by Christopher Harbin

Appropriate Focus
Christopher B. Harbin
1 Corinthians 1:10-17

Unity is a difficult concept and objective for our lives. There are so many disparate claims for our attention. We are encouraged to make our own way as individuals, make personal choices, and address life from a rather individualistic and self-centered standpoint. We are encouraged to make our own way, our own decisions, even our own definitions of truth. Varied personal experiences color our perceptions of reality and lead us down competing paths of life. We celebrate diversity and individuality. In the process we learn little about moving beyond our individual frames of reference to live united in community. How can we be united when we will never see eye to eye? How can we focus all of our individual frames of reference into a common path and united purpose?

Corinth was a port city and received a constant influx of ideas, cultures, visitors, and languages that influenced life from so many directions. It was a hub of competing ideas, philosophies, and religious influences. The constant influx of visitors continually stirred the pot, creating an atmosphere of constant change and often conflict. Considering the context in which it lived, it is not very surprising that the church in Corinth was a mess.

Of all the churches we know in that day, Corinth seems to have suffered the most from so many competing ideas. Paul apparently wrote three letters to Corinth, trying to get to the bottom of the issues of unity at hand and resolve the problems. We seem either to have lost one of those letters or it has been fused into the one we call First Corinthians. Regardless, we know that the fractious state of the believers in Corinth clamored for Paul's attention and he was concerned to deal with the situation.

Paul was not willing to allow the status quo to proceed. There was too much at stake, and there were too many issues distracting believers from the getting on with the priority t ...

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