1 Corinthians 1:10-17 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. 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. 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. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name. And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other. 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. KJV
Now if we were to just read the first nine verses in the epistle or letter of Paul to these believers in Corinth, we would surely come to the conclusion that all is well with them individually and collectively as a body of believers, but Paul wanting to represent true biblical love will now respond to some things that has been made known to him that is occurring in their midst that detrimental to the individual, destructive to the collective body, and defaming to the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul considering himself to be their spiritual father responds to these issues just as any earthly father would respond when their child behaves improperly and that is to correct what is wrong with the truth. Paul had received word from a sister in our Lord Jesus Christ (Chloe) that strife and disputes had developed amongst the congregation of believers. Paul wanting to squash this type of behavior quickly again (uses the Greek word parakaleo which means to invoke, implore, exhort, entreat, or strongly desire) appeals to them not solely on his behalf, but for Christ sake Paul urges them to come together with "one mind" or with the same understanding about how to conduct themselves individually and collectively together in such a manner that Christ will always be glorified. Paul tells them also to have the "same judgment" and this English word judgment is translated by the Greek word gnome also means mind but more deeply it means cognition (perception, learning, or reasoning); that which is known.
Paul surely was grieved over these believers and grieved for them as he recognized that they had yet to fully grasp or understand all that they now were and all that they now possessed by being in union with our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul said he wanted to see them "perfectly joined together" or the Greek word katartizo which means to complete thoroughly or to repair or to adjust or to put in order or to make one what he ought to be. Paul longed for these brethren (remember he spent 11/2 years teaching them the Word of God, Acts 18:11) to be individually and collectively who they should be in Christ. Paul knew that it was the desire of the enemy to "divide" them or cause a gap or split in their fellowship one with another and according to the word from Chloe, the enemy was succeeding. Paul's desire for them was that they be "unified" operating as "one unit" like a human body does, so were they to be as Christ Body functioning and operating as a whole. Paul in his discovery of the various factions or clicks or groups the believers there were separating themselves into was based upon their individual desires to be identified with Peter, Apollos, or Paul. Paul quickly puts down their desire to group themselves in this manner by asking them in the epistle or letter this piercing, probing, and penetrating question "Is Christ divided?" and the quick, easy, obvious, and correct answer is NO! When our Lord Jesus Christ humbled Himself to become a Man to take our sins into His Own Body, He never did or said anything without consulting with God the Father and saying and doing only what was the Father's Will.
Likewise Paul wanted these Corinthian brethren to understand their allegiance is not to him or Peter or Apollos but to Christ alone and only. Were they to submit to Paul's authority as an Apostle? Yes, but solely because our Lord Jesus Christ commissioned Paul to be His Apostle and set Paul in that position of authority, therefore, when they submit to Paul or Peter or Apollos or any other leader in the Church, it is still our Lord Jesus Christ they were submitting to. Paul wanting to drive his point home even firmer and asks this question (that surely should have shaken them) and the question is "Was Paul crucified for you?" and the answer is Dah! Paul declares to them that he did not even baptize in water but just a few people among them. Paul wants them to understand completely that Peter, Apollos, and him were only messengers of the grace of God in Christ that is freely available to any repentant sinner who turns from their sins and believes the gospel or good news our Lord Jesus Christ sent him to proclaim.
Paul declares that he did not come to them with highly sophisticated words seeking to impress them with how wise he was, for Paul could have done this any time because he was a highly educated man having human knowledge that would equate today to someone with several PHD's, but Paul knew that persuading men or women to believe in our Lord Jesus Christ with human methods would amount to nothing more than people joining a religion. Paul did not come to them preaching about religion (Paul was all his adult life highly religious, but still spiritually dead to the One True God) instead he preached Christ dying on a Cross for sinful man and resurrecting from the dead three days later proving Himself to be not only a Man but also God. Paul declares to them if he would have used words of wisdom then the cross of Christ "should be made of none effect" and this English phrase is translated by the Greek word kenoo which means to make empty or to make void or to make vain, fruitless, unproductive of its success, or to falsify or to neutralize. Paul knew that if any man (including himself) used clever words or speech to convince men, while neglecting the only source of transforming power that is in Christ death and resurrection from the dead, then he would be depriving every sinner he encountered of an opportunity to receive forgiveness and eternal life.
"So liable are the best things in the world to be corrupted, and the gospel and its institutions, which are at perfect harmony with themselves and one another, to be made the engines of variance, discord, and contention. This is no reproach to our religion, but a very melancholy evidence of the corruption and depravity of human nature. Note, How far will pride carry Christians in opposition to one another! Even so far as to set Christ and His own apostles at variance, and make them rivals and competitors." Matthew Henry
"Contention is like fire, for both burn so long as there is any exhaustible matter to contend within. Only herein it transcends fire, for fire begets not matter, but consumes it; debates beget matter, but consume it not." Thomas Adams 1583-1653
"It is as hard a thing to maintain a sound understanding, a tender conscience, a lively, gracious, heavenly spirit, and an upright life in the midst of contention, as to keep your candle lighted in the greatest storms." Richard Baxter 1615-1691
"How foolish is it when people begin to elevate a preacher or teacher or evangelist up to the same level as God, soon you get the "Jim Jones" of the world and certain and sure tragedy will follow. Paul immediately recognized this sinister pattern developing in the hearts of some of the Corinthian believers and was swift and quick to correct it." Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of "Silent Assassins of the Soul" - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy's Crosshairs e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reade, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie