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From The Chaplain's Desk
From The Chaplain's Desk: God's Husbandry

By Charles Dimmick, CT State Grange Chaplain

  November 7, 2018 --

I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are laborers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. 1 Corinthians 3:6-9 

This is the only place the word Husbandry appears in the New Testament, and only in the King James Version. Every other English translation of this passage translates the word as “farm” or “garden” or “field”. Even the word translated, “georgion”, appears only here in the Greek New Testament. So, how should one translate “georgion”, and what does it mean in the context of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians? The best translation is “plowed field”, with the connotation of a field which has been tilled ready for planting. And this is how Paul means the term.

In Paul’s day, while there were some farm owners who did the actual farm labor, it was far more common for someone who owned a farm [or in many cases several farms] to either hire laborers or own slaves who did the actual planting, watering, weeding, and harvesting. It was this model that Paul had in mind. We are God’s people, his creation, his plowed field, and God wants each of us to work with him and for him in serving our brothers and sisters. God provides the field; we are asked to provide the labor. In Paul’s case the “planting of the seed” was his spreading of the gospel message. This was followed at Corinth by the preaching of Apollos, who thus “watered” the seed that Paul hand planted.

But in the end, our planting of the seed, our watering of the tender plants which arise, would all be in vain were it not for the hand of God, which causes the seed to sprout and the tender young plants to grow. Thus Paul says it is “God that giveth the increase”.



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