Morning Thoughts on 1 Cor 3:11


Elder Philip N. Conley

I Corinthians 3:11, "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ."

This morning, there are many that cannot differentiate texts in the Holy Scriptures because they sometimes present timely concepts, eternal concepts, or both. To rightly divide the word of truth requires that we understand what it being comprehended in the language of the text as it fits within the confines of the context. Then, one must understand how that context fits within the confines of the Bible as a whole. Only then can we begin to realize what a particular verse is saying. This particular text is one of those that lays out the eternal principle in a parallel fashion to the timely principle within the same confines.

The first word in the verse is "for" which denotes that the context is of supreme importance for understanding. The context leading up to this point is that Paul is trying to quell "preacher worship" in the Corinthian church. He makes it very clear that the minister (so long as he is preaching the truth) is not the important thing to view. The One being preached is to be kept in view as He is responsible for the blessing bestowed and felt in the hearts of the saints. With this in mind, the language denotes that no man can lay any other foundation but Christ Jesus. However, he also states that Christ Jesus is  already laid. To me, this shows the eternal and timely aspects side-by-side. From an eternal standpoint, Jesus Christ is already laid as the foundation for His people. Paul later tells Timothy that this foundation standeth sure. It will never pass away or shift, because the Foundation never ceases to exist or change. Therefore, eternally, Jesus Christ has been laid as the foundation, and His work of redemption is solid, secure, and never-failing. It is also noteworthy to state that nothing we (or any other man) may or can do both now or ever can change this security to the least degree.

There is no unforeseen event that the Lord and His Christ were not prepared for or aware of. Nothing can ever change that! So, the question generally arises, "Then why the command? What is there for us to do?" These questions fail to take in the rest of the language to this verse and others like it. We are secure in Christ as He is our Rock and Shield, but we do not always see that in our minds. We dig and study to learn more about Him, as that is the only source  from which we can draw true comfort and strength for our trying and difficult lives. We cannot lay any other foundation than that. Paul will a few verses later talk about 6 things (gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, and stubble) that we build with.

It is plainly evident that three are items that are desired while three are not. The reason that no man can lay any other foundation than Christ is because any other foundation will not last. If someone tries to build with wood, hay, and stubble, the winds, waves, and fires of life will beat the house down flat to our great ruin. However, if we build upon gold, silver, and precious stones (our Rock of refuge), the winds, waves, and fires of life will not destroy the house. This concept is both applicable to the life of the individual and the local church body. For us to have a proper foundation to work from, it MUST be Jesus Christ.    So, while we are secure in His hand, let us continually strive to make our calling and election sure (unto ourselves). Being armed in this fashion, we can look into the face of certain distress and danger and not fear what may happen to us. Knowing that our life is hid with Christ in God, we should not fear what man may do to us, for we are bought with a great price that will never be overcome.

 May God give us the grace to press on with Jesus Christ as our foundation in all things.