Summary: 9 of 10. Paul reveals the traits of unspiritual men. Unspiritual men are unable to exist in harmony. But Why? Because...No mere men can Overcome...

NO MERE MEN-IX—1Corinthians 3:1-23

—SECTION 3(:18-23)—Their BOAST—


When it comes down to it, without tools, Mere Men’s abilities are severely limited, accomplishing only a very small amount of the work they desire.

All mankind realizes that their world is in need of a savior. Realizing that No Mere Men can accomplish the world’s greatest need…dealing with sin.

Paul reveals the traits of unspiritual men.

Unspiritual men are unable to exist in harmony.

Why are the unspiritual unable to live in harmony?


As we have discovered previously—No mere men can Overcome...

—SECTION 1(3:1-9)—



2. DIET(:2-3a)Sustenance

3. ENVY(:3bi)

4. STRIFE(:3bii)



7. MINISTRY(:4-5)


9. LABOR(:8-9)

—SECTION 2(3:9-17)—


10. FOUNDATION(:9-11)

11. EDIFICE(:10b)

12. QUALITY(:12-15)

13. PURPOSE(3:16-17)

—SECTION 3(3:18-23)—

Their BOAST:

No mere men can Overcome…

Their BOAST(:18-23)

14. DECEPTION(:18-20)


:18—“Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.”

Jer. 17:9-10—““The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.”

Thru these pictures(3:1-17). Paul is encouraging the Church to ‘wake up’ so that we will not be fooled(“deceived”).

It is possible for Christian individuals to consider themselves “wise.” In this age man cannot be “wise” in his flesh(1:18-31) but “wisdom” can only be had/found divinely in Christ.

We are told that individuals must become “fools” in order to become “wise.” This direction is taken because worldly wisdom is actually foolishness since it is not God’s wisdom(1:20-21).

“Deceive”—exapataw—1) To deceive. Strong—To seduce wholly. Used 5X.

From—ex—a primary preposition denoting origin (the point whence action or motion proceeds), From, out(of place, time, or cause; literal or figurative; direct or remote)—&—apataw—of uncertain derivation; To cheat, i.e. Delude.

“Among”—en—Prep.—1) In, by, with etc. Strong—a primary preposition denoting (fixed)position (in place, time or state), & (by implication) instrumentality (medially or constructively), i.e. a relation of rest (intermediate between eiv[into] & ek(from)); “In,” at, (up-)on, by, etc..

“Seems”—dokew—1) To be of opinion, think, suppose; 2) To seem, to be accounted, reputed; 3) It seems to me—3a) I think, judge: thus in question, 3b) It seems good to, pleased me, I determined. Dokew refers to the subjective judgment, which may or may not conform to the fact. Dokew & oiomai describe a subjective judgment growing out of inclination or a view of facts in their relation to us. Oiomai is a subjective judgment which has feeling rather than thought (dokew) for its ground. Strong—To think; by implication--To seem (truthfully or uncertainly).

“Wise”2X(See :10)—sofov—

“Age”—aiwn—1) For ever, an unbroken age, perpetuity of time, eternity; 2) The worlds, Universe; 3) period of time--Age. Aiwn is usually better expressed by age, it is the world at a given time, a particular period in the world's history. Aiwn, may also mean the spirit of the age, often in an unfavorable sense. Strong—properly--An age; by extension--Perpetuity(also past); by implication--The world; specially(Jewish)--A Messianic period(present or future).

“Become”—ginomai—1) To become, i.e. To come into existence, begin to be, receive being; 2) To become, i.e. to come to pass, happen—2a) Of events; 3) To arise, appear in history, come upon the stage—3a) Of men appearing in public; 4) To be made, finished—4a) Of miracles, to be performed, wrought; 5) To become, be made. Strong—a prolongation & middle voice form of a primary verb; To cause to be("gen"-erate), i.e. reflexively--To become(come into being), used with great latitude(literal, figurative, intensive, etc.).

“Fool”—mwrov—Adj.—1) Foolish; 2) Impious, godless. Strong—probably from the base of musthrion; Dull or stupid(as if shut up), i.e. Heedless, morally--Blockhead, apparently--Absurd. Used 13X.

:19—“For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness”;”

The OT declares that God is the One who catches the wise in their craftiness. The wise seem shrewd to themselves & others but the Lord stops them short to expose it’s selfish nature.

The quote is from Job 5:13 at the instruction of Eliphaz the Temanite. “Job is quoted in the N.T. only here & in Rom. 11:35 & both times with variations from the LXX.”—RWP

Job 5:13—“He catches the wise in their own craftiness, And the counsel of the cunning comes quickly upon them.”

Job 5:12-14— “"He frustrates the plotting of the shrewd, So that their hands cannot attain success. He captures the wise by their own shrewdness And the advice of the cunning is quickly thwarted. By day they meet with darkness, And grope at noon as in the night.”

“Excited partisans can easily excite themselves to a pious frenzy, hypnotize themselves with their own supposed devotion to truth.”—RWP

Man’s reasonings(apart from God) are useless when it comes to attaining truth, for God is the determiner of truth.

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