Oh boy, Bible study makes me tick. I'm so excited to dig into the rest of I Corinthians 12 with you today. Let's start by reading it "together."
12 The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
14 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But eagerly desirethe greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way.
There is much that one could go into here, a lot of which I don't know enough about to instruct well at this time. So, we'll proceed like we did yesterday, with a bullet list of overarching points (and a few comments.) I love lists almost as much as I love Bible study! And I know that you have a finite amount of time to be hanging out here at Life in the Valley.
- Diversity in the Unity - Christ's body, just as our own bodies, is a single unit made up of many parts that work together to make us whole. The Spirit is our starting and unifying point; no matter what kind of body part we are, we all drink from the same source of life!
- You're exactly the body part God wants you to be. I'm sure you've heard people say things like (or you've thought them yourself), He or she has so much more to offer, so I'll just steps aside or not initiate.... Dare we mock God and deny that in fact He has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be (v 18) and not seek to glorify Him with whatever He's given us at the moment, no matter how mature or immature, qualified or unqualified, sure or doubtful we feel? (I am so guilty of this.)
- You need all of the other parts of the body. As my friend Kit pointed out in her post yesterday it's easy to hang with people like you, but quite another story to mix and mingle with those who are quite different ... or even a little different. And yet, as we look around on Sunday morning or other places we interact with fellow Christians, we find more folks unlike us than like us, don't we? And Paul strongly states here that we NEED each other. We can never say, I don't need so-and-so in my life, they're too weird, too charismatic, too dry, too slow, too fast ... (Guilty on this point, too!) Perhaps they are the VERY with whom you or I need a relationship!
Dear Christian, not only do you need the church