1. Carnal minded (3:1-4). A carnal minded man, in the context, is one who perpetuates a division that does not need to occur. The foundation of a carnal minded person is simply the lack of godly education. This can result because of youth (in the Lord) or because one has not taken the time to hear and apply (cf. Hebrews 5:12-13). In either case, it is bad for the brethren.
2. The purpose for each (3:5-17). With respect to the church in Corinth, there was a failing to understand that in God’s plan, each preacher had a particular role. Each role, however, was subservient to the role of God. Losing sight of this encourages each of us to build structures that are not prepared for serious testing. When the test comes, the structure falls, and, depending on the test and the nature of the structure falling, salvation could be lost. We all have a role and one role is every bit as important as another, and that role is to serve the Lord.
3. Self-evaluation (3:18-23). The application of Paul’s words are easy enough to understand. He wants them to make an application. “Preacheritis” is a problem that has plagued the Lord’s church since the time of Corinth, and it will continue to plague us. But each man – with all the good that can be thought of him – must stand in no comparison with the Lord. When this occurs, we see each man as he actually is, a fallible man. Thus, let our wisdom be the wisdom of the Lord’s and not any man.