lead to this? What eminence has he that should induce any to call themselves by his name? He is on a level with the other apostles; and all are but ministers, or servants, and have no claim to the honor of giving names to sects and parties. God is the fountain of all your blessings, and whoever may have been the “instrument” by whom you have believed, it is improper to regard them as, in any sense the fountain of your blessings, or to arrange yourselves under their name.

But ministers - Our word minister, as now used, does not express the proper force of this word. We in applying it to preachers of the gospel do not usually advert to the original sense of the word, and the reasons why it was given to them. The original word διάκονοι diakonoidenotes properly “servants” in contradistinction from “masters” Matthew 20:26; Matthew 23:11; Mark 9:35; Mark 10:43; and denotes those of course who are in an inferior rank of life. They did not have command, or authority, but were subject to the command of others. It is applied to the preachers of the gospel because they are employed in the service of God; because they go at his command, and are subject to his control and direction. They did not have original authority, nor are they the source of influence or power. The idea here is, that they were the mere instruments or servants by whom God conveyed all blessings to the Corinthians; that they as ministers were on a level, were engaged in the same work, and that therefore, it was improper for them to form parties that should be called by their names.

By whom - Through whom δἰ ὥν di' hōnby whose instrumentality. They were not the original source of faith, but were the mere servants of God in conveying to them the knowledge of that truth by which they were to be saved.

Even as the Lord gave to every man - God is the original source of faith; and it is by his influence that anyone is brought to believe; see the note at Romans 12:3, note at Romans 12:6. There were diversities of gifts among the Corinthian Christians, as there are in all Christians. And it is here implied:

(1)That all that anyone had was to be traced to God as its author;

(2)That he is a sovereign, and dispenses his favors to all as he pleases;

(3)That since God had conferred those favors, it was improper for the Corinthians to divide themselves into sects and call themselves by the name of their teachers, for all that they had was to be traced to God alone.

This idea, that all the gifts and graces which Christians had, were to be traced to God alone, was one which the apostle Paul often insisted on; and if this idea had been kept before the minds and hearts of all Christians, it would have prevented no small part of the contentions in the church, and the formation of no small part of the sects in the Christian world.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:5". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-corinthians-3.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Who then is Paul? and who is Apollos?.... The apostle's name being used, and he a party concerned, could speak the more freely upon this head, and ask what they thought of himself, and other preachers, whether they were more than men? what authority and power they had, whether they looked upon them as the authors of a new religion, or the founders of a new sect, that were to go by their names? and directs them what light to consider them in, how that they were

but ministers by whom ye believed: they were servants to Christ and to his churches, and not lords; they did not assume any dominion over men, or pretend to lord it over God's heritage; there is but one Lord and master, and that is Christ, whom they served, and taught others to obey; they were only instrumental in the hand of God, by whom souls were directed, encouraged, and brought to believe in Christ; as for faith itself, that is the gift of God, the operation of his power, and of which Christ is the author and finisher; they laid no claim to this as their work, or imagined they had any dominion over it; that they could either implant it, or increase it of themselves; but thought it honour enough done them, that it came by their ministry; and that that, and the joy of it, were helped and furthered by their means: the Vulgate Latin version reads, "his ministers whom ye believed"; that is, the ministers of Christ, whom they believed in; not in the ministers, but Christ; the Arabic version renders it, "but two ministers, by whom ye believed"; referring to Paul and Apollos, who are meant:

even as the Lord gave to every man; gifts to minister with, and success to his ministry; making him useful to this and the other man, to bring him to the faith of Christ; all which is owing to the free grace and sovereign good will and pleasure of God.


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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:5". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-corinthians-3.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

2 Who then is Paul, and who [is] Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?

(2) After he has sufficiently reprehended ambitious teachers, and those who foolishly esteemed them, now he shows how the true ministers are to be esteemed, that we do not attribute to them more or less than we ought to do. Therefore he teaches us that they are those by whom we are brought to faith and salvation, but yet as the ministers of God, and such as do nothing of themselves, but God so working by them as it pleases him to furnish them with his gifts. Therefore we do not have to regard or consider what minister it is that speaks, but what is spoken: and we must depend only upon him who speaks by his servants.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:5". "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

Who then — Seeing then that ye severally strive so for your favorite teachers, “Who is (of what intrinsic power and dignity) Paul?” If so great an apostle reasons so of himself, how much more does humility, rather than self-seeking, become ordinary ministers!

