Divisions in the Church
In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ
In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ
A strong conjunction is found in this letter. (But) For those that have studied the churches of Revelation you might find this a true statement. The conjuncture of but always signals a change of direction, or the idea that I find something against you.
10 I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.
Relationships require mending. You understand this if you have been together for a while. Wives and husbands know the fact that it is not always easy being one. Paul is asking the Corinthians to be of one mind; that no divisions among them. Now I will say with confidence that if you have been together as long as we have and you have always been of one mind, you are better than me.
We are called to deal with the divisions, especially before we break bread together. That all of you agree (more literally, ‘speak the same thing’) makes use of a classical expression for being united. The use of party cries always tends to deepen and perpetuate division and Paul calls for their abandonment. To ‘speak the same thing’ can be a first step to real unity, whereas catch cries promote division. Divisions (schismata) are not ‘schisms’, but ‘dissensions’ (‘cliques’, Moffatt). The divisions were internal, and the groups were still one church and, for example, still met for Holy Communion (11:17ff.)
Leon Morris, 1 Corinthians: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 7, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1985), 45–46.
Now Paul meets this situation in Corinth by naming his source of the complaints. Often times, in life whether in the church or out of the church, we don’t want to confront anyone about issues of hurt feelings. The commentary above speaks to the idea that the church was divided, dissensions were rampant. The people of Corinth were being divided and yet they met as the body of Christ to break bread together.
11 For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), 1 Co 1:11.
In the the next couple of verses Paul describes quarreling. He is specific in his description naming names of people that different cliques followed. In today’s church do we have cliques? Sure we do. Paul is trying to convey that the people should remember what is most important. 12 What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), 1 Co 1:12–17.
What do I want you to think about today?
Think about your desire to increase the Kingdom. How can you include or expand your group? How could you multiply your group? We have great people here in North Cornerstone and as you can see from the previous scriptures great leaders have followers, but as I believe Paul explains, we should not be arguing about who we are following in our little groups but that Christ reigns supreme.