Is Christ divided? - Can he be split into different sects and parties? Has he different and opposing systems? Or, is the Messiah to appear under different persons?
Was Paul crucified for you? - As the Gospel proclaims salvation through the crucified only, has Paul poured out his blood as an atonement for you? This is impossible, and therefore your being called by my name is absurd; for his disciples you should be, alone, who has bought you by his blood.
Were ye baptized in the name of Paul? - To be baptized in, or into the name of one, implied that the baptized was to be the disciple of him into whose name, religion, etc., he was baptized. As if he said: Did I ever attempt to set up a new religion, one founded on my own authority, and coming from myself? On the contrary, have I not preached Christ crucified for the sin of the world; and called upon all mankind, both Jews and Gentiles, to believe on Him?
Is Christ divided? - Paul, in this verse, proceeds to show the impropriety of their divisions and strifes. His general argument is, that Christ alone ought to be regarded as their head and leader, and that his claims, arising from his crucifixion, and acknowledged by their baptism, were so pre-eminent that they could not be divided, and the honors due to him should not be rendered to any other. The apostle, therefore, asks, with strong emphasis, whether Christ was to be regarded as divided? Whether this single Supreme Head and Leader of the church, had become the head of different contending factions? The strong absurdity of supposing that, showed the impropriety of their ranging themselves under different banners and leaders.
Was Paul crucified for you? - This question implies that the crucifixion of Christ had an influence in saving them which the sufferings of no other one could have, and that those sufferings were in fact the speciality which distinguished the work of Christ, and rendered it of so much value. The atonement was the grand, crowning work of the Lord Jesus. It was through this that all the Corinthian Christians had been renewed and pardoned. That work was so pre-eminent that it could not have been performed by another. And as they had all been saved by that alone; as they were alike dependent on his merits for salvation, it was improper that they should be torn into contending factions, and ranged under different leaders. If there is anything that will recall Christians of different names and of contending sects from the heat of strife, it is the recollection of the fact that they have been purchased by the same blood, and that the same Saviour died to redeem them all. If this fact could be kept before their minds, it would put an end to angry strife everywhere in the church, and produce universal Christian love.
Or were ye baptized in the name of Paul - Or, “into,” or “unto” the name of Paul; see the note at Matthew 28:19. To be baptized “into,” or “unto” anyone is to be devoted to him, to receive and acknowledge him as a teacher, professing to receive his rules, and to be governed by his authority - Locke. Paul here solemnly reminds them that their baptism was an argument why they should not range themselves under different leaders. By that, they had been solemnly and entirely devoted to the service of the only Saviour. “Did I ever,” was the implied language of Paul, “baptize in my own name? Did I ever pretend to organize a sect, announcing myself as a leader? Have not I always directed you to that Saviour into whose name and service you have been baptized?” It is remarkable here, that Paul refers to himself, and not to Apollos or Peter. He does not insinuate that the claims of Apollos or Peter were to be disparaged, or their talents and influence to be undervalued, as a jealous rival would have done; but he numbers himself first, and alone, as having no claims to be regarded as a religious leader among them, or the founder of a sect. Even he, the founder of the church, and their spiritual father, had never desired or intended that they should call themselves by his name; and he thus showed the impropriety of their adopting the name of any man as the leader of a sect.
Is Christ divided?—No. Christ abiding in the soul will not quarrel with Christ in another soul. We must learn to bear with the peculiarities of those around us. If our will is under the control of Christ's will, how can we be at variance with our brethren? If we are at variance, we may know that it is because self needs to be crucified. He whom Christ makes free is free indeed. We are not complete in Christ unless we love one another as Christ has loved us. When we do this, as Christ has given us commandment, we shall give evidence that we are complete in Him. TDG 262.5Read in context »
Paul had been called to his work by the Prince of life. While Paul had been engaged in the work of cruelly persecuting the followers of Christ, the Saviour had appeared to him and called him to be an apostle to the Gentiles. As an apostle of our Lord, he felt a sacred responsibility for the welfare of the church in Corinth. Under his administration they had not only received but they had taught the truth to others. They had been so enriched as to come behind in no gift. They had been brought into near and dear relation to Christ. 6BC 1083.1
Paul could not, by silence, allow himself to be driven from the field by false teachers—teachers who would introduce false sentiments and theories that might lead honest souls away from the truth. The churches must be guarded, and warned against deception. Christ gave Himself for us, to redeem us from all iniquity, that He might purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. His church must be kept free from all false doctrine (Manuscript 46, 1905). 6BC 1083.2
10. Unity in Diversity—The strength of God's people lies in their union with Him through His only-begotten Son, and their union with one another. There are no two leaves of a tree precisely alike; neither do all minds run in the same direction. But while this is so, there may be unity in diversity. Christ is our root, and all who are grafted into this root will bear the fruit which Christ bore. They will reveal the fragrance of His character in the talent of speech, in the cultivation of hospitality, of kindness, of Christian courtesy and heavenly politeness. 6BC 1083.3Read in context »
We would come together burdened in soul, praying that we might be one in faith and doctrine; for we knew that Christ is not divided. One point at a time was made the subject of investigation. The Scriptures were opened with a sense of awe. Often we fasted, that we might be better fitted to understand the truth. After earnest prayer, if any point was not understood, it was discussed and each one expressed his opinion freely; then we would again bow in prayer, and earnest supplications went up to heaven that God would help us to see eye to eye, that we might be one, as Christ and the Father are one. Many tears were shed. CET 192.4Read in context »
Thus will the truth be brought into practical life, and thus will be answered the prayer of Christ, uttered just before His humiliation and death: “That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.” John 17:21. The love of Christ, the love of our brethren, will testify to the world that we have been with Jesus and learned of Him. Then will the message of the third angel swell to a loud cry, and the whole earth will be lightened with the glory of the Lord. 6T 401.1
Our convictions need daily to be reinforced by humble, sincere prayer and reading of the word. While we each have an individuality, while we each should hold our convictions firmly, we must hold them as God's truth and in the strength which God imparts. If we do not, they will be wrung from our grasp. 6T 401.2Read in context »