Paul … Apollos — The oldest manuscripts read in the reverse order, “Apollos,” etc. Paul.” He puts Apollos before himself in humility.

but ministers, etc. — The oldest manuscripts have no “but.” “Who is Apollos … Paul? (mere) ministers (a lowly word appropriate here, servants), by whom (not “in whom”; by whose ministrations) ye believed.”

as … Lord gave to every man — that is, to the several hearers, for it was God that “gave the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:6).


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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 3:5". "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

What then? (τι ουνti ouṉ). He does not say τιςtis (who), but τιti (what), neuter singular interrogative pronoun.

Ministers (διακονοιdiakonoi). Not leaders of parties or sects, but merely servants through whom ye believed. The etymology of the word Thayer gives as διαdia and κονιςkonis “raising dust by hastening.” In the Gospels it is the servant (Matthew 20:26) or waiter (John 2:5). Paul so describes himself as a minister (Colossians 1:23, Colossians 1:25). The technical sense of deacon comes later (Philemon 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:8, 1 Timothy 3:12).

As the Lord gave to him (ως ο Κυριος εδωκενhōs ho Kurios edōken). Hence no minister of the Lord like Apollos and Paul has any basis for pride or conceit nor should be made the occasion for faction and strife. This idea Paul enlarges upon through chapters 1 Corinthians 3; 4 and it is made plain in chapter 1 Corinthians 12.


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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 3:5". "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

Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?

Ministers — Or servants. By whom ye believed, as the Lord, the Master of those servants, gave to every man.


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Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:5". "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

Ministers; servants, subordinate instruments.


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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:5". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/1-corinthians-3.html. 1878.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

5.Who then is Paul ? Here he begins to treat of the estimation in which ministers ought to be held, and the purpose for which they have been set apart by the Lord. He names himself and Apollos rather than others, that he may avoid any appearance of envy. (156) “What else,” says he, “are all ministers appointed for, but to bring you to faith through means of their preaching?” From this Paul infers, that no man ought to be gloried in, for faith allows of no glorying except in Christ alone. Hence those that extol men above measure, strip them of their true dignity. For the grand distinction of them all is, that they are ministers of faith, or, in other words, that they gain disciples to Christ, not to themselves. Now, though he appears in this way to depreciate the dignity of ministers, yet he does not assign it a lower place than it ought to hold. For he says much when he says, that we receive faith through their ministry. Nay farther, the efficacy of external doctrine receives here extraordinary commendation, when it is spoken of as the instrument of the Holy Spirit; and pastors are honored with no common title of distinction, when God is said to make use of them as his ministers, for dispensing the inestimable treasure of faith.

As the Lord hath given to every man. In the Greek words used by Paul the particle of comparison ὡς,as, is placed after ἑκαστῳ — toevery man; but the order is inverted. (157) Hence to make the meaning more apparent, I have rendered it “Sicut unicuique,” — “as to every man,” rather than “Unicuique sicut,” — “to every man as.” In some manuscripts, however, the particle και, and, is wanting, and it is all in one connection, thus: Ministers by whom ye believed as the Lord gave to every man If we read it in this way, the latter clause will be added to explain the former, — so that Paul explains what he meant by the term minister: “Those are ministers whose services God makes use of, not as though they could do anything by their own efforts, but in so far as they are guided by his hand, as instruments.” The rendering that I have given, however, is, in my opinion, the more correct one. If we adopt it, the statement will be more complete, for it will consist of two clauses, in this way. In the first place, those are ministers who have devoted their services to Christ, that you might believe in him: farther, they have nothing of their own to pride themselves upon, inasmuch as they do nothing of themselves, and have no power to do anything otherwise than by the gift of God, and every man according to his own measure — which shows, that whatever each individual has, is derived from another. In fine, he unites them all together as by a mutual bond, inasmuch as they require each other’s assistance.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:5". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/1-corinthians-3.html. 1840-57.

Vv. 5. "What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Ministers by whom ye believed, and that, as the Lord gave to each."

There is no difficulty, whatever Hofmann may object, in connecting the then with the previous verse, provided we see in this verse the conclusion and consequently the summary of all that goes before from 1 Corinthians 1:17 and even from 1 Corinthians 1:12 : "Now if, in virtue of the very nature of the gospel (which is a salvation, not a system), its preachers are not what you make them when you say: I am of Paul or of Apollos, what are they then?" Rückert regards this question as an objection raised by an interlocutor of the apostle. But it belongs to the train of his argument; it is the theme of the whole following passage. Besides, Paul indicates such interruptions more precisely (1 Corinthians 15:35). — The Greco-Lat. and Byz. MSS. read τίς: who are they (as individuals)? The Alex. read τί: what are they (as to their office)? The second reading is more in keeping with the context. It is no doubt, as Meyer thinks, the personal names which have led to the substitution of the masculine for the neuter.

