1 Corinthians 3:3
For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
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(3) For whereas.—Better, For since there is.

As men.—Better, after the manner of mani.e., after a merely human and not after a spiritually enlightened manner. In Romans 3:5, Galatians 1:2, also Romans 15:5, the opposite condition is expressed by the same Greek particle used with our Lord’s name, “according to Jesus Christ.”

3:1-4 The most simple truths of the gospel, as to man's sinfulness and God's mercy, repentance towards God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, stated in the plainest language, suit the people better than deeper mysteries. Men may have much doctrinal knowledge, yet be mere beginners in the life of faith and experience. Contentions and quarrels about religion are sad evidences of carnality. True religion makes men peaceable, not contentious. But it is to be lamented, that many who should walk as Christians, live and act too much like other men. Many professors, and preachers also, show themselves to be yet carnal, by vain-glorious strife, eagerness for dispute, and readiness to despise and speak evil of others.For ye are yet carnal - Though you are Christians, and are the friends of God in the main, yet your divisions and strifes show that you are yet, in some degree, under the influence of the principles which govern the people of this world. People who are governed solely by the principles of this world, evince a spirit of strife, emulation and contention; and just so far as you are engaged in strife, just so far do you show that you are governed by their principles and feelings.

For whereas - In proof that you are carnal I appeal to your contentions and strifes.

Envying - ζῆλος zēlos, zeal; used here in the sense of envy, as it is in James 3:14, James 3:16. It denotes, properly, any "fervour" of mind (from ζέω zeō), and may be applied to any exciting and agitating passion. The envy here referred to, was that which arose from the superior advantages and endowments which some claimed or possessed over others. Envy everywhere is a fruitful cause of strife. Most contentions in the church are somehow usually connected with envy.

And strife - Contention and dispute.

And divisions - Dissensions and quarrels. The margin correctly renders it "factions." The idea is, that they were split up into parties, and that those parties were embittered with mutual recriminations and reproaches, as they always are in a church.

And walk as men - Margin. "according to man." The word "walk" is used often in the Scriptures in the sense of "conduct" or "act." You conduct yourselves as human beings of this earth, that is, as people commonly do; you evince the same spirit that the great mass of mankind does. Instead of being filled with love; of being united and harmonious as the members of the same family ought to be, you are split up into factions as the people of the world are.

3. envying—jealousy, rivalry. As this refers to their feelings, "strife" refers to their words, and "divisions" to their actions [Bengel]. There is a gradation, or ascending climax: envying had produced strife, and strife divisions (factious parties) [Grotius]. His language becomes severer now as He proceeds; in 1Co 1:11 he had only said "contentions," he now multiplies the words (compare the stronger term, 1Co 4:6, than in 1Co 3:21).

carnal—For "strife" is a "work of the flesh" (Ga 5:20). The "flesh" includes all feelings that aim not at the glory of God, and the good of our neighbor, but at gratifying self.

walk as men—as unregenerate men (compare Mt 16:23). "After the flesh, not after the Spirit" of God, as becomes you as regenerate by the Spirit (Ro 8:4; Ga 5:25, 26).

For ye are yet carnal; not wholly carnal, but in a great measure so, not having your lusts and corrupt affections entirely subdued to the will of God, nor yet so much subdued as some other Christians have, and you ought to have. As an evidence of this he mindeth them of the

envying, strifes, and divisions that were amongst them.

Strife and envyings are reckoned amongst the works of the flesh, Galatians 5:19-21; they are all opposite to love, in which the perfection of a Christian lieth. He told us before what strifes and contentions he meant, and tells us it again in the next verse.

For ye are yet carnal,.... The Syriac reads it, , "ye are in the flesh": a phrase the apostle elsewhere uses of men in an unregenerate state; but this is not his meaning here, as before explained, but that carnality still prevailed among them, of which he gives proof and evidence:

for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? They envied each other's gifts and knowledge, strove about words to no profit, entered into warm debates and contentions about their ministers, and went into factions and parties, which were distinguished by the names they were most affected to; in all which they gave too clear evidence of their prevailing carnality, that they too much walked as other men, who make no profession of religion; that they were led by the judgment of men, and were carried away with human passions and inflections; and in their conduct could scarcely be distinguished from the rest of the world. The things that are here mentioned, and with which they are charged, are reckoned by the apostle among the works of the flesh, Galatians 5:19 the phrase, "and divisions", is omitted in the Alexandrian copy, and in some others, and in the Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions.

For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as {d} men?

(d) Using the tools of man's intellect and judgment.

