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Read Introduction to Galatians


“…idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies…”



The sin of contention is strife or quarreling, especially rivalry, debate, or wrangling. This sin is an expression of enmity (Romans 1:29; 1 Corinthians 1:11; 3:3; 2 Corinthians 12:20; Philippians 1:15). A person indulging in this sin loves to do battle with people and express antagonism with hostility. “Contentions” is conflict resulting from rivalry.

Four of the nine uses of the word “contentions” in the New Testament refer to life in the church. When we prioritize parties, slogans, and personal issues over living for Jesus Christ, our fellowship in the church goes sour.

“For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you” (1 Corinthians 1:11).

“…for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?” (1 Corinthians 3:3).

“For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish, and that I shall be found by you such as you do not wish; lest there be contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbitings, whisperings, conceits, tumults…” (2 Corinthians 12:20).


Contentions always ensue when we think more of our rivalry and rights than Jesus Christ.


People who commit the sin of “contentions” love to take sides in a dispute. They have no tolerance for any position but their own. The idea is, “If you hate me, I’ll hate you.” This is the logic of personal antagonism and causes people to take the lid off the garbage can of their soul.

Some people are on the negative side of every positive issue and on the positive side of every negative issue. Right or wrong, win or lose, they want to fight. It makes little difference whether they are right or wrong. Strife among Christians is wrong if it comes from the “flesh.” We should not call our anger “righteous indignation;” that is hypocrisy. There is no justification for exercising our flesh toward others. 

Some of us get our feelings hurt very easily. When we fight people whom we consider enemies with our subjective anger, we violate God. Our stance is, “If you hate me, I’ll hate you. Let’s choose sides and fight.” Many of us live in this world. It is a life of strife, rivalry, and discord.

Strife is a state of mind that brings a negative attitude of anger into reality. Malignity produces debate, conflict, and variance. Some people do not tolerate anyone else’s position–their attitude says, “I don’t care what you think. I have my opinion.” In many cases, highly opinionated people are insecure about their positions. They are unsure of their beliefs, so they set their position by reacting against others.

“…being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers…” (Romans 1:29).

“Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy” (Romans 13:13).

“Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill…” (Philippians 1:15).

“…he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions…” (1 Timothy 6:4).