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IIIM STUDY BIBLE
<< Previous Note(s) 1 Corinthians Main Page Next Note(s) >>

Third Millennium Study Bible
Notes on 1 Corinthians 1:13-16

Is Christ divided? - 1 Corinthians 1:13

Thiselton states that such splits are "incompatible with Christology and the centrality of the Cross." Christ is not divided. Paul's question in 1 Corinthians 1:13 anticipated one of his fundamental teachings about the church. Just as a physical body is one, even though it is made up of many members, so also is the church, which is the body of Christ, and it cannot be divided (1 Cor. 10:16-17; 11:29; 12:12). Barnett states:

The human body, though of many parts and organs, is a single entity. We expect Paul to say, "So, too, is the church as the body of Christ, multi-membered yet one." But to our surprise he says, "So, too, is Christ. Christ is multi-membered yet one." In other words, Paul makes the astonishing statement that (somehow) Christ is the church. What does he mean? Paul is saying that, through his ascension, Christ is in heaven, no longer physically present on earth, but that by the Holy Spirit Christ is active in the church, the local body of believers. Just as the church is now in Christ in heaven (Eph. 1:3; 2:6; Col. 3:1-3) so, too, Christ is now in the church on earth.

Paul then asks if he himself was crucified for any? The answer is an obvious no! Only Christ, the Messiah, was crucified for his elect (1 Cor. 1:23). No man deserves to be on a pedestal, save Christ. Paul and any others (as great as they may be) are merely followers of Christ and teachers of his way, truth, and life (John 14:6). Morris comments:

Was Paul crucified for you? also points to the unthinkable, and goes to the heart of the Christian way. The Corinthians, with their emphasis on wisdom, seem to have overlooked the truth that Christ's cross is absolutely central. No other than he could accomplish the crucial work of redemption."
Paul then asks, "Were you baptized into the name of Paul?" For Paul, it was not who performed the baptism, but whose name a covenant member was baptized into. Fee says, "The crucifixion of Jesus and the baptism of the believer are ideas that seem to flow together naturally in Paul (e.g., Rom. 6:2-3; Col. 2:1215)." Compare Romans 6:3-11 and 1 Corinthians 11:24-26.

Paul uses the expression "into the name," which is used in the baptismal formula (Matt. 28:19), indicating an intimate, spiritual union. Barrett says:

The phrase indicates that it is under the authority of Christ that the baptism takes place, and also that the person baptized becomes the property of Christ... (See BC 7.)

Essentially, in 1 Corinthians 1:13-17 Paul is making a case for unity by emphasizing three points: (1) Christ is one Christ (1 Cor. 1:13); (2) Christ is the one who died for his church (1 Cor. 1:13); (3) Christ is the one whose name his covenant members are to be baptized into (1 Cor. 1:13-17). Christ, Christ, Christ. This is the common thread that binds these verses together, and it should bind the Corinthians together too. There is one cross that ties the church together.

No one can say that you were baptized into my name - 1 Corinthians 1:14-16

Crispus was the synagogue ruler whose conversion is recorded in Acts 18:8. We are not sure which Gaius in Scripture Paul refers to here. As Barrett points out:

Gaius cannot be the Gaius mentioned at Acts 19:29, since he was a Macedonian, nor the Gaius of Acts 20:4, since he came from Derbe (if we accept the Western Text the same Macedonian Gaius may be meant here as in Acts 19:29). He is probably, however, to be identified with the Gaius mentioned in Rom. 16:23 as host of Paul and of all the church (in Corinth, or Cenchreae). This suggests that he, like Crispus, may have been an early convert.

As to "the household of Stephanas," Barnett says:

Indeed, this man's household were Paul's first converts in Achaia, and he has ministered materially to the saints in Corinth (see on 1 Cor. 16:15). Stephanas, with his (probable) retainers Fortunatus and Achaicus (whose names "Lucky" and "Achaian" suggest that they were nicknamed slaves), have now visited Paul in Ephesus and are probably the bearers of this letter back to Corinth."
As to the explanation of the term "household" see "Chloe's household - 1 Corinthians 1:11" below.

Did Paul think baptism was unimportant? Pratt answers, saying:

These words do not suggest that Paul did not consider baptism important. Elsewhere Paul stressed the importance of baptism. It is the sign and seal of faith in Christ, demonstrating union with the Savior in his death and resurrection (Rom. 6:4). For this reason, evangelism normally included baptism. Even so, in this particular circumstance where believers aligned themselves against others as followers of Paul, he was relieved that he had not provided them with support for their divisive spirit by baptizing many of them.

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