Robertson's Word Pictures (NT)
As a wise masterbuilder (wv sofov arxitektwn). Paul does not shirk his share in the work at Corinth with all the sad outcome there. He absolves Apollos from responsibility for the divisions. He denies that he himself is to blame. In doing so he has to praise himself because the Judaizers who fomented the trouble at Corinth had directly blamed Paul. It is not always wise for a preacher to defend himself against attack, but it is sometimes necessary. Factions in the church were now a fact and Paul went to the bottom of the matter. God gave Paul the grace to do what he did. This is the only New Testament example of the old and common word arxitektwn, our architect. Tektwn is from tiktw, to beget, and means a begetter, then a worker in wood or stone, a carpenter or mason (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3). Arxi- is an old inseparable prefix like arxaggelov (archangel), arxepiscopov (archbishop), arxiereuv (chiefpriest). Arxitektwn occurs in the papyri and inscriptions in an even wider sense than our use of architect, sometimes of the chief engineers. But Paul means to claim primacy as pastor of the church in Corinth as is true of every pastor who is the architect of the whole church life and work. All the workmen (tektonev, carpenters) work under the direction of the architect (Plato, Statesman, 259). "As a wise architect I laid a foundation" (qemelion eqhka). Much depends on the wisdom of the architect in laying the foundation. This is the technical phrase (Luke 6:48; Luke 14:29), a cognate accusative for qemelion. The substantive qemelion is from the same root qe as eqhka (ti-qhmi). We cannot neatly reproduce the idiom in English. "I placed a placing" does only moderately well. Paul refers directly to the events described by Luke in Acts 18:1-18. The aorist eqhka is the correct text, not the perfect teqeika.
Another buildeth thereon (allov epoikodomei). Note the preposition epi with the verb each time (I Corinthians 3:10-12, I Corinthians 3:14). The successor to Paul did not have to lay a new foundation, but only to go on building on that already laid. It is a pity when the new pastor has to dig up the foundation and start all over again as if an earthquake had come.
Take heed how he buildeth thereon (blepetw pwv epoikodomei). The carpenters have need of caution how they carry out the plans of the original architect. Successive architects of great cathedrals carry on through centuries the original design. The result becomes the wonder of succeeding generations. There is no room for individual caprice in the superstructure.
Other Robertson's Word Pictures (NT) entries containing 1 Corinthians 3:10:
1 Corinthians 3:10
1 Corinthians 3:18
2 Timothy 1:9
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