Useful Bible Studies > 1 Corinthians Commentary > chapter 3

Christians who separate themselves from other Christians

1 Corinthians 3:4-5

There were different groups in the church at Corinth, and these groups were arguing with each other. Paul has mentioned these arguments before, in 1 Corinthians 1:11-12.

Paul worked for 18 months in Corinth to establish the church there (Acts 18:11). After he left, an African man called Apollos went there. Although he had only recently become a Christian (Acts 18:26), he already knew the Bible very well (Acts 18:24). Soon, he became the second leader of Corinth’s church, although he had not yet met Paul (Acts 18:27-28).

Of course Apollos did not agree with everything that Paul had said. But they were not arguing with each other. They served the same God; they were carrying on the same work. They were both servants of God whom God had sent to help the people in Corinth.

Some people in Corinth believed in God when Paul spoke to them. Other people believed when Apollos spoke to them. But God did not save them so that they could separate into two opposing groups. God wanted to join them together as members of his church (12:12-13). They separated themselves because of wrong, weak attitudes that Christians ought not to have (3:3).

It is not always wrong for Christians to separate from each other. Sometimes God does guide a group of Christians to start a new church. And sometimes a Christian should leave one church to join another church. When Christians are obeying God, then these things are right and proper.

But it is very wrong when Christians hate each other. Christians should not argue constantly, and they should not have jealous attitudes. Different groups of Christians must learn to love and to respect each other (1 John 4:20-21; John 13:34; 1 Corinthians 12:26-27).

Next part: Why church leaders are not all alike (1 Corinthians 3:6-9)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.