What is biblical unity?

  • Does it mean that all God-fearing people get under one roof in one building, called a church by many, and worship together?
  • Does it mean that anyone who claims to be a Christian should belong to the same denomination?
  • Does it mean that we all believe the same things about everything, including music, politics, sports, education, finances, art, cars, etc.?
  • Does biblical unity mean that all who claim to be Christian do everything together or the same things the same way?
  • Does it mean that in spite of differing beliefs and/or opinions, whether religious or otherwise, Christians still worship and/or minister, and/or function together?
  • Does it mean that Christians compromise their beliefs, conduct, objectives, and/or purpose in life in order to include everybody in their fellowship groups, ministry outreach, and/or life activities?
  • Or, does it mean that all who place their faith in Christ’s death as the complete payment and total forgiveness for all of their sins have an inner, spiritual oneness, as the body of Christ, which was effected by the Holy Spirit at the point of conversion and that is to be evidenced outwardly by all Christians in their having the same Christ-like attitudes and actions that the Bible commands and that the Holy Spirit enables them to have?
  • Or, is it something else?

Let’s see.

 

Ephesians 4:1-3         What are these Christians to be diligent to do?

[Notice that it does not say to obtain/get/achieve it, but to preserve it because you already have it if you’re a true Christian.].

The already existing spiritual unity is based on the seven elements listed in Eph. 4:4-6. And it’s a spiritual oneness, as common children of God – John 1:12, a family oneness that we Christians are to preserve, regardless of one’s race (Jew or Gentile – Eph. 2:11-19; 3:6; Col. 3:10-11; Gal. 3:28; 1 Cor. 12:13), economic status (rich or poor – Jas. 2:1-9), gender (male or female – Gal. 3:28), social class (slave or free – Col. 3:10-11; Gal. 3:28; 1 Cor. 12:13), culture (barbarian or Scythian – Col. 3:10-11), intelligence (wise or ignorant – 1 Cor. 1:26-29), or spiritual leader (Paul, Apollos, Peter, Christ, etc. – 1 Cor. 1:10-13).1,2

Ephesians 4:4-6

“one body” – one spiritual body, the Church, consisting of all believers since Pentecost, both Jew and Gentile (1 Cor. 12:12; Eph. 1:22-23). Preserve it by not allowing division because of race, economic status, gender, social class, culture, intelligence, or spiritual leader. Teach love for all (Rom. 13:8; Col. 3:14; 1 Pet. 4:8), equality of spiritual heritage (Gal. 3:28), and humility (1 Pet. 5:5). Error: Jewish or Gentile church or Black, White, Hispanic, Oriental church; rich or poor church; So-and-so’s church, etc.

“one Spirit” – the same Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:4; 3:16; 6:19; Eph. 2:18). Preserve it by not allowing division because of demonic spirits. Teach the Spirit-filled life (Eph. 5:18), confession of sin (1 Jn. 1:9), and the tactics of demons (2 Cor. 2:11; Eph. 6:11; 1 Cor. 10:20-21; 1 Tim. 4:1; 1 Jn. 4:1-3). Error: the United Pentecostal’s modalism; the Mormon cult’s force; or the Jehovah Witness cult’s force/influence/power.

“one hope of your calling” – salvation/eternal life in heaven with God (Col. 1:5, 22-23; 1 Thes. 5:8; Titus 1:1-2). Preserve it by not allowing division because of possible loss of salvation teaching. Teach eternal security (Rom. 8:29-30; Eph. 4:30). Error: a Christian can lose his/her salvation (Arminian theology); three different eternal heavens of the Mormon cult; or merely eternal life on a paradise earth as in the Jehovah Witness cult.

“one Lord” – Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 8:6). Preserve it by not allowing division because of elevating mankind or angels to the place of sovereign, supreme Master. Teach worship of and complete obedience to Christ only, not to men/women or angels (Col. 2:18; Matt. 4:10; Acts 14:11-18; 10:25-26). Error: worshiping the Catholic pope, Mary, Sung Yung Moon, Jim Jones, David Koresh, etc.