T. R. places the question relating to Paul before that which concerns Apollos, probably under the influence of the preceding verse and of 1 Corinthians 1:13. But the apostle has not here the same reason as formerly for putting himself first. For he is no longer dealing with a personal preference to be condemned; here he begins a matter of doctrine.

The ἀλλ᾿ ἤ, other than, in T. R. is probably a gloss; the answer is more direct: ministers. Such is the great word, that which without any roundabout states the nature of the position: not heads of schools, not founders of religious societies, as having a work of their own, but simple employés labouring on the work of another. This situation of ministers is characterized by two features: "By whom ye have believed." As Bengel well says: "By whom, and not in whom;" simple agents ( διά). The ye believed applies also to Apollos, though the Church was already founded when he arrived at Corinth; for he had increased the number of believers and contributed to sustain the faith of those whom Paul had led to believe.

καί, and that; and moreover: Neither do those agents who labour on another"s account do anything at their own hand. This is the second feature and, in a sense, the second form of their dependence: as the Lord gave to each. The following verse shows that Paul is here thinking of the kind of work which the Master commits to each labourer, while rendering him fit for it by personal gifts which He confers on him and by the special commission which He gives him.

The ἑκάστῳ, to each, is placed by inversion, as in 1 Corinthians 7:17 and elsewhere, before the conjunction, to bring out clearly the distinction between those different tasks. For hereby is completed the idea of dependence: All for a master, as all by this master! This master is denoted by the term ὁ κύριος, the Lord, in opposition to the preachers who are only διάκονοι, servants. This Lord, according to Chrysostom, de Wette, Meyer, is God; comp. 1 Corinthians 3:6. But in general in the New Testament, when the term κύριος does not belong to an Old Testament quotation, it denotes Jesus Christ. This is particularly the case in the first chapter of this Epistle. And 1 Corinthians 3:6 proves nothing in favour of the opposite sense, for the action of Jesus and that of God, though distinct, are not separate. Comp. 1 Corinthians 12:5, where the functions of ministers are also put in relation to Christ, as Lord of the Church, and their efficacy in relation to God, as the last source of all power.


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Bibliography
Godet, Frédéric Louis. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:5". "Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsc/1-corinthians-3.html.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?

Ver. 5. But ministers] Not masters, as Magistri nostri Parisienses. (Praefat. in 1 Sentent.) So the Sorbonists will needs be called, contrary to James 3:1. Bacon the Carmelite was called Doctor resolutissimus, most free, because he would endure no May-bes.


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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:5". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-corinthians-3.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

1 Corinthians 3:5. Who then is Paul, &c.— Some would read this and the following verse thus: Who is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed?—And as the Lord gave to every man, I planted, Apollos watered, &c. See Markland on Lysias, p. 560.


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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:5". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/1-corinthians-3.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

As if the apostle had said, "Neither Paul nor Apollos were the authors of your faith, but only ministerial helpers of it, as God is pleased to furnish them with gifts, and to give a blessing to their ministerial endeavours." Your ministers give out to you as God gives in to them: and therefore you ought not factiously to boast of their gifts, nor to make parties upon that account.

Learn hence, 1. That the ministry of the word is the instituted mean and instrumental cause which God hath appointed for working faith in the hearts of men.

2. That God has furnished his ministers with variety of gifts and abilities; all which he makes use of in order to that end.

3. That therefore the ministers of Christ ought neither to be deified nor nullified, neither to be cried up nor trodden down; we are not efficient causes, but only instrumental means of faith. Render therefore unto God the glory of the author, and unto ministers the honour of the instrument. Who is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers?


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Bibliography
Burkitt, William. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:5". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/1-corinthians-3.html. 1700-1703.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

5.] οὖν follows on the assumption of the truth of the divided state of things among them: ‘Who then (What then) …, seeing that ye exalt them into heads over you?’ The question is not asked by an objector, but by Paul himself; when an objector is introduced, he notifies it, as ch. 1 Corinthians 15:35; Romans 9:19.

