1 Corinthians 3:11
For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
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3:10-15 The apostle was a wise master-builder; but the grace of God made him such. Spiritual pride is abominable; it is using the greatest favours of God, to feed our own vanity, and make idols of ourselves. But let every man take heed; there may be bad building on a good foundation. Nothing must be laid upon it, but what the foundation will bear, and what is of a piece with it. Let us not dare to join a merely human or a carnal life with a Divine faith, the corruption of sin with the profession of Christianity. Christ is a firm, abiding, and immovable Rock of ages, every way able to bear all the weight that God himself or the sinner can lay upon him; neither is there salvation in any other. Leave out the doctrine of his atonement, and there is no foundation for our hopes. But of those who rest on this foundation, there are two sorts. Some hold nothing but the truth as it is in Jesus, and preach nothing else. Others build on the good foundation what will not abide the test, when the day of trail comes. We may be mistaken in ourselves and others; but there is a day coming that will show our actions in the true light, without covering or disguise. Those who spread true and pure religion in all its branches, and whose work will abide in the great day, shall receive a reward. And how great! how much exceeding their deserts! There are others, whose corrupt opinions and doctrines, or vain inventions and usages in the worship of God, shall be made known, disowned, and rejected, in that day. This is plainly meant of a figurative fire, not of a real one; for what real fire can consume religious rites or doctrines? And it is to try every man's works, those of Paul and Apollos, as well as others. Let us consider the tendency of our undertakings, compare them with God's word, and judge ourselves, that we be not judged of the Lord.For other foundation - It is "implied" by the course of the argument here, that This was the foundation which had been laid at Corinth, and on which the church there had been reared. And it is affirmed that no other foundation can be laid. A foundation is that upon which a building is raised; the foundation of a church is the doctrine on which it is established; that is, the doctrines which its members hold - those truths which lie at the basis of their hopes, and by embracing which they have been converted to God.

Can no man lay - That is, there is no other true foundation.

Which is Jesus Christ - Christ is often called the foundation; the stone; the cornerstone upon which the church is reared; Isaiah 28:16; Matthew 21:42; Acts 4:11; Ephesians 2:20; 2 Timothy 2:19; 1 Peter 2:6. The meaning is, that no true church can be reared which does not embrace and hold the true doctrines respecting him - those which pertain to his incarnation, his divine nature, his instructions, his example, his atonement, his resurrection, and ascension. The reason why no true church can be established without embracing the truth as it is in Christ is, that it is by him only that people can be saved; and where This doctrine is missing, all is missing that enters into the essential idea of a church. The fundamental doctrines of the Christian religion must be embraced, or a church cannot exist and where those doctrines are denied no association of people can be recognized as a church of God. Nor can the foundation be modified or shaped so as to suit the wishes of people. It must be laid as it is in the Scriptures; and the superstructure must be raised upon that alone.

11. (Isa 28:16; Ac 4:12; Eph 2:20).

For—my warning ("take heed," &c. 1Co 3:10) is as to the superstructure ("buildeth thereupon"), not as to the foundation: "For other foundation can no man lay, than that which has (already) been laid (by God) Jesus Christ," the person, not the mere abstract doctrine about Him, though the latter also is included; Jesus, God-Saviour; Christ, Messiah or Anointed.

can—A man can not lay any other, since the only one recognized by God has been already laid.

Can in this text doth not signify a mere natural power, but a rightful power: No man by any just right or authority can lay any other foundation, can preach any other doctrine of salvation, than that which I have already preached, which is the doctrine of salvation by Jesus Christ.

Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved, Acts 4:12.

