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The Problem of Division

1 Corinthians indicates that Corinth was a divided church.

They were divided with reference to preachers. Some said, “I am of Paul,” others said, “I am of Apollos,” others said, “I am of Cephas,” and some said “I am of Christ” (1:12). This may have been simply a matter of personal preference. Since Paul goes on to thank God that he personally baptized few of these brethren, their preferences were possibly rooted in who converted whom.

They were divided economically. Paul began his rebuke of their Lord’s Supper observance, “For in the first place, when you come together, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part I believe it” (11:18). This division might have been related to their preacher preferences, but the manifestation here was, some ate and drank to excess while others went hungry. That points to economic disparity. “Do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing?,” asked the Apostle.

They were divided with reference to miraculous gifts. Chapters 12-14 indicate that those who had the gift of speaking in tongues felt superior to those with other gifts. Perhaps those who had no gift at all felt completely left out. Paul reminded them that in the body of Christ, as in the human body, we are to be “giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there be no division in the body, but that members may have the same care for one another” (12:25).

Let’s not allow attitudes and circumstances to divide us. Let’s work to “be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1:10).

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