I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.1 Corinthians 1:10
I have a situation personal problem with commas. No, it is not that I use too many or too few. I have a where I sometimes disagree with how interpreters place them when translating Greek and Hebrew.
Biblical languages do not follow the English punctuation rules. Neither had punctuation marks nor were there spaces between words or sentences. Sure the way words in a sentence are structured tells you when a sentence ends and the next begins, but commas can be a different story. Heck, just in my lifetime, we can’t even agree in English whether a comma belongs before “and” in a list!
So today, we have a scripture with comma placement that could change the meaning. Are we “all to agree” on everything, or is it “by the name of Jesus Christ we are all to agree?”
I don’t think Paul wanted everyone to agree on everything, but to agree upon Christ, and all divisions will become unimportant, or at least less important.
Paul’s first letter to Corinth reveals that they are a white hit mess. They are divided by preaching, theology, socially, economically, and more. To ask a large group of believers to all think the same on everything is a recipe for disaster. But asking to agree on their “Everything” is the goal; find common ground in the One thing we all share, Jesus Christ. That is a recipe for healing, reconciliation, and more.
The church I serve had some divisions in their past. But ten years ago, they, as a community, developed a new mission statement. Its opening words declare that they are a “Christ-centered” church.
No matter how different they are, beit economically, ethnically, politically, emotionally, liturgically, and/or theologically, they share Christ. All are expected to be unified around the core principle that Christ is their all in all.
Like Paul, I expect them to be unified in Christ-centeredness even when they have differences of opinion. And like Jesus, I encourage them to live his quintessential commandment to “Love God and love neighbor.”
Is Christ the center of your life as an individual and as part of the Body of Christ? Always strive to be united in the same mind and the same judgment that is in Jesus Christ.
Faith, Hope, Grace, Love!