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Two thousand years ago, Paul was alarmed to learn that the Corinthian church was developing factions that argued with each other. When it happens today, we may be depressed, but we aren’t surprised. But Paul also told the church what to do about their factions. What can he teach us? Pastor Luke preaches from 1 Corinthians 1:10–17 in “Which Team Are You On?,” part 2 of his 4-part series “1 Corinthians 1.”
Talk It Over
OPEN. 1. What’s the silliest controversy you’ve seen Christians engage in? —the most serious?
OBSERVE. Read 1 Corinthians 1: 10-17.
2. What two things, according to v. 13, distinguish Christ from the leader of any Christian faction? How does Paul use those same things to frame his argument in vv. 10 and 17?
3. How many people did Paul baptize while he was in Corinth? According to Acts 18: 11, how long was Paul in Corinth?
4. Sometimes Paul baptized people when he was only in their city for a few days (see Acts 16: 33, for an example). What are some reasons that would explain why Paul spent so long in Corinth without baptizing more people?
5. Think about your church, or a contemporary church you know well. Consulting a study Bible if necessary, compare that church to the church in 1st Century Corinth. How do they compare in years in existence? —size? —age? —race or ethnicity? —social status?
6. How did the Corinthian church compare to its community in the areas of wealth and education? How does the contemporary church that you picked for question #5 compare to its community in those areas?
APPLY. 7. Consider this statement: “Allegiance [within the church] to anything beside Christ is idolatry.” How would you respond?
8. An old saying (translated from Latin) says that within the church, there should be: “In necessary things, unity; in doubtful things, liberty; in all things, charity.” What are some examples of necessary things, where Christians should all be united?
9. Give some examples of doubtful things, where Christians are free to follow their own conscience?
10. What are some examples of controversies where Christians did not show charity to one another? Can you think of some where they did?