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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.

1 Corinthians 11:18-19 There must be factions among us

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  • 1 Corinthians 11:18-19 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.



To celebrate the Lord's supper correctly, it is required that there is not only consent of doctrine, but also of affections, so that it is not profaned. Although schisms and heresies proceed from the devil, and are evil, yet they come not by chance, nor without cause, and they turn to the profit of the elect. Whom experience has taught to be of sound religion and godliness.




There must be also heresies among you. It results from the inevitable decrees of the Divine providence. "It is impossible but that offences will come". (Luk 17:11) Heresies. The word does not mean "erroneous opinions," but party factions. Originally the word only means "a choice," and is not used in a bad sense; but since the opinionativeness of men pushes "a choice" into a "party," and since it is the invariable tendency of a party to degenerate into a "faction," the word soon acquires a bad sense (see its use in Act 5:17 Act 15:5 Act 24:5, 14 28:22; Galatians Tit 3:10; 2Pe 2:1; and Gieseler, "Church Hist.," 1:149). The mutually railing factions, which in their Church newspapers and elsewhere bandy about their false and rival charges of "heresy," are illustrating the virulence of the very sin which they are professing to denounce the sin of factiousness. That they which are approved may be made manifest among you. Similarly St. John (1Jn 2:19) speaks of the aberrations of false teachers as destined to prove that they did not belong to the true Church. Good is educed out of seeming evil. (Jam 1:3 1Pe 1:6, 1Pe 1:7) Approved; standing the test (dokimoi), the opposite of the "reprobate" (adokimoi) of 1Co_9:27.


John Calvin:


18.When ye come together in the Church, I hear there are divisions Some take the words divisions and heresies, as referring to that disorder (ἀταξίαν) of which he speaks soon afterwards. I consider them as having a more extensive signification, and certainly it is not likely that he would employ terms so improper and unsuitable for the purpose of exposing that abuse. (647) For as to their alleging that he has expressed himself in more severe terms, with the view of exposing more fully the heinousness of the offense, I would readily grant this, if the meaning corresponded. It is, then, a reproof of a general kind — that they were not of one accord as becomes Christians, but every one was so much taken up with his own interests, that he was not prepared to accommodate himself to others. Hence arose that abuse, as to which we shall see in a little — hence sprung ambition and pride, so that every one exalted himself and despised others — hence sprung carelessness as to edification — hence sprung profanation of the gifts of God.


He says that he partly believes it, that they might not think that he charged them all with this heinous crime, and might accordingly complain, that they were groundlessly accused. In the meantime, however, he intimates that this had been brought to him not by mere vague rumor, but by credible information, such as he could not altogether discredit.


(647) “Qu’il leur remonstrera qu’ils fout en la Cene;” — “Which he will show that they have fallen into as to the Supper.”


19.For there must be also heresies He had previously spoken of divisions (1 Co 11:18.) Now he uses the term heresies, with the view of amplifying the more, as we may infer, too, from the word also, for it is added for the sake of amplification. (προς αὔξησιν.) It is well known in what sense the ancients used those two terms, (648) and what distinction they made between Heretics and Schismatics. (649) Heresy they made to consist in disagreement as to doctrine, and schism, on the contrary, in alienation of affection, as when any one withdrew from the Church from envy, or from dislike of the pastors, or from ill nature. It is true, that the Church cannot but be torn asunder by false doctrine, and thus heresy is the root and origin of schism, and it is also true that envy or pride is the mother of almost all heresies, but at the same time it is of advantage to distinguish in this way between these two terms.


But let us see in what sense Paul employs them. I have already expressed my disapprobation of those who explain heresy as meaning the setting up of a separate table, inasmuch as the rich did not partake of their Supper along with the poor; for he had it in view to point out something more hateful. But without mentioning the opinions of others, I take schism and heresy here in the way of less and greater. Schisms, then, are either secret grudges — when we do not see that agreement which ought to subsist among the pious — when inclinations at variance with each other are at work — when every one is mightily pleased with his own way, and finds fault with everything that is done by others. Heresies are when the evil proceeds to such a pitch that open hostility is discovered, and persons deliberately divide themselves into opposite parties. Hence, in order that believers might not feel discouraged on seeing the Corinthians torn with divisions, the Apostle turns round this occasion of offense in an opposite direction, intimating that the Lord does rather by such trials make proof of his people’s constancy. A lovely consolation! “So far, says he, should we be from being troubled, or cast down, when we do not see complete unity in the Church, but on the contrary some threatenings of separation from want of proper agreement, that even if sects should start up, (650) we ought to remain firm and constant. For in this way hypocrites are detected — in this way, on the other hand, the sincerity of believers is tried. For as this gives occasion for discovering the fickleness of those who were not rooted in the Lord’s Word, and the wickedness of those who had assumed the appearance of good men, so the good afford a more signal manifestation of their constancy and sincerity.”


