Remember the Bible Series, #2
Memory Verse #2
Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
~ 1 Cor. 1:13
Paul was, arguably, the greatest teacher of Christ in history, the first speaker in the realm of Christian doctrine. He preached by direct commission from the arisen Christ. I have heard or read a number of accounts where Paul is accused of pridefulness, especially in relation to the Counsel of Jerusalem, and some of his teachings might be interpreted in that way.
But here, as so often is true, we must beware imposing our own interpretation on the Bible, especially when we lack a plain statement in the Bible itself to support us, and even more especially when there is a plain statement in the Bible that refutes us! Paul, here, condemns those who would be his disciples. And if even an inspired author of the New Testament denies the special status of doctrinal leadership, how can any other person possibly claim it?
Christianity has divided itself into sects and denominations, all of which claim the status that Paul reviles for any person, himself included. How thoughtlessly we divide ourselves. “I am an Episcopalian.” “I am Catholic,” “I am an Evangelical Christian,” “I am a” — well, enough of that. We are followers of Christ and Christ only. “Christian” is a term that cannot be modified.
But that is not all we can take away from this short verse. More commonly, someone will assert: “(Insert the name of a minister, bishop, writer, church leader, etc.) says that . . . .” Quoting a learned source is wonderful, for there have been hundreds of pious and brilliant expositors of Christian doctrine. But where someone makes an argument that refutes a simple and clear statement in the Bible, or adds as Gospel something that the Bible does not say, their authority is zero.
And this short verse is the perfect proof we can use, if we hear non-Biblical doctrine. Not to pick on Billy Graham, but as an example: “Is Christ divided? Was Billy Graham crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Billy Graham?”
And one reminder: If we are to worship with others, as the Bible teaches us we should, we are going to belong to a church that teaches non-Biblical doctrine. We must approach denominations to which we do not belong in the spirit of harmony. Criticizing others is the easy way out; it is ourselves and ourselves alone whom Christ authorizes us to criticize.
“Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:1-5)
Lord, let me always remember that Christ is the sole source of my salvation. Amen.
~ Mason Barge
Editor, Daily Prayer