God’s Word of Wisdom
1 Corinthians 1:1-17: Paul was probably the first Christian missionary to Corinth, and he founded the church there (see Acts 18:1-18). He begins his letter with words of greeting and thanksgiving and then states that he has received a report concerning dissension among the believers. His appeal is for them to put aside their differences, and he reminds them of their “union with Christ” (verses 2 and 5).
God is to be trusted, the God who called you to have fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ, our Lord.
1From Paul, who was called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Sosthenes—
2 To the church of God which is in Corinth, to all who are called to be God's holy people, who belong to him in union with Christ Jesus, together with all people everywhere who worship our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:
3May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
Blessings in Christ
4I always give thanks to my God for you because of the grace he has given you through Christ Jesus. 5For in union with Christ you have become rich in all things, including all speech and all knowledge. 6The message about Christ has become so firmly established in you 7that you have not failed to receive a single blessing, as you wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. 8He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be faultless on the Day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9God is to be trusted, the God who called you to have fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Divisions in the Church
10By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ I appeal to all of you, my friends, to agree in what you say, so that there will be no divisions among you. Be completely united, with only one thought and one purpose. 11For some people from Chloe's family have told me quite plainly, my friends, that there are quarrels among you. 12 Let me put it this way: each one of you says something different. One says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Peter”; and another, “I follow Christ.” 13Christ has been divided into groups! Was it Paul who died on the cross for you? Were you baptized as Paul's disciples?
14 I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius. 15No one can say, then, that you were baptized as my disciples. ( 16 Oh yes, I also baptized Stephanas and his family; but I can't remember whether I baptized anyone else.) 17Christ did not send me to baptize. He sent me to tell the Good News, and to tell it without using the language of human wisdom, in order to make sure that Christ's death on the cross is not robbed of its power.
How did Paul learn about quarreling within the Corinthian church (verse 11)? What is his response (verses 12-13)? Paul exhorts the believers to be “completely united, with only one thought and one purpose” (verse 10). What do you think Paul meant by this and why is it important? How does Paul describe his understanding of his mission (verse 17)? Have you ever experienced conflict within your community of faith? If so, how was it resolved?
Holy God, your servant Paul reminds us that you have called us to live in union with Christ Jesus; yet, there are still issues that cause division among us. Give us patience and understanding to work through such issues and unite us in thought and purpose. May your will be done, O Lord, so that your name is glorified. Amen.
Congregations experiencing divisiveness
1 Corinthians 1:18-31: Paul discusses the wisdom and power of God versus worldly wisdom and power.