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1 Corinthians 3:1

New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995) [2]
— And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ.
King James Version (KJV 1769) [2]
— And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, [even] as unto babes in Christ.
English Revised Version (ERV 1885)
— And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, as unto babes in Christ.
American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, as unto babes in Christ.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual, but as to carnal, [even] as to babes in Christ.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— And *I*, brethren, have not been able to speak to you as to spiritual, but as to fleshly; as to babes in Christ.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— I, therefore, brethren, have not been able to speak unto you, as unto men of the Spirit, but as unto men of the flesh—as unto babes in Christ:—
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— And I, brethren, was not able to speak to you as to spiritual, but as to fleshly—as to babes in Christ;
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— And I, brethren, could not speak to you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal. As unto little ones in Christ.
Geneva Bible (GNV 1560)
— And I could not speake vnto you, brethren, as vnto spirituall men, but as vnto carnall, euen as vnto babes in Christ.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— And I, brethren, could not speake vnto you as vnto spirituall, but as vnto carnall, [euen] as vnto babes in Christ.
Lamsa Bible (1957)
— SO I, my brethren, could not converse with you as with spiritual men, but as with worldly men and even as with little children in Christ.
John Etheridge Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1849)
— AND I, my brethren, could not speak with you as with the spiritual, but as with the carnal, and as with babes in the Meshiha.
James Murdock Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1852)
— And I, my Brethren, could not talk with you, as with spiritual [persons], but as with the carnal, as with babes in Messiah.

Strong's Numbers & Red-LettersGreek New TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
And 2532
{2532} Prime
Apparently a primary particle, having a copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force; and, also, even, so, then, too, etc.; often used in connection (or composition) with other particles or small words.
I, 1473
{1473} Prime
A primary pronoun of the first person, 'I' (only expressed when emphatic).
brethren, 80
{0080} Prime
From G0001 (as a connective particle) and δελφύς [[delphus]] (the womb); a brother (literally or figuratively) near or remote (much like [H0001]).
could 1410
{1410} Prime
Of uncertain affinity; to be able or possible.
<5675> Grammar
Tense - Aorist (See G5777)
Voice - Passive Deponent (See G5789)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 79
not 3756
{3756} Prime
A primary word; the absolutely negative (compare G3361) adverb; no or not.
speak 2980
{2980} Prime
A prolonged form of an otherwise obsolete verb; to talk, that is, utter words.
<5658> Grammar
Tense - Aorist (See G5777)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Infinitive (See G5795)
Count - 516
unto you 5213
{5213} Prime
Irregular dative case of G5210; to (with or by) you.
as 5613
{5613} Prime
Probably adverb of comparative from G3739; which how, that is, in that manner (very variously used as shown).
unto spiritual, 4152
{4152} Prime
From G4151; non-carnal, that is, (humanly) ethereal (as opposed to gross), or (daemoniacally) a spirit (concretely), or (divinely) supernatural, regenerate, religious.
but 235
{0235} Prime
Neuter plural of G0243; properly other things, that is, (adverbially) contrariwise (in many relations).
as 5613
{5613} Prime
Probably adverb of comparative from G3739; which how, that is, in that manner (very variously used as shown).
unto carnal, 4559
{4559} Prime
From G4561; pertaining to flesh, that is, (by extension) bodily, temporal, or (by implication) animal, unregenerate.
[even] as 5613
{5613} Prime
Probably adverb of comparative from G3739; which how, that is, in that manner (very variously used as shown).
unto babes 3516
{3516} Prime
From an obsolete particle νη- [[ne]]-; implying negation and G2031; not speaking, that is, an infant (minor); figuratively a simple minded person, an immature Christian.
in 1722
{1722} Prime
A primary preposition denoting (fixed) position (in place, time or state), and (by implication) instrumentality (medially or constructively), that is, a relation of rest (intermediate between G1519 and G1537); 'in', at, (up-) on, by, etc.
Christ. 5547
{5547} Prime
From G5548; anointed, that is, the Messiah, an epithet of Jesus.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

1 Corinthians 3:1

_ _ 1 Corinthians 3:1-23. Paul could not speak to them of deep spiritual truths, as they were carnal, contending for their several teachers; these are nothing but workers for God, to whom they must give account in the day of fiery judgment. The hearers are God’s temple, which they must not defile by contentions for teachers, who, as well as all things, are theirs, being Christ’s.

_ _ And I — that is, as the natural (animal) man cannot receive, so I also could not speak unto you the deep things of God, as I would to the spiritual; but I was compelled to speak to you as I would to MEN OF FLESH. The oldest manuscripts read this for “carnal.” The former (literally, “fleshy”) implies men wholly of flesh, or natural. Carnal, or fleshly, implies not they were wholly natural or unregenerate (1 Corinthians 2:14), but that they had much of a carnal tendency; for example their divisions. Paul had to speak to them as he would to men wholly natural, inasmuch as they are still carnal (1 Corinthians 3:3) in many respects, notwithstanding their conversion (1 Corinthians 1:4-9).