But observe what Paul says — there must be, for he intimates by this expression, that this state of matters does not happen by chance, but by the sure providence of God, because he has it in view to try his people, as gold in the furnace, and if it is agreeable to the mind of God, it is, consequently, expedient. At the same time, however, we must not enter into thorny disputes, or rather into labyrinths as to a fatal necessity. We know that there never will be a time when there will not be many reprobates. We know that they are governed by the spirit of Satan, and are effectually drawn away to what is evil. We know that Satan, in his activity, leaves no stone unturned with the view of breaking up the unity of the Church. From this — not from fate — comes that necessity of which Paul makes mention. (651) We know, also, that the Lord, by his admirable wisdom, turns Satan’s deadly machinations so as to promote the salvation of believers. (652) Hence comes that design of which he speaks — that the good may shine forth more conspicuously; for we ought not to ascribe this advantage to heresies, which, being evil, can produce nothing but what is evil, but to God, who, by his infinite goodness, changes the nature of things, so that those things are salutary to the elect, which Satan had contrived for their ruin. As to Chrysostom’s contending that the particle that (ἴνα) denotes not the cause, but the event, it is of no great moment. For the cause is the secret counsel of God, (653) by which things that are evil are overruled in such a manner, as to have a good issue. We know, in fine, that the wicked are impelled by Satan in such a manner, that they both act and are acted upon with the consent of their wills. (654) Hence they are without excuse.


(648) “Schisme et Heresie;” — “Schism and Heresy.”

(649) “Voyez l’Institution;” — “See my Institutes,” (volume 3.)

(650) “De tous costez;” — “On all sides.”

(651) “De la vient ceste necessite de laquelle S. Paul fait mention, et non pas de ce Fatum que les Stoiques ont imagine, que l’on nomme communeement Destinee. Voyez l’ Institution;” — “From this comes that necessity of which St. Paul makes mention, and not from that Fate of which the Stoics have dreamed, and which is commonly called destiny. See the Institutes.” (Volume 1, p. 241.)

(652) “Conuertit au profit et salut des fideles les machinations de Satan horribles et pernicieuses;” — “Turns the horrible and pernicious machinations of Satan to the advantage and salvation of believers.”

(653) “Car a parlet proprement, la cause de ceci depend du secret conseil de Dieu;” — “For, properly speaking, the cause of this depends on the secret counsel of God.”

(654) “Ce qu’ils font, et ce que Satan lear fait faire, ils le font volontairement, et non point par force;” — “What they do, and what Satan makes them do, they do voluntarily, and not from force.”


John Gill:


For first of all, when ye come together in the church,.... The place where the church met together to perform divine service, called "one place". 1Co 11:20 and is distinguished from their own "houses", 1Co 11:22 and the first thing he took notice of as worthy of dispraise and reproof, in their religious assemblies, were their animosities and factions:


I hear that there be divisions among you: schisms and parties, either about their ministers, one being for Paul, another for Apollos, and another for Cephas; or in the celebration of the Lord's supper, and that which went before it, they going into separate bodies, and partook by themselves, and each took his own supper before another, one ate, and another did not. This the apostle had heard from the house of Chloe:


and I partly believe it; meaning, either that this was the practice of a part of the church to do so, though not of them all; or that part of the report that had been made to him was true; though he hoped in that charity which hopeth all things, that it was not quite so bad as was feared or represented, since things are generally heightened and increased by fame; but yet he had it from such good hands, that he could not but believe there was something in it. So the Syriac version renders it, ומדם מדם, "and something, something I believe".


For there must be also heresies among you.... This is a reason why he was ready to believe there might be something of truth in the report he had received of the divisions among them; for if there were heresies, false doctrines, and bad principles, among them, such as were subversive of the fundamentals of Christianity, as the denial of the resurrection of the dead, &c. it was no wonder that there were schisms and factions among them, since heresies generally issue in them. These, the apostle says, "must be"; because God has decreed they shall, whose counsel is immutable, and his purpose unalterable; and since this always was the case, that there were false prophets under the former dispensation, it must be expected that false teachers will arise in the churches now, bringing in damnable heresies; and since Satan is always busy to sow the tares of false doctrine; and human nature, being both weak and wicked, is so susceptible thereof, and so easily imposed upon and deceived, it cannot be thought that it should be otherwise; which, by the goodness and wisdom of God, are overruled to a very good purpose:


that they which are approved: who sincerely believe in Christ, are sound in the faith, and have a well grounded experience of it; who have themselves tried things that differ, and approve of them that are excellent, and have been tried by others, and found to be sincere, upright, and faithful, and are approved of God and good men:


may be made manifest among you; by their steadfastness in the faith, their zealous attachment to it, earnest contention for it, and warm and honest vindication of it; and by the departure of those from them who oppose it, and go on the side of error and heresy; by which means it is known who are the sincere followers of the Lamb, in doctrine, discipline, and conversation, and who not.


