1 Corinthians – A Divided Church

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“I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. For some members of Chloe’s household have told me about your quarrels, my dear brothers and sisters. Some of you are saying, “I am a follower of Paul.” Others are saying, “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Peter,” or “I follow only Christ.” 1 Corinthians 1:10-12

Paul identifies the four parties that were causing the division in the church. These people have not left the church, but they are causing problems within the church. Paul, Cephas and Apollo had nothing to do with the division in the church. It was not the man causing the problem it was their supporter. When we worship the man and not Jesus, it will cause problems in the church.

 There were those who claimed to belong to Paul. No doubt this was mainly a Gentile party. Paul had always preached the gospel of Christian freedom and the end of the law. It is most likely that this party were attempting to turn liberty into license and using their new found Christianity as an excuse to do as they liked.

There was the party who claimed to belong to Apollos. There is a brief character sketch of Apollos in Acts 18:24. He was a Jew from Alexandria, an eloquent man and well versed in the scriptures. Alexandria was the center of intellectual activity. It was there that scholars had made a science of allegorizing the scriptures and finding the most recondite meanings in the simplest passages. They were in fact the people who intellectualized Christianity. Those who claimed to belong to Apollos were, no doubt, the intellectuals who were fast turning Christianity into a philosophy rather than a religion.

 There were those who claimed to belong to Cephas. Cephas is the Jewish form of Peter’s name. These were most likely Jews; and they sought to teach that a man must still observe the Jewish law. They were legalists who exalted law, and, by so doing, belittled grace.

There were those who claimed to belong to Christ. They must have been a small and rigid sect who claimed that they were the only true Christians in Corinth. Their real fault was not in saying that they belonged to Christ, but in acting as if Christ belonged to them. It may well describe a little, intolerant, self-righteous group.

We see some of these same people in our churches today. They cause all kinds of issues in our churches. We must be as one, because we all belong to Jesus Christ.

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