The Bible tells us nothing about Chloe, and only one verse mentions her by name. The issue is not about what she does as much as what happens in her household, those people under her authority.
Reports come to Paul, chiefly from Chloe’s family, that the folks in the Corinthian church are quarreling with each other. They’re fighting about doctrine. Sound familiar?
Particularly, the people align themselves with different teachers: Paul, Apollos, and Cephas (Peter), effectively dividing the church into factions and causing disunity.
Others attempt to rise above the bickering by stating their focus is on Jesus. Still they mire themselves into the fray. They’re part of the disharmony.
After calling them out, Paul goes into a lengthy teaching about this, ending with the encouragement for them to place their focus on God.
In doing all this, Paul neither commends nor condemns Chloe’s family for taking the lead role in bringing this to his attention. On one hand, their actions are akin to gossip, something Paul repeatedly speaks against.
After all, Paul is unlikely the only person who hears their tattling. Surely many other people hear their accusations too. On the other hand, Paul accepts their words as true and takes steps to address their concerns.
How much better it would have been for Chloe’s household to not snitch on their fellow church members and instead seek to restore unity without involving others. Chloe, as the head of the house, could have directed her charges to act better.
She should have led them well. Instead, she either makes no effort to guide them, or she lost her influence over them.
Do we seek to be peacemakers, or do we drag others into disagreements? Do we lead our families well or fail to lead them at all?
[Discover more about Chloe in 1 Corinthians 1:11–13.]
Learn about other biblical women in Women of the Bible, available in audiobook, e-book, paperback, and hardcover.
A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 1,000-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.