The Kingdom, by Witness Lee

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Why did the Apostle Paul write 1 Corinthians 3 as he did? Why did he say that he planted, Apollos watered, and God gave the growth? Why did he say that, as a wise masterbuilder, grace was given to him, that he laid the foundation, and that another builds thereon with either gold, silver, and precious stones, or wood, hay and stubble? We need to consider the entire book to understand why he wrote in this way. In 1 Corinthians 1:5 and 7, Paul told the Corinthians that they had all knowledge and lacked no gifts. But then he said in 3:1 that he could not speak to them as to spiritual. He told them that they were still carnal, fleshly babes in Christ. This is why we say that Bible knowledge and gifts in themselves do not help. The Corinthians had both, but were very short in growth. In the local churches we are not sectarian or exclusive; we receive every proper thing that is of the Lord. We are not opposed to Bible knowledge; neither are we opposed to the gifts. But the Lord’s recovery today is not a matter of knowledge or gifts—it is a matter of growth in life. During the past one hundred fifty years the doctrines and gifts have been recovered but the growth in life has not been recovered adequately. Our burden today is for the recovery of the growth in life. It is good that you have Bible knowledge and that you have spoken in tongues, but do not stop with these things. Go on to the growth in life. There is such a danger that those who have Bible knowledge will stop there, and that those who have experienced gifts will stop there. You must go on. Knowledge may be a bridge to bring you from one side to the other, but do not stay on that bridge. You need to go on to life.


The book of Matthew does not emphasize Bible knowledge or gifts. Rather, it stresses the seed of life and the growth of that seed with transformation to produce minerals for the building up of the church (Matt. 13). The Lord told Peter that he was a stone, and that He would build His church and give to Peter the keys of the kingdom (Matt. 16). These are some of the basic items found in the book of Matthew. The seven parables in Matthew, the mysteries of the kingdom, are also basic items. On the contrary, healing and tongues are not basic structures. The basic structures are the seed, growth, transformation, and building. I am not against Bible knowledge or gifts, but I am against overemphasizing them. Some who speak in tongues care for nothing but tongues-speaking. The church is not a tongues-speaking church, and the Lord’s recovery is not the recovery of tongues-speaking. Although tongues-speaking may have helped people, it is not basic. The basic items are the seed, the growth, the transformation, and the building.

(The Kingdom, Chapter 16, by Witness Lee)