The Foundation of a Christian Life

The great architect Frank Lloyd Wright was given the challenge of building the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, one of the most earthquake-prone cities in the world. Wright’s investigation showed that a solid foundation could be “floated” on a sixty-foot layer of soft mud under … More


It seems that Paul is writing in this passage about the building of the Christian life. He starts out talking about the foundation, which is always the least noticed and the most important part of any building (v. 10). A building is only as solid as its foundation. The foundation of a Christian’s life must be Jesus Christ (v. 2). The Corinthians were emphasizing personalities when they should have been glorifying Christ. It is easy to have our faith in preachers rather than in Jesus Christ (v. 11).

Paul was the first to preach the Gospel in Corinth. He has “laid the foundation,” so to speak.  Now he continues the picture of constructing the building and the importance of the kind of materials that are used. There are basically two kinds of material that can be used in the superstructure of a building. The gold, silver and precious stones refer to the enduring quality of the builder’s work, while the wood, hay and stubble suggests work that is temporary and of no value (v. 12). These three expensive materials above suggest sound doctrines and the valueless materials are false doctrines. Two sure ways to destroy a building are to tamper with the foundation or use inferior materials.

A person may be able to hide the true quality of his service for Christ in this life but there is coming a time when it will be openly displayed. The time is given in the words “the day”, which most Bible scholars think is the Judgment seat of Christ (v. 13). Fire speaks of the righteous judgement of God.  Today the work. Tomorrow the fire. If a man’s work remains undamaged by the fire, he will receive rewards (vv. 14-15). If his work is consumed by the fire, everything he has devoted himself to in this life shall be suddenly swept away. We should fear things that pose a fire hazard in our life.


Will my Christian character stand the test?  Am I building my life with things that are eternal and lasting or on things that will end with this life? Salvation depends on what Christ did for me; rewards depend on what I do for Him.

I Corinthians 3:10-15 (English Standard Version)

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View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »