Wednesday 22 May 2019

Bible Book:
1 Corinthians

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. (v. 12)

1 Corinthians 12:12-26 Wednesday 22 May 2019

Psalm: Psalm 135:1-7


In perhaps one of the most famous images for the Church in the New Testament, Paul describes the community of Christ’s people as a ‘body’ with ‘many members’ (v. 12). The image of the body had been used in political contexts before, but here Paul applies it to the Church, and emphasises that the ‘lesser’ members are as important as those perceived as ‘greater.’

The body of Christ is constituted, Paul maintains, through baptism by the one Spirit (vs. 12-13). Through the Spirit, Jews and gentiles, slaves and free, join together in one community. While churches may differ in the way they understand Spirit baptism, Paul sees true Christianity as involving life in the Spirit; Christians are led by the Spirit (Romans 8:9-17) and bear the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-26).

In vs. 14-26, Paul develops the image of the body. He begins by noting that every member of the body is needed and important. To put it another way, no member of the body is sufficient by itself; each members needs the others. A body made up of only an eye or an ear would be monstrous!

Paul also argues that even the ‘lesser’ parts of the body are required for the whole to function. The ‘inferior members’ are probably those areas covered by clothing – and so often seen as dishonourable – but their clothing actually indicates the honour in which they are held (vs. 22-24). Similarly, God arranges the body of the Church to give honour to those who seem to be the weakest.

In such a vision of the body, unity should trump division, and no one member should declare that their gift or calling is the most important! Such a vision also means that each member can support the other, expressing compassion for those who suffer and joy with those rejoice (vs. 24-26).


To Ponder:

  • Which roles within the Church today do you think are overlooked or considered ‘dishonourable’?
  • How can we ensure that all feel valued within the church?
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