Divide and Fall Out!
Lord, may my thoughts be like Yours, and may my heart beat with Yours as I study Your message to me today.
Read 1 Corinthians 1:10–17
10 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11 My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.”
13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so no one can say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
New International Version (NIV)
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ReflectWho is your own favorite Christian leader, speaker or writer? Who has the most influence over you in living your Christian life?
Human beings are always likely to have arguments or to disagree with each other. In a sense there is nothing wrong with that. We ought to be people with strong preferences and opinions. Being a Christian is not all about always agreeing with each other or being indifferent to all issues, large or small.
However, what we have here is disagreement which brings division. They have their favorite leaders and thereby disrupt the essential unity of the Christian body. Of course, this news comes to him by way of gossip (11)! From what we know of the personalities of Paul, Peter and Apollos in the rest of the New Testament, what do you think attracted people to each of them?
Notice how Paul denies any part in all of this. In 2 Corinthians 10–13 he writes that he is even accused of being very weak and pathetic, untrained and unimpressive. Here he focuses upon the cross and his calling to be a preacher (17). His reputation and standing with them is secondary to what really matters.
How would you paraphrase verse 17 in your own words to express the central issue around which all Christians can unite?
Where do you see disunity in the church today? Pray for God’s grace in those situations.