Kids Lesson: The Church Divided (1 Corinthians 1-6)
The Church Divided (1 Corinthians 1-6)
Paul told the believers in the Corinthian church to come together because of the gospel. He reminded them that Jesus saves sinners. Because of Jesus and what He has done, believers can humbly come together as one body.
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Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” - Matthew 28:19-20
Bible Story - The Church Divided
Bible Story Video
Paul wrote a letter to the church at Corinth. Years after Paul helped start the church in Corinth, the believers there were facing problems. One problem was that the church was divided. The people did not always get along or agree about what was most important. The believers met in small groups and had different leaders. Some groups were arguing that their leaders were better than others. One person would say, “I belong to Paul.” Another would say, “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Peter,” or “I belong to Christ.” Paul wanted this to stop. “Is Christ divided?” Paul asked. Of course not. Jesus came to bring people together as one body— brothers and sisters in God’s family. Christians should not fight about which human leader has the most wisdom or strength. What is most important is the gospel. Paul said, “The word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is the power of God to us who are being saved.” God uses what seems foolish to the world—that is, God the Son giving up His life for us—in order to bring salvation to the world. Paul also reminded the church that believers cannot boast about themselves or other people; no human is as wise or powerful as God. When Paul preached, he didn’t use fancy words so that people would think he was smart. He simply shared the good news about Jesus. Everyone in the church is united around Jesus, who died on the cross for our sins. He is God’s wisdom and power. When we remember the gospel, we can live in unity with others. Other things, like immaturity and foolishness, caused division in the church. Paul wrote his letter to help the believers in Corinth. He told them many things about how to follow Jesus. Believers should live in such a way that people see them and know they belong to Jesus.
Bible Story Summary
The church in Corinth was arguing about what was most important.
Paul wrote that believers come together because of the gospel.
Believers should live in such a way that people see them and know they follow Jesus.
Why is it important for believers in the church to get along?
Why should believers live in such a way that people can see them and know they follow Jesus?
How can people who are different from one another come together?
Pray as a family for unity in your church among people and leaders.
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Tape a large square on the floor in the center of the room. Instruct children to wander all around the room while remaining outside the square. Shout, “Come together!”
and guide preschoolers to quickly move inside the square. Continue the game, letting children take turns signaling when it’s time to move.
Paul heard that the believers in Corinth disagreed about what was most important. They argued and followed different leaders. Paul wrote a letter and told them that believers come together because of the gospel, the good news of Jesus. Because of Jesus and what He has done, believers can come together as one family of brothers and sisters—all part of God’s family.
Elementary Discussion Questions
Help your kids find 1 Corinthians 1. Ask the following questions:
What did Paul say about divisions in the church? (They should not happen—the church should be united; 1 Cor. 1:10)
Who did Paul point to as an example that the church should be united? (Jesus, who was not divided; 1 Cor. 1:13)
What should believers do instead of boasting in their strength or the wisdom of their human leader? (boast in the Lord, 1 Cor. 1:29-31)
What does it mean to boast in the Lord? Guide the kids to think about God as the source of every good thing they have. All their gifts and talents come from God. Their salvation comes from God. All wisdom comes from God. We cannot boast unless we are boasting in what God is doing.
Does being united in Christ mean we have to agree on everything? Help the kids think through the difference between something essential—like Jesus’ death and resurrection—and something that’s just a matter of preference—like which worship songs to sing. Remind kids that believers will disagree about some things, but the way in which we disagree ought to still be marked by Jesus’ love.
How can you show love to someone you have trouble getting along with? Discuss practical steps kids can take to be kinder and more loving toward those they may not get along with. Help them begin to see the world from other people’s perspectives. Remind them that often unkind people act that way because of pain they feel.
Close with this: The gospel unites all kinds of people in love. When we love Jesus, we must love who He loves: everyone!
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