Corinthian Problems 01: Division

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The first section (chapters 1-4) of 1 Corinthians addresses the first of nine problems - division. The founder of the Corinthian church, Paul the Apostle just received word that some are following Apollos, Paul, Peter (Cephas), and "Christ." (1:12)

Hearing about this, Paul gives a simple solution two chapters later: Do not boast in human leaders! (3:21) So, why did it take Paul so many sentences to arrive at this simple solution?

He knew that addressing the division is merely fixing a outcome of a deeper problem. Paul saw that extinguishing the division problem will only bring about another one, since the root cause was not being addressed. So what was the root cause?

From 1:18 to 3:17, Paul begins to talk about two types of wisdom: The world's wisdom and God's wisdom. He argues that the Corinthian Christians are using the world's wisdom to judge the church leaders. He even makes a quick stab at the fact that even Jesus would score low with those set of guidelines (1:18-23). The Corinthians are using the world's grading curve, and that is causing the people to take sides, which is creating division.

Had they actually used God's wisdom, they would have seen that the church leaders are all on the same team. As a matter of fact, without one of them, the whole church would crumble. Without Paul laying the foundation, Apollos would have no business building the church. Without Apollos watering the seed Paul planted, there would be nothing. Paul states that everything they have done is for God's glory.

In the middle of this rant, Paul spends a few paragraphs stating that God's wisdom has been made available to them. The problem isn't the lack of God's wisdom; it's their lack of wanting to utilize what allows them to see the world as God sees.

The underlying problem at Corinth was that the culture of the pagan city had seeped into their church, and it seems, they embraced it.

As followers of Jesus, we have God's wisdom. We can see as God sees the world. But, just because we have access to it doesn't mean we are utilizing it. Paul states that mature followers of Jesus always aims to see as God sees. Which wisdom do you use?

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Kats Omine

Kats Omine