Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


1 Corinthians 3:22

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Whether Paul, or Apollos - As if he had said: God designs to help you by all things and persons; every teacher sent from him will become a blessing to you, if you abide faithful to your calling. God will press every thing into the service of his followers. The ministers of the Church of Christ are appointed for the hearers, not the hearers for the ministers. In like manner, all the ordinances of grace and mercy are appointed for them, not they for the ordinances.

Or the world - The word κοσμος, here, means rather the inhabitants of the world than what we commonly understand by the world itself; and this is its meaning in John 3:16, John 3:17; John 6:33; John 14:31; John 17:21. See particularly John 12:19; : Ὁ κοσμοσοπισω αυτου απηλθεν, the World is gone after him - the great mass of the people believe on him. The Greek word has the same meaning, in a variety of places, both in the sacred and the profane writers, as le monde, the world, literally has in French, where it signifies, not only the system of created things, but, by metonomy, the people - every body, the mass, the populace. In the same sense it is often found in English. The apostle's meaning evidently is: Not only Paul, Apollos, and Kephas, are yours - appointed for and employed in your service; but every person besides with whom you may have any intercourse or connection, whether Jew or Greek, whether enemy or friend. God will cause every person, as well as every thing to work for your good, while you love, cleave to, and obey Him.

Or life - With all its trials and advantages, every hour of it, every tribulation in it, the whole course of it, as the grand state of your probation, is a general blessing to you: and you have life, and that life preserved in order to prepare for an eternity of blessedness.

Or death - That solemn hour, so dreadful to the wicked; and so hateful to those who live without God: that is yours. Death is your servant; he comes a special messenger from God for you; he comes to undo a knot that now connects body and soul, which it would be unlawful for yourselves to untie; he comes to take your souls to glory; and he cannot come before his due time to those who are waiting for the salvation of God. A saint wishes to live only to glorify God; and he who wishes to live longer than he can get and do good, is not worthy of life.

Or things present - Every occurrence in providence in the present life; for God rules in providence as well as in grace.

Or things to come - The whole order and economy of the eternal world; all in heaven and all in earth are even now working together for your good.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Whether Paul, or Apollos - The sense of this is clear. Whatever advantages result from the piety, self-denials, and labors of Paul, Apollos, or any other preacher of the gospel, are yours - you have the benefit of them. One is as much entitled to the benefit as another; and all partake alike in the results of their ministration. You should therefore neither range yourselves into parties with their names given to the parties, nor suppose that one has any special interest in Paul, or another in Apollos. Their labors belonged to the church in general. they had no partialities - no rivalship - no desire to make parties. They were united, and desirous of promoting the welfare of the whole church of God. The doctrine is, that ministers belong to the church, and should devote themselves to its welfare; and that the church enjoys, in common, the benefits of the learning, zeal, piety, eloquence, talents, example of the ministers of God. And it may be observed, that it is no small privilege thus to be permitted to regard all the labors of the most eminent servants of God as designed for our welfare; and for the humblest saint to feel that the labors of apostles, the self-denials and sufferings, the pains and dying agonies of martyrs, have been for his advantage.

Or Cephas - Or Peter. John 1:42.

Or the world - This word is doubtless used, in its common signification, to denote the things which God has made; the universe, the things which pertain to this life. And the meaning of the apostle probably is, that all things pertaining to this world which God has made - all the events which are occurring in his providence were so far theirs, that they would contribute to their advantage, and their enjoyment. This general idea may be thus expressed:

(1) The world was made by God their common Father, and they have an interest in it as his children, regarding it as the work of His hand, and seeing Him present in all His works. Nothing contributes so much to the true enjoyment of the world - to comfort in surveying the heavens, the earth, the ocean, hills, vales, plants, flowers, streams, in partaking of the gifts of Providence, as this feeling, that all are the works of the Christian‘s Father, and that they may all partake of these favors as His children.

(2) the frame of the universe is sustained and upheld for their sake. The universe is kept by God; and one design of God in keeping it is to protect, preserve, and redeem his church and people. To this end He defends it by day and night; He orders all things; He keeps it from the storm and tempest; from flood and fire; and from annihilation. The sun, and moon, and stars - the times and seasons, are all thus ordered, that His church may be guarded, and brought to heaven.

(3) the course of providential events are ordered for their welfare also, Romans 8:28. The revolutions of kingdoms - the various persecutions and trials, even the rage and fury of wicked people, are all overruled, to the advancement of the cause of truth, and the welfare of the church.

(4) Christians have the promise of as much of this world as shall be needful for them; and in this sense “the world” is theirs. See Matthew 6:33; Mark 10:29-30; 1 Timothy 4:8, “Godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” And such was the result of the long experience and observation of David, Psalm 37:25, “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” See Isaiah 33:16.

Or life - Life is theirs, because:

(1) They enjoy life. It is real life to them, and not a vain show. They live for a real object, and not for vanity. Others live for parade and ambition - Christians live for the great purposes of life; and life to them has reality, as being a state preparatory to another and a higher world. Their life is not an endless circle of unmeaning ceremonies - of false and hollow pretensions to friendship - of a vain pursuit of happiness, which is never found, but is passed in a manner that is rational, and sober, and that truly deserves to be called life.

(2) the various events and occurrences of life shall all tend to promote their welfare, and advance their salvation.

Death - They have an “interest,” or “property” even in death, usually regarded as a calamity and a curse. But it is theirs:

(1) Because they shall have “peace” and support in the dying hour.

(2) because it has no terrors for them. It shall take away nothing which they are not willing to resign.

(3) because it is the avenue which leads to their rest; and it is theirs just in the same sense in which we say that “this is our road” when we have been long absent, and are inquiring the way to our homes.

