1 Corinthians 1:10-18 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Divisions in the Church
10 Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters,[a] by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose. 11 For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters.[b] 12 What I mean is that each of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” 13 Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
14 I thank God[c] that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one can say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power.
Christ the Power and Wisdom of God
18 For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
Thoughts on Today’s Reading—From Pastor Pam
Words have the power to wound and the cross has the unifying power of life. That’s what I hear in Paul’s plea to the Corinthian Church to come together and be unified in belief in Jesus Christ. Together, it is God’s power that transforms the church just as Christ conquered death on the cross.
Think about it. The new church is made up of all kinds of people. There are Jews and non-Jews (Gentiles). There are people of means and people with very little. There are “cultured” people who speak well and who are viewed by the world as full of wisdom and better than others.
Paul sees only one thing that matters—being grounded in the cross and the power of a life-affirming and life-changing God. This is not an analysis of views on individual interpretations of theological viewpoints. Those Corinthians had lots of disagreements over what to believe. (Sound familiar to today?) But together, God’s power was transforming them and bringing them into new life.
In 1 Corinthians, Paul is working mightily to get his struggling Congregation to focus on the unanimity of God who chooses all people and gives us different gifts and graces. We are to look with hope at the cross knowing it the unifier, not human pronouncements of wisdom.
Grace and Peace,