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Summary: One of the principal objectives of this letter was to correct the problems which had arisen in the Corinthian church; the first one the apostle mentions is the divisions which existed there. He urges the members of that church to come together and . . . .

JULY 16, 2012

Commentary on First Corinthians

By: Tom Lowe

Lesson 2.1: Divisions and Wisdom

Scripture 1 Corinthians 1.10-1.17

1 Cor 1.10-17 (KJV)

10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.

12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.

13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?

14 I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;

15 Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.

16 And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.

17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.

Introduction to Lesson 2.1

One of the principal objectives of this letter was to correct the problems which had arisen in the Corinthian church; the first one the apostle mentions is the divisions which existed there. He urges the members of that church to come together and form bonds of unity (v. 10). Why did he do it? He had received information from one of the members he trusted who told him about the discord that was taking place (v. 11). These divisions occurred when the members began to align themselves with different religious teachers who became party leaders (v. 12). The sin and silliness of such divisions is obvious, because a church that has several religious leaders who embrace different religious convictions cannot be centers of unity. These so-called leaders had not benefitted the church, and its members did not profess allegiance to them in baptism (v. 13). These divisions arose for a couple of reasons; first, they had forgotten the common relationship which all Christians have with Christ; and second, they had a misconception of the relationship which believers should have with their religious teachers. Paul expresses his gratitude that he had not given any of them an opportunity to misinterpret his intentions. He had baptized so few of them that no one could suspect him of wanting to make himself the head of the church or the leader of a party (vs. 14–16). Paul informed them of his real objective, which didn’t include baptizing anyone, but was simply to preach the Gospel to them (v. 17).

Commentary

10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

Now I beseech you, brethren,

The apostle is aware of the many blessings bestowed on this church, which he mentioned in the preceding chapter, and now he proceeds to talk about the divisions and disagreements which were creating problems there; and in the kindest manner he pleads with them to take the proper steps to prevent rifts among them. Observe: he does not use his power and authority as an apostle of Jesus Christ to place them under rules and commands meant to regulate their behavior, which he might have done. Instead, he implores them to avoid disputes and any association that might cause a split within the church; and he treats them with loving-kindness, even calling them his brethren, as they were in a spiritual sense, being children of the same Father, members of the same body, and partakers of the same grace.

In the next verse we discover that he heard about the problems in the Corinthian church from someone in the household of a woman named Chloe (see Chloe; A Founding Mother of the Faith). The first thing he learned was that divisions and strife had arisen in the church, and that is what he is concerned with in this chapter. Those divisions had been caused by the influence of philosophy, and the ambition for respect and honor, and the eloquence of the preaching of the Corinthian teachers. He discusses this at length in 1 Corinthians 1:17-31, and 1 Corinthians 11. There he shows that the gospel did not depend for its success on the reasoning of philosophy, or the persuasiveness of eloquence.

by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

He makes his request in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he accurately concluded must carry weight and influence many of them, and to whom that name must be dear and precious, since they were called by Him. It shows, that he was not acting in his own name, and seeking his own reward; but was concerned for the name of Christ, and for His honor, which could be damaged by their conflict.

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