Map of Corinth / Map of Corinth's Location / Picture of the Temple of Apollo / Outline Chart/ Read The Letter

Read Chapters 1, 2, 3, and 4 of First Corinthians (click on 'back' button to return here). In these first four chapters we see the first real problem in the Corinthian church, that of DIVISION.

(1) An Overview Of Chapters 1-4.

There is division in the Corinthian Church, but Paul starts off by thanking God for what good things have happened in the church:

1 Cor 1:1-9

1Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,

2To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

3Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

4I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus,

5that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge,

6even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you,

7so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ,

8who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

9God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.


From the first nine verses of the Letter, after affirming his own calling of God (as an apostle, hence having authority to write in these matters to them), Paul...

(i) Affirms the fact that the Corinthian church are among the called ones (v2)

(ii) Thanks God because the grace given to them (v3-4)

(iii)Thanks God for their rich knowledge and utterance (prophetic word) (v5)

(iv) States that there had been a good Christian testimony among tem (v6)

(v) Encourages them to continue to abound in the gifts, with an eager anticipation of Christ's return. He affirms once again God's call on their Church - a call to 'the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ'.

There is division in the Church and many more serious problems, but Paul starts off by thanking God for what good things have happened in the Church. We need this attitude of firstly focusing on the POSITIVE and not dwelling on the NEGATIVE!

There are three main points to note in these four chapters which are all related:

(a) There is division among the believers:

1 Cor 1:10-11

10Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

11For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe's household, that there are contentions among you.


Click on the underlined words to see what is the nature of this division and what Paul means by the solution of being 'perfectly joined together'.

The division is not merely in differences of opinion. Verse 11 shows that there is 'contentions' or more literally 'quarrels'. 1 Corinthians 3:3 also states there was envy, strife (same word as 'contentions' in 1:11) and divisions (different word used than in 1:10) among them. Look at the greek meanings of these words and piece together the expressions of division that existed.

The quarrels are taking place in the name of their leaders and the believers are 'boasting' (3:21) or 'taking pride over' one another (4:6).

(b) The is a FALSE WISDOM causing the division:

The Christians in Corinth are arguing as to which leader is the 'wisest'. But their idea of wisdom is a very WORLDLY one, infact it is the same as the non-christians in Corinth.

(c) There is an OPPOSING OF PAUL by some:

Because some see that Paul is not wise in the world's standards they are actually opposing him.

Read this excellent article on Christian Division based on this Scripture.

(2) Paul's Answer (1:12-4:21).

In Paul's answer we see that the division in the church is caused by a wrong idea about:

(i) The TEACHING (1:13-3:4) - They were judging the style and content of the teachings carnally.

(ii)The TEACHERS (3:5 - 4:21) - They were judging the characters of the teachers carnally.

If we look at division in any church isn't it true that it is caused by quarreling over the teaching or preferring one leader/teacher over another ?

Let us now take a look at these two important issues to see how they apply to us today. We will start with the wrong idea about the TEACHING.

Click here for (i) True Wisdom = Divine Wisdom to continue the study

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