“one faith” – trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and God’s Son (Jn. 4:42; 1 Jn. 4:14; Acts 4:12: Eph. 2:8). Preserve it by not allowing division because of different plans or beliefs for salvation. Teach salvation by faith alone in Jesus Christ alone (Acts 4:12; 1 Tim. 2:5; Titus 3:5; Eph. 2:8-9). Error: the Catholic’s doing good works and sacraments for salvation; the Church of Christ’s and United Pentecostal’s baptism and keeping of other commandments for salvation; or the UPC’s speaking in tongues for salvation; etc.

“one baptism” – baptism (the placing into) by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13). Preserve it by not allowing division because of different ways to be a part of the Church, Christ’s body. Teach entrance into Christ’s body, the Church, by the Holy Spirit alone. Error: that the Roman Catholic Church is the one true church; or that the Mormon church is, or the Worldwide Church of God is.

“one God and Father of all” – Jehovah (1 Tim. 2:5; Rom. 3:30). Preserve it by not allowing division because of polytheism. Teach monotheism, one God-Creator of all (1 Cor. 8:6; Gen. 1:1; Rom. 3:30), and Father of all who believe (Gal. 3:26). Error: the Mormon’s polytheism; the Hindu’s polytheism.

Are you diligent (giving persistent effort; doing your best) to preserve the unity of the Spirit (spiritual oneness2,4, that unity of which the Holy Spirit is the producer or author1,3,5; family or body oneness, though having different functions and/or ministries4 – Eph. 2:15-22; 3:6; Rom. 12:4-5, 14-20) in the bond (tying knot or adhesive atmosphere) of peace (harmonious relations which are founded in Christ, who is our peace – Eph. 2:14)?

If so, how?

  1. C. Eerdman’s The Epistle of Paul to the Ephesians.
  2. H. Kent’s Ephesians – The Glory of the Church.
  3. Wuest’s Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, vol. 1, “Ephesians”.
  4. W. Hendriksen’s New Testament Commentary – Ephesians.
  5. C. Hodge’s 1st and 2nd Corinthians and Ephesians.

 

If you don’t know how, here’s how:

  1. By knowing and practicing/obeying God’s Word, the Bible, ourselves (Eph. 4:4-6, 22-24; 1 Tim. 4:15-16), which includes being filled/controlled by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18).
  2. By teaching our fellow Christians God’s Word, the Bible in context (Eph. 4:11, 13, 15; 1 Tim. 4:11, 13) so that everyone can be of the same mind on all that the Bible teaches (Rom. 15:5-6; 1 Cor. 1:10), which includes: what our purpose in life is – that of glorifying God by being Christ-like in character (Rom. 8:29; 1 Pet. 2:12) and mission (i.e., evangelism – Matt. 28:19-20; Lk. 19:10; Eph. 4:5; Phil. 2:2 with Phil. 1:27; 1 Pet. 2:9; and building believers to spiritual maturity – Eph. 4:11-13; Rom. 14:19; 1 Thes. 5:11).
  3. By encouraging our fellow Christians to love, obey, trust, and serve the Lord entirely (Eph. 4:29; Heb. 3:13; 10:24; 1 Tim. 4:13).
  4. By loving our fellow Christians (Col. 3:14; 1 Pet. 4:8).
  5. By correcting and reproving our fellow Christians who are in sin or error (Eph. 4:29; 2 Tim. 2:24-25; 4:2; Matt. 18:15-16).
  6. By weeding out those who are factious or living in unrepentant sin, if they don’t respond properly to biblical correction (Matt. 18:17; Titus 3:10; 1 Cor. 5:12-13).
  7. By being humble, gentle, patient, and loving (Eph. 4:2).
  8. By having accurate, biblical teaching and teachers (Eph. 4:11, 13).

 

Do you feel superior to or not want to worship or minister with Christians who are of a different race, economic status, gender, social class, culture, or intelligence than you are, and why?

Or, do you not want to worship or minister with Christians who have a different spiritual leader than you, and why?

Or, do you not even regard as Christian (as a child of God; one chosen of God) those who are of a different race, social class, culture, or economic status than you, but who believe that Jesus’ death for all of their sins is what saves them and gives them eternal life, and why?

