- 1 Corinthians 3:13
- "Every man's work shall be made manifests for the day shall declare it, because it
shall be revealed by fire, and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it
- This passage is used to support the Roman Catholic doctrine of a discipline in
purgatory, which takes place immediately after death, and endures for an unspecified and
- Note the context; the passage is speaking about a "day" (although likely
longer than 24 hours) and not a period of long duration. See the use of the same Greek
word, "hemera" in Matt. 7:22; 12:36; John 9:4; 11:9; 12:48; 2 Cor. 6:2. This
"day" is defined in Mal. 3:2; 4:1-3; cf. 2 Thess. 1:8-10.
- The Roman Catholic argues for the burning up of the "wood, hay, stubble," (1
Cor. 3:12) as the purging of man's soul of all that is unworthy. A man in purgatory should
be glad to get rid of these impurities, to be fit for eternal happiness, but Paul says he
"SHALL SUFFER LOSS". (1 Cor. 3:15).
- What the passage does mean:
- There were divisions in Corinth and Paul discusses the relationship of a man and his
converts to Christ. (1 Cor. 1:10; 3:3-8).
- "Every man's work shall be made manifest." The Day of Judgment will
reveal the spiritual quality of a preacher's converts, whether gold, silver, precious
stones, for the eternal temple of God or cheap (wood) unenduring (hay, stubble).
- "If any man's work abide [if his converts endure to eternal life] he shall receive
a reward" (1 Cor. 3: 14) - the reward of seeing, in the Kingdom of God, the fruits of
his labour and travail. (see 1 Thess. 2:19).
- "If any man's work shall be burned [if his converts are unworthy before the Judge
of all] he shall suffer loss" (1 Cor. 3:15) - the loss of seeing his labour come to
- "But he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire." (1 Cor. 3:15). The same
fire of judgment that devoured his converts will have to be endured by the preacher also.
And even though all his converts should perish, he himself may yet stand approved, because
of the faith and zeal with which he has lived and worked in all good conscience before