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Read Introduction to 1 Corinthians


“Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw…”


Having dealt with the foundation, Paul now turns to the superstructure.

Now if anyone builds on this foundation

The “if” in the Greek assumes that everyone is building something in God’s church, whether to God’s glory or some other end.

We can build on the foundation of Christ and His work with durable materials or flammable materials. Durable ministry rests on the person and work of Christ. Combustible ministry rests on anything else, like the Corinthians, who had a penchant for resting their beliefs on the philosophy of Greece.

There are six materials by which we may build the church – three combustible and three permanent. We have a choice to build the church with either of these two categories.

with gold, silver, precious stones,

The three permanent materials are “gold, silver, precious stones.” These are materials of quality and meet with God’s sanction and are subject to reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

wood, hay, straw

The three combustible materials are “wood, hay, straw.” Using these materials in ministry will not meet with God’s approval, so they are not subject to reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ; they are temporary and will quickly pass away.  


We must take care of building the church with permanent materials.


If we want to build a church with lasting results, we need to be careful about how we build it. We must build the church with materials that will withstand the fire of God’s testing. The materials with which we build the church must be in line with the church’s foundation. Are we using inferior materials or superior materials in our ministry?