1 Dear brothers and sisters,* when I was with you I couldn't talk to you as I would to mature Christians. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in the Christian life.*1
2 I had to feed you with milk and not with solid food, because you couldn't handle anything stronger. And you still aren't ready,
3 for you are still controlled by your own sinful desires. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn't that prove you are controlled by your own desires? You are acting like people who don't belong to the Lord.
4 When one of you says, "I am a follower of Paul," and another says, "I prefer Apollos," aren't you acting like those who are not Christians?*2
5 Who is Apollos, and who is Paul, that we should be the cause of such quarrels? Why, we're only servants. Through us God caused you to believe. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us.
6 My job was to plant the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God, not we, who made it grow.
7 The ones who do the planting or watering aren't important, but God is important because he is the one who makes the seed grow.
8 The one who plants and the one who waters work as a team with the same purpose. Yet they will be rewarded individually, according to their own hard work.
9 We work together as partners who belong to God. You are God's field, God's building--not ours.
10 Because of God's special favor to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful.
11 For no one can lay any other foundation than the one we already have--Jesus Christ.
12 Now anyone who builds on that foundation may use gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw.
13 But there is going to come a time of testing at the judgment day to see what kind of work each builder has done. Everyone's work will be put through the fire to see whether or not it keeps its value.
14 If the work survives the fire, that builder will receive a reward.
15 But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builders themselves will be saved, but like someone escaping through a wall of flames.
16 Don't you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in* you?3
17 God will bring ruin upon anyone who ruins this temple. For God's temple is holy, and you Christians are that temple.
18 Stop fooling yourselves. If you think you are wise by this world's standards, you will have to become a fool so you can become wise by God's standards.
19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say, "God catches those who think they are wise in their own cleverness."*4
20 And again, "The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are worthless."*5
21 So don't take pride in following a particular leader. Everything belongs to you:
22 Paul and Apollos and Peter*; the whole world and life and death; the present and the future. Everything belongs to you,6
23 and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.
Read 1 Corinthians 4