1 Corinthians 3:9
For we are laborers together with God: you are God's husbandry, you are God's building.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(9) Thrice in this verse the Apostle repeats the name of God with emphasis, to explain and to impress the assertion of the previous verse, that men are to recognise the unity, and God alone the diversity, in the ministerial work and office. “We are GOD’S fellow-labourers; you are GOD’S field—GOD’S house.” The image is thus suddenly altered from agriculture to architecture, as the latter can be more amplified, and will better illustrate the great variety of work of which the Apostle proceeds subsequently to speak. This sudden change of metaphor is a characteristic of St. Paul’s style; a similar instance is to be found in 2Corinthians 10:4-8, where the illustration given from architecture is used instead of the military metaphor which is employed in the earlier verses of that passage. See also 1Corinthians 9:7, and Ephesians 3:17, and Colossians 2:6-7, where there is the introduction of three distinct images in rapid succession in so many sentences. It has been suggested that possibly the use of the word “field,” in the Greek “Georgion,” was the cause of the Christian name “George” becoming so popular in the Church.

1 Corinthians

GOD’S FELLOW-WORKERS

1 Corinthians 3:9
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The characteristic Greek tendency to factions was threatening to rend the Corinthian Church, and each faction was swearing by a favourite teacher. Paul and his companion, Apollos, had been taken as the figureheads of two of these parties, and so he sets himself in the context, first of all to show that neither of the two was of any real importance in regard to the Church’s life. They were like a couple of gardeners, one of whom did the planting, and the other the watering; but neither the man that put the little plant into the ground, nor the man that came after him with a watering-pot, had anything to do with originating the mystery of the life by which the plant grew. That was God’s work, and the pair that had planted and watered were nothing. So what was the use of fighting which of two nothings was the greater?

But then he bethinks himself that that is not quite all. The man that plants and the man that waters are something after all. They do not communicate life, but they do provide for its nourishment. And more than that, the two operations-that of the man with the dibble and that of the man with the watering-pot-are one in issue; and so they are partners, and in some respects may be regarded as one. Then what is the sense of pitting them against each other?

But even that is not quite all; though united in operation, they are separate in responsibility and activity, and will be separate in reward. And even that is not all; for, being nothing and yet something, being united and yet separate, they are taken into participation and co-operation with God; and as my text puts it, in what is almost a presumptuous phrase, they are ‘labourers together with Him.’ That partnership of co-operation is not merely a partnership of the two, but it is a partnership of the three-God and the two who, in some senses, are one.

Now whilst this text is primarily spoken in regard to the apostolic and evangelistic work of these early teachers, the principle which it embodies is a very wide one, and it applies in all regions of life and activity, intellectual, scholastic, philanthropic, social. Where-ever men are thinking God’s thoughts and trying to carry into effect any phase or side of God’s manifold purposes of good and blessing to the world, there it is true. We claim no special or exclusive prerogative for the Christian teacher. Every man that is trying to make men understand God’s thought, whether it is expressed in creation, or whether it is written in history, or whether it is carven in half-obliterated letters on the constitution of human nature, every man who, in any region of society or life, is seeking to effect the great designs of the universal loving Father-can take to himself, in the measure and according to the manner of his special activity, the great encouragement of my text, and feel that he, too, in his little way, is a fellow-helper to the truth and a fellow-worker with God. But then, of course, according to New Testament teaching, and according to the realities of the case, the highest form in which men thus can co-operate with God, and carry into effect His purposes is that in which men devote themselves, either directly or indirectly, to spreading throughout the whole world the name and the power of the Saviour Jesus Christ, in whom all God’s will is gathered, and through whom all God’s blessings are communicated to mankind. So the thought of my text comes appropriately when I have to bring before you the claims of our missionary operations.

