Denominations, Divisions and Cliques Had Arisen Within the Church and Paul Deals With This Firmly
It is a letter to a group of believers in Jesus Christ who live and work and worship in Corinth.
Do read the letter and there can be much benefit gained from studying this epistle.
Writing letters and mailing them was not simple two thousand years ago.
Paul goes right on in Chapter 1 and at verse 10 to make a strong and tender appeal, but note the serious severity of the content! You have got dissensions and divisions among you.
You are no longer a united fellowship.
You are no longer a united family.
What is this I hear about you having cliques and groups? Divisions had come into the Church of Jesus Christ? Paul wanted these believers in the risen and living Jesus to be united in mind, and also in their thinking.
I hear you are divided over men, and that you have labels.
The situation required leadership that was strong and powerful and specific, and not afraid to correct whatever errors were around.
Here we see the seed of denominations, and the teaching of the Bible is very clear indeed.
There were groups who were built on the names of men who were ministers of God, and the ultra holy group said, "We are of Christ - no - no - we don't follow men - we just follow Jesus.
" And, Paul condemns all four groups.
It is interesting that he begins with his own followers first; those who might be regarded as his own fan club, and he is teaching them, "Never any of you say, I belong to Paul!" What a succession of good preachers they had had, but that does not always solve problems.
Some of these people were linking themselves with one man's personality or methods rather than being linked and united to Jesus Christ.
Yes, we need people to lean on at times, but we have to be grounded in Christ.
There is the implication too that those who said, 'we are of Christ', that they are implying that they were better and worthier, and perhaps even that the others were not of Christ.
It is possible that those who say, "O we just follow Jesus and we just go by the Bible," are implying that they are in some way superior to the others.
Paul is teaching right at the beginning of this letter that we must deal with all this confusion, regarding groups and denominations and let's deal with these divisions.
As servants of Jesus Christ, we are nothing if we do not have Jesus and His Love, and we are powerless without the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
Paul is dealing with no light and superficial issue in this letter and the practical and relevant application for us today is immense.