_ _ babes — contrasted with the perfect (fully matured) in Christ (Colossians 1:28; compare Hebrews 5:13, Hebrews 5:14). This implies they were not men wholly of flesh, though carnal in tendencies. They had life in Christ, but it was weak. He blames them for being still in a degree (not altogether, compare 1 Corinthians 1:5, 1 Corinthians 1:7; therefore he says as) babes in Christ, when by this time they ought to have “come unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). In Romans 7:14, also the oldest manuscripts read, “I am a man of flesh.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

1 Corinthians 3:1-4

_ _ Here, I. Paul blames the Corinthians for their weakness and nonproficiency. Those who are sanctified are so only in part: there is still room for growth and increase both in grace and knowledge, 2 Peter 3:18. Those who through divine grace are renewed to a spiritual life may yet in many things be defective. The apostle tells them he could not speak to them as unto spiritual men, but as unto carnal men, as to babes in Christ, 1 Corinthians 3:1. They were so far from forming their maxims and measures upon the ground of divine revelation, and entering into the spirit of the gospel, that is was but too evident they were much under the command of carnal and corrupt affections. They were still mere babes in Christ. They had received some of the first principles of Christianity, but had not grown up to maturity of understanding in them, or of faith and holiness; and yet it is plain, from several passages in this epistle, that the Corinthians were very proud of their wisdom and knowledge. Note, It is but too common for persons of very moderate knowledge and understanding to have a great measure of self-conceit. The apostle assigns their little proficiency in the knowledge of Christianity as a reason why he had communicated no more of the deep things of it to them. They could not bear such food, they needed to be fed with milk, not with meat, 1 Corinthians 3:2. Note, It is the duty of a faithful minister of Christ to consult the capacities of his hearers and teach them as they can bear. And yet it is natural for babes to grow up to men; and babes in Christ should endeavour to grow in Stature, and become men in Christ. It is expected that their advances in knowledge should be in proportion to their means and opportunities, and their time of professing religion, that they may be able to bear discourses on the mysteries of our religion, and not always rest in plain things. It was a reproach to the Corinthians that they had so long sat under the ministry of Paul and had made no more improvement in Christian knowledge. Note, Christians are utterly to blame who do not endeavour to grow in grace and knowledge.

_ _ II. He blames them for their carnality, and mentions their contention and discord about their ministers as evidence of it: For you are yet carnal; for whereas there are among you envyings, and strifes, and divisions, are you not carnal, and walk as men? 1 Corinthians 3:3. They had mutual emulations, and quarrels, and factions among them, upon the account of their ministers, while one said, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos, 1 Corinthians 3:4. These were proofs of their being carnal, that fleshly interests and affections too much swayed them. Note, Contentions and quarrels about religion are sad evidences of remaining carnality. True religion makes men peaceable and not contentious. Factious spirits act upon human principles, not upon principles of true religion; they are guided by their own pride and passions, and not by the rules of Christianity: Do you not walk as men? Note, It is to be lamented that many who should walk as Christians, that is, above the common rate of men, do indeed walk as men, live and act too much like other men.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

1 Corinthians 3:1

And I, brethren — He spoke before, 1 Corinthians 2:1, of his entrance, now of his progress, among them. Could not speak to you as unto spiritual — Adult, experienced Christians. But as unto men who were still in great measure carnal, as unto babes in Christ — Still weak in grace, though eminent in gifts, 1 Corinthians 1:5.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

1 Corinthians 3:1

And (1) I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto (a) carnal, [even] as unto babes in Christ.

(1) Having declared the worthiness of heavenly wisdom, and of the Gospel, and having generally condemned the blindness of man's mind, now at length he applies it particularly to the Corinthians, calling them carnal, that is, those in whom the flesh still prevails against the Spirit. And he brings a twofold testimony of it: first, because he had proved them to be such, in so much that he dealt with them as he would with ignorant men, and those who are almost babes in the doctrine of godliness, and second, because they showed indeed by these dissensions, which sprang up by reason of the ignorance of the power of the Spirit, and heavenly wisdom, that they had profited very little or nothing.

(a) He calls them carnal, who are as yet ignorant, and therefore to express it better, he calls them "babes".

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
as unto spiritual:

1 Corinthians 2:6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:
1 Corinthians 2:15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

as unto carnal:

1 Corinthians 3:3-4 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas [there is] among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? ... For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I [am] of Apollos; are ye not carnal?
1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned.
Matthew 16:23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
Romans 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.


1 Corinthians 14:20 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.
Ephesians 4:13-14 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: ... That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
1 John 2:12 I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.
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Chain-Reference Bible SearchCross References with Concordance

Mt 16:23. Ro 7:14. 1Co 2:6, 14, 15; 3:3; 14:20. Ga 6:1. Ep 4:13. 1Jn 2:12.

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