I once discipled an architect in Bogota, Colombia. One day, he was showing me the enormous foundation they were laying for a fifty–two–floor building he had designed. The great amount of steel rods added before the cement was poured helped make it strong enough for an earthquake.
Jesus said, “I will build my church” (Matt 16:18), which is described as having a “foundation.” It is a singular foundation on which all other ministries are built, “for no one can lay any foundation other than what is being laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 3:11). All believers are built up on this foundation as on a solid rock: “You have been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone” (Eph 2:20).
Today we are not laying more foundations, but we are building upward as the church expands vertically. The quality of the foundation will support the growing church through all ages.
Each generation follows its predecessor by building the church with new believers and the careful explanation of God’s word. The command in 1 Corinthians 3:10 is to “be continually being careful” how you build. Several other great men labored at Corinth, including Apollos (Acts 18:27–-28) and “Cephas,” or Peter (1 Cor 1:12; 3:22). They “persevered in the doctrine of the apostles” (Acts 2:42).
Paul uses the analogy of a building craftsman and expects his apprentices to perpetuate his teachings as Jesus revealed them to him. He expects skilled craftsmanship in the study and teaching of the text.
The task of Bible study is to know God as He has revealed Himself in His word. This is not a mystical encounter but a spiritual illumination of the truth recorded for all eternity to show how to know God.
As the inspired word (the foundation) is carefully used in its original sense for “teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16–-17), the church of believers continues to be built up and matures. Is your learning of the word changing your life and others to be more Christlike?
“Lord Jesus, You have delegated to us the responsibility of caring for and building up Your church and global kingdom, which You came to establish on earth. Keep us faithful to Your purpose.”