In 1 Corinthians 1:10, the apostle Paul urges believers to “agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you.” By saying there should be “no divisions among you,” Paul encourages believers to be united as the church as they share the gospel throughout the world.
In the first century AD, the church at Corinth was wrought with factions and divisions. The church was split over which leader or early missionary was their favorite and who they thought was most important to follow. Some preferred Paul while others preferred Apollos or Peter, mostly based on their speaking styles (see “wisdom” and “eloquence” in 1 Corinthians 1:17). Instead of being united under Christ, they were divided over their preferred leader. So, to push back against this temptation to divide, Paul commands them to be agree with one another and to not let there be divisions among them.
One important reason why believers should not let there be divisions among them is that it hinders their ability to grow and mature spiritually. In Ephesians 4:3, Paul commands believers to “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” He then goes on to say in Ephesians 4:15 that believers, as the united Body of Christ, will “grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” In other words, if there are divisions among us as believers, we will not mature the way God desires us to. Spiritual growth happens when believers are united as they gather and worship God.
Another reason why believers should not let there be divisions among them is that it distracts them from their mission in making disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19–20). After Paul urges the Corinthian believers to agree with one another, he says that his sole mission as an apostle of Christ was to preach the gospel (see 1 Corinthians 1:17). He didn’t want to be remembered for his influence or for the way he spoke or even for the people he baptized. He only wanted to be remembered as someone who faithfully preached the gospel. Likewise, if we as believers focus on the ways we are divided over personal and preferred inclinations, we’ll miss the opportunities God gives us every day to share the gospel with those around us.
Finally, perhaps the biggest reason why believers should not let there be divisions among them is that it hurts their witness to the world in revealing who God is. In John 17, just before Jesus was arrested and crucified, He prayed to God the Father for all believers throughout history: “May they all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us, so that the world may believe you sent me” (John 17:21). In other words, Jesus prayed for all those who follow Him to be united in order to help the world believe who He is, the Son of God. So when there are divisions among us as believers, it hinders our ability to show the world who God is and what He is like—the perfectly united Triune God.
Believers in Christ should not allow personal preferences related to politics, education styles, sports, favorite speakers, or anything else divide them, especially to the point that they are known more for what they disagree on than what they agree on. Christians should first and foremost be known as a unified group of people who worship and praise Jesus as the Son of God who came to die for the sins of the world.