English blog

1Corinthians 3:12 – Wood, grass and straw

21-12-2018 - Posted by Andre Piet

Now if anyone is building on this foundation gold and silver, precious stones, wood, grass, straw…

Gold, silver and precious stones are absolutely ‘fireproof’. Wood, grass and straw are the exact opposite. Paul does not explain what he specifically means with these materials, but the rest of the Scriptures do point us in the right direction.

In the original, the word for wood is in the plural form and so we have to think of wooden parts or constructions. In the context of 1 Corinthians 3 this immediately refers to “the reasonings of the wise” of which the Lord says that they are vain (3:20). People come up with clever constructions and strongholds of philosophy, but… it is wood. Corruptible and vain as man himself.

In the slavery of Egypt, the Israelites had to bake bricks. As an increase of their burden they also had to collect the straws as an associated ingredient. Bricks represents what humans bake themselves. We first read about this at the construction of the tower of Babel. Israel was not supposed to make an altar of bricks (Isa. 65:3). For man can never approach GOD with his own work. Grass and straw are an expression of trouble, frustration and slavery without ever bringing heaven closer. Therefore unsuitable as building material for the ecclesia.