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1 Corinthians 1:12-13

06 12 18 - 21:03

Is Christ Divided?

1 Corinthians 1:12-13
 
12 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. 13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?
 
It is interesting to see how quickly various factions had developed within the new church. They were the reasons for the contentions, mentioned in the previous verse by Paul. "Now I say this, because of those contentions, that... etc." It is not entirely clear, however, what each of those factions or sects were based on.
 
The most common thought is that the main divisions were between the Jewish converts and the Gentiles. Most of the Gentiles there would have been led to Christ by Paul and would have had a natural allegiance to him. Paul was considered to be unpolished or "rude in speech" (2 Cor 11:6), but was theologically pure in the doctrines he taught.
 
Apollos, on the other hand, who was also a Gentile, a Hellenistic Greek, preached at Corinth during Paul's absence and was an extremely eloquent orator. The Cambridge Greek Testament says, "It is possible that he may have been a disciple of the celebrated Alexandrian teacher Philo, who was contemporary with the Apostles." There were therefore probably some who admired his education and eloquence and, having been led to the Lord by him, would hold an allegiance to him.
 
Some Corinthians claimed an allegiance to Cephas, who is Peter. Peter was considered too be the Apostle to the Jews. "But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;" (Galatians 2:7) It is likely that the Jewish converts would rather claim their loyalty to be toward him, because he would sympathize with their adherence to some of the Jewish laws. Some of these followers of Peter were legalistic and were called Judaizers, demanding circumcision and other legalities to be observed by the Gentile converts. Paul admonished Peter for this in Galatians 2:11-17.
 
Then, there were those who evidently did not want to be involved in the debate and simply claimed to be of Christ. Who could argue with that? Paul answered the debate with 3 rhetorical questions. "Is Christ divided?" The church is His body and His witness to the world. How would the world view the gospel if it saw divisions in the body of Christ? Of course Christ is not divided, and a church that is divided should acknowledge their error and repent.
 
"Was Paul crucified for you?" If not Paul, then who? Was Apollos... or Cephas, or any other pastor crucified for your sakes? Of course not! They did not have the ability to make such a sacrifice, because they were just as guilty of sin as you are. Jesus on the other hand had no sin and was made sin for us.
 
Hopefully, all were baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. There is no other name in heaven or earth by which we can earnestly be baptized into the body of Christ.
 
Divisions in the church are the works of evil influences. Jesus prayed, "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me." (John 17:20-21) Our unity is a vital part of the gospel message.
 
Before The Throne:
 
Are there divisions in your church? Is Christ divided? Then why should the body be divided? Pray for unity and peace. Confess your role in the divisions and repent. Pray that God will show you how to reunite the people under the banner of Christ. We only have one mission with one purpose. Pray that you will all be united in the effort to spread the Gospel and bring glory to God.
 
For Further Study:
 
(v.12) * this. 1Cor 7:29; 1Cor 15:50; 2Cor 9:6; Gal 3:17; * I am. 1Cor 3:4-6, 21-23; 1Cor 4:6; * Apollos. 1Cor 16:12; Acts 18:24-28; Acts 19:1; * Cephas. 1Cor 9:5; 1Cor 15:5; John 1:42; Gal 2:9;
 
(v.13) * Christ. 2Cor 11:4; Gal 1:7; Eph 4:5; * Paul. 1Cor 6:19-20; Rom 14:9; 2Cor 5:14-15; Titus 2:14; * or. 1Cor 1:15; 1Cor 10:2; Matt 28:19; Acts 2:38; Acts 10:48; Acts 19:5;
 

About

Author David Roth has been the Multihousing and Community Outreach Director for the York Baptist Association in Rock Hill, S.C. for nearly 20 years. He is the founder and pastor of Midtown Ministries, an inner city ministry to over 50 children and is presently pastoring My Radical Church, a new church plant that is focusing on reaching the homeless and poorest of the city. He has written over 3,000 daily bible studies and is in the process of posting them on this website.

The image in the header is © Andreas Reinhold.

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