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Question and Answer

What does the word carnal mean in 1 Corinthians 3?

In the King James Version the word carnal occurs four times in 1 Corinthians 3:1-4. Recent English translations of this passage use words and expressions like “fleshly” (NASB), “worldly” (NIV), and “people of the flesh” (ESV). The expression, “people of the flesh,” works well in the context of 1 Corinthians 3. The word flesh has different meanings in different contexts. In the context of this chapter, flesh is the totality of the sinful nature that we inherit at conception. The flesh is the sinful nature with all of its evil desires, thoughts, aspirations, and outlook.

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