Now, the first way in which I desire to look at this great idea expressed in these words, is that we find in it

I. A solemn thought.

‘Labourers together with God.’ Cannot He do it all Himself? No. God needs men to carry out His purposes. True, on the Cross, Jesus spoke the triumphant word, ‘It is finished!’ He did not thereby simply mean that He had completed all His suffering; but He meant that He had then done all which the world needed to have done in order that it should be a redeemed world. But for the distribution and application of that finished work God depends on men. You all know, in your own daily businesses, how there must be a middleman between the mill and the consumer. The question of organising a distributing agency is quite as important as any other part of the manufacturer’s business. The great reservoir is full, but there has to be a system of irrigating-channels by which the water is carried into every corner of the field that is to be watered. Christian men individually, and the Church collectively, supply-may I call it the missing link?-between a redeeming Saviour and the world which He has redeemed in act, but which is not actually redeemed, until it has received the message of the great Redemption that is wrought. The supernatural is implanted in the very heart of the mass of leaven by the Incarnation and Sacrifice of Jesus Christ; but the spreading of that supernatural revelation is left in the hands of men who work through natural processes, and who thus become labourers together with God, and enable Christ to be to single souls, in blessed reality, what He is potentially to the world, and has been ever since. He died upon the Cross. ‘It is finished.’ Yes-because it is finished, our work begins.

Let me remind you of the profound symbolism in that incident where our Lord for once appeared conspicuously, and almost ostentatiously, before Israel as its true King. He had need-as He Himself said-of the meek beast on which He rode. He cannot pass, in His coronation procession, through the world unless He has us, by whom He may be carried into every corner of the earth. So ‘the Lord has need’ of us, and we are ‘fellow-labourers with Him.’

But this same thought suggests another point. We have here a solemn call addressed to every Christian man and woman.

Do not let us run away with the idea that, because here the Apostle is speaking in regard to himself and Apollos, he is enunciating a truth which applies only to Apostles and evangelists. It is true of all Christians. My knowledge of and faith in Jesus Christ as my own personal Saviour impose upon me the obligation, in so far as my opportunities and capacities extend, thus to co-operate with Him in spreading His great Name. Every Christian man, just because he is a Christian, is invested with the power-and power to its last particle is duty-and is, therefore, burdened with the honourable obligation to work for God. There is such a thing as ‘coming to the help of the Lord,’ though that phrase seems to reverse altogether the true relation. It is the duty of every Christian, partly because of loyalty to Jesus, and partly because of the responsibility which the very constitution of society lays upon every one of us, to diffuse what he possesses, and to be a distributing agent for the life that he himself enjoys. Brethren! there is no possibility of Christian men or women being fully faithful to the Saviour, unless they recognise that the duty of being a fellow-labourer with God inevitably follows on being a possessor of Christ’s salvation; and that no Apostle, no official, no minister, no missionary, has any more necessity laid upon him to preach the Gospel, nor pulls down any heavier woe on himself if he is unfaithful, than has and does each one of Christ’s servants.

So ‘we are fellow-labourers with God.’ Alas! alas! how poorly the average Christian realises-I do not say discharges, but realises-that obligation! Brethren, I do not wish to find fault, but I do beseech you to ask yourselves whether, if you are Christians, you are doing anything the least like what my text contemplates as the duty of all Christians.

May I say a word or two with regard to another aspect of this solemn call? Does not the thought of working along with God prescribe for us the sort of work that we ought to do? We ought to work in God’s fashion, and if we wish to know what God’s fashion is, we have but to look at Jesus Christ. We ought to work in Jesus Christ’s fashion. We all know what that involved of self-sacrifice, of pain, of weariness, of utter self-oblivious devotion, of gentleness, of tenderness, of infinite pity, of love running over. ‘The master’s eye makes a good servant.’ The Master’s hand working along with the servant ought to make the servant work after the Master’s fashion. ‘As My Father hath sent Me, so send I you.’ If we felt that side by side with us, like two sailors hauling on one rope, ‘the Servant of the Lord’ was toiling, do you not think it would burn up all our selfishness, and light up all our indifference, and make us spend ourselves in His service? A fellow-labourer with God will surely never be lazy and selfish. Thus my text has in it, to begin with, a solemn call.