1 Corinthians 3:3. Σαρκικοί] see on 1 Corinthians 3:1.

ὅπου] equivalent seemingly to quandoquidem (see Vigerus, ed. Herm. 431); but the conditioning state of things is locally conceived. Comp Hebrews 9:16; Hebrews 10:18; 4Ma 2:14; 4Ma 6:34; 4Ma 14:11; Plato, Tim. p. 86 E; the passages from Xenophon cited by Sturz. III. p. 307; Herod. i. 68; Thuc. viii. 27. 2, viii. 96. 1; Isocrates, Paneg. 186.

ζῆλος] Jealousy.

κατὰ ἄνθρ.] after the fashion of men. Comp on Romans 3:5; often, too, in classical writers, e.g. κατʼ ἄνθρ. φρονεῖν (Soph. Aj. 747, 764). The contrast here is to the mode of life conformed to the Divine Spirit; hence not different from κατὰ σάρκα in Romans 8:4.

Respecting the relation to each other of the three words ΖῆΛ., ἜΡ., ΔΙΧΟΣΤ., see Theophylact: ΠΑΤῊΡ ΓᾺΡ Ὁ ΖῆΛΟς Τῆς ἜΡΙΔΟς, ΑὝΤΗ ΔῈ ΤᾺς ΔΙΧΟΣΤΑΣΊΑς ΓΕΝΝᾷ.

On ΑὐΧΊ comp Bengel: “nam Spiritus non fert studium partium human-arum.” On the contrary, ζῆλος Κ.Τ.Λ[475] are ranked expressly among the ἔργα τῆς σαρκός, Galatians 5:20.

[475] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

1 Corinthians 3:3-9. § 9. GOD’S RIGHTS IN THE CHURCH. One idea runs through this chapter and into the next,—that of God’s Church, God’s temple at Corinth, in whose construction so many various builders are engaged (1 Corinthians 3:5-17). For this building’s sake, and because it is His, God beats down the pride of human craft, making all things, persons, times, serve His people, while they serve Christ, as Christ serves God (1 Corinthians 3:18-23). To God His servants are responsible; it is His to judge and commend them (1 Corinthians 4:1-5). Thus the thought that the Gospel is “God’s power, God’s wisdom,” pursued since 1 Corinthians 1:18, is brought to bear upon the situation in Corinth. God who sends the message of the cross, admitting in its communication no mixture of human wisdom (ch. 1), chose and inspired His own instruments for its importation (ch. 2). What presumption in the Cor[464] parties to appropriate the diff[465] Christian leaders, and inscribe their names upon rival banners!

[464] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[465] difference, different, differently.

3. For ye are yet carnal] The word carnal conveys a stronger reproach than natural (ch. 1 Corinthians 2:14). The latter, as we have seen, signifies the man whose hopes and desires are bounded by the limits of the physical principle of life. The former is applicable to those who are under the dominion of their sensual passions. He inculcates a truth which may seem strange to our ears when he tells his Corinthian converts that a taste for religious controversy is a sign of the strength of the animal nature in man. His language is less remarkable though not less true, when he reminds us (1 Corinthians 3:2) that an appetite for religious strife prevents us from discerning the deeper truths of the Christian faith. If it be asked how ‘they who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called saints’ can at the same time be carnal, we may answer, with Olshausen, that the spiritual man becomes carnal when he mingles his old unregenerate views with the new element of life he has received in Christ.

as men] Rather, after the manner of men.

1 Corinthians 3:3. Ὅπου) where.—ζῆλος, envying) This refers to the state of feeling.—ἔρις, strife) to the words.—διχοστασίαι, divisions) to the actions. The style of writing increases in strength; he had used the word contentions, 1 Corinthians 1:11; he now multiplies the words; in like manner he uses the word glorying, 1 Corinthians 3:21; afterwards, a severer expression, to be puffed up, 1 Corinthians 4:6.—κατὰ ἄνθρωπον, according to the ways of men) not according to the ways of God; after the manner of men.

Verse 3. - For ye are yet carnal. This is the reason for the spiritual dulness which your pride prevents you from recognizing. Envying, and strife, and divisions. The two latter words are omitted in some of the best manuscripts, and may have been added from Galatians 5:20. Partisanship and discord, the sins of the Corinthians - sins which have disgraced so many ages of Church history - are works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19), and involve many other sins (James 3:16), and are therefore sure proofs of the carnal mind, though they are usually accompanied by a boast of superior spiritual enlightenment. As men; that is, "as men, not as Christians." To walk as a mere ordinary human being is not to "walk in the Spirit" (Galatians 5:25); comp.," I speak as a man" (Romans 3:5). 1 Corinthians 3:3Carnal (σαρκικοί)

Here the milder word is used (see 1 Corinthians 3:1), having the nature of flesh. In 1 Corinthians 3:1, Paul would say that he was compelled to address the Corinthians as unspiritual, made of flesh. Here he says that though they have received the Spirit in some measure, they are yet under the influence of the flesh.

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