In 1:10 Paul says, “Now I beseech you, brothers, through 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 attuned in the same mind and in the same opinion.” From this verse the apostle begins to deal with the divisions among the Corinthians. First, he beseeches them through the name of our Lord, which is the name above all names (Phil. 2:9) and should be the unique name among all His believers. However, by ranking the names of Paul, Apollos, and Cephas with the name of Christ, the divisive Corinthians made the same kind of mistake Peter made on the mount of transfiguration when he ranked Moses and Elijah with Christ (Matt. 17:1-8). To keep the oneness in the Lord and to avoid divisions, we need to uplift and exalt the unique name of our Lord by dropping all names other than this highest name.
In verse 10 Paul urges the believers to speak the same thing so that there be no divisions among them. In this Epistle Paul deals with eleven problems among the believers in Corinth. The first is the matter of division. Division is nearly always the leading problem, bringing in all other problems among the believers. It may be considered the root of the problems among believers. Hence, in dealing with all the problems in the church at Corinth, the apostle’s ax first touches the root, that is, the divisions among them. The first virtue of the walk worthy of God’s calling is the keeping of the oneness of the Spirit in the Body of Christ (Eph. 4:1-6).
In verse 12 Paul goes on to say, “Now I mean this, that each of you says, I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ.” In principle this is just the same as saying I am a Lutheran, I am a Wesleyan, I am a Presbyterian, I am an Episcopalian, I am a Baptist. All such designations should be condemned and rejected. They can only be terminated and eliminated by taking Christ as the unique center among all the believers.
To say “I am of Christ” in the way of excluding the apostles and their teachings or of excluding other believers is as divisive as to say “I am of” this or of that.
These verses indicate that divisions among Christians always result from placing another name above the name of the Lord Jesus. When certain of the Corinthians said, “I am of Apollos,” they automatically uplifted the name of Apollos above the name of Christ. Throughout the centuries, divisions among Christians have been caused by this practice. Today believers commonly designate themselves as Lutherans, Presbyterians, or Baptists without any sense of shame. Actually it is a shame for a Christian to call himself a Lutheran, for this means that he places the name of Luther above the name of Christ. No believer should do such a thing.
It is very significant that in verse 10 Paul beseeches the brothers through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. This indicates that we should not uplift any name above this name. For this reason, Christians should not have any kind of designation. To designate ourselves with a name is to make that name higher than the name of Christ. This is a shame both to the Lord and to the believers. However, some Christians are proud to say that they are of a certain denomination. Furthermore, these names are put on signs and are advertised. This indicates how far today’s Christians have gone astray. They have no feeling of shame when they designate themselves by a particular name other than the name of Christ.
Through the name of the Lord Jesus Christ Paul charged the believers at Corinth to all speak the same thing. When I was a young Christian, certain Christian leaders told me that I should not expect all Christians ever to speak the same thing. Do you think it is possible for us as Christians to speak the same thing? If you regard this as possible, I would ask you how we can speak the same thing. As we consider the differences among nations and races today, we see that people do not speak the same thing. For example, the Chinese do not speak the same thing as the Japanese, nor the Germans, as the French. How is it possible for believers of different nationalities to speak the same thing? To answer this question we need to understand what Paul means by the expression “the same thing.”
© Living Stream Ministry All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.