ἐπιστεύσατε, as in reff.: ye became believers.

ἑκάστῳ ὡς, = ὡς ἔδωκ. ὁ κύρ. ἑκάστῳ, see reff. It refers, not to the teachers, but to the hearers, see below ὁ αὐξάνων θεός.

In the rec. text, the question is carried on to the end of the verse by ἀλλʼ , which is good Greek for ‘nisi,’ ‘præterquam,’—so οὐδὲ χρησόμεθα ἐξηγητῇ ἀλλʼ ἢ τῷ πατρῴῳ, Plato, Rep. p. 427, see Hartung, Partikellehre, ii. 44,—but seems to have been inserted from not observing the form of the sentence.


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Bibliography
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:5". 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 3:5. οὖν] Now, igitur, introduces the question as an inference from the state of party-division just referred to, so that the latter is seen to be the presupposition on which the question proceeds. See Klotz, a(480) Devar. p. 719: “Such being the state of things, I am forced to propound the question,” etc. Rückert thinks that Paul makes his readers ask: But now, if Paul and Apollos are not our heads, what are they then? Paul, however, is in the habit of indicating counter-questions expressly as such (1 Corinthians 15:35; Romans 9:19, al(481)).

τί] more significant than τίς; comp 1 Corinthians 3:7. The question is, what, as respects their position, are they? Comp Plato, Rep. p. 332 E, 341 D.

διάκονοι] They are servants, and therefore not fitted and destined to be heads of parties; ἄλλος ἐστὶν δεσπότης, ἡμεῖς ἐκείνου δοῦλοι, Theodoret.

διʼ ὧν] “per quos, non in quos,” Bengel. Comp John 1:7. They are but causae ministeriales in the hand of God.

ἐπιστεύσ.] as in 1 Corinthians 15:2; 1 Corinthians 15:11; Romans 13:11.(485)

καί] and that. καὶἔδωκεν is not to be joined with 1 Corinthians 3:6 (Mosheim, Markland, a(486) Lys. XII. p. 560 f.), seeing that in 1 Corinthians 3:7 no regard is paid to this καὶἔδωκεν.

ἑκάστῳ ὡς] the emphasis is on ἑκάστ., as in 1 Corinthians 7:17 and Romans 12:3.

κύριος] correlative to the διάκονοι, is here God, not Christ (Theophylact; also Rückert, who appeals to Ephesians 4:7; Ephesians 4:11], as what follows—in particular 1 Corinthians 3:9-10—proves. Comp 2 Corinthians 6:4.

As respects the ἀλλʼ of the Textus receptus: nisi (which makes the question continue to the end of the verse; comp Sirach 22:12), see on Luke 12:51; 2 Corinthians 1:13.


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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:5". 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 3:5. τίς; who?) He returns to what he began with.— διάκονοι, ministers) a lowly expression and on that account appropriate here.— διʼ ὧν, by whom), not in whom. Pelagius correctly observes on this passage, If we, whom He himself has constituted ministers, are nothing, how much more those, who glory in carnal things?ἑκάστῳ, to every man) i.e. every man as well as they.— κύριος, the Lord) The correlative is, διάκονοι, ministers.— ἔδωκεν, has given) in various ways and degrees; see the following verse.


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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:5". 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

Neither Paul, nor yet Apollos, are authors of faith to you, but only instruments; it is the Lord that giveth to every man a power to believe; or else that latter phrase,

as the Lord gave to every man, may be understood of ministers, whose abilities to the work of the ministry, and success in it, both depend upon God. The sense of the words is this, then: God giveth unto his ministers variety of gifts, and different success; but yet neither one nor the other of them are more than the servants of Christ in their ministry, persons whom God maketh use of to call upon and to prevail with men, to give credit to the doctrine of the gospel, and to receive and accept of Christ. The work is the Lord’s, not theirs.


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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:5". 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

Ministers; servants of Christ engaged in one common work, and not designed to be heads of different parties. Their object then was to convert men, not to themselves, but to Christ.


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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:5". "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

5. διάκονοι. Servants, those whose duty it is to wait upon their masters. See Buttmann, Lexilogus, s. v. διάκτορος. It is obvious that in the N. T. the strict ecclesiastical sense of words such as this, μυστήριον, σχίσμα, αἵρεσις and the like, cannot always be pressed. St Paul frequently terms himself a διάκονος. See Ephesians 3:7; Colossians 1:23; Colossians 1:25.

