(Vs. 10.) Up to this point Paul had handled these Corinthians mildly; now he begins to deal with some of the problems that existed among them. 'I urge you and appeal to you by the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.' That name must have had weight and influence among them, for it is by his name they were called, justified and accepted by the Father. Christ is precious to every believer, and it was his honour and interest which was at stake by their divisions and errors. Paul was not acting in his own name, nor seeking to preserve his reputation as a preacher, but he was concerned for the glory of Christ and the testimony of the gospel (1 Tim. 6:1; Titus 2:5; Phil 3:17, 18).
The apostle exhorts three things:
1. 'Speak the same things. Profess the same truths and preach the same message of grace in Christ.'
2. 'Have no divisions and quarrelling among you' Nothing is more inconsistent on the part of believers than to be at odds with one another.
3. 'Live in harmony together." The foundation of harmony is for all to be agreed in mind and judgement, not only on matters of doctrine, but on other matters also.
(Vs. 11.) Chloe was evidently a woman member of the church whose husband was dead, for Paul refers to the household by her name. They were probably a family of great influence and integrity in the church and had written to Paul concerning the problems in this church. Paul says, 'My information comes from a good source.'
(Vs. 12.) Some of the church members were divided into factions. One group said, 'We are of Paul. He was instrumental in our conversion. We like his way of teaching. He is our pattern; we won't hear anyone else.' Another group said, 'We don't care for Paul; we like Apollos,' while another claimed Peter as their champion. Still others said, 'We are of Christ; we don't need the pastors and teachers at all.'
(Vs. 13.) The body of Christ is not to be divided! He is our Lord and Master; he was crucified for us and we were baptized in his name, not in the name of his ministers. We are all one in Christ (Gal. 3:26-28); The minister has his gifts, as all others have theirs, and one is not to be exalted above the other (1 Cor. 12:12-20).
(Vs. 14-16.) The apostle did not dislike the ordinance of baptism, nor was he discounting its value or importance, but because he was an apostle and was held in great esteem for his faith and his gifts, he was thankful that he personally baptized so few, lest he be charged with having a personal following, or lest people whom he baptized find some cause for pride or comfort in the fact that they were baptized by Paul himself?
(Vs.17.) He anticipates an objection that he was neglecting the Lord's command to 'go and teach all nations, baptizing them'. So he says, 'Baptism is not the chief and principal business of the ministers, but their main business is to preach the gospel of Christ?' (1 Cor. 2:2; 9:16; Gal. 6:14.) And that preaching of the gospel was not with man's wisdom, human eloquence and oratory, or in a show of vanity and false piety, but in a plain, humble and modest manner. The method of preaching which he pursued was the opposite of show and ambition; it was very simple and to the point, for which the false teachers despised him. When men's ears and minds are tickled and entertained by our human wisdom and eloquence, the gospel of Christ is pushed aside, and nothing remains but dead theology. The issues are clouded, the simplicity of Christ is misunderstood and the faith of our bearers stands in our wisdom, not in the person and power of Christ (2 Cor. 11:3; l Cor. 2:4, 5).
(Vs. 18.) The preaching of salvation by the grace of God alone by the crucified Christ, the preaching of righteousness, peace and reconciliation by the blood of his cross, the preaching of a sufficient sacrifice and atonement by Christ offering up himself on the cross in our room and stead is sheer nonsense to those who are perishing, whether they are in the church or the world. But unto us who are being saved by the power and grace of God, this gospel is both the power of salvation and a revelation of the wisdom of God. We see in Christ crucified our deliverance from the curse of the law, and we see in Christ crucified how God can be both just and Justifier of those who believe (Rom. 8:1,33,34; 3:19-26).