It suggests

II. A signal honour.

Suppose a great painter, a Raphael or a Turner, taking a little boy that cleaned his brushes, and saying to him, ‘Come into my studio, and I will let you do a bit of work upon my picture.’ Suppose an aspirant, an apprentice in any walk of life, honoured by being permitted to work along with some one who was recognised all over the world as being at the very top of that special profession. Would it not be a feather in the boy’s cap all his life? And would he not think it the greatest honour that ever had been done him that he was allowed to co-operate, in however inferior a fashion, with such an one? Jesus Christ says to us, ‘Come and work here side by side with Me,’ But Christian men, plenty of them, answer, ‘It is a perpetual nuisance, this continual application for money! money! money! work! work! work! It is never-ending, and it is a burden!’ Yes, it is a burden, just because it is an honour. Do you know that the Hebrew word which means ‘glory’ literally means ‘weight’ ? There is a great truth in that. You cannot get true honours unless you are prepared to carry them as burdens. And the highest honour that Jesus Christ gives to men when He says to them, not only ‘Go work to-day in My vineyard,’ but ‘Come, work here side by side with Me,’ is a heavy weight which can only be lightened by a cheerful heart.

Is it not the right way to look at all the various forms of Christian activity which are made imperative upon Christian people, by their possession of Christianity as being tokens of Christ’s love to us? Do you remember that this same Apostle said, ‘Unto me who am less than the least of all saints is this grace given, that I should preach the unsearchable riches of Christ?’ He could speak about burdens and heavy tasks, and being ‘persecuted but not forsaken,’ almost crushed down and yet not in despair, and about the weights that came upon him daily, ‘the care of all the churches,’ but far beneath all the sense of his heavy load lay the thrill of thankful wonder that to him, of all men in the world, knowing as he did better than anybody else could do his own imperfection and insufficiency, this distinguishing honour had been bestowed, that he was made the Apostle to the Gentiles. That is the way in which the true man will always look at what the selfish man, and the half-and-half Christian, look at as being a weight and a weariness, or a disagreeable duty, which is to be done as perfunctorily as possible. One question that a great many who call themselves Christians ask is, ‘With how little service can I pass muster?’ Ah, it is because we have so little of the Spirit of Christ in us that we feel burdened by His command, ‘Go ye into all the world,’ as being so heavy; and that so many of us-I leave you to judge if you are in the class-so many of us make it criminally light if we do not ignore it altogether. I believe that, if it were possible to conceive of the duty and privilege of spreading Christ’s name in the world being withdrawn from the Church, all His real servants would soon be yearning to have it back again. It is a token of His love; it is a source of infinite blessings to ourselves; ‘if the house be not worthy, your peace shall return to you again.’

And now, lastly, we have suggested by this text

III. A strong encouragement.

‘Fellow-labourers with God’-then, God is a Fellow-labourer with us. The co-operation works both ways, and no man who is seeking to spread that great salvation, to distribute that great wealth, to irrigate some little corner of the field by some little channel that he has dug, needs to feel that he is labouring alone. If I am working with God, God is working with me. Do you remember that most striking picture which is drawn in the verses appended to Mark’s Gospel, which tells how the universe seemed parted into two halves, and up above in the serene the Lord ‘sat on the right hand of God,’ while below, in the murky and obscure, ‘they went everywhere preaching the Word.’ The separation seems complete, but the two halves are brought together by the next word-’The Lord also,’ sitting up yonder, ‘working with them’ the wandering preachers down here, ‘confirming the words with signs following.’ Ascended on high, entered into His rest, having finished His work, He yet is working with us, if we are labourers together with God. If we turn to the last book of Scripture, which draws back the curtain from the invisible world which is all filled with the glorified Christ, and shows its relations to the earthly militant church, we read no longer of a Christ enthroned in apparent ease, but of a Christ walking amidst the candlesticks, and of a Lamb standing in the midst of the Throne, and opening the seals, launching forth into the world the sequences of the world’s history, and of the Word of God charging His enemies on His white horse, and behind Him the armies of God following. The workers who labour with God have the ascended Christ labouring with them.

But if God works with us, success is sure. Then comes the old question that Gideon asked with bitterness of heart, when he was threshing out his handful of wheat in a corner to avoid the oppressors, ‘If the Lord be with us, wherefore is all this come upon us? Will any one say that the progress of the Gospel in the world has been at the rate which its early believers expected, or at the rate which its own powers warranted them to expect? Certainly not. And so it comes to this, that whilst every true labourer has God working with him, and therefore success is certain, the planter and the waterer can delay the growth of the plant by their unfaithfulness, by not expecting success, by not so working as to make it likely, or by neutralising their evangelistic efforts by their worldly lives. When Jesus Christ was on earth, it is recorded, ‘He could there do no mighty works because of their unbelief, save that He laid His hands on a few sick folk and healed them.’ A faithless Church, a worldly Church, a lazy Church, an unspiritual Church, an un-Christlike Church-which, to a large extent, is the designation of the so-called Church of to day-can clog His chariot-wheels, can thwart the work, can hamper the Divine Worker. If the Christians of Manchester were revived, they could win Manchester for Jesus. If the Christians of England lived their Christianity, they could make England what it never has been but in name-a Christian country. If the Church universal were revived, it could win the world. If the single labourer, or the community of such, is labouring ‘in the Lord,’ their labour will not be in vain; and if they thus plant and water, God will give the increase.3:5-9 The ministers about whom the Corinthians contended, were only instruments used by God. We should not put ministers into the place of God. He that planteth and he that watereth are one, employed by one Master, trusted with the same revelation, busied in one work, and engaged in one design. They have their different gifts from one and the same Spirit, for the very same purposes; and should carry on the same design heartily. Those who work hardest shall fare best. Those who are most faithful shall have the greatest reward. They work together with God, in promoting the purposes of his glory, and the salvation of precious souls; and He who knows their work, will take care they do not labour in vain. They are employed in his husbandry and building; and He will carefully look over them.For we are labourers together with God - Θεοῦ γάρ ἐσμεν συνεργοί Theou gar esmen sunergoi. We are God's co-workers. A similar expression occurs in 2 Corinthians 6:1, "We then as workers together with him," etc. This passage is capable of two significations: first, as in our translation, that they were co-workers with God; engaged with him in his work, that he and they cooperated in the production of the effect; or that it was a joint-work; as we speak of a partnercy, or of joint-effort among people. So many interpreters have understood this. If this is the sense of the passage, then it means that as a farmer may be said to be a co-worker with God when he plants and tills his field, or does that without which God would not work in that case, or without which a harvest would not be produced, so the Christian minister cooperates with God in producing the same result. He is engaged in performing that which is indispensable to the end; and God also, by His Spirit, cooperates with the same design. If this is the idea, it gives a special sacredness to the work of the ministry, and indeed to the work of the farmer and the vinedresser. There is no higher honor than for a man to be engaged in doing the same things which God does, and participating with him in accomplishing his glorious plans. But doubts have been suggested in regard to this interpretation:

(1) The Greek does not of necessity imply this. It is literally, not we are his co-partners, but we are his fellow-laborers, that is, fellow-laborers in his employ, under his direction - as we say of servants of the same rank they are fellow-laborers of the same master, not meaning that the master was engaged in working with them, but that they were fellow-laborers one with another in his employment.

(2) there is no expression that is parallel to this. There is none that speaks of God's operating jointly with his creatures in producing the same result. They may be engaged in regard to the same end; but the sphere of God's operations and of their operations is distinct. God does one thing; and they do another, though they may contribute to the same result. The sphere of God's operations in the growth of a tree is totally distinct from that of the man who plants it. The man who planted it has no agency in causing the juices to circulate; in expanding the bud or the leaf; that is, in the proper work of God - In 3 John 1:8, Christians are indeed said to he "fellow-helpers to the truth" συνεργοὶ τῆ ἀληθεία sunergoi tē alētheia; that is, they operate with the truth, and contribute by their labors and influence to that effect. In Mark also Mark 16:20, it is said that the apostles "went forth and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them" (τοῦ κυρίου συνεργοῖντος tou kuriou sunergointos), where the phrase means that the Lord cooperated with them by miracles, etc. The Lord, by his own proper energy, and in his own sphere, contributed to the success of the work in which they were engaged.

(3) the main design and scope of this whole passage is to show that God is all - that the apostles are nothing; to represent the apostles not as joint-workers with God, but as working by themselves, and God as alone giving efficiency to all that was done. The idea is, that of depressing or humbling the apostles, and of exalting God; and this idea would not be consistent with the interpretation that they were joint-laborers with him. While, therefore, the Greek would hear the interpretation conveyed in our translation, the sense may perhaps be, that the apostles were joint-laborers with each other in God's service; that they were united in their work, and that God was all in all; that they were like servants employed in the service of a master, without saying that the master participated with them in their work. This idea is conveyed in the translation of Doddridge, "we are the fellow-laborers of God." So Rosenmuller, Calvin, however, Grotius, Whitby, and Bloomfield, coincide with our version in the interpretation. The Syriac renders it "We work with God." The Vulgate, "We are the aids of God."

Ye are God's husbandry - (γεώργιον geōrgion); margin, "tillage." This word occurs no where else in the New Testament. It properly denotes a "tilled" or "cultivated field;" and the idea is, that the church at Corinth was the field on which God had bestowed the labor of tillage, or culture, to produce fruit. The word is used by the Septuagint in Genesis 26:14, as the translation of צבדה ‛abudaah; "For he had 'possession' of flocks," etc.; in Jeremiah 51:23, as the translation of צמד tsemed "a yoke;" and in Proverbs 24:30; Proverbs 31:16, as the translation of שׂדי saadeh, "a field;" "I went by the 'field' of the slothful," etc. The sense here is, that all their culture was of God; that as a church they were under his care; and that all that had been produced in them was to be traced to his cultivation.

God's building - This is another metaphor. The object of Paul was to show that all that had been done for them had been really accomplished by God. For this purpose he first says that they were God's cultivated field; then he changes the figure; draws his illustration from architecture, and says, that they had been built by him as an architect rears a house. It does not rear itself; but it is reared by another. So he says of the Corinthians, "Ye are the building which God erects." The same figure is used in 2 Corinthians 6:16, and Ephesians 2:21; see also Hebrews 3:6; 1 Peter 2:5. The idea is, that God is the supreme agent in the founding and establishing of the church, in all its gifts and graces.

9. Translate, as the Greek collocation of words, and the emphasis on "God" thrice repeated, requires, "For (in proof that "each shall receive reward according to his own labor," namely, from God) it is of God that we are the fellow workers (laboring with, but under, and belonging to Him as His servants, 2Co 5:20; 6:1; compare Ac 15:4; see on [2283]1Th 3:2) of God that ye are the field (or tillage), of God that ye are the building" [Alford]. "Building" is a new image introduced here, as suited better than that of husbandry, to set forth the different kinds of teaching and their results, which he is now about to discuss. "To edify" or "build up" the Church of Christ is similarly used (Eph 2:21, 22; 4:29). Though compared with God we are nothing, yet our station is no mean station; God works as the principal efficient Cause, we work with God as his instruments; God worketh one way, by his secret influence upon the heart, we another way, by publication of the gospel in people’s ears, but the scope and end of the work is the same. The Lord is said to work with his ministers, Mark 16:20, and they are here said to work with him. Hence he proveth what he had before said, that they should be rewarded; God will not suffer those who work with him to be without their reward: as also that they were one, for they are all labourers together with God. Yet do not think yourselves our husbandry, for you are

God’s husbandry: thus God’s people, Isaiah 61:3, are called the planting of the Lord.

God’s building: thus the church is called the house of God, 1 Timothy 3:15. Still the apostle minds them, that they were God’s, not their minister’s; it was God to whom they were beholden for their conversion, for their edification, &c. For we are labourers together with God,.... The ministers of the Gospel are labourers in the Lord's vineyard, and not loiterers; their work is a laborious work, both to body and mind; which lies in close study and meditation, in diligent reading and constant prayer, in frequent ministration of the word, and administration of ordinances; besides reproofs, admonitions, and exhortations, counsels, and instructions, which are often necessary: it is a work, which no man is sufficient for of himself; what requires diligence, industry, and faithfulness; is honourable, and, when rightly performed, deserves respect: nor do they labour alone, but with God; not as co-ordinate, but as subordinate workers; for though they labour in planting and watering, yet they bear no part with him in giving the increase; he is the husbandman, the chief master builder, they are labourers under him; however, he works with them; hence their labours are not in vain, and they have great encouragement to go on in their work; and they are God's labourers with one another, which is a sense of the phrase not to be overlooked. The apostle often, in his epistles, speaks of his fellow workmen, and fellow labourers, who wrought together with him under God:

ye are God's husbandry; or tillage; he is the proprietor of the field, the occupier of it, the husbandman who breaks up the fallow ground of the hearts of his people; he casts in the seed of grace, he makes the ground good, and causes it to bring forth fruit; the churches of Christ are his property, land of his fertilizing, and all the fruit belongs unto him; they are gardens of his planting, and vineyards of his watering, and which he keeps night and day, lest any hurt:

ye are God's building; as the former metaphor is taken from agriculture, this is from architecture: believers in a church state are God's house, in which he dwells, and which he himself has built; he has laid the foundation, which is Jesus Christ; he makes his people lively stones, and lays them on it; he raises up the superstructure, and will complete the building, and ought to bear all the glory, and in all which he makes use of his ministers as instruments.

For we are {e} labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.

(e) Serving under him: now they who serve under another do nothing by their own strength, but as it is given them of grace, which grace makes them fit for that service. See 1Co 15:10, 2Co 3:6. All the increase that comes by their labour proceeds from God in such a way that no part of the praise of it may be given to the servant.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Corinthians 3:9. Θεοῦσυνεργοὶ sums up in two words, and grounds upon a broad principle (γάρ), what 1 Corinthians 3:6 ff. have set out in detail: “we are God’s fellow-workmen”—employed upon His field, His building; and “we are God’s fellow-workmen”—labouring jointly at the same task. The συν- of συνεργοὶ takes up the ἕν εἰσιν of 1 Corinthians 3:8; the context (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:6) forbids our referring it to the dependent gen[520] (cf. also 2 Corinthians 1:24; 2 Corinthians 6:1, Php 3:17, 3 John 1:8), as though P. meant “fellow-workers with God”: “the work (Arbeit) of the διάκονος would be improperly conceived as a Mit-arbeit in relation to God; moreover the metaphors which follow exclude the thought of such a fellow-working” (Hn[521]); also Bg[522], “operarii Dei, et co-operarii invicem”.

[520] genitive case.

[521] C. F. G. Heinrici’s Erklärung der Korintherbriefe (1880), or 1 Korinther in Meyer’s krit.-exegetisches Kommentar (1896).

[522] Bengel’s Gnomon Novi Testamenti.

As in regard to the labourers, so with the objects of their toil, God is all and in all: Θεοῦ γεώργιον, Θεοῦ οἰκοδομή ἐστε, “God’s tilth (arvum, land for tillage, Ed[523]), God’s building you are”. For God as γεωργῶν, cf. John 15:1; as οἰκοδομῶν, Hebrews 3:4; Hebrews 11:10. “Of the two images, γεώργ. implies the organic growth of the Church, οἰκοδ. the mutual adaptation of its parts” (Lt[524]); the one looks backward to 1 Corinthians 3:6 ff., the other forward to 1 Corinthians 3:10 ff.—Οἰκοδομὴ displaces οἰκοδόμημα in later Gr[525]—Θεοῦ, anarthrous by correlation (see note on ἀποδ. Πν., 1 Corinthians 2:4): the three gens. are alike gens. of possession—“God’s workmen, employed on God’s field-tillage and God’s house-building”. Realising God’s all-comprehending rights in His Church, the too human Cor[526] (1 Corinthians 3:3 f.) will come to think justly of His ministers.

[523] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians.2

[524] J. B. Lightfoot’s (posthumous) Notes on Epp. of St. Paul (1895).

[525] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

[526]
Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.9. For we are labourers together with God] The Apostle now gives the argument another turn. From man’s point of view the preachers of the Gospel are mere instruments in God’s hands. Not so from God’s. He regards them as responsible beings, responsible to Him for the work they do. But the results are still God’s and God’s alone. The ministers of Christ may be fellow-labourers with God, but the husbandry, the building, are God’s, and not theirs.1 Corinthians 3:9. Θεοῦ, of God) This word is solemnly repeated immediately after,[26] and is emphatically put at the beginning thrice; as in 1 Corinthians 3:10, grace; and in 1 Corinthians 3:11, foundation.—συνεργοὶ, labourers together with) We are God’s labourers, and in turn labourers together with Him.—γεώργιον, husbandry) This constitutes the sum of what goes before; γεώργιον, a word of wide and comprehensive meaning, comprising the field, the garden, and the vineyard.—ΟἸΚΟΔΟΜῊ, building) This constitutes the sum of what follows.

[26] By the figure anaphora, i.e., the frequent repetition of words in the beginnings of Sections, or in adorning and amplifying weighty arguments.—Append.—T.Verse 9. - God's fellow workers. Throughout the Bible we are taught that God requires the work of man, and that he will not help those who will do nothing for themselves or for him. The world was to be evangelized, not by sudden miracle, but by faithful human labour (Mark 16:20). God's husbandry; rather. God's field, or tilled land. The thought which he desires again and again to enforce is that they belong to God, not to the parties of human teachers. The word" husbandry" may also mean vineyard, and the metaphor is the same as in Isaiah 5:1; Isaiah 27:2; John 15:1; Matthew 13:3-30; Luke 13:6-9; Romans 11:16-24. God's building. This is one of St. Paul's favourite metaphors, as in vers. 16, 17; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:20 - 22; Romans 15:20; 2 Timothy 2:19 (comp. 1 Peter 2:5; Revelation 21:14). God's

In this and the two following clauses, God is emphatic. "It is of God that ye are the fellow-workers."

Husbandry (γεώργιον)

Rev., in margin, tilled land. Only here in the New Testament. Bengel says: "Embracing field, garden, and vineyard."

Building (οἰκοδομή)

Paul's metaphors are drawn from the works and customs of men rather than from the works of nature. "In his epistles," says Archdeacon Farrar, "we only breathe the air of cities and synagogues." The abundance of architectural metaphors is not strange in view of the magnificent temples and public buildings which he was continually seeing at Antioch, Athens, Corinth, and Ephesus. His frequent use of to build and building in a moral and spiritual sense is noteworthy. In this sense the two words οἰκοδομέω and οἰκοδομή occur twenty-six times in the New Testament, and in all but two cases in Paul's writings. Peter uses build in a similar sense; 1 Peter 2:5. See edify, edification, build, Acts 9:31; Romans 15:20; 1 Corinthians 8:1; 1 Corinthians 8:10, where emboldened is literally built up, and is used ironically. Also Romans 14:19; Romans 15:2; 1 Corinthians 14:3; Ephesians 2:21, etc. It is worth noting that in the Epistle to the Hebrews, while the same metaphor occurs, different words are used. Thus in Hebrews 3:3, Hebrews 3:4, built, builded, represent κατασκευάζω to prepare. In Hebrews 11:10, τεχνίτης artificer, and δημιουργὸς, lit., a workman for the public: A.V., builder and maker. This fact has a bearing on the authorship of the epistle. In earlier English, edify was used for build in the literal sense. Thus Piers Ploughman: "I shal overturne this temple and a-down throwe it, and in thre daies after edifie it newe." See on Acts 20:32. In the double metaphor of the field and the building, the former furnishes the mould of Paul's thought in 1 Corinthians 3:6-9, and the latter in 1 Corinthians 3:10-17. Edwards remarks that the field describes the raw material on which God works, the house the result of the work.

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