 

Ephesians 4:11-16    For what purpose did God give spiritually-gifted people to equip the saints for the work of service to build up the body of Christ?

 

How close are you and the Christians whom you fellowship and/or minister with to the unity of the faith (one body of truth, biblical doctrine or teachings, Gal.1:23; 1 Cor. 16:13; Jude 1:3; 1 Tim. 4:1 – Wycliffe Bible Commentary, p. 1311)?

How can or could you tell?

[Though there is already a unity of faith in Christ (Eph. 4:5 – trust in Christ’s death payment for the forgiveness of all of our sins for salvation) possessed at the point of conversion, there is yet to be a perfected, full, complete unity of faith in Christ as we learn to trust Him more and more for all that we’re expected to be trusting Him for, as stated in the Bible2, and to complete unity of the body of biblical truth/doctrine as a whole.].

[For example, belief in the facts of Jesus Christ, that He is: the only Savior of mankind (1 Jn. 4:14); God the Son (Jn. 10:36; 2 Pet. 1:1); Judge of the world (Jn. 5:22; 2 Cor. 5:10; Rev. 22:12); Redeemer (Eph. 1:7); Head of the Church (Eph. 1:22; 5:23); Peace (Eph. 2:13-20); the Access to God the Father (Eph. 3:11-12); the believer’s Advocate (1 Jn. 2:1; Rom. 8:34); King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev. 19:13, 16)].

How close are you and the Christians whom you fellowship with to the unity of the knowledge of the Son of God (the oneness of a full, precise, correct, complete knowledge of Jesus Christ, as found in the Bible)?

 

How can or could you tell?

 

[As long as faith is imperfect and knowledge is partial, ideal unity cannot be enjoyed.1].

As a result of coming to this Christ-like maturity, what should no longer be true of Christians?

 

1 Peter 3:8           Besides being sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit, what else are all Christians to be?

Is your relationship to other Christians harmonious (one of “minding the same things”; united by a common interest and outlook regarding the things of God and the Spirit; a common mind, a mind informed by God’s Word; in agreement, reached by each and all receiving the truth of God1; one of unity in aim and purpose2; of one mind unified, on the points of Christian doctrine and practice3; as to the faith4; unanimous in the belief of the same faith and practice of the same duties of religion5; one of agreement as to the clear teachings of Scripture – in a narrow sense, what Peter is teaching in chapters 1-3, and in a broader sense, the whole of the Bible6)?

If not, how can or could it be, and why that way or method?

  1. A. Stibb’s The First Epistle General of Peter.
  2. E. Cochrane’s The Epistles of Peter. (Phil. 2:2 with Phil. 1:27)
  3. K. Wuest’s Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, vol. 2, “1 Peter”.
  4. Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown’s Commentary on the Whole Bible.
  5. Mathew Henry’s Commentary, vol. 3.
  6. D. Dale’s study and research.

 

1 Corinthians 11:18-19             Why must there be factions among this church in Corinth?

Did you ever realize that factions (divisions) were not accidental but ordered by God for the purpose of having the approved (those tried/tested by these disorders or heresies and have been found to be good/right because they have stood firm against these heresies) become evident (shown to be genuine, pure, or godly)1,2?

  1. C. Hodge’s 1st and 2nd Corinthians and Ephesians.
  2. C. Hodge’s Calvin’s Commentaries, vol. 20.

 

[So, divisions or factions can serve a good end, and even be ordained of God for the purpose of showing who the godly, spiritual, doctrinally-correct people in the Church are.].

Are you fearful of divisions in your church or Christian group? Why?

 

Would you try to prevent division in your church or group by compromising biblical truth (if, after instructing them correctly from Scripture, the opposition still doesn’t want to conform to biblical teaching) so that everyone feels happy and agreeable?

Why?

 

[The Corinthians shifted emphasis to self-centeredness in eating (rich versus poor, 1 Cor. 11:20-22) and social banqueting. Today, a lot of churches are more interested in pot-luck dinners, socializing, sports activities, politics, being entertained, Bingo, match-making singles, and rummage sales than they are in evangelizing the lost, building up spiritually the believers or being trained/equipped to become Christ-like themselves in character and mission.].