καὶ ἑκάστῳ. This is to be construed with ἔδωκεν. And as the Lord gave to each. Men did not believe in Paul or Apollos, but in Christ. And the capacity for believing in Christ was God’s gift, though the preaching was no doubt the means whereby the gift was conferred.


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"Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:5". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/1-corinthians-3.html. 1896.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

5. Ministersδιακονοι, deacons or servitors. Notes Acts 6:1, and 1 Timothy 3:8-15. We are not leaders of philosophical sects (note on 1 Corinthians 1:10, etc.) but simply servants, and servants under divine selection and guidance.

Every man—Rather, and as the Lord gave to each one. That is, ye believed as the Lord gave to each minister the gift of attracting your belief. Paul proceeds to show how God gave different gifts to himself and to Apollos. And this connexion shows that every man, like any man in 1 Corinthians 3:12, and every man in 1 Corinthians 3:13, refers to teachers, and not, as Alford, to hearers.


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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:5". "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

5. And what is Paul, what is Apollos, but ministers through whom ye believed as the Lord gave to each one?” Of course Paul had his admirers as their spiritual father and founder of their church, while Apollos had won them by his wonderful eloquence as well as argumentative power; while still others rallied around Peter, the senior apostle, having sojourned with our Lord during His entire earthly ministry, and having been the honored instrument in the inauguration of the Holy Ghost dispensation on the day of Pentecost.

These parties had not crystallized into sects, neither did they in the apostolic age, because all of the apostles, like Paul, turned the battering-rams of inspired truth against every manifestation of that sort. But, oh! what wonderful development this party spirit has received! confusing the world with six thousand religious denominations. Babylon means confusion. Surely we have it in paradoxical superfluity. It is a shame for a Christian to say: “I am a Methodist,” “I am a Baptist,” “I am a Presbyterian.” If you are and were so born, it is not worth telling, and thus displaying the foibles of your spiritual infancy. Who was John Wesley? Who was John Bunyan? Who was John Knox? While these noble Johns are the reputed founders of the three great denominations above mentioned, yet it is true these paragon saints had something else to do besides building sectarian temples. They lived heroes, and left the world in triumph. Their unsanctified spiritual children have built up these mammoth ecclesiasticisms. Spiritual adults talk about Jesus instead of sectarian parties. Babyhood is all right in its time. The tallest saints have all been babies. But babyhood perpetuated means dwarfhood and death. If a baby does not progress into manhood, it either dies or becomes a pitiful stinted dwarf. That is the trouble with the church at the present day. Christendom is not simply in babyhood, but in dwarfhood. Oh! how I pity the pastors! Instead of commanding an army of giants clothed with shining panoply, roaring the battle shout, and burning for the conflict with the powers of darkness, ready to run the devil out of the country, the poor pastor has on his hands five hundred babies, all wanting the sucking bottle at the same time, bawling and squalling because he can’t wait on them all at once. Quite a lot of them are sick and need constant attention, not a few of them are dead and need coffins and interment; no wonder the devil is everywhere triumphant. He doesn’t care for an army of babies. The New Testament constantly speaks of the two classes, neepioi, i. e., babes, and the telioi, the perfect or adults. Neither of these states denotes the beginning of existence, but only certain notable and salient epochs thereof. Regeneration makes you a neepios, i. e., an infant, and sanctification makes you a telios, i. e., an adult; i. e., it takes you out of spiritual infancy, removing your depravity which locks you tight in spiritual babyhood. Instead of being the ultimatum of all progress, it is the beginning of grand, glorious and rapid progress. Children must be born before they can be treated for hereditary diseases. These diseases must be removed before they can make rapid growth and become stalwart men. Depravity in the Bible is illustrated by leprosy, a hereditary blood trouble which God alone can heal. It takes the blood of Jesus to remove out of the human spirit that hereditary alient and extricate the taint of inbred sin. Infants born of leprous people so know disease in the beginning; but soon the awful destroyer begins to tell its own sad story. Until inbred sin is removed we are held fast in the disabilities of spiritual infancy. The moment this native evil is extirpated we rank as spiritual adults, and enter at once the stadium of illimitable progress, not only in this life, being unencumbered racers for glory, but to sweep on through all eternity. We see here in these plain statements of Paul that spiritual infancy is characterized by envy and strife and party spirit. That is the trouble with Christendom today. Little rival churches are wasting ammunition fighting each other, while the devil is running at large and gobbling up all. That the experience of sanctification destroys party spirit, envy and strife, and unifies the people of God, is everywhere observable. In our great holiness camps people and preachers of all denominations, races and nationalities are heterogeneously mixed up, and it is impossible to discriminate one from another. In the same pulpit we hear the preachers from the babbling sects of Christendom, and it is impossible to discriminate their theological shibboleths. They are all one in Jesus and lost in God!


