Saturday, 15 March 2014
For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. 1 Corinthians 1:11
The word “for” is used as a connector to the previous verse and to then build upon that thought. In verse 10 we read –
“Now 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.”
Based on this, “For it has been declared” is now stated. Paul wanted the Corinthians “perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” but they weren’t in such a state. And so in order to resolve the wayward condition they were in, he was writing this epistle of instruction. “Concerning you” means the Corinthians and it is to them specifically that he is writing. This letter may or may not have been intended as an encyclical, but either way it is specifically meant for this church at this time. However, it is also intended as a guide for any other church facing similar circumstances and so God ensured it would be kept and eventually included in His word.
Despite the rebuke that is coming, Paul next enters the thought “my brethren.” He isn’t questioning, nor will he question, the salvation of individual believers. And he never does in any of his epistles. Paul works under the assumption that if a person is saved, they are forever saved. There is no such thought in his writings, or in the rest of the Bible, that one can “lose” their salvation. Verses which seem to imply this are always mishandled and out of context. He is writing to his brethren for their instruction and reproof.
With the endearing term “my brethren” now stated, he enters into the main reason for his thoughts. It was declared to him “by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you.” Chloe is otherwise unknown in the Bible, but she is a woman of such note that including her name indicates that what is declared isn’t amiss, but is correct. It isn’t actually Chloe who brought these things to Paul’s attention, but those of her household. However, by noting Chloe, it is inferring that those in her household would be of the same caliber and reliability. Perhaps they are family or servants speaking on her behalf to Paul. If they are bringing a report of “contentions” from her, then the report is certainly true.
This word “contentions” is the Greek erides. It means that there are altercations occurring within the church and these were arising because of the “divisions” noted in the previous verse. When people divide and disagree, it will inevitably lead to altercations. If not resolved, there will certainly be worse problems which will arise and eventually a complete division of the church could result. Paul desires that they unite in harmony rather than divide in contention.
Life application: Divisions in the church are sure to come. If they are because of a tradition, then drop the tradition. Anything added to God’s word which causes a division isn’t worth the trouble. If the division is something doctrinal, then… to the word! God has given us what we need in His word to rectify any doctrinal issue. Be prepared to search the word while working in love to calm the contention.
Lord God, I really love the church I attend and the people I fellowship with. Should contentions arise, please help me to be a part of the resolution, not a part of the problem. Give me the wisdom to work in love, hold fast to Your word, and be prepared to defend what is right so that any troubles will quickly be put behind us. Help us Lord to honor You above all else through times of contentment or times of contention. Amen.