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Read Introduction to 1 Corinthians


“I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.”


From verses 6 through 17, Paul introduces three illustrations or analogies to demonstrate how the church should function:

The church is a farm, and its leaders are farmworkers, vv. 6-9

The church is a building under construction, and Paul is the “master builder,” vv. 10-15

The church is a temple that should not be defiled, vv. 16-17

I planted, Apollos watered,

Paul and Apollos complimented each other in ministry.

but God gave the increase.

God did not choose either Paul or Apollos to build the church solo; He used both as a team. Paul and Apollos were not rivals but fellow-workers in God’s harvest. If there was any advance in the cause of Christ, it was because “God gave the increase.” 


Servant leadership expresses itself in cooperation with others for the cause of Christ.


God wants us to minister in a complementary way rather than a competitive way with others. God gives each our place in the work of His harvest. It is not a matter of either/or but both/and. It is not God’s design that we compete in ministry, but that we work in conjunction with the symmetry of His whole scheme. God makes each gift and role complementary to each other. There is no place for self-centeredness or competition among servants of Christ.

In the churches I pastored, people wanted me to choose between evangelism and Bible exposition. There is nothing to choose in this because it is a false dichotomy. God wants us to do both. God wants us to fulfill both for His glory.