The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:12
In this article, the scripture text also serves as the introduction. Paul presented a beautiful illustration of the makeup of the church and how it should function.
The children’s song called “Jesus Loves the Little Children” captures the heart of how the apostle described the body of Christ. “Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight.”
Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:13
He went on to say the body has many different parts, not just one part. He emphasized the phrase “many different parts.”
- If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body.
- And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? 1 Corinthians 12:15-16
Of course, for the human body, a foot is a foot and not a hand. And eyes are for seeing while ears take care of hearing. Each part has its own unique function which makes up the whole body.
If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything? 1 Corinthians 12:17
Functions of the Different Parts of the Body
Paul made these descriptions sound as absurd as he could. Why? Because body parts don’t change places nor do they compete with each other. God specifically made each one of them.
But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. 1 Corinthians 12:18
The Lord not only put each part where He wanted them, but they each have their own function. Out of the 78 organs in the body, we consider some important and others weak.
In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. 1 Corinthians 12:22
Paul said more things about the human body and its parts. You can turn to 1 Corinthians 12 to read what else he said. He made a huge point to clarify the importance of each part of the body.
We Make Up the Body of Christ
Just like God made the human body with many parts, the body of Christ also functions with many parts. And we Christians, make up all of those parts.
All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it. 1 Corinthians 12:27
- Here are some of the parts God has appointed for the church:
- first are apostles, second are prophets, third are teachers,
- then those who do miracles, those who have the gift of healing,
- those who can help others, those who have the gift of leadership,
- those who speak in unknown languages. 1 Corinthians 28
Let me remind you that this list represents only some of the parts of the body of Christ. The apostle by no means gave us a complete list in this portion of scripture.
He did, however, use this list for a specific purpose. He showed us that each part of the body of Christ has a responsibility to properly function.
- Are we all apostles?
- Are we all prophets?
- Are we all teachers?
- Do we all have the power to do miracles?
- Do we all have the gift of healing?
- Do we all have the ability to speak in unknown languages?
- Do we all have the ability to interpret unknown languages?
- Of course not! 1 Corinthians 12:29-30
At the beginning of the next verse, Paul made a statement that we could contemplate in two ways.
So you should earnestly desire the most helpful gifts. 1 Corinthians 12:31
The first way, we might ask, “How can I be the most helpful in this given situation?” Or we could look at it another way and ask, “What am I good at doing that is helpful to others?”
1 Corinthians 12 to Chapter 13
Scholars divided the Bible into chapters and verses giving us easy references to its text. In my opinion, the break between chapters 12 and 13 happened in the middle of an important thought.
The apostle expanded his thoughts on the functionality of the body of Christ with the following statement.
But now let me show you a way of life that is best of all. 1 Corinthians 12:31
Let me give you a clue of what must saturate every gift given by God and every Christian’s life. In the 13 verses of 1 Corinthians 13, the apostle used the word “love” 8 times.
God created the body of Christ to work effortlessly together with Jesus as the head. He has glued the entire body of Christ together with a quality that will last forever — “Love.”
Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13
Lord, thank you for giving us gifts that enable us each to uniquely function in the body of Christ. Help us to never underestimate that which you have gifted us with.
Check out this related post called Fan Into Flame The Gift Of God.
Also check out these related posts about the body of Christ
- How To Fulfill God’s Purpose For Your Life
- How To Present Your Body As A Living Sacrifice
- What Is God’s Plan For Your Life?
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