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1 Corinthians 3:5

    1 Corinthians 3:5 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom you believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    What then is Apollos? and what is Paul? Ministers through whom ye believed; and each as the Lord gave to him.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    What then is Apollos? and what is Paul? They are but servants who gave you the good news as God gave it to them.

    Webster's Revision

    What then is Apollos? and what is Paul? Ministers through whom ye believed; and each as the Lord gave to him.

    World English Bible

    Who then is Apollos, and who is Paul, but servants through whom you believed; and each as the Lord gave to him?

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    What then is Apollos? and what is Paul? Ministers through whom ye believed; and each as the Lord gave to him.

    Clarke's Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:5

    Ministers by whom ye believed - The different apostles who have preached unto you the word of life are the means which God has used to bring you to the knowledge of Christ. No one of those has either preached or recommended himself; they all preach and recommend Christ Jesus the Lord.

    Even as the Lord gave to every man? - Whatever difference there may be in our talents, it is of God's making; and he who knows best what is best for his Church, has distributed both gifts and graces according to his own mind; and, as his judgment is infallible, all these dispensations must be right. Paul, therefore, is as necessary to the perfecting of the Church of Christ as Apollos; and Apollos, as Paul. Both, but with various gifts, point out the same Christ, building on one and the same foundation.

    Barnes' Notes on 1 Corinthians 3:5

    Who then is Paul ... - See the notes at 1 Corinthians 1:13. Why should a party be formed which should be named after Paul? What has he done or taught that should lead to this? What eminence has he that should induce any to call themselves by his name? He is on a level with the other apostles; and all are but ministers, or servants, and have no claim to the honor of giving names to sects and parties. God is the fountain of all your blessings, and whoever may have been the "instrument" by whom you have believed, it is improper to regard them as, in any sense the fountain of your blessings, or to arrange yourselves under their name.

    But ministers - Our word minister, as now used, does not express the proper force of this word. We in applying it to preachers of the gospel do not usually advert to the original sense of the word, and the reasons why it was given to them. The original word διάκονοι diakonoi denotes properly "servants" in contradistinction from "masters" Matthew 20:26; Matthew 23:11; Mark 9:35; Mark 10:43; and denotes those of course who are in an inferior rank of life. They did not have command, or authority, but were subject to the command of others. It is applied to the preachers of the gospel because they are employed in the service of God; because they go at his command, and are subject to his control and direction. They did not have original authority, nor are they the source of influence or power. The idea here is, that they were the mere instruments or servants by whom God conveyed all blessings to the Corinthians; that they as ministers were on a level, were engaged in the same work, and that therefore, it was improper for them to form parties that should be called by their names.

    By whom - Through whom δἰ ὥν di' hōn, by whose instrumentality. They were not the original source of faith, but were the mere servants of God in conveying to them the knowledge of that truth by which they were to be saved.

    Even as the Lord gave to every man - God is the original source of faith; and it is by his influence that anyone is brought to believe; see the note at Romans 12:3, note at Romans 12:6. There were diversities of gifts among the Corinthian Christians, as there are in all Christians. And it is here implied:

    (1) That all that anyone had was to be traced to God as its author;

    (2) That he is a sovereign, and dispenses his favors to all as he pleases;

    (3) That since God had conferred those favors, it was improper for the Corinthians to divide themselves into sects and call themselves by the name of their teachers, for all that they had was to be traced to God alone.

    This idea, that all the gifts and graces which Christians had, were to be traced to God alone, was one which the apostle Paul often insisted on; and if this idea had been kept before the minds and hearts of all Christians, it would have prevented no small part of the contentions in the church, and the formation of no small part of the sects in the Christian world.

    Wesley's Notes on 1 Corinthians 3:5

    3:5 Ministers - Or servants. By whom ye believed, as the Lord, the Master of those servants, gave to every man.