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NIV 1 Corinthians 3:21

So then, no more boasting about human leaders! All things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.

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I believe this is hinting at Christ's coming to do the will of God. He was and is still devoted to the service of his Father. God has a proprietorship in all that he does, since Christ lived, and acted, and reigns to promote the glory of his Father.

John 4:34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work."

John 6:38 "For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me."

The argument here seems to be this, 'You belong to Christ; and he to God. You are bound therefore, not to devote yourselves to a man, whoever he may be, but to Christ, and to the service of that one true God, in whose service even Christ was employed. And as Christ sought to promote the glory of his Father, so should you in all things.'

1 Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Ephesians 4:20-22 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, (emphasis added)

Verses are from ESV

  • I don't know how to indent with the yellow highlight, so I'm hoping by adding spaces between paragraphs it is still easy to read. – Josh Douma Apr 17 '19 at 1:11
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    Hi Josh and welcome to the site. I did the formatting for you. If you hit the edit button under the words "Verses are from ESV" you can see what I did. Nice answer. +1 – Ruminator Apr 17 '19 at 1:14
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    Hello, Ruminator. I saw what symbol to use to do that kind of formatting when I checked how my answer was edited. Thanks for your formatting and feedback! – Josh Douma Apr 17 '19 at 1:35
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The answer here is the contrast Paul makes in the previous discussion about factionalism. Some claimed to be "of Apollos", or, "of Cephas", or, "of Paul" (1 Cor 1:11, 12, 3:4, etc). That is, such people follow the teachings and leadership of their chosen "groupie" (to use a modern term).

Paul draws this section of ant-factionalism to a conclusion by effectively suggesting two things:

  • We all should follow (be "of") Christ
  • Since Christ of "of God" that this is a much higher (better) group to be part of than mere humans. The NIV & NRSV imply this same idea in their rendering of 1 Cor 3:21-23, "no more boasting about human leaders … you are of Christ and Christ is of God".
  • Hi Mac. Can you please clarify what it means to be "of Apollos"? – Ruminator Apr 17 '19 at 23:57
  • Presumably "of Paul" means "belonging to the group or faction which follows the leadership and teachings of Paul." – Peter Kirkpatrick Apr 18 '19 at 0:28
  • That is how I understand it. It appears that the phenomenon was as common then as now. The Greek construction is a simple genitive: some versions translate, "of Apollos", others, "belonging to Apollos". Both are grammatically correct. Both imply a faction that supposedly confers status on the adherents. – user25930 Apr 18 '19 at 0:37
  • Thanks, but then how do you make it parallel or rather read it parallel with you are of Christ and Christ is of God? – Ruminator Apr 19 '19 at 16:55
  • @Ruminator - I am not sure I understand your question here. What is "make it parallel"? The Bible calls Christians "Children of God" (Rom 8:14, Gal 3:26, Phil 2;15, etc) as opposed to "sons of the devil" (John 8:44, Eph 2:2). In this sense, Christ is our brother (Heb 2:11-13, Matt 12:48, 49, John 20:17, Rom 8:29). – user25930 Apr 19 '19 at 20:23

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