I have planted - The apostle here compares the establishment of the church at Corinth to the planting of a vine, a tree, or of grain. The figure is taken from agriculture, and the meaning is obvious. Paul established the church. He was the first preacher in Corinth; and if any distinction was due to anyone, it was rather to him than to the teachers who had labored there subsequently; but he regarded himself as worthy of no such honor as to be the head of a party, for it was not himself, but God who had given the increase.
Apollos watered - This figure is taken from the practice of watering a tender plant, or of watering a garden or field. This was necessary in a special manner in Eastern countries. Their fields became parched and dry from their long droughts, and it was necessary to irrigate them by artificial means. The sense here is, that Paul had labored in establishing the church at Corinth; but that subsequently Apollos had labored to increase it, and to build it, up. It is certain that Apollos did not go to Corinth until after Paul had left it; see Acts 18:18; compare Acts 18:27.
God gave the increase - God caused the seed sown to take root and spring up; and God blessed the irrigation of the tender plants as they sprung up, and caused them to grow. This idea is still taken from the farmer. It would be vain for the farmer to sow his seed unless God would give it life. There is no life in the seed, nor is there any inherent power in the earth to make it grow. Only God, the Giver of all life, can quicken the germ in the seed, and make it live. So it would be in vain for the farmer to water his plant unless God would bless it. There is no living principle in the water; no inherent power in the rains of heaven to make the plant grow. It is adapted, indeed, to this, and the seed would not germinate if it was not planted, nor grow if it was not watered; but the life is still from God. He arranged these means, and he gives life to the tender blade, and sustains it. And so it is with the word of life. It has no inherent power to produce effect by itself. The power is not in the naked word, nor in him that plants, nor in him that waters, nor in the heart where it is sown, but in God. But there is a Fitness of the means to the end. The word is adapted to save the soul. The seed must be sown or it will not germinate. Truth must be sown in the heart, and the heart must be prepared for it - as the earth must be plowed and made mellow, or it will not spring up. It must be cultivated with assiduous care, or it will produce nothing. But still it is all of God - as much so as the yellow harvest of the field, after all the toils of the farmer is of God. And as the farmer who has just views, will take no praise to himself because his grain and his vine start up and grow after all his care, but will ascribe all to God‘s unceasing, beneficent agency; so will the minister of religion, and so will every Christian, after all their care, ascribe all to God.
I have planted - I first sowed the seed of the Gospel at Corinth, and in the region of Achaia.
Apollos watered - Apollos came after me, and, by his preachings and exhortations, watered the seed which I had sowed; but God gave the increase. The seed has taken root, has sprung up, and borne much fruit; but this was by the especial blessing of God. As in the natural so in the spiritual world; it is by the especial blessing of God that the grain which is sown in the ground brings forth thirty, sixty, or a hundred fold: it is neither the sower nor the waterer that produces this strange and inexplicable multiplication; it is God alone. So it is by the particular agency of the Spirit of God that even good seed, sown in good ground, the purest doctrine conveyed to the honest heart, produces the salvation of the soul.
The heart that receives the word of God is not as a pool that evaporates, nor like a broken cistern that loses its treasure. It is like the mountain stream fed by unfailing springs, whose cool, sparkling waters leap from rock to rock, refreshing the weary, the thirsty, the heavy-laden. GW 252.1
A familiarity with the truths of the Scripture will give the teacher of truth qualifications that will make him a representative of Christ. The spirit of the Saviour's teaching will give force and directness to his instruction and to his prayers. His will not be a narrow, lifeless testimony; he will not preach over and over the same set discourses; for his mind will be open to the constant illumination of the Holy Spirit. GW 252.2
“Whoso eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood,” Christ said, “hath eternal life.” “As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me.” “It is the spirit that quickeneth; ...the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” [John 6:54, 57, 63.] GW 252.3Read in context »
An Effective Interest-holding Program—There was given me another sight. Tents were taken to different places during camp meeting season. Camp meetings were held in different locations. These were conducted by able, God-fearing men, having suitable helpers. There were children's meetings and revival meetings and an earnest effort to bring the people to a decision. A Paul may plant, an Apollos water, but God giveth the increase.... Ev 150.1
Let the talent of singing be brought into the work. The use of musical instruments is not at all objectionable. These were used in religious services in ancient times. The worshipers praised God upon the harp and cymbal, and music should have its place in our services. It will add to the interest. Ev 150.2
But hold the attention of the people by presenting before them the truth as it is in Jesus. Keep before them the cross of Calvary. What called for the death of Christ? The transgression of the law. Christ died to give men an opportunity to become loyal subjects of His kingdom. Ev 150.3Read in context »
Satan's Strong Attempts to Corrupt Ministers—I was shown that Satan would make his temptations strong to corrupt the ministers who are teaching the binding claims of the law of God. If he can tarnish the virtue, confuse the sense of purity and holiness, if he can insinuate himself into their thoughts, suggest and plan for them to sin in thought and deed against God, then their defense is gone. They have separated themselves from God; they have not the power and Spirit of God with them, and the sacred message of truth they bear to the people is not blessed of God; the seed is not watered, and the increase is not realized. TSB 195.1Read in context »