Matthew Henry:


He enters upon his charge against them in more particulars than one. 1. He tells them that, upon coming together, they fell into divisions, schisms - schismata. Instead of concurring unanimously in celebrating the ordinance, they fell a quarrelling with one another. Note, There may be schism where there is no separation of communion. Persons may come together in the same church, and sit down at the same table of the Lord, and yet be schismatics. Uncharitableness, alienation of affection, especially if it grows up to discord, and feuds, and contentions, constitute schism. Christians may separate from each other's communion, and yet be uncharitable one towards another; they may continue in the same communion, and yet be uncharitable. This latter is schism, rather than the former. The apostle had heard a report of the Corinthians' divisions, and he tells them he had too much reason to believe it. For, adds he, there must be heresies also; not only quarrels, but factions, and perhaps such corrupt opinions as strike at the foundation of Christianity, and all sound religion. Note, No marvel there should be breaches of Christian love in the churches, when such offences will come as shall make shipwreck of faith and a good conscience. Such offences must come. Note that men are necessitated to be guilty of them; but the event is certain, and God permits them, that those who are approved (such honest hearts as will bear the trial) may be set to view, and appear faithful by their constant adherence to the truths and ways of God, notwithstanding the temptations of seducers. Note, The wisdom of God can make the wickedness and errors of others a foil to the piety and integrity of the saints. 2. He charges them not only with discord and division, but with scandalous disorder: For in eating every one taketh before the other his own supper; and one is hungry, and another is drunken, 1Co 11:21. Heathens used to drink plentifully at their feasts upon their sacrifices. Many of the wealthier Corinthians seem to have taken the same liberty at the Lord's table, or at least at their Agapai, or love-feasts, that were annexed to the supper. They would not stay for one another; the rich despised the poor, and ate and drank up the provisions they themselves brought, before the poor were allowed to partake; and thus some wanted, while others had more than enough. This was profaning a sacred institution, and corrupting a divine ordinance, to the last degree. What was appointed to feed the soul was employed to feed their lusts and passions. What should have been a bond of mutual amity and affection was made an instrument of discord and disunion. The poor were deprived of the food prepared for them, and the rich turned a feast of charity into a debauch. This was scandalous irregularity.

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Hello William. Here is the Authorized (for the English-speaking people) Version:


1 Corinthians 11:17-19 (KJV)
17  Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse.
18  For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
19  For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.


There are two things that divide brethren and churches: schism and heresy.

Schism is division due to lack of love.

Example: "Oh, I can't believe sister so-and-so is wearing that dreadful hat/blouse, etc." OR "Pastor so-and so is always asking for more donations, volunteers, etc."


Heresy is division at a doctrinal level:

I'm sure you know what that is. Like me...when I was born again in '77 I later subscribed to "The Plain Truth" and Armstrong-ism but a couple of brethren in a car-pool taking me home schooled me on that and I quickly dropped Armstrong in a heartbeat. The thing is...We must ALL see the same Jesus:


1 John 3:2 (KJV)
2  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (as He is described in Scripture).


At Christian sites I've been to (or as Scripture reveals - in person - 1 Cor. 11:17-19) they have man-made rules of conduct and behavior and most places have moderators (the ONLY moderator is the Holy Spirit and the Word of God). When there are two persons arguing doctrine (for one) Moderators intervene and level warnings, infractions, even suspension/banning, which is excommunication for no real sin, the issue of doctrinal division is short-circuited through unbiblical intervention by moderators.  

Paul is saying that such arguments MUST run its course - even if it comes to blows - And I have had physical altercation with my brethren - so that those witnessing these arguments/battles may see those that are approved/manifested - of God.


Plus, at sites one cannot exercise their call of gift(s) to accomplish that call because once a Moderator intervenes they exact punitive action against brethren and THAT is sin/unbiblical. Let's take my brother, Peter, speaking to Simon and saying:


Acts 8:20-23 (KJV)
20  But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.
21  Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.
22  Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.
23  For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.


If I said these words in paraphrase or words like that on a site I am given punitive action against me and so the Holy Spirit is short-circuited and nothing is resolved because of these man-made rules of conduct or behavior. That is like Moses gatering the 12 tribes around the Tabernacle with the Word of God in his hand but he says to the people surrounding the Tabernacle, "Here are these two tablets (the Law) but we are going to abide by heathen rules of conduct and behavior."


Scripture says:


Matthew 4:4 (KJV)
4  But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.


When Christians gather or individually it is the Word of God that guides our conduct - not heathen rules of conduct.


(don't know how to change the color of the text so Jesus' words are in red.)







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