Factions

Or “Sects”

This is a subsidiary post of The Deeds of the Flesh.

Included below are the only two occurrences of “faction” in the NASB.  Both are found in notable verses: 1 Corinthians 11:19 (notable because of the divisions in the Corinthian church which the letter addressed) and Galatians 5:19-21 (where it is included among “the deeds of the flesh”).  However, the underlying Greek word which is translated as “faction” (139 hairesis; from 138; choice, opinion) is elsewhere in the NASB translated as “heresies” (once) and “sect” (six times).  All these occurrences are included in the list below.

Here is what www.lockman.org tells us that Strong’s say about this Greek word:

139 hairesis; from 138; choice, opinion:–factions(2), heresies(1), sect(6).

Of the six translations of the Greek “hairesis” as “sect,” all of which happen to be in the book of Acts:

  • one refers to the “hairesis” of the Sadducees
  • two refer to the “hairesis” of the Pharisees
  • three refer to the “hairesis” of Jesus

A modern-day equivalent for “hairesis” would be “denomination.”  We think of “heresy” as an aberrant teaching, but, of course, it spawns a “denomination,” “sect,” or “cult” – “cult” and “sect” being more pejorative than “denonomination.”

Acts 5:17  –  “…the sect of the Sadducees…”

Acts 15:5  –  “…the sect of the Pharisees…”

Acts 24:5  –  “…the sect of the Nazarenes.”

Acts 24:14  –  “…the Way which they call a sect…”

Acts 26:5  –  “…a Pharisee according to the strictest sect of our religion.”

Acts 28:22  –  “…this sect…”  –  Referring to what Acts 24:5 calls “the sect of the Nazarenes” and what Acts 24:14 calls “the Way which they call a sect.”

1 Corinthians 11:18-19  –  “…when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part I believe it.  For there must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you.”  – A marginal note in the NASB says that “divisions” is literally “schisms.” 

Galatians 5:19-21  –  “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensualityidolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factionsenvying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

2 Peter 2:1-3  –  “…there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.  Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their agreed they will exploit you with false words…”

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