“For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you.”
For it has been declared to me concerning you,
Paul received a credible report about the spiritual condition of the Corinthian church. The word “declared” means to make clear or manifest. Paul was reluctant to believe rumors until he got a verifiable report from a credible group. He needed proof of official, crystal-clear evidence before charging off to correct the Corinthians. The evidence was only too evident. He was not interested in unsubstantiated rumors. He needed eyewitnesses to the fact.
The use of “brethren” is another diplomatic appeal to their identity as members of the family of God.
by those of Chloe’s household,
Paul learned about fractions in the church by visiting a group called “those of Chloe.” Chloe was a wealthy businesswoman who probably traveled between Corinth and Ephesus. The source for his evidence was unimpeachable. It is not apparent whether she belonged to the Corinthian or Ephesian church.
that there are contentions among you.
Paul left Corinth after ministering there for one and a half years. Apollos became the new pastor. Peter led Jews to Christ in Corinth as well. Three groups of people followed Paul, Apollos, and Peter. Yet another followed “Christ.” This may have been a priggish or self-righteous group. Therefore, the Corinthian church broke down into four sects.
The word “contentions” means bitter words. The Corinthian church was saying harsh words to each other. They wanted to hurt the other groups.
Wrangling indicates displaced loyalty.
Divisions in churches can be noisy. Wrangling always is. Christians who want to hurt one another with harsh words ultimately hurt the reputation of Christ. The reason Christians do this is they displaced their loyalty from Christ to local leaders. Personality cults and slogans can surface in the church.
Most church conflict revolves around personality issues rather than doctrinal issues. This brings reproach on the name of Christ. We glorify Jesus if our spirituality controls our relationships.
Ga 5:19-20, 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies…