Re: Re. 1 Cor. 3:10-17

From: Jim Beale (
Date: Tue May 20 1997 - 18:17:44 EDT

At 9:02 PM -0400 5/20/97, Paul F. Evans wrote:

>In the opening verse Paul speaks of laying a foundation and then
>speaks of ALLOS EPOIKODOMEI. The NASB translates this "and another
>is building upon it," the NIV "and someone else is building on it."
>Obviously the English prep. phrase is understood. Is this a general
>statement of the sort, "I planted the seed, Apolos watered..."
>(1 Cor. 3:6)? In other words, is Paul observing that in a general
>sense that others are building on the foundation he has laid, or is
>there someone specific in mind. That is, is the ALLOS somewhat
>emphatic (is that the right term?)?.

I think that the lack of the article with ALLOS lends a certain
indefiniteness to the sense. If Paul had written hO ALLOS, then I
think he would have had someone specific in mind. I suppose that
a synecdoche is in view, the singular ALLOS being used in place
of the distributive hEKASTOS in the next sentence.

>Paul was having problems in Corinth with Judaizers, and I was
>wondering if this construction seems to hint at it, ie. "another
>(singular) is building...." I ask this because he makes reference
>the possibility of sub-std. building materials.

I don't think that Paul would write that a Judaizer EPOIKODOMEI
EPI TON QEMELION - even with straw - since there is only one
foundation, which is Christ. Since the Judaizers preach another
gospel, they build on a different foundation.

>I seem to see a much less complicated "...another builds," here.
>In which case I feel as though the DE is somewhat adversative, "I
>laid..."...but another builds," one of Paul's barbed statements
>that makes a point ever so subtly!

I think that DE is somewhat adversative, in that it is not Paul
that is continuing the work at Corinth, but there is a continuative
sense to it as well. The work continues, and this seems to me to
be more central to the argument than the contrast.

>I am struggling with the ambuguity of this. Is paul saying "whose
>temple you are" or is he saying "whose you are" in the sense of
>belonging to God?

The relative pronoun hOITINES is plural in agreement with hUMEIS.
Normally the relative agrees with the antecedent in number, but
here it clearly does not (cf. Eph. 3:13 for another instance).

hOITINES could be construed with either hO NAOS TOU QEOU or hAGIOS.
I suppose that it is better to take it with hO NAOS TOU QEOU (cf.
3:16, 6:19). hOITINES is qualitative so I think it refers to the
quality in which the persons addressed are the temple of God; i.e.
as Christians. I would also see both a corporate and an individual
sense here -- Christians are collectively the temple of God (cf.
1 Peter 2:5) and individually (1 Cor. 6:19). Another aspect of
unity in diversity, E Pluribus Unum.

>One last question. What are we to make of the structure of:...
>other nouns linked grammatically, is it an attributive arrangement,
>where the the nouns serve as adjectives describing the foundation?
>I can't seem to grasp it!

No, XRUSION, ARGURION, etc., are not attributes of TON QEMELION,
(which is Christ) but are an enumeration of the possible building
materials which might be used to build upon the foundation.

>Please forgive me if these questions seem to be very elementary,
>but I seem to detect in this paragraph a veiled attempt by Paul to
>describe his position with respect to those who seem to be undermining
>his work at Corinth. I wonder if I may be reading more into the text
>than is really there.

In my opinion, you _are_ reading more into the text than is there.

See ya,
In Christ,
Jim Beale

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