Belonging to the Local Church as a Spiritual Garden, by Rev Dr John Kwasi Fosu

Amazing Grace Baptist Church, Hamburg Bible Study material on 1 Cor 3:6-9


We have studied 1 Cor 3:1-5 and learnt that Paul responds to the issue of carnality in the Corinthian Church by emphasising that ministers of the gospel are to be regarded as servants of God by using the image of the family. This study of 1 Cor 3:6-9 focuses on the image of the field. In other words, Paul seems to present the local church as a spiritual garden.

Describing the Local Church as a Spiritual Garden

Having changed the image from a family to that of a field, Paul now portrays the minister as a farmer working in the field. The seed is the Word of God (note the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13:1) and the hearts of the people are the different kinds of soil. The local church is a “spiritual garden” where the pastor acts as the gardener (note 1 Cor 3:9, “You are God’s gardener”).

Members as Labourers together with God

Members on the field or farm play equally important roles. On any farm, many different workers are needed. One prepares the soil; another plants the seed; a third pulls the weeds and a fourth reaps the harvest. But all of them share in the harvest and each receives wages. To Paul, therefore, it is unwise to compare one worker with another since “we are all working together.” Paul planted the seed by founding the church at Corinth.  Apollos came along and watered the seed by his preaching and ministering.  Only God can give the harvest. Apollos and Paul deserve no glory! They are nothing, but God is everything! The church was divided over human leaders.  But Paul says in verse 8 that the workers are one, united in purpose and heart.  Therefore, the church should also be one.

Do not compare the workers in the Local Church

In view of the fact that members in the field play equally important roles, it is sad for believers to compare pastors, evangelists and Bible teachers in the way the people of the world compare athletes or movie stars! “Laborers together” must always be our motto and motive. As members of the local church, we must take care that the soil of our own hearts is not hard and cold and unable to receive the seed of the Word.


From Paul’s response to the issue of division and carnality in the Corinthian Church, it has become clear that the members of the Corinthian church had failed to understand the true nature of ministry thereby rallying around gifted personality. Paul thus values the ministers’ ministry more than their personality. As ministers exercise their spiritual gifts, it is God who gives them growth. The true minister in the local church is first a servant and second a sower in the field. As ministers in one field, we are all working together. The congregation is thus God’s field. In this light, there should not be room for any kind of division in God’s Church.


  1. To what extent is the local church likened to a garden?
  2. How do we see the roles of ministers of God in the local Church which is a spiritual garden.?
  3. State two ways in which we can prepare our hearts to receive God’s word as members of the local church.

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