What Does the Bible Say About Dividing a Church? (30 Bible Verses)

Unity is a cherished value in the Christian faith, and the Bible cautions against division within the body of Christ. These verses remind us of the importance of love, humility, and pursuing reconciliation in times of conflict.

By fostering unity and seeking the well-being of the church, we reflect the heart of God and bear witness to the transformative power of His love.

Let’s explore these verses that challenge us to preserve unity and guard against division within the church.

Bible Verses About Dividing a Church

1 Corinthians 1:10

“Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”

In this verse, the apostle Paul emphasizes the importance of unity within the church. He urges believers to avoid divisions and to strive for harmony, having a shared purpose and agreement in their faith.

Romans 16:17

“Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.”

Paul warns the believers in Rome about individuals who promote divisions and teach contrary to the established doctrines of the faith. He advises them to be discerning and to distance themselves from such people.

1 Corinthians 3:3

“For you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?”

Paul confronts the Corinthian church, pointing out their immaturity and division. He highlights that envy, strife, and divisions among believers are signs of carnality, showing a lack of spiritual growth and maturity.

Proverbs 6:16-19

“These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.”

This passage lists seven things that God detests, including the one who sows discord among brethren. It serves as a reminder of the seriousness of causing division within the community of believers.

Matthew 12:25

“But Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.'”

Jesus teaches about the destructive nature of division. Just as a kingdom, city, or house divided cannot stand, a church that is divided will struggle to fulfill its purpose and thrive.

Philippians 2:2

“Fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.”

Paul encourages the believers in Philippi to be unified in their thinking, love, and purpose. He finds joy in their oneness and calls them to maintain harmony within the church.

Ephesians 4:3

“Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

Paul urges the Ephesian believers to make every effort to maintain the unity that comes from the Holy Spirit. He emphasizes the importance of peace as the glue that holds the church together.

Titus 3:10

“Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition.”

Paul advises Titus to deal with a person who continuously promotes division. After giving them appropriate warnings and chances for correction, they should be rejected to protect the unity and integrity of the church.

Galatians 5:15

“But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!”

Paul warns the Galatian believers about the dangers of engaging in destructive behavior towards each other. If they continue to attack and harm one another, they risk destroying the very fabric of their community.

Acts 20:30

“Also from among yourselves, men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.”

In his farewell address to the Ephesian elders, Paul predicts that some individuals within the church will distort the truth, seeking personal gain and drawing followers to themselves. This highlights the need for vigilance against such divisive influences.

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1 Peter 3:8

“Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous.”

Peter encourages believers to cultivate unity and loving relationships within the church. He emphasizes the importance of compassion, brotherly love, and kindness towards one another.

Bible Verses About Dividing a Church

Proverbs 17:14

“The beginning of strife is like releasing water; therefore, stop contention before a quarrel starts.”

This proverb illustrates the rapid spread of conflict and its destructive consequences. It advises the importance of nipping strife in the bud to prevent it from escalating into full-blown quarrels within the church.

James 4:1

“Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?”

James addresses the origin of conflicts within the church. He attributes them to the selfish and worldly desires that wage war within the individual members, cautioning against succumbing to these destructive tendencies.

1 Corinthians 11:18-19

“For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part, I believe it. For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you.”

Paul acknowledges the existence of divisions among the Corinthians but highlights that such factions help identify those who are approved and faithful. This emphasizes the importance of discernment and authenticity within the church.

Romans 12:16

“Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.”

Paul advises believers to adopt a humble attitude towards one another and to avoid pride and arrogance. Being open to different perspectives and avoiding self-righteousness contributes to unity within the church.

Proverbs 15:18

“A wrathful man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger allays contention.”

This proverb highlights the role of anger in fueling conflicts. A person prone to anger tends to provoke strife, while one who exercises patience and self-control helps to diffuse contention within the church.

Romans 16:17-18

“Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.”

Paul warns believers to be aware of individuals who cause divisions and deviate from the teachings of the faith. He advises avoiding their influence, as they prioritize their own interests and use deceptive tactics to mislead unsuspecting believers.

Galatians 1:6-9

“I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.”

Paul expresses astonishment that the Galatian believers are so quickly abandoning the true gospel for a distorted version. He warns against those who pervert the gospel message, emphasizing the importance of staying true to the core teachings of Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:25

“That there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.”

Paul stresses the unity and interconnectedness of believers within the church. He emphasizes the need for mutual care and support among members, promoting an environment where division and schism are prevented.

Matthew 18:15-17

“Moreover, if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.”

Jesus provides a framework for addressing conflicts within the church. It involves first approaching the person privately, then involving a few witnesses, and finally, bringing the matter before the entire church if necessary. This process aims at reconciliation, but persistent refusal to address the issue may lead to separation from the community.

1 Corinthians 6:7

“Now, therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated?”

Paul admonishes the Corinthian believers for resorting to legal disputes with one another. He suggests that it is preferable to accept wrongs and endure injustice for the sake of unity, promoting forgiveness and reconciliation over pursuing personal vindication.

Matthew 5:9

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

Jesus pronounces a blessing upon those who actively work to promote peace and reconciliation. Being a peacemaker aligns with the character of God and demonstrates one’s identity as a child of God.

Colossians 3:13

“bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”

Paul urges believers to practice forbearance and forgiveness towards one another. Just as Christ forgave them, they are called to extend the same forgiveness to their fellow brothers and sisters, fostering an environment of grace and unity.

Ephesians 4:29

“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.”

Paul encourages believers to use their words for building up and edifying one another. By speaking words of grace and encouragement, they contribute to the unity and spiritual growth of the church.

Proverbs 20:3

“It is honorable for a man to stop striving, since any fool can start a quarrel.”

This proverb emphasizes the virtue of ceasing contention and strife. It highlights the wisdom and maturity displayed when one chooses not to engage in quarrels or divisive arguments within the church.

James 3:16

“For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.”

James identifies envy and self-centeredness as sources of confusion and evil within the church. These attitudes disrupt unity and hinder the church’s effectiveness in reflecting the love of Christ.

Romans 14:1

“Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things.”

Paul advises believers to welcome and accept those who may be weaker in their faith, without engaging in contentious debates over secondary matters. The focus should be on nurturing and strengthening the faith of individuals rather than dividing over disputable issues.

Psalm 133:1

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”

This psalm celebrates the beauty and desirability of unity among brothers and sisters within the faith. It portrays a harmonious and united community as a source of blessing and joy.

Psalm 133:1

Galatians 6:1

“Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.”

Paul encourages believers to compassionately restore those who have fallen into sin, emphasizing the importance of a gentle and humble approach. This promotes healing and reconciliation, preserving the unity of the church.

1 Timothy 6:3-4

“If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions.”

Paul warns against those who deviate from the sound teachings of Christ and instead engage in fruitless disputes and arguments over minor details. Such behavior leads to division, strife, and a departure from the pursuit of godliness.

What does the Bible say About Dividing a Church?

The Bible emphasizes unity within the body of Christ. In several passages, it warns against causing division within the church. For instance, in 1 Corinthians 1:10, Paul urges the church in Corinth to be of the same mind and judgment, avoiding divisions. Similarly, in Romans 16:17, he advises believers to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine.

Jesus himself prayed for unity among his followers in John 17:20-23, emphasizing that this unity would serve as a testimony to the world. Additionally, Ephesians 4:1-6 stresses the importance of maintaining the unity of the Spirit through peace.

Dividing a church is seen as detrimental to its purpose and witness. Instead, the Bible encourages believers to seek reconciliation and unity, addressing conflicts with humility, love, and a desire to preserve the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:2-3).