[Remember that “it’s better to be divided by truth than united by error”. Unity is important, but not at the cost of purity. There will be true, biblical unity when there is true, biblical purity. If a so-called Christian doesn’t respond properly/biblically to correction, than he/she is to be separated from or removed from the group/church/fellowship – 1 Cor. 5:11, 13; Rom. 16:17; 2 Thes. 3:6, 14.].

 

John 17:11, 20-23             What did Jesus ask His Father for regarding both His disciples and those who would believe in Him, Christ, in the future?

Why did Jesus give the glory which the Father gave Him to those who would believe in Him?

“Glory” (Gk. “doxa”) is the splendor of God’s presence via the Holy Spirit.

The “glory” which the Father gave Jesus is the Father’s manifesting Himself (in the Spirit, Matt. 3:16-17) in the Son, and the “glory” that Jesus gave to believers is His manifesting Himself in them – Heb. 3:14; 2 Pet. 1:4 – through the Holy Spirit – Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 12:13; Col. 1:27; 1 Cor. 6:17, 191,2. The person joined to Christ is one spirit with him (of the same life principle, the Holy Spirit, 1 Cor. 6:17)4.

As you view Christians today, do you see Jesus’ prayer as having been answered – that of spiritual oneness/unity (where the indwelling Spirit of the Father and the Son is in Christians transforming them and drawing them to each other as members of one family and prompting them to loving co-operation for the good of the world2)?

Or, that of oneness in mind (biblical views and attitudes), effort (biblical conduct/behavior), and purpose (fulfilling the Great Commission of Matt. 28:19-20; 1 Pet. 2:9)1,3?

  1. W. Hendriksen’s The Gospel of John.
  2. Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown’s Commentary on the Whole Bible.
  3. Matthew Henry’s Commentary, vol. 3.
  4. C. Hodge’s 1st and 2nd Corinthians, p. 66.

In Summary:  Biblical unity/oneness is an inner, spiritual oneness of the body of Christ effected by the Holy Spirit at the point of conversion for believers in Jesus Christ, that’s to be evidenced outwardly by all Christians in their having the same Christ-like attitudes and actions that the Bible commands and that the Holy Spirit enables them to have and do (1 Cor. 12:12-13; Phil. 1:27 – 2:13; Eph. 2:13-16).

Having right (biblical) doctrine/beliefs will allow all Christians to have the basis for the same mind, character, conduct, and purpose in life.

 

How would each of the following scripture passages help us to know how to be harmonious (“mind the same things”) and to preserve the unity of the Spirit (spiritual oneness)?

Titus 1:5-13

“faithful word” – reliable, trustworthy message.

“the teaching” – apostolic teaching or scripture.

“sound doctrine” – the body of Christian teaching.

“reprove them severely” – probably Jewish-Gnostics who were against marriage and certain foods, see 1 Tim. 4:3.

“sound in the faith” – doctrinal orthodoxy; the truth as revealed in Christ.

“refute” – to prove wrong by evidence and argument.

“teaching things they should not teach” – false teachers, Jews professing conversion who were mixing Judaism and Christianity, teaching the necessity of circumcision and keeping the law of Moses.

  1. W. Hendriksen’s New Testament Commentary – 1st and 2nd Timothy and Titus.
  2. J.N.D. Kelly’s A Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles.

 

Titus 2:1

“fitting for” – in harmony with.

“sound doctrine” – not the myths and man-made regulations of the Jewish, pseudo-Christians, but rather true, healthy, uncorrupt teaching – i.e., the doctrines of the gospel.

  1. W. Hendriksen’s New Testament Commentary – Titus.

 

1 Timothy 1:3-7

“certain men not to teach strange doctrines” – Jewish Gnostic errorists’ teachings posing as Christian, but which are diametrically opposed.

“myths and endless genealogies” – allegorical or legendary interpretations of the Old Testament, centering on the pedigrees or family trees of patriarchs.

“fruitless discussion” – fantastic myths and ascetical prescriptions read out of the law (Old Testament) – 1 Tim. 4:3.

