I will not build on someone else’s foundation (Rom 15:20)


I make it

My ambition

To preach the gospel,

Not where Christ

Has already been named,

So that I do not build

On someone else’s foundation.”

οὕτως δὲ φιλοτιμούμενον εὐαγγελίζεσθαι οὐχ ὅπου ὠνομάσθη Χριστός, ἵνα μὴ ἐπ’ ἀλλότριον θεμέλιον οἰκοδομῶ,

Paul said that he made it his ambition (οὕτως δὲ φιλοτιμούμενον) to preach the gospel, (εὐαγγελίζεσθαι), not where Christ had already been named (οὐχ ὅπου ὠνομάσθη Χριστός), since he did not want (ἵνα μὴ) to build (οἰκοδομῶ) on someone else’s foundation (ἐπ’ ἀλλότριον θεμέλιον).  Only the Pauline letters used this word φιλοτιμούμενον, that means to love or seek after honor, zealous, strive eagerly, or desire very strongly.  Paul said that it was his desire not to preach the gospel of Jesus where someone else had already done so.  He preferred virgin territory, where no one had talked about Jesus Christ before.  He did not want to build on someone else’s foundation.  He wanted to lay the foundation and build the local church of Christ.  If the foundation was there, he kept going.  He was not going to build on a foundation built by someone else.  Would you rather lay a foundation or build on a foundation?

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