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Godbey, William. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:5". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ges/1-corinthians-3.html.

Joseph Beet's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

SECTION 5 — APOLLOS AND PAUL ARE BUT SERVANTS DOING THE WORK OF ONE MASTER CH. 3:5-4:5

What then is Apollos? and what is Paul? Ministers through whom you believed, and as to each one the Lord gave.

I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So that neither he that plants is anything, nor he that waters; but God who gives the growth. And he that plants and he that waters are one: and each will receive his own reward according to his own labour. For God's fellow-workers are we: God's field, God's building, you are.

According to the grace of God given to me, as a wise masterbuilder, I laid a foundation: and another builds up. But let each one see how he builds up. For, another foundation no one can lay, beside that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. And if anyone builds up on the foundation, a piece of gold, a piece of silver, costly stones, pieces of wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become manifest. For the day will declare it: because in fire it is revealed, and each one's work, of what kind it is the fire itself will prove. If any one's work shall remain which he built up, he will receive reward. If any one's work shall be burnt up, he will suffer loss. But he himself will be saved, but in this way, as through fire.

Do you not know that you are God's temple, and the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any one injures the temple of God, him God will injure: for the temple of God is holy, which you are.

Let no one deceive himself. If any one thinks himself to be wise among you in this age, let him become foolish, that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He that lays hold of the wise ones in their craftiness.” (Job 5:18.) And again, “The Lord knows the reasonings of the wise ones, that they are vain.” (Psalms 94:11.) So then let no one exult in men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world, or life or death, or things present or things coming; all things are yours: and you are Christ's: and Christ is God's.

In this way let a man reckon us, as helpers of Christ and stewards of mysteries of God. This being so, moreover, search is made about stewards, that a man may be found faithful. But to me it has become a very little thing that by you I may be examined, or by a human day of assize. No, I do not even examine myself. For of nothing am I conscious to myself But not in this am I justified. But He who examines me is the Lord. So then, do not before the right time judge anything, until the Lord come, who will also bring to light the hidden things of the darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts. And then the due praise will be given to each one from God.

1 Corinthians 3:5. What then etc.: a wider question than “who then?” Since they call themselves followers of Paul or Apollos, Paul asks what these men are, i.e. what are their position, powers, and achievements. He thus, armed with the great principles developed in §§ 3, 4, approaches the specific matter kept in view throughout DIV. I.

Ministers: see Romans 12:7.

Through whom: Romans 1:2; cp. John 1:7; 1 Peter 1:21.

You believed: were led to believe the Gospel: see Romans 13:11. From this we learn that the ministry of Apollos, not only (Acts 18:27) benefited the Corinthian believers, but increased their number.

And as etc.; adds another important truth.

The Lord: probably Christ, the One Master whose work Paul and Apollos were doing. So 1 Corinthians 8:6; 1 Corinthians 12:5; Ephesians 4:5.

Gave: for the converts' faith was Christ's work in them: cp. Romans 12:3; Romans 1:8; John 6:44; John 6:65. Therefore, since converts will be (cp. Philippians 4:1; 1 Thessalonians 2:19) the preacher's eternal enrichment and joy, they are Christ's gift to each one. Yet each man's faith is his own mental act, his own self-surrender (which he might have refused) to divine influences which came to him before he believed, and led him to faith. And the preacher's success is usually in proportion to his energy and skill. But the full truth of Paul's words is felt by all who have had the joy of turning a sinner from the error of his ways.


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Bibliography
Beet, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:5". Joseph Beet's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jbc/1-corinthians-3.html. 1877-90.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Paul, Apollos, and, of course, Cephas were only servants of Christ each serving in his own way and sphere of opportunity under the Master"s direction.


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Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:5". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/1-corinthians-3.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

1 Corinthians 3:5. What then is Apollos, and what is Paul? Ministers—mere servants.’—through whom (as instruments) ye believed, and each as the Lord gave to him.