For other foundation can no man lay,.... Men may attempt to lay other foundations than Christ, and build upon them, but to no purpose; they will be of no avail; all besides him are sandy foundations; such as fleshly privileges, a carnal descent, a religious education, an external profession of religion, a man's own righteousness, and the absolute mercy of God; but men ought to lay no other, nor can they, that will be of any advantage to themselves or others:

than that which is laid; by Jehovah the Father, both in his eternal counsels and covenant, when he set forth and appointed Christ to be the Saviour and Redeemer of his people; and in the fulness of time, when he sent him forth under the same characters; and by the Spirit of God, when he reveals Christ to them, and forms him in them; and by the ministers of the Gospel, who jointly agree to lay him ministerially, as the foundation for souls to build their hope upon: hence he is called the "foundation of the apostles and prophets", as here,

which is Jesus Christ; he is the foundation personally considered, as God-man and Mediator, on which the church, and every believer is built; he is the foundation of the covenant of grace, and of eternal salvation; of the faith and hope, peace, joy, and comfort of all the saints; and of the building of God, that house not made with hands, that city which has foundations, eternal glory in the other world; and he is the foundation, doctrinally considered; or the doctrines of his proper, deity, of his divine and eternal sonship, of his incarnation, of his Messiahship, of his obedience, sufferings, death, and resurrection from the dead, of justification by his righteousness, pardon by his blood, and atonement by his sacrifice, &c. are fundamental ones: the Jews were wont to call the principal articles of their religion, "foundations": Maimondes has entitled one of his tracts, "the foundations of the law"; but the doctrines respecting the person, offices, and grace of Christ, are the only foundation of the Gospel.

{5} For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

(5) Moreover, he shows what this foundation is, that is, Christ Jesus, from whom they may not turn away in the least amount in the building up of this building.

1 Corinthians 3:11. Γάρ] justifies the foregoing warning, in so far as it is given exclusively to the upbuilder: for with the layer of the foundation it is quite different, he cannot otherwise than, etc.; but as regards the upbuilder, the case is, as 1 Corinthians 3:12 ff. sets forth. We are not to bring in any intermediate thought to explain the γάρ, either with Billroth: “each, however, must bethink himself of carrying on the building;” or, with Hofmann, that in the case of all others the question simply concerns a right building up. Rather we are to note that 1 Corinthians 3:11 stands only in a preparatory relation to 1 Corinthians 3:12, in which the varying πῶς of the ἐποικοδομεῖν is exhibited.

δύναται] can, not may (Grotius, Glass, and others, including Storr, Rosenmüller, Pott, Billroth); for it is the Christian church that is spoken of, whose structure is incapable of having another foundation.

παρὰ τὸν κείμενον] i.e. different from that, which lies already there. Respecting παρά after ἄλλος in this sense, see Krüger, a[506] Dion. p. 9; Stallbaum, a[507] Phileb. p. 51; Ast, Lex. Plat. III. p. 28. The foundation already lying there, however, is not that which Paul had laid (so most interpreters, resting on 1 Corinthians 3:10; including de Wette, Neander, Maier, Hofmann); for his affirmation is universal, and if no one can lay another foundation than that which lies already there, Paul, of course, could not do so either, and therefore the κείμενος must have been in its place before the apostle himself laid his foundation. Hence the κείμενος θεμέλιος is that laid by God (so, rightly, Rückert and Olshausen), namely, Jesus Christ Himself, the fundamentum essentiale, He whom God sent, delivered up to death, raised again, and exalted, thereby making Him to be for us wisdom, righteousness, etc. (1 Corinthians 1:30), or, according to a kindred figure, the corner-stone (Ephesians 2:20; Matthew 21:42; Acts 4:10 f.; 1 Peter 2:6). Comp 1 Timothy 3:16. This is the objective foundation, which lies there for the whole of Christendom. But this foundation is laid (1 Corinthians 3:10) by the founder of a church, inasmuch as he makes Christ to be appropriated by believers, to be the contents of their conscious faith, and thereby establishes them in the character of a Christian church; that is the doctrinal laying of the foundation (fundamentum dogmaticum).

