1 Corinthians 3:12–15 (KJV 1900)12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
Paul is correcting the Corinthian’s error of making men their foundation instead of Christ. They were in heated disagreements and divisions in the church erupted over which church leader was the best. Paul called on them to see that the foundation of the church is the cross of Jesus Christ. How the church builds on that foundation is what matters.
Several materials can be used to build upon the foundation; gold, silver, precious stones, or wood, hay, and stubble. Those materials will one day be tested.
The question is, is Paul referring to the testing that will come at the Judgment Seat (Bema) of Christ? Or, does he mean the testing that will come through earthly trials? Paul doesn’t explicitly say. Nor does he say what kind of reward or loss those that build shall receive. Will the reward come in our lifetime from seeing the fruit of building on the foundation of Christ? Or, is it reserved for a future reward/loss.
Either way, the Christian life will be tested. Paul admonishes them to build solidly on the foundation.