ABC:1 Corinthians 1

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Verse 10 (Christian Unity)[edit]

Patheos' Bob Seidensticker claims there is a contradiction here and makes the following comments (italicized):[1]

All Christians are united in what they believe about Jesus (right?)

John 17:20-23 ¶ Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

1 Corinthians 1:10 ¶ Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

That’s a nice thought, but has any prayer failed more spectacularly? Christianity is more than just Roman Catholics and Baptists and Methodists and maybe a few more—there are now 45,000 denominations, and Christianity is fragmenting at a rate of two new denominations per day. (h/t commenter Greg G.)

The fact that Christians are one with God the Father, Jesus the Son of God, and the Holy Spirit, as well as with each other, hardly means that all Christians have the exact same beliefs. For more on oneness, see the Trinity.

That 1 Corinthians 1:10 is quoted here like this displays a blatant ignoring of context on the part of the critic, as the whole reason Paul is writing is to urge the Corinthian Church NOT to be divided on their beliefs. In the very next verses (11-13) Paul states that the Corinthians are divided: "For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?"

The division of the early Church into factions was occurring even in Paul's time, which is why he was urging Christians to instead unite with one another. However, Jesus and Paul both warned that there would be false Christians who would claim to be God's people. (Matthew 7:22-23; 2 Corinthians 11:13; Matthew 24:24; Galatians 1:7; Acts 20:29-30) For this reason, Jesus advised that we will know who His people are, not by them claiming to be Christians, but by the good deeds they will perform. (Matthew 7:16-21) John similarly urges us to test spirits to see whether they are of God since there are many false prophets. (1 John 4:1-3)

Verse 19[edit]

Infidels.org claims a contradiction with other verses on wisdom with the heading, "Is it folly to be wise or not?"[2]

Proverbs 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

Ecclesiastes 1:18 For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.

1 Corinthians 1:19-21: For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

The first two passages in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes do not contradict at all. One can be urged to get wisdom and understanding, yet the road to doing so will include sorrow and grief. Concerning 1 Corinthians, the passage does not refer to godly wisdom, but the wisdom of this world, as revealed by other Scriptures. That 1 Corinthians 1 is referring to the wisdom of the world specifically is clear from verses 20-21, which Infidels failed to quote, and by doing so did not provide the correct context. Verse 21 clearly shows this "wisdom of the world" is being contrasted with "the wisdom of God". Verse 24 likewise continues, "Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God."

Other verses show a distinction between godly wisdom, which brings eternal life, and the wisdom of this world, which results in destruction. If Infidels.org were honest, they would quote the next chapter as well, which shows wisdom of this world is being contrasted with the wisdom of God, but they do not do so because it would not serve their dishonest aim to disprove the Bible.

1 Corinthians 2:6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:
7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

The Apostle James likewise contrasts the wisdom of this world with the wisdom of God:

James 3:13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.
14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.
15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.
16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

Therefore, it is apparent two kinds of wisdom are being addressed by both Paul and James, a wisdom of this world, and a wisdom of God. Had Infidels.org examined the passages honestly, they would have easily observed this.

Sources[edit]

  1. Seidensticker, P. (2018, October 20). "Top 20 Most Damning Bible Contradictions." Patheos.
  2. Meritt, Jim (1992). A list of Biblical contradictions. Retrieved from http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jim_meritt/bible-contradictions.html.