Great question that exposes a VERY serious problem. The problem here is actually two-fold:
- that religion in Corinth had been reduced to personalities and that Christ was mere one of many personalities that one follows - a bit like modern followers of a sports team
- it was thus that Christ was reduced to a mere human among many from whom one was free to select - any human personality os OK - just choose one!
Paul was vehemently opposed to this. He states this later in the same letter:
1 Cor 1:24, 25 - to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ
the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is
wiser than man’s wisdom,d and the weakness of God is stronger than
... and again in 1 Cor 2:16 -
“For who has known the mind of the Lord, so as to instruct Him?” But
we have the mind of Christ.
Finally, Paul concludes this extensive arguement in 1 Cor 3:4-7 -
4 For when one of you says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere men? 5 What then is Apollos? And
what is Paul? They are servants through whom you believed, as the Lord
has assigned to each his role. 6 I planted the seed and Apollos
watered it, but God made it grow. 7 So neither he who plants nor
he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.
We also have Paul's conclusion in Col 3:11 -
Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised,
barbarian, Scythian, slave, or free, but Christ is all and is in all.
Thus, Paul believed that Christ was no mere human personality but infinitely greater -
Phil 3:8 - More than that, I count all things as loss compared to the
surpassing excellence of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have
lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ
To Paul, Christ was the sum, center and substance of all that mattered (not just another personality team to follow). Note the following:
- Col 1:27 - To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
- Titus 2:13 - while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,
- Phil 1:21 - For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
- 2 Cor 5:14 - For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that One died for all, therefore all died.
- Phil 2:5 - Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus:
John reaches a similar conclusion in 1 John 5:11, 12 -
And this is that testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this
life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not
have the Son of God does not have life.