  1. J.N.D. Kelly’s A Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles.

 

2 Timothy 4:1-4

“reprove” – express disapproval of; show the person where he’s wrong.

“rebuke” – reprimand; address in sharp and severe disapproval.

“exhort” – strongly urge.

“instruction” – refute error by reasoned argument; censure the errorists when called for; strongly urge the flock to repent and persevere.

  1. J.N.D. Kelly’s A Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles.

 

Titus 3:9-11

“the Law” – these errorists sought to confirm man-made laws by the Law, and to mythologize various parts of the law or add fables to it.3

“reject” – have nothing to do with; avoid.1,3

“factious” – a false teacher forming a dissident group, thus dividing the body of Christ1; one who refuses to accept true doctrine as revealed in the Bible and chooses for himself what he is to believe2; a Cretan errorist who specialized in foolish inquiries and law-skirmishes, and whose error affected both doctrine and life contrary to biblical teaching.4

  1. J.N.D. Kelly’s A Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles.
  2. K. Wuest’s Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, vol. 2.
  3. Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown’s Commentary on the Whole Bible.
  4. W. Hendriksen’s New Testament Commentary – Titus.

 

Galatians 1:6-9

“that which we have preached to you” – the gospel that Jesus is the Messiah, Jn. 4:25-26.

“accursed” – doomed to destruction1; devoted to destruction, because hateful to God or alienation from God by sin.2

  1. W. Hendriksen’s New Testament Commentary – Galatians.
  2. K. Wuest’s Word Studies in the Greek New Testament.

 

Romans 16:17-18

“who cause dissension” – probably either Judaizers, legalists or antinomianists.1

“hindrances” – put obstacles.

“the teaching” – the truths taught in this epistle.2

“turn away from” – avoid them altogether, because though some may be able to oppose them, others could easily be led astray if they enter into debate with them.1

  1. W. Hendriksen’s New Testament Commentary – Romans.
  2. Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown’s Commentary on the Whole Bible.

 

Romans 12:16

“same mind toward” – thinking or viewing the same toward; with the same attitude, that being with love and with being fellow members in the body of Christ.1

– thinking the same toward regardless of their spiritual gifts, economic status, social class, race, culture, etc.2

  1. Matthew Henry’s Commentary, vol. 3.
  2. Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown’s Commentary on the Whole Bible.

 

Romans 15:5

“same mind with” – to agree to view each other with mutual esteem, love, and for­bearance (both the “weak and the strong” Christian) – Rom. 14:1 – 15:1.

“according to Christ Jesus” – according to Christ’s example, as in Rom. 15:3, of not doing His own will (not pleasing Himself), but God’s will.

  1. J. Murray’s The Epistles to the Romans.

 

1 Corinthians 1:10

“division” – disagreements or differences of opinion which produce internal alien­ation and party strife.1

“be made complete” – perfectly joined together; united; restored to the right con­dition of.1,2

“the same mind” – the things to be believed.2

“the same judgment” – the things to be done.2

  1. C. Hodge’s 1st and 2nd Corinthians and Ephesians.
  2. Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown’s Commentary on the Whole Bible.

 

1 Corinthians 12:24-25

“division” – alienation or separation of interests.

“care” – great concern; fellow-feeling.

  1. Mathew Henry’s  Commentary.

 

2 Corinthians 13:11

“like-minded” – united in faith, feeling, and object.1

– united in what is essential, namely in the love and doctrine of Christ.2

  1. C. Hodge’s 1st and 2nd Corinthians and Ephesians.
  2. P. Hughes’ Commentary on the Second Epistle to the Corinthians.

 

1 Peter 1:14-16

John 13:14-15

1 John 2:6

“walking” – living morally and spiritually.1

“manner as Christ” – humbly, sacrificially, etc.; the whole pattern as set forth in the New Testament.2 (e.g., Jn. 13:34-35; Rom. 15:1-7; Phil. 2:3-8; Col. 3:9-10, 13).

