Building With Paul


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Paul laid the foundation which is Jesus Christ. How are you building on it? Comes in a pack of 10.



The Holy Spirit has employed many metaphors or figures of speech in the Scriptures in order that an analogy or likeness might be taught. Thus, we are instructed concerning that which is unknown by use of that which is well known.

In 1 Corinthians 3:9, we are made to understand that God is like a building contractor constructing a building, and that we are “God’s building” or “temple of God”” (1 Cor. 3:16-17; 2 Cor. 6:16) that is under construction.

A little investigation in a Bible study concordance will reveal just how often the word “house” is used to communicate some form of spiritual truth. One of the amazing things to come out of such a study is the profound discovery that we believers are privileged to cooperate with God in this construction project. There is no greater honor than for a man to be employed in the same things which God does and to be a partner with Him in accomplishing His glorious plans. Paul said, “We are labourers together with God” (1 Cor. 3:9).


In Ephesians 2:18-22, we are taught God is building Himself a permanent “habitation” (katoiketerion/gk) (vs. 22). This permanent dwelling place will be “an Holy Temple” or “Sanctuary” (naos/gk) (vs. 21) – a most Holy place where the presence of God is manifested! It is to this Holy Temple that we have the wonderful privilege of “access” (vs. 18), “citizenship,” and even membership in this royal ”household” (vs. 19). But that’s not all—believers of all ages make up the building material for this eternal Temple! We are said to be “built upon the foundation” (vs. 20) and “builded together for an habitation” (vs. 22). This speaks to us of our complete union with Christ (Col. 3:3, 10-11; 1 Cor. 12:12-13, 27; Gal. 3:27-28). We are inseparably united to Christ as His Body (Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18), and to God’s Holy Temple as citizens, members, co-labourers with God and building material, of which Christ Jesus is the “Chief Corner Stone” (Eph. 2:20; 1 Pet. 2:6).

The nation of Israel has never been and will never be identified as the “Body of Christ” in their relationship with Christ. However, there is a sense in which the believing nation of Israel and the Church which is His Body are united to Christ and share in the same relationship in the completed, eternal Holy Temple.

There will come a time in the future “Dispensation of the Fulness of Times” (cf., “world [age] which is to come” (Eph. 1:21), when God will “gather together in one all things in Christ” (Eph. 1:10) and “put all things under His feet” (Eph. 1:22; cf., Col. 1:15-20; 1 Cor. 15:24-28).

We say that this eternal Temple of God will be made up of all believers of all ages because we believe that the phrase “all the building” (Eph. 2:21) should be more correctly translated “every building.” If that is correct, then we understand that two or more buildings or walls are “fitly framed together” and grow into “an holy temple.”

What are these different buildings that are joined together by the “Chief Corner Stone”?  I believe they are the Patriarchal, Old Covenant, New Covenant, and Body of Christ churches.


In Hebrews 3:1-6, we learn that “He that built all things is God” (vs. 4) (cf., 1:2, 10). The truth of this statement is self-evident. It is, however, sometimes overlooked that in the process of “building,” God employs man as His servant; thus, the statement, “every building is builded by some man.”

In our text, Moses is identified as the man employed to build a house for God. The house is obviously the nation of Israel or “the house of Israel” (Heb. 3:2, 5; Num. 12:7); however, the house which he built was set aside because of unbelief (Rom. 11:20; Mt. 23:38-39) in favor of a new nation of Israel under a New Covenant (Mt. 21:42-44; Isa. 66:7-14). The New Covenant, nation of Israel, is the house which Christ will build.


In Matthew 16:18, Christ said, “I will build my church” (ekklesia/gk—assembly). This is not the Church of the Mystery revealed to Paul, but the yet future assembly or house  (Psa. 22:22, 25; Hos. 1:10; 2:23; Rom. 9:25-29; and Heb. 3:1-6), where the believing Hebrews are said to be the house which Christ will build and over which He will be the faithful “apostle and High Priest.”

These believing Hebrews are placed into this “spiritual house” of God as “living stones” (1 Pet. 2:5). The picture is that of a building being constructed of “living stones” which are a “chosen generation, a royal priesthood…a peculiar people” who “should show forth the praises of God” (1 Pet. 2:9) by being a “holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices” (1 Pet. 2:5). This building will eventually be one of the walls of the eternal Holy Temple of God.



