Darin-isms (1 Corinthians 1)
Picking up the text where last Sunday’s sermon notes (March 26th) leave off…
1 Corinthians 1:10-17
It is surprising how quickly Paul turns from the pleasantries of his greetings to strong admonishment.
v. 10 ‘I appeal to you, brothers’ – This is pressing on Paul’s mind as he writes. It is a matter of vital importance – the disunity that has taken root – so that he speaks of it first and revisits it again more thoroughly later (see chapter 3).
He appeals to them as ‘brothers’. They are not adversaries of Paul’s, or of one another.
‘In the name of Jesus Christ’ – this is the tenth reference in the first 10 verses of this letter to Jesus. Whereas the first nine demonstrated Christ to be the foundation of our being called, set apart, saints, and the church, this tenth reference sets Christ as the foundation for the admonishment that is to follow.
The weight of this passage is not as much about disagreeing but rather being disagreeable (quarreling, see verse 11) with one another. Certainly there will be different opinions and understandings of things, but the church at Corinth had begun to divide into factions.
v. 11 Word has reached Paul of disunity.
v. 12 Paul gives an example of the sort of division that is happening. Scholars disagree on whether Paul was giving us the actual situation (i.e. people really dividing along the lines of Paul, Barnabas, Cephas (Peter) and Christ) or whether he was simply applying those names to the situation as an example, refraining from using real names or issues, so as not to risk further dividing the believers (for more on this view you might consider Paul’s words in 4:6).
v. 13 This is what matters. Is Christ divided? Christ is the foundation for our unity.
v. 14 Crispus is mentioned as having come to faith in Christ in Acts 18. At that time he was a ruler in the Jewish Synagogue. Sosthenes, mentioned in 1:1 was also a synagogue ruler in Corinth (see verse 1 and my notes under March 26th).
v. 14-17 There may have been an improper emphasis on baptism that Paul addresses. In this, he ministers much the way Jesus ministered (John 4:2 records that Jesus had his disciples baptize people, He wasn’t as concerned about baptizing people Himself). Paul echoes Jesus in this. These are an interesting couple of verses to consider with those who hold to some form of ‘baptismal regeneration’ doctrine – Paul, known as one of history’s greatest evangelists, didn’t place much emphasis on baptism. The line ‘Christ did not send me to baptize’ seems especially damning to baptismal regeneration.