The Problem with Division

Text: 1 Corinthians 1:10

The first of many problems that Paul addressed in his first letter to Corinth was the problem of division. There were factions within the church. Paul appealed for them to have unity. He did so by explaining what is the problem with division.

When We Are Divided, We Are…

Not Complete

  • Complete – “perfectly joined together” (KJV); other NT uses (Matthew 4:21; Hebrews 11:3); it is the idea of being perfectly fitted together for the intended work
  • The body has been assembled in such a way as to allow the work to be carried out (Ephesians 4:16) – each part necessarily has a different role to play (1 Corinthians 12:14-27)
  • Division means that either a necessary part is missing OR the parts cannot work together properly – in either case, the work of the body is hindered (Ephesians 4:13-16; 1 Corinthians 12:22)

Not of the Same Mind

  • This has reference to our understanding (cf. 1 Corinthians 14:15, 19; Luke 24:45) – this is our understanding of God’s word; we are expected to have this in common (Ephesians 3:4)
  • The Lord wants His people to “agree” or “speak the same thing” (KJV) – Christians and churches who follow the Lord are to have a consistent message (1 Corinthians 4:17)
  • Division means that we are not unified in our message – this results in confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33); such division causes people to be lost (Galatians 1:6-9)

Not of the Same Judgment

  • In this context, judgment is distinct from mind (understanding) – this is about opinion; not a baseless opinion, but one based upon knowledge (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:40); the word also signifies agreement or consent between two parties (Philemon 14)
  • We must be of the “same mind” when it comes to our understanding of God’s word, yet we will have different opinions about other matters (Romans 14:2, 5) – therefore, being of the “same judgment” means we patiently accept brethren to promote peace (Romans 14:1, 3-4, 10, 13; 15:1-3; 1 Corinthians 8:4, 7, 13)
  • Division means we are holding our opinions to the same level as Scripture (or higher) – causes strife within the body (Romans 14:15, 20); causes a brother to stumble (1 Corinthians 8:12)

Not of Christ

  • In their division, these brethren were claiming to be “of” certain preachers (1 Corinthians 1:12) – Christ is not divided (1 Corinthians 1:13); to follow these men meant they were not following Christ
  • It is vital that we are “of Christ” – He was crucified for us and willingly laid down His life for us (John 10:18; 15:13); we were baptized in His name which put us in His body (1 Corinthians 12:13) and gave us the hope of salvation (Ephesians 5:23)
  • Division means that people are not “of Christ” – could be that some are faithful and some are not (1 Corinthians 11:18-19); could be that all have fallen away; in either case, it is not a situation that should be seen as tolerable or inconsequential

Conclusion

  • Christ died for us, we were baptized into Him, and we are His disciples
  • Therefore, we must be united together in one body as we serve Him
  • We must strive to avoid unnecessary division so as not to hinder our work for the Lord

When you subscribe, you’ll also receive 3 free PDF’s: Plain Bible Teaching on Blessings, the latest issue of Plain Bible Teaching Quarterly Review, and Social Issues.