The Church-age believer is God’s house (1 Cor. 3:9, 16-17; 2 Cor. 6:16).  The Body of Christ is His “workmanship” (Eph. 2:10). From Ephesians 4:11-16, we leran that this house is under construction during this present economy. God has given certain “gifts” to men “for the edifying (oikodomeo/gk—the construction of a building) of the Body of Christ” (vs. 12). This construction project “grows” and “maketh increase” until the Body is perfect (teleios/gk—completed) (vs. 13). The picture here is of another building made up of living members who are “fitly joined together and compacted” (construction language) (vs. 16) into a body that derives its sustenance from “the Head, even Christ” (vs. 15). This building will eventually be another wall in the eternal Holy Temple of God.


Just as Moses built a house and was faithful and as Christ will build a house and is faithful, so also, Paul is the man God has employed to build this Church-age house. In 1 Corinthians 3:10, Paul says that by the “grace of God,” he was employed to be the “wise* masterbuilder”(architekton/gkthis is the word from which we get the English word architect, and it means the director of the works or the ruler of the workmen). The blueprint for the building of the Body of Christ belonged to God, but the execution of the plan was entrusted to Paul! Paul said, “…that by revelation He made known unto me the Mystery…which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men…whereof I was made a minister…unto me who am less than the least of all saints is this grace given, that I should…make all men see what is the fellowship (oikonomia/gk—dispensation) of the Mystery” (Eph. 3:3-9).  Furthermore, Pauls says he wrote his epistles in order that “thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God” (1 Tim. 3:15), and that the “revelation of the Mystery” was for “the obedience of faith” (Rom. 16:25-26).

*In all fairness to the context, this statement must be interpreted as referring to Paul’s founding of the Church at  Corinth. In view of the gross carnal, sectarian attitude of these Corinthians (Ch. 1 and 2), Paul reminds them of his role and the role of other preachers in the overall plan of God. However, our interpretation must not be limied to this narrow application.


I  believe that Church-age believers must be careful to build upon the foundation which Paul the “wise architect” laid (1 Cor. 3:10). That foundation is none other than Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 3:11) Whom Paul preached “according to the revelation of the Mystery” (Rom. 16:25).  It should be noted here that all the houses of God’s eternal Temple are built upon the same foundation! Jesus Christ is the celebrity of every age or dispensation (Jn. 14:6; Acts 4:12). This why Ephesians 2:20 says that this eternal Temple of God is built upon the foundation laid by the Apostles and Prophets.

These Apostles and Prophets are both the Old Testament Apostles (the Twelve) and Prophets and the Church-age Apostles (Paul and others…see Acts 14:4, 14; Rom. 16:7; 1 Thess. 1:1; 2:6) and Prophets (1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 4:11), and both preached Jesus Christ! The former preached Christ according to the revelation of prophecy (Acts 3:20-21), and the latter preached Christ according to the revelation of the Mystery. Thus, the foundation for the eternal Temple of God has been faithfully laid over the centuries of time. The Patriarchal Church, when they directed the Word for God, faithfully directed the work according to the blueprint given to them, and, likewise, to Christ and the New Covenant Church. Finally, the Apostle Paul faithfully (2 Tim. 4:7; Acts 26:19) directed the work by following the blueprints given to him (Gal. 1:11-12; 2:7).


If this is true, then we can better understand why Paul instructed us to be “approved workmen” (profitable construction workers) and to “rightly divide the Word of Truth” (correctly read the blueprints (2 Tim. 2:15), and to be “followers” of him (the director of the works) even as he “followed Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1), thus, taking “heed” how we build upon the foundation (1 Cor. 3:10).

We don’t go back to the Patriarchal Church and work off their blueprints. We don’t run ahead to the Sermon on the Mount and try to build the house according to the Kingdom blueprints. NO! We go to Paul’s blueprints. Paul is the director of the works and he is following the instructions of the living, resurrected, glorified Christ Who is above all and seated in the heavenlies.

Clearly, if we are to build today according to the Patriarchal, the Mosaic, or the Kingdom blueprints, we would be ashamed workmen; our house would be constructed  of “wood, hay and stubble” (1 Cor. 3:12-16).

Now, does this mean we cannot go to the rest of God’s Word for instruction or doctrine? God forbid! (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 1 Cor. 10:6-11). However, we take care to interpret the rest of the Bible in accordance to Paul’s blueprints, lest our names should ever be listed along with “Phygellus, Hermogenes” (2 Tim. 1:15), “Hymenaeus, Philetus (2 Tim. 2:17), and Demas” (2 Tim. 4:10) who “turned away” from Paul and did not stand with him (2 Tim. 4:16).