August 18 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 100-102; 1 Corinthians 1
Rivals or Allies?
Be perfectly united in mind and thought.
1 Corinthians 1:10
READ 1 CORINTHIANS 1:10–17
The city of Texarkana sits squarely on the state border between Texas and Arkansas. The city of 70,000 inhabitants has two mayors, two city councils, and two police and fire departments. The cross-town sporting rivalry between high schools draws an uncommonly high attendance, reflecting the deep allegiance each has to their own state’s school. More significant challenges arise as well, such as disputes over the shared water system, governed by two sets of state laws. Yet the town is known for its unity despite the line that divides it. Residents gather annually for a dinner held on State Line Avenue to share a meal in celebration of their oneness as a community.
The believers in Corinth may not have drawn a line down their main thoroughfare, but they were divided. They’d been quarreling as a result of their allegiances to those who taught them about Jesus: Paul, Apollos, or Cephas (Peter). Paul called them all to oneness “in mind and thought” (1 Corinthians 1:10), reminding them it was Christ who was crucified for them, not their spiritual leaders.
We behave similarly today, don’t we? We sometimes oppose even those who share our singularly important belief—Jesus’ sacrifice for our wrongdoings—making them rivals instead of allies. Just as Christ Himself is not divided, we, as His earthly representation—His body—mustn’t allow differences over nonessentials to divide us. Instead, may we celebrate our oneness in Him.
By Kirsten Holmberg
REFLECT & PRAY
God, help me to remain focused on You and Your sacrifice for Your people. May I not be distracted by the less important issues but call others to oneness as a community of faith.
Over what nonessential spiritual issues are you likely to allow division? How can you foster unity instead?
The night before Jesus’ crucifixion, He prayed for those who would believe in Him: “I pray . . . that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you” (John 17:20-21). Paul’s letter to Corinth shows that such unity has always been a struggle (1 Corinthians 1:10-13). In another letter, Paul noted that differences on peripheral matters are fine. Writing about dietary concerns and the observance of religious holidays, he said, “Each [person] should be fully convinced in their own mind” (Romans 14:5). But we must agree on who Jesus is—fully God and fully human; born of a virgin; crucified, risen, and returning for His church; the sinless Son of God, who takes away the sin of the world. Such things are foundational to our faith and serve to unify us in God’s Spirit. Tim Gustafson