  1. H. Ward’s The Epistle of John and Jude.
  2. B. F. Westcott’s The Epistles of St. John.

 

1 John 4:10-11

Ephesians 4:32

Ephesians 4:22-24 (with Eph. 4:25 – 5:4)

Philippians 3:14-17

“have this attitude” – that of striving to be perfect; Christ-like; glorified with Christ.1

“living by that same standard to which we have attained” – continuing to live out experientially the Christ-like perfection to which we have already positionally attained when we became Christians.

  1. J. Muller’s The New International Commentary on the New Testament – Philippians.

 

Philippians 4:9

“The things … in me” – all of Paul’s teachings, godly character and conduct, and purpose in life.

  1. J. Muller’s The New International Commentary on the New Testament – Philippians.

 

1 Corinthians 10:31 – 11:1

“do all to the glory of God” – the Christian shouldn’t be concerned with his rights but with the glory of God.1

–         the governing motive of our lives should be to promote the glory or praise of God.2

“Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the Church of God” – avoid being the cause of sin to others or causing others to sin, just so you can gain personal advantage or just so you can exercise your personal right; it doesn’t mean conforming to sinful habits and amusements of the world, but accommodating in matters of indifference.2

– in things indifferent (i.e., 1 Cor. 8:13; Rom. 14:13; 2 Cor. 6:3), but we must not swerve from principle, even in the smallest detail, in all essential things affecting Christian doctrine and practice, regardless of the offense it might cause.2,3 Giving offense is unnecessary, if our own spirit causes it; necessary, if it be caused by the truth.3

  1. L. Morris’s The First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians.
  2. C. Hodges’s 1st and 2nd Corinthians and Ephesians.
  3. Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown’s Commentary on the Whole Bible.

 

2 Timothy 3:10-11

“teaching” – the whole counsel of God, i.e., Acts 20:27.1

“conduct” – his unselfish behavior.2

purpose” – to preach the gospel to the Gentiles,2 especially (1 Cor. 9:16-17; Acts 13:46-47; Eph. 3:8-12; Gal. 1:15-16).

“faith” – in God.2

“patience” – with respect to people.2

“love” – with respect to people, including enemies.2

“perseverance” – with respect to adverse circumstances.2

  1. Matthew Henry’s Commentary, vol. 3
  2. W. Hendriksen’s New Testament Commentary – 1st and 2nd Timothy and Titus.

 

1 Corinthians 4:16-17

“Paul’s ways” – those things mentioned in 2 Tim. 3:10.

  1. Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown’s Commentary on the Whole Bible.

 

Hebrews 13:7

“imitating their faith” – even unto death, probably by martyrdom.

 

1.        Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown’s Commentary on the Whole Bible.

 

1 Thessalonians 5:14

“the brethren” – not just the leaders, but all Christians.2

“unruly” – disorderly; those insubordinate as to church discipline.1

–         correct those who are neglecting their daily duties and falling into idle and careless habits.2

“fainthearted” – those ready to sink in affliction and temptations.1

–         those discouraged for some reason, perhaps because of adverse circumstances.2

“weak” spiritually weak,1,2 because of a lack of Bible knowledge, lack of courage to trust God, lack of stability or purpose, etc.2

  1. Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown’s Commentary on the Whole Bible.
  2. D. E. Hiebert’s The Thessalonian Epistles.

 

2 Thessalonians 3:6, 11, 14-15

“aloof” – withdrawing; steer clear of.1

–         personally separating yourself from; withholding fellowship.2

“leads” – persistently practices.2

“unruly” – burdensome to the community.1

–         disorderly; those neglecting their own daily labors, were busy-bodies interfering in the work of others.1

“the tradition you received from us” – the oral instruction from Paul, 2 Thes. 3:10.1

–         the specific teaching which these missionaries had given them concerning everyday Christian conduct, including 1 Thessalonians.2

 

While these busybody’s activities are not said to be related to the erroneous doctrine about the day of the Lord (2 Thes. 2:2) which was exciting the church, such a connection is general­ly assumed.

 

“not associating” – avoiding1; have no company with; social ostracism.2

“admonish him as a brother” – tell him why he is so avoided.1

–         with brotherly concern, put him in mind of his duty by calling attention to his failing.2

 

“The harmony and spiritual welfare of the young church were at stake. The problem of the disorderly was lightly touched upon in the first epistle (2 Thes. 4:11-12; 5:14), but it is clear that the gentle prodding did not produce the desired results. Stronger measures are now required.”2

  1. Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown’s Commentary on the Whole Bible.
  2. D. E. Hiebert’s The Thessalonian Epistles.