Observe further, that Paul says purposely Ἰησοῦς Χριστός, so as emphatically to designate the personal, historically manifested Christ. This ὅς ἐστιν Ἰησοῦς Χριστός is the sum of the fundamental Christian confession of faith, John 17:3; Php 2:11; Acts 4:10 ff.

[506] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[507] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

1 Corinthians 3:11 is a parenthetical comment on θεμέλιον: As to the foundation, that is settled; the workman has to build upon it, not to shift it, nor add to it.—θεμέλιον γὰρ ἄλλον οὐδεὶς δύναται θεῖναι παρὰ κ.τ.λ.: “For another foundation none can lay, beside (other than παρά, possibly suggesting also in competition with; or contrary to) that which is laid down, which is JESUS CHRIST;” other builders there are beside the architect, but no other ground for them to build upon.—κεῖμαι serves as pf. pass, to τίθημι (Php 1:16, etc.), connoting fixity of situation (positum est), and so of destination, as in Luke 2:34. The work of the Apostolic founders is done, once and for ever; so long as the Church lasts, men will build on what they laid down.—θεμέλιον, here masc. (read as adj[542], sc. λίθον), as in 2 Timothy 2:19, Hebrews 11:10, Revelation 21:14; Revelation 21:19, and sometimes in LXX; neut. in Acts 16:26, as in the κοινή, and commonly in LXX.—ὅς ἐστιν—continuative, rather than definitive (as in 1 Corinthians 3:5): “There is but one foundation, and it is Jesus Christ”; cf. 1 Corinthians 2:2. 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, etc.—Ἰησοῦς Χριστός, (not Χ. ., nor ὁ Χ.), the actual historical person, not any doctrine or argument about Him—“Jesus” revealed and known as “Christ”: see Acts 2:22; Acts 2:36; Acts 17:3, etc., for the formation of the name; and for this, with Paul the rarer, order, cf. 1 Corinthians 2:2, Romans 5:15; Romans 16:25, etc.,—also Hebrews 13:8; in each instance Jesus Christ connotes the recognised facts as to His life, death, etc. (cf. note on 1 Corinthians 1:2).

[542] adjective.

11. than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ] “He does not say τεθέντα, laid, but κείμενον, lying, of His own accord.” Wordsworth. There is a reference here to the prophecy in Isaiah 28:16, which is quoted and applied to Christ in 1 Peter 2:6. See also Ephesians 2:20, and Psalm 118:22, quoted and applied to Himself by Christ in Matthew 21:42. It is to be noticed that it is no doctrine about Christ, but Christ Himself that is laid as the foundation. For upon Christ every act of the Christian, every faculty the Christian possesses, nay, his very life depends. ‘Without Me,’ i.e. cut off from Me, separated from Me, ‘ye can do nothing,’ St John 15:5. See also ch. 1 Corinthians 1:9, and note. “Without the evidence of this inward life in men, it is impossible to imagine either Christian or Church.”—Olshausen. “The Apostle preached Christ—Christ the Example—Christ the Life—Christ the Son of Man—Christ the Son of God—Christ risen—Christ the King of Glory.”—Robertson.

1 Corinthians 3:11. Γὰρ, for) The reason, why he says so deliberately, builds thereon.—οὐδεις, no man) not even Apollos.—θεῖναι, lay) at Corinth, and wherever Christ was made known.—Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς, Jesus Christ) each name here is properly placed.

Verse 11. - Other foundation can no man lay. Any "other" gospel is not merely "another," but "a different" gospel (Galatians 1:9). That which is laid; rather, that is lying (comp. 1 Peter 2:6). It has not been placed there (τεθέντα) by any human bands, but lies there by the eternal will. Which is Jesus Christ. "The doctrine of Jesus Christ is the foundation of all theology; his person of all life." This is again and again inculcated in Scripture: Isaiah 28:16, "Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation, a stone, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation." On this rock the Church is built (Matthew 16:18: Acts 4:11, 12; Ephesians 2:20). 1 Corinthians 3:11
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