World Wide Study Bible

Study

a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary

Divisions in the Church

10 Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose.


Select a resource above

10. Now I beseech you, brethren Hitherto he has handled the Corinthians mildly, because he knew that they were much too sensitive. Now, however, after preparing their minds for receiving correction, acting the part of a good and skillful surgeon, who soothes the wound when about to apply a painful remedy, he begins to handle them with more severity. Even here, however, as we shall still farther see, he uses great moderation. The sum is this: “It is my hope that the Lord has not in vain conferred upon you so many gifts, so as not to have it in view to bring you to salvation, but you ought at the same time to take heed lest graces so distinguished be polluted by your vices. See, then, that you be agreed among yourselves; and it is not without good reason that I call for agreement among yourselves, for I have been informed that you are in a state of disagreement, amounting even to hostility, and that there are parties and contentions raging among you, by which true unity of faith is torn asunder.” As, however, they might not perhaps be sufficiently aroused by mere exhortation, he uses earnest entreaty, for he adjures them, by the name of Christ, that, as they loved him, they should aim at promoting harmony.

That ye all speak the same thing In exhorting them to harmony, he employs three different forms of expression: for, in the first place, he requires such agreement among them that all shall have one voice; secondly, he takes away the evil by which unity is broken and torn asunder; and, thirdly, he unfolds the nature of true harmony, which is, that they be agreed among themselves in mind and will. What he has placed second is first in order, — that we beware of strifes. For from this a second thing will naturally follow, — that we be in harmony; and then at length a third thing will follow, which is here mentioned first, — that we all speak, as it were, with one mouth; a thing exceedingly desirable as a fruit of Christian harmony. Let us then observe, that nothing is more inconsistent on the part of Christians than to be at variance among themselves, for it is the main article of our religion that we be in harmony among ourselves; and farther, on such agreement the safety of the Church rests and is dependent.

But let us see what he requires as to Christian unity. If any one is desirous of nice distinctions — he would have them first of all joined together in one mind; secondly, in one judgment; and, thirdly, he would have them declare in words that agreement. As, however, my rendering differs somewhat from that of Erasmus, I would, in passing, call my readers to observe, that Paul here makes use of a participle, which denotes things that are fitly and suitably joined together 5656     “Et assembles l’une h l’autre;” — “And associated with each other.” For the verb καταρτιζεσθαι itself (from which the participle κατηρτισμένος comes) properly signifies, to be fitted and adjusted, just as the members of the human body are connected together by a most admirable symmetry. 5757     The verb καταρτιζω properly signifies, to repair, or refit, or restore to its original condition what has been disarranged or broken; and in this sense it is applied to the repairing of nets, ships, walls, etc. (See Matthew 4:21; Mark 1:19.) We might with perfect propriety understand the Apostle as alluding here to the repairing of a ship that has been broken or damaged, and as intimating that a Church, when shattered by divisions, is (so to speak) not sea-worthy, and must be carefully repaired, before she can be fit for purposes of commerce, by conveying to the nations of the earth the “true riches.” The allusion, however, most probably is, as Calvin thinks, to the members of the human body, which are so admirably adjusted to each other. It deserves to be noticed, that Paul makes use of a derivative from the same verb (κατάρτισις) in 2 Corinthians 13:9, on which Beza observes, “that the Apostle’s meaning is, that whereas the members of the Church were all (as it were) dislocated and out of joint, they should now again be joined together in love, and they should endeavor to make perfect what was amiss amongst them either in faith or manners.” — Ed

For sententia (judgment) Paul has γνώμην: but I understand it here as denoting the will, so that there is a complete division of the soul, and the first clause refers to faith, the second to love. Then only will there be Christian unity among us, when there is not merely a good agreement as to doctrine, but we are also in harmony in our affections and dispositions, and are thus in all respects of one mind. Thus Luke bears witness to believers in the primitive Church, (Acts 2:46,) that they had “one heart and one soul.” And without doubt this will be found wherever the Spirit of Christ reigns. When, however, he exhorts them to speak the same thing, he intimates still more fully from the effect, how complete the agreement ought to be — so that no diversity may appear even in words. It is difficult, indeed, of attainment, but still it is necessary among Christians, from whom there is required not merely one faith, but also one confession.




Advertisements