Maintaining Unity – Part I – 1 Corinthians 1:10-17

By John Bellingham on March 5, 2017
Download MP3
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


Maintaining Unity

1 Corinthians 1:10-17

I.  God’s Desire – v. 10

1)     The Warmth of Paul’s Appeal

  1. Christians are ‘brothers’ – part of same family
  2. Christians belong to the same Lord

2)     The Content of Paul’s Appeal

  1. Stated Positively – “that all of you agree” (literally – ‘say the same thing’)
  2. Stated Negatively – “that there be no divisions” (‘divisions’ = schismata = schism/ tear)

3)     The Biblical Limits of Paul’s Appeal

  1. Paul is NOT teaching that all Christians must share the same opinions about everything (cf. Romans 14; 1 Corinthians 8)
  2. Paul is NOT teaching that Christians should set aside doctrinal truth for the sake of visible unity (cf. Romans 16:17; Titus 3:10)
  3. Paul is NOT teaching that we should never confront or divide over a doctrinal issue (cf. Galatians 2:11-14)
  4. Paul is NOT teaching that we should avoid subjects simply because they are difficult to understand or controversial (cf. Romans 9-11)

4)     The Basis for Christian Unity

  1. Unity is created by God and maintained by man (cf. 1 Cor 12:27; Ephesians 4:1-3)
  2. Unity is governed by the Apostolic body of teaching contained in God’s Inspired Word (cf. Acts 2:42; Romans 16:17; Galatians 1:8-9)


– We must understand the difference between a primary issue, a secondary issue and a personal opinion.

– Paul expects all Christians to be completely unified on the primary doctrines of the Christian faith.   There should be no disunity when it comes to matters of central importance such as the Deity of Jesus Christ, the Triune nature of God, the Authority of Scripture, Salvation by Grace alone through Faith etc.   On these issues we must take an uncompromising stand.

– There are some theological issues where genuine Christians will continue to disagree (ie. Age of the Earth,  Infant vs. Believer’s Baptism,  Church Governance,  Timing of Christ’s Return,  Role of Israel in God’s Plan,  Divine Sovereignty and Human Freedom;  Use of Tongues/ Prophecy, etc.)   It is possible to disagree on these types of issues and still to maintain Christian Unity.   Sometimes disagreements on these types of issues will mean that we seek fellowship in different Churches or Denominations for the sake of peace.

– It is a tragedy when Christians divide and quarrel over personal opinions and preferences (ie. Bible Versions, Clothing, Food and Drink, Music Styles etc.)

II.  The Corinthian Dysfunction – vv. 11-17

1)     Personality Cults and ‘Cliques’

  1. Paul, Apollos and Peter were of one mind on matters of Christian doctrine/ theology
  2. Unlike the personality ‘cliques’ in Corinth, some modern distinctions are rooted in legitimate, ongoing theological differences (ie. Calvinism, Arminianism, Lutheranism, Weslyanism etc.)

2)      Misuse of Baptism

  1. In Corinth, Baptism had become a sign of party loyalty rather than a sign of union with Christ
  2. Paul does not deprecate Baptism or suggest that it’s optional – he’s rebuking sinful pride
  3. The Corinthians were wrongly elevating Baptism above the preaching of God’s Word


– Carefully evaluate your loyalty and your motives – are you more eager to be identified Jesus Christ or with your favorite Bible teacher or Denomination?

– Quarrelling/ Dividing over non-essential matters dishonours Christ, contradicts our profession of faith, and ruins our gospel witness to the unsaved world.

No Response to “Maintaining Unity – Part I – 1 Corinthians 1:10-17”

Comments are closed.