First Corinthians opens with Paul’s Greetings and Prayers of Thanksgiving saying that he thanks God for the folks in Corinth and prays for their enrichment through the testimony of Jesus.
As we move into verse 10 Paul warns the saints against the reports of division in the church and that they need to be “perfectly joined together in the same mind”. He explains that he has learned of “contentions” among the people.
One definition of “contentions” is heated debate. Heated debate often leads to hate speech or disagreements to the point that you are not able to speak to each other in love. You avoid each other, you turn your head and pretend not to see each other and perhaps find it difficult to even pray for each other.
This is not unlike some of the things we see in the church to this very day. Sometimes our strong wills are such to the point that we want to control others or perhaps “put them in their place”. Here Paul is warning the church against this type of action.
It is strongly believed that part of this disparagement between the folks in the church at the time was over baptism. Some people may have been telling people that they were baptized by Paul while others were saying that they had been baptized by someone else. Some questioned others of the genuine nature of their baptism to the point that they perhaps even questioned the other persons salvation.
Paul closes this first chapter by explaining that the Gospel is not made for earthly wisdom. In verse 18 he says that “the preaching of the cross is foolishness to those who don’t believe but for those of us who DO believe it is the power of our very faith”.
I love verse 23 and 24 where he explains that the preaching of the crucifixion is foolish to some and a “stumbling block” to others but to the believing heart it is actually the “power of God” and the “wisdom of God”.
Verse 27 is a much quoted scripture and one that bears memorization. “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and He has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty”.
When I read this my mind actually goes to the money that we spend in research to answer questions that no one seems to be asking or even worse, we spend millions of dollars to prove things we already know. They could actually give me only a small percentage of this money and I could answer their questions. (Just a thought).
Most of this first chapter could be summed up in the Good News that if we as a church would or could become united with one mind and concentrate on the preaching of the gospel, Christ’s crucifixion and work together we could accomplish great things like they did in the early church in the book of Acts.
It seems to me that this letter could have been written to our modern day church just as well. Our contradictions, hate speeches, division and diversions demonstrate to the world exactly what we don’t want or need. Division.
A house divided against itself will surely fail. A house divided against itself will have no future. I wonder if this was a prophetic word to use today instead of a simple letter written by Paul to the Church of Corinth.