Introduction In this lesson, we focus on the issue of division. The New Testament uses vivid words to describe this problem. Accordingly, let us consider the Biblical occurrences of the Greek noun schisma and the related verb schizō.
The Noun Schisma Thomas defines σχίσμα [ schisma ] as from schizō [to cleave, split], meaning “a split, figuratively, division” . BDAG say it refers to “(1) the condition resulting from splitting or tearing, tear, crack; (2) the condition of being divided because of conflicting aims or objectives, division, dissension, schism figurative extension of 1.”
The Verb Schizō Thomas defines σχίζω [ schizō ], derived from a primitive root [ schid ], as “to cleave, split” . BDAG say it means “(1) to divide by use of force, split, divide, separate, tear apart, tear off literally; (2) to tear apart a group through conflicting aims or objectives, figurative extension of 1.”
Physical Divisions The Baptism of Jesus (Mark 1:9-11) The Teaching of Jesus (Matt. 9:14-17) The Death of Jesus (Matt. 27:50-53)
Physical Things Not Divided The Seamless Tunic of Jesus (John 19:23-24) The Strained Net of Fish (John 21:1-11 )
Spiritual Divisions The Ministry of Jesus (John 7:40-53, esp. vs. 43; 9:13-34, esp. vs. 16; 10:7-21, esp. vs. 19) The Preaching of Paul (Acts 14:1-7, esp. vs. 4; 23:1-10, esp. vs. 7) The Church at Corinth (1 Cor. 1:10-13; 11:17-34, esp. vs. 18-19; 12:14-26, esp. vs. 25)
Conclusion As the sweet Psalmist of Israel said, “How good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity” (Psa. 133:1-3)! Respecting the prayer of Jesus offered on the night of His betrayal, let us seek spiritual oneness with likeminded believers (John 17:20-21). Such is possible only when we maintain the proper disposition and adhere to the proper doctrine (Eph. 4:1-6).