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Read Introduction to 1 Corinthians


“Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one?”


Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos,

The interrogative pronoun “who” is a term of quality – “What kind of person is Paul, and what kind of person is Apollos?”

Paul and Apollos were two of the greatest leaders of the congregation at Corinth. Paul was there for a year and a half and was a great expositor. Apollos was a great orator and eloquent speaker. Certain people lined up behind each of these leaders, forming schisms.

but ministers through whom you believed,

Paul says that both he and Apollos are “ministers.” The word “ministers” means servants. Servants are instruments in the hands of God. They do not preach their truth but God’s truth. To make them, the focus in ministry is to take the focal point away from God. Paul and Apollos were mere channels of God’s message; they were not the message.

The word “through” is intermediate agency. Paul and Apollos were intermediate agents, not direct agents for their belief. God was the direct Agent.

as the Lord gave to each one?

The Lord sovereignly provided the Corinthian church with the leadership of Paul and Apollos.  He deserves the credit for this. Clearly, there is a difference in ministry between Paul and Apollos, but it was God who gave both types of ministry to the church. Why then should the church compare these two ministries as if one is better than the other? 


God sovereignly makes His church a symmetrical whole.


Christians often place great emphasis on personality and charisma without recognizing that God gives different people and gifts to their church. No matter who is on the team, they are there by divine design; therefore, all are important to God’s scheme of things. God uses all kinds of believers for His glory. Every believer is in full-time service. He uses all kinds of personality and giftedness. He sovereignly mixes diversity into a symmetrical whole.