(4) because they shall triumph over it. It is subdued by their Captain, and the grave has been subjected to a triumph by his rising from its chills and darkness.

(5) because death is the means - the occasion of introducing them to their rest. It is the “advantageous circumstance” in their history, by which they are removed from a world of ills, and translated to a world of glory. It is to them a source of inexpressible advantage, as it translates them to a world of light and eternal felicity; and it may truly be called theirs.

Or things present, or things to come - Events which are now happening, and all that can possibly occur to us, see the note at Romans 8:38. All the calamities, trials, persecutions - all the prosperity, advantages, privileges of the present time, and all that shall yet take place, shall tend to promote our welfare, and advance the interests of our souls, and promote our salvation.

All are yours - All shall tend to promote your comfort and salvation.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
To have a high opinion of our own wisdom, is but to flatter ourselves; and self-flattery is the next step to self-deceit. The wisdom that wordly men esteem, is foolishness with God. How justly does he despise, and how easily can he baffle and confound it! The thoughts of the wisest men in the world, have vanity, weakness, and folly in them. All this should teach us to be humble, and make us willing to be taught of God, so as not to be led away, by pretences to human wisdom and skill, from the simple truths revealed by Christ. Mankind are very apt to oppose the design of the mercies of God. Observe the spiritual riches of a true believer; "All are yours," even ministers and ordinances. Nay, the world itself is yours. Saints have as much of it as Infinite Wisdom sees fit for them, and they have it with the Divine blessing. Life is yours, that you may have a season and opportunity to prepare for the life of heaven; and death is yours, that you may go to the possession of it. It is the kind messenger to take you from sin and sorrow, and to guide you to your Father's house. Things present are yours, for your support on the road; things to come are yours, to delight you for ever at your journey's end. If we belong to Christ, and are true to him, all good belongs to us, and is sure to us. Believers are the subjects of his kingdom. He is Lord over us, we must own his dominion, and cheerfully submit to his command. God in Christ, reconciling a sinful world to himself, and pouring the riches of his grace on a reconciled world, is the sum and substance of the gospel.
Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 280

There was danger that this party spirit would result in great evil to the Christian church, and Paul was instructed by the Lord to utter words of earnest admonition and solemn protest. Of those who were saying, “I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ,” the apostle inquired, “Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?” “Let no man glory in men,” he pleaded. “For all things are yours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's.” 1 Corinthians 1:12, 13; 3:21-23. AA 280.1

Paul and Apollos were in perfect harmony. The latter was disappointed and grieved because of the dissension in the church at Corinth; he took no advantage of the preference shown to himself, nor did he encourage it, but hastily left the field of strife. When Paul afterward urged him to revisit Corinth, he declined and did not again labor there until long afterward when the church had reached a better spiritual state. AA 280.2

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Ellen G. White
Reflecting Christ, 124

For all things are yours; ... and ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's. 1 Corinthians 3:21-23. RC 124.1

Not only has the Son of God been given as a sacrifice for the guilty, as a Redeemer for the lost, but through Him all things are ours. Those who have faith in Christ, those who are obedient to His instruction, will know by experience the boundlessness of the power that gives us constant witness that we are Christ's, and that Christ is ours. The Saviour has given us the charter of our inheritance, and we stand on vantage ground, because we have chosen Christ as our portion. RC 124.2

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Ellen G. White
Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 110

The petition, “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven,” is a prayer that the reign of evil on this earth may be ended, that sin may be forever destroyed, and the kingdom of righteousness be established. Then in earth as in heaven will be fulfilled “all the good pleasure of His goodness.” 2 Thessalonians 1:11. MB 110.1

The first half of the prayer Jesus has taught us is in regard to the name and kingdom and will of God—that His name may be honored, His kingdom established, His will performed. When you have thus made God's service your first interest, you may ask with confidence that your own needs may be supplied. If you have renounced self and given yourself to Christ you are a member of the family of God, and everything in the Father's house is for you. All the treasures of God are opened to you, both the world that now is and that which is to come. The ministry of angels, the gift of His Spirit, the labors of His servants—all are for you. The world, with everything in it, is yours so far as it can do you good. Even the enmity of the wicked will prove a blessing by disciplining you for heaven. If “ye are Christ's,” “all things are yours.” 1 Corinthians 3:23, 21. MB 110.2

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Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 288

“The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath,” Jesus said. The institutions that God has established are for the benefit of mankind. “All things are for your sakes.” “Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's.” 2 Corinthians 4:15; 1 Corinthians 3:22, 23. The law of Ten Commandments, of which the Sabbath forms a part, God gave to His people as a blessing. “The Lord commanded us,” said Moses, “to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive.” Deuteronomy 6:24. And through the psalmist the message was given to Israel, “Serve the Lord with gladness: come before His presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.” Psalm 100:2-4. And of all who keep “the Sabbath from polluting it,” the Lord declares, “Even them will I bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer.” Isaiah 56:6, 7. DA 288.1

“Wherefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.” These words are full of instruction and comfort. Because the Sabbath was made for man, it is the Lord's day. It belongs to Christ. For “all things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.” John 1:3. Since He made all things, He made the Sabbath. By Him it was set apart as a memorial of the work of creation. It points to Him as both the Creator and the Sanctifier. It declares that He who created all things in heaven and in earth, and by whom all things hold together, is the head of the church, and that by His power we are reconciled to God. For, speaking of Israel, He said, “I gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them,”—make them holy. Ezekiel 20:12. Then the Sabbath is a sign of Christ's power to make us holy. And it is given to all whom Christ makes holy. As a sign of His sanctifying power, the Sabbath is given to all who through Christ become a part of the Israel of God. DA 288.2

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