 

1 Corinthians 5:1-13

“not associating” – not having any social intercourse at all.1

–         not to keep company withal avoid all familiarity.3

“immoral” – illicit sexual intercourse.5

“covetous” – those possessed by the desire to have more.1

–         greed for something that another person rightfully possesses.6

“idolatrous” – the soul’s devotion to anything that usurps the place of God.4

“reviler” – one who abuses others.1

–         one who uses abusive language in speaking to or about another.6

“swindler” – a robber in any shape or form1; all undue exactions from people.2

 

It was the responsibility of the Corinthian Christians to take action in connection with their own members in judging them (disciplining them).1

 

“remove” – expel. The church must not tolerate the presence of evil in its midst.1

–         excommunication2; cast out of your fellowship.3

  1. L. Morris’ The First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians.
  2. Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown’s Commentary on the Whole Bible.
  3. Matthew Henry’s Commentary, vol. 3.
  4. M. R. Vincent’s Word Studies in the New Testament, vol. 2.
  5. A. T. Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament, vol. 4.
  6. Webster’s New World Dictionary.

 

Philippians 2:1-4

“being of the same mind” – thinking the same thing so that oneness in purpose may result.1

–         inner inclination and tendency.

“maintaining the same love” – for God, but especially, here, for fellow members.2

–         toward God, Jesus, and each other.3

“united in spirit” – driven by the same urge and desire.3

“intent on one purpose” – thinking the one thing.1

–         aim2; the cause of Christ and its furtherance, directing their thoughts and endeavor on that one thing.3

“Being of the same mind” is modified/qualified by the participles “maintaining the same love”, “united in spirit, intent on one purpose”, “regard one another as more important than himself”, and “do not look out for your own personal interests, but also for the in­terests of others.”

  1. A. Greenway’s The Epistle to the Philippians.
  2. W. Hendriksen’s New Testament Commentary – Philippians.
  3. J. Muller’s The New International Commentary on the New Testament – Philippians.

 

Philippians 1:27

“one spirit” – inward fusion of disposition; common purpose.

“one mind” – complete absorption in a common purpose; common zeal.

“striving together for the faith of the gospel” – in perfect co-operation with one another in the interests of that distinctive faith which is embodied in the gospel; spreading God’s glorious redemptive truth which centers in Jesus Christ and salvation in Him; teaching of the gospel with united effort.

  1. A. Greenway’s The Epistle to the Philippians.
  2. W. Hendriksen’s New Testament Commentary – Philippians.
  3. A. T. Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament.

 

Acts 10:42-43; Lk. 24:33, 46-47; 9:59-60; 2 Tim. 4:5; Phil. 4:3

 

Ephesians 4:11-13

“to the building up of the body of Christ” – by adding to its membership in lost souls being saved and by building up the individual saints spiritually into Christ-likeness.

 

In other words, our purpose is to exercise our spiritual gifts to help equip Christians, as well as, be equipped ourselves by Christians, in order to evangelize and spiritually build the body of Christ to complete maturity both in number and quality.

  1. Kenneth Wuest’s Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, vol. 1.

 

Matthew 28:19-20

Christ commanded them, among other things, to evangelize (Acts 10:42-43) and to build up believers spiritually (Rom. 14:19; 1 Thes. 5:11). Examples can be found in 2 Tim. 3:10-11; 2:2; and 1 Cor. 4:16-17.

 

Romans 12:4-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-5

Acts 15:36-41

 

Hopefully, as a result of this study you have discovered that true biblical unity is a spiritual oneness obtained at conversion and is both seen and preserved by having the same: mind (on biblical issues), character, conduct, and purpose in life – which comes about by believing and obeying the same biblical doctrines/teachings and following the same biblical examples (Christ, Paul, etc.). It’s not an organic unity where everybody joins the same denomination or church building and does everything together the same way in the same place at the same time under the same leader.

 

Let us know what you think.