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Bibliography
Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:5". "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 3:5. The Cor(491) Christians were quarrelling over the claims of their teachers, as though the Church were the creature of men: “What therefore (I am compelled to ask) is Apollos? what, on the other side ( δέ), is Paul?”— τί is more emphatic than τίς; it breathes disdain; “as though Apollos or Paul were anything!” (Lt(492)). Abollos precedes, in continuation of 1 Corinthians 3:4. For both, the question is answered in one word— διάκονοι, “non autores fidei vestræ, sed ministri duntaxat” (Er(493)); cf. 2 Corinthians 1:24; 2 Corinthians 4:5.: κύριος in the next clause is its antithesis. Paul calls himself διάκονος in view of specific service rendered (2 Corinthians 3:6; 2 Corinthians 6:4, etc.), but δοῦλος in his personal relation to Christ (Galatians 1:10, etc.). “Through whose ministration you believed:” per quos, non in quos (Bg(494): cf. 1 Corinthians 1:15). To “believe” is the decisive act which makes a Christian (see 1 Corinthians 1:21); for the relation of saving faith to the Apostolic testimony, cf. 1 Corinthians 15:1-11; 2 Corinthians 1:18-22, etc. Some Cor(495) had been converted through Apollos.

The above-named are servants, each with his specific gift: καὶ ἑκάστῳ ὡς κύρ. κ. τ. λ., “and in each case, (servants in such sort) as the Lord bestowed (on him)”.— ἑκάστῳ is emphatically projected before the ὡς; cf. 1 Corinthians 7:17, Romans 12:3. The various disposition of Divine gifts in and for the Church is the topic of ch. 12. “The Lord” is surely Christ, as regularly in Paul’s dialect, “through whom are all things” (1 Corinthians 8:6, 1 Corinthians 12:5; Ephesians 4:7-12, etc.)—the sovereign Dispenser in the House of God; from “Jesus our Lord” (1 Corinthians 9:1) P. received his own commission; the Apostolic preachers are alike “ministers of Christ” (1 Corinthians 4:1): so Thp(496), Rückert, Bt(497), Gd(498) However, Cm(499), and most modern exegetes, see God in κύριος on account of 1 Corinthians 3:6-9; but the relation of this ver. to the sequel is just that of the διʼ αὐτοῦ to the ἐξ αὐτοῦ τὰ πάντα of 1 Corinthians 8:6; cf. note on ἐξ αὐτοῦ, 1 Corinthians 1:30; and for the general principle, Matthew 25:14 ff.


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Bibliography
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:5". The Expositor's Greek Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/1-corinthians-3.html. 1897-1910.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

1 Corinthians 3:5 What then is Apollos? and what is Paul? Ministers through whom ye believed; and each as the Lord gave to him.

"What then is Apollos? and what is Paul?"-"In these verses Paul begins his discussion about the real place of people like himself. He doesn"t ask "who is Apollos". He asks "What is Apollos?" The neuter stresses instrumentality. It plays down the personality of the minister and plays up the idea of his being a "tool" (as it where) in the hands of God." [Note: _ McGuiggan pp. 50-51]

"Ministers"-"No more than servants" (Phi); "Just servants" (Gspd). "The etymology of the word Thayer gives as "dia" and "konis", "raising dust by hastening." (Robertson p. 93) "Besides evidencing a misapprehension of the gospel itself, the Corinthians" slogans bespeak a totally inadequate perception of the church and its ministry (ministers). They are boasting in their individual teachers as though they could "belong" to them in some way...Apollos and Paul are "only servants", he asserts (v.5), and by implication, therefore, not "masters" to whom they may belong." [Note: _ Fee p. 129]

"Paul and Apollos were not lords; they were servants and, therefore, unworthy that anyone should treat them as leaders of parties in the church..men are mere servants; no one worships a servant!" [Note: _ Willis p. 97]

"through whom ye believed"-the point being, that the Corinthian"s did not believe "in" Paul or Apollos, but "through" them came to believe in Christ. Another passage indicating that faith comes by hearing. (Romans 10:17)

"and each as the Lord gave to him"-"even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one" (NASV). God gave different opportunities and tasks to Paul and Apollos ().


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Bibliography
Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:5". "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

ministers = servants. App-190.

by = through. App-104. 1 Corinthians 3:1.

believed. App-150.

the Lord. App-98.

gave. See Ephesians 4:11.

every man = each (one).


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:5". "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

Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?

Paul ... Apollos. 'Aleph (') A B C Delta G f g, Vulgate, read in the reverse order, Apollos ... Paul. He puts Apollos before himself, in humility.

