- 1 Cor. 1:1-4:21
Around 55-56 A.D., Paul wrote the letter that we know as 1 Corinthians. Apparently Paul and the brethren at Corinth had written each other a previous time, during which the Corinthian Christians asked Paul a number of questions, which Paul addresses. Additionally, Paul instructs them regarding divisions between them as well as other behavior problems in the church there. The letter begins with Paul rebuking them for their divisions:
10 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11 My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul?
(1 Cor. 1:10-13 NIV)
As Christians, we must be united in following Jesus. It is Jesus who died for us. It is into Jesus that we are baptized. It doesn’t matter who taught us the truth of the gospel—we are supposed to be one in Jesus. It doesn’t matter where we live, it is Jesus we are following. Paul later added that these divisions were preventing the growth of the Corinthian Christians.
Paul explained that it is GOD who is most important, not the one who teaches the gospel:
5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. 9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.
(1 Cor. 3:5-9 NIV)
As Christians, the way we live and the foundation upon which we build our life is crucial:
16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.
(1 Cor. 3:16-17 NIV)