(31 verses, 2:45 to read)
What I am about to READ
- Paul, with Sosthenes, writes to the church at Corinth, thanking God for them and appealing for unity under Christ and Him crucified.
- St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians opens with a customary greeting to the people of Corinth (vv. 1-3).
- God gives thanks for the work of Christ among the Corinthian Christians (vv. 4-9).
- Paul expresses concern over the divisions that have become manifest in the Corinthian church (vv. 10-17).
- Paul reminds the Corinthians that true wisdom and unity is found in Christ (vv. 18-31).
- It’s easy for us to gloss over the opening of the epistles. However, it’s important to see that these letters are written to Christians. These are people who have been sanctified (made holy) in Christ Jesus and called to be saints with the Church catholic (the church of all times and all places that holds to the unity of faith found in the word of God). This sanctifying and calling is done in Baptism, where God washes away our sins and calls us to be His own dear children. Because of that grace shown to us, we have peace with God. He is no longer angry at us because of our sins.
- It may seem strange that some “follow Paul” and some follow Apollos, and Cephas, and Christ. You may even ask, “How could you not follow Christ?” or “Why would you follow anyone but Christ?” Unfortunately, leaders in the church are sometimes treated as a celebrity and are “followed.” This is why Paul gives thanks for having baptized only a few. His unspoken fear is that, had he baptized many, they would base their faith on who baptized them (and not in whose Name they were baptized!).
- It is possible to covet someone else’s pastor (10th Commandment). It is also possible to despise the preaching of God’s Word (3rd Commandment) because of the personality (or lack thereof) of your pastor. Paul appeals to the congregation to be united in the doctrine of Christ and Him crucified.
- When Paul addresses divisions in the church at Corinth, we begin to see how troubled the congregation is. Isn’t this a picture of the modern church? St. Paul urges them, in the name of Jesus, to be in agreement with one another–that the divisions would cease and that they would be of the same mind. We hear this charge frequently today. When we look at the Church, we see a divided body. We lack agreement on many things. Some would have us set aside our different theological positions to foster this unity. However, Paul clearly shows that the division comes from being of the same mind and judgment. This unity can’t be based in stripping what we believe about the Bible into the least common denominator. Unity comes from the Spirit, which gives us the same mind and judgment through His work in the word. This is why Jesus commands the church to observe all that he taught (Mt. 28:20). Unity based on anything but the word of God is a lie, and this is what caused division in Corinth and continues to cause division in the Church today.
- Lamb of God, pure and holy, Who on the cross didst suffer, ever patient and lowly, Thyself to scorn didst offer. All sins Thou borest for us, Else had despair reigned o’er us: have mercy on us, O Jesus! Amen. (LSB 434)