Who then - seeing that ye severally strive so for your favourite teachers, "Who is (of what intrinsic power is) Paul?" If so great an apostle reasons so of himself, how much more does humility, rather than self-seeking, become ordinary ministers.

But ministers ... So 'Aleph ('). A B C Delta G f g, Vulgate, have no "but." "Who is Apollos ... Paul? (mere) ministers (a lowly word appropriate here, servants) by whom (not 'in whom;' by whose ministrations) ye believed."

As the Lord gave to every Prayer of Manasseh 1:-1 :e., to the several ministers (Romans 12:6-7).


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:5". "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

(5) The Apostle now proceeds to explain (1 Corinthians 3:5-9) what is the true position and work of Christian ministers. He asserts that all alike—both those who teach the simpler truths, and those who build up upon that primary knowledge—are only instruments in God’s hand; and in 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 (replying to those who sneered at and despised his simple teaching as compared to the higher instruction of Apollos) he points out that though all are only instruments used by God, yet that if there be any difference of honour or utility in the various kinds of work for which God so uses His ministers, the greater work is the planting the seed, or the laying the foundation. There can be only one foundation—it is alike necessary and unvarying—many others may build upon it, with varied material and with different results.

Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos.—Better, What then is Apollos? what is Paul? and to these abrupt and startling questions the answer is, “Merely those whom Christ used, according as He gave to each his own peculiar powers as the means of your conversion.” (Such is the force of the word “believed” here as in Romans 13:11). It is therefore absurd that you should exalt them into heads of parties. They are only instruments—each used as the great Master thought best.


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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:5". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/1-corinthians-3.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?
ministers
7; 4:1,2; Luke 1:2; Romans 10:14,15; 2 Corinthians 3:6; 4:5,7; 6:1,4; 11:23
even
10; 9:17; 12:4-11,28; Matthew 25:15; John 3:27; Romans 12:3-6; 1 Peter 4:10

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:5". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-corinthians-3.html.

Hodge's Commentary on Romans, Ephesians and First Corintians

Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?

This passage may read, ‘Who then is Paul, and who is Appollos? ministers by whom ye believed,' etc. Ministers are mere instruments in the hands of God. The doctrines which they preach are not their own discoveries, and the power which renders their preaching successful is not in them. They are nothing, and therefore it is an entire perversion of their relation to the church to make them the heads of parties. In the oldest MSS, the name of Apollos stands first; and some of them have פי ́ instead of פי ́ ע. ‘What then is Apollos, and what is Paul.' Both these emendations are adopted by the later editors.

Paul and Apollos, men of the highest office and of the highest gifts, are ministers ( היב ́ ךןםןי) waiters, attendants, servants; so called not from their relation to God merely, as those who serve him, but also because of their relation to the church, whose they are, to whom they belong, and whom they serve.

By whom, i.e. by whose instrumentality, ye are believers, or, became believers. The design of the ministry is to bring men to "the obedience of faith," Romans 1:5. It is appointed for that end by God himself, and therefore it is of the greatest importance and value. This Paul does not deny. He admits, and often urges the necessity of the office for the extension and edification of the church, Ephesians 4:11-16. The people, therefore, are bound to regard the ministry as a divine institution, and to value its services; but preachers are not to be regarded as party leaders, or as lords over God's heritage.

Even as the Lord gave to every man; literally, to each one, i.e. to each minister. They are all servants, and each has his appointed work to perform, Romans 12:3. The Lord here probably refers to God, though elsewhere the appointment of ministers and the distribution of their various gifts are referred to Christ. Here, however, 1 Corinthians 3:9, 46 3:10, the reference is to God. In scripture the same act is sometimes referred to one, and sometimes to another of the persons in the Trinity, because they are one God.


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Bibliography
Hodge, Charles. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:5". Hodge's Commentary on Romans, Ephesians and First Corintians. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hdg/1-corinthians-3.html.

The Bible Study New Testament

After all? Neither Paul nor Apollos were "the Lord" in matters of religion. They were simply God's servants, working together to proclaim the Good News. The "party spirit" of the Corinthians contrasts sharply with the unity of Paul and Apollos. [MacKnight thinks the false teacher was taught and baptized by Peter, whom he honored instead of Paul (see note on 1 Corinthians 1:12); and that Paul here uses "Apollos" as a symbol of the false teacher.]


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Bibliography
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:5". "The Bible Study New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/1-corinthians-3.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

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