One Accord

Paul exhorted the Corinthians not to divide over their preferences for preachers. The math explains why.

1 Corinthians 1:4-31

4I thank my god always on your behalf for the grace of god that has been given to you by Joshua the anointed, 5for in all things you are enriched by him in all utterance and in all knowledge 6because the testimony of the anointed has been confirmed in you. 7You do not lack any of his gifts, but wait for the revelation of our master Joshua the anointed 8who will also strengthen you to the end so that you may be blameless in the day of our master Joshua the anointed. 9Believable is god by whom you have been called to the fellowship of his son Joshua the anointed, our master. 1 Corinthians 1:4-910I beg you my brothers in the name of our master Joshua the anointed to be of 1 accord and let there not be divisions among you but be perfectly united in 1 mind and in 1 thought. 11For I have been informed about you my brothers by the house of Chloe that there are disputes among you. 12This I say, because there are some among you who say, 1|4 I am a follower of Paul, and some who say, 2|4 I am a follower of Apollos, and some who say, 3|4 I am a follower of Peter, and some who say, 4|4 I am a follower of the anointed. 1 Corinthians 1:10-1213Why? Is the anointed divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14I confess to my god that I have baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15so no man can say that I have baptized in my own name. 16I also baptized the house of Stephanas. I do not know whether I have baptized anyone else. 17For the anointed did not send me to baptize, but to preach the thinking, and not to rely on the wisdom of words, lest the crucifixion of the anointed should be in vain. 1 Corinthians 1:13-1718For, the word of the crucifixion to those who have gone astray, is foolishness, but to us who have life, it is the power of god. 19For it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and I will do away with the understanding of the prudent. Q Isaiah 29:14 1 Corinthians 1:18-1920Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the learned of this world? Has god not made foolish the wisdom of this world? A 1 Kings 10:23-24 FA 21Because all the wisdom which god had given was not sufficient for the world to know god, it pleased god to give life to those who believe by simple preaching. 22For the Jews demand signs, and the Arameans seek after wisdom, 23but we preach the anointed as crucified, which is a stumbling block to the Jews, and foolishness to the Arameans. 24But, for those who are called, both Jews and Arameans, the anointed is the power of god, and the wisdom of god, 25because the foolishness of god is wiser than men, and the weakness of god is stronger than men. 1 Corinthians 1:20-2526For, consider also, your calling, my brothers, that not many among you are wise in the flesh, neither many among you are mighty, neither many among you are children of a great family. 27God has chosen the foolish ones of the world, to put to shame the wise, and he has chosen the weak ones of the world, to embarrass the mighty, 28and he has chosen those of humble families in the world, and the lowly, and those who are insignificant, in order to belittle those who consider themselves important, 29so that no man should boast in his presence. FA 30But, you also, belong to god through Joshua, the anointed, who, from god, is 1|4 wisdom, 2|4 and righteousness, 3|4 and holiness, 4|4 and salvation to all of us. 31As it is written, He who glories, let him glory in the Master. P Jeremiah 9:24 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 (1 Corinthians 1:4-31 BRB)


1+1+1 = 3 = Leviticus


Leviticus is the book bearing the name of the tribe of Levi. Levites were different from other Israelites in that they did not have a tribal territory of their own, but were dispersed throughout the other tribes, living in levitical towns, from which they ministered to the tribes. In other words Levites were called to community service rather than business as usual.

One type of service the Levites performed was teaching. Leviticus is named for the Levites, but it's laws and understanding about society is for everyone. In the book each law begins by Yahvah telling Moses to tell the law to Israel. Moses, himself a Levite, embodies the basic teaching role of a Levite, to pass onto the rest of the community knowledge revealed by Yahvah.

This pattern is very much active in our communities and institutions today. It's easy to see pastors and priests as Levites, but non-religious institutions like schools and other community based organizations and charities fit the levitical pattern also, though some of them may need to be reminded of their levitical-ness.

Without trying to unpack all aspects of this passage, the way the numbers point to the book of Leviticus means the three key individuals named, Paul, Peter and Apollos, are like Levites. Paul can't imagine the Corinthian believers dividing over who they like better when in Paul's worldview each has been sent by Jesus with something to share. Even if one is better than another, each has something or they wouldn't be on the road for Jesus in the first place. Deciding not to hear someone because he's not like another, effectively deafens you from something Jesus is saying to you. I think this is why Paul exhorts the Corinthian believers not to "divide" over something like this. Knowing that each of the players in this story are like Levites, as opposed to some being ungenuine or false, helps make clear why Paul is so concerned about their dividing over this.