Study Sheet for I Corinthians 1:10-17 (click here for Study Notes)
I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers, some from Chloe's household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, "I follow Paul"; another, "I follow Apollos"; another, "I follow Cephas"; still another, "I follow Christ."
Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul? I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, so no one can say that you were baptized into my name. (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don't remember if I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel-not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. (NIV)
1. Paul appeals to the Corinthians to be "perfectly united in mind and thought" with no divisions among them. The Corinthians had recently converted from paganism to Christianity, and they were not mature Christians yet. How could people bringing legalistic baggage and dissimilar experiences be "united in mind and thought"? Did Paul expect them to understand all doctrines in the same way? Did he expect them to have the same understandings of God and his will? If not, what kind of unity were they supposed to have? (see Romans 15:5-6)
2. Why did Paul use the term "brothers" with these feuding factions? We frequently hear people referring to each other as "brother" or "sister" in church. What constitutes "brotherhood" in the church? Is it membership? (see Matthew 12:48-50) How could these disputing Christ-followers be brothers?
3. Paul also chastises the Corinthians for their divisions and for identifying themselves with various apostles and teachers. Why did he take them to task for rallying around these teachers if the teachers were Christ-followers? Why was Paul so glad that he had not baptized many of the Corinthians?
4. What did Paul mean when he asked, "Is Christ divided?" (See I Cor. 12:12-13)
5. Paul said (v. 17) that Christ sent him to "preach the gospel, not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power." The literal translation of the Greek says, "not with the wisdom of speech" rather than "not with words of human wisdom." What did Paul mean by this statement? (See I Cor. 2:1, 4-5, 13) How might his words empty the cross of its power?
6. What implications, if any, do Paul's statements regarding divisions in the church have for religious denominations? Do these statements say anything about Christians considering certain doctrines to be more important than others, i.e. charismatic manifestations, state of the dead, election, etc? Since all Christ-followers come from different backgrounds, how can they be unified in their worship and thought?
7. Paul is admonishing Christ-followers to live in unity. Are there any fellow-believers with whom you feel insecure or competitive? What fear or insecurity do you need to relinquish to Jesus, asking him to humble you and to give you the faith to give up control to him?
8. Are there ways in which your life or witness detracts from the cross of Christ or empties it of its power? Do you have pockets of pride which you need to surrender to Christ? Do you have areas of fear which you need to submit to the Holy Spirit for him to empower with the authority of Jesus?
9. As you move into the real body of Christ, for what are you especially
grateful to him? For what are you grateful to other believers?
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Studio, Redlands, CA USA. All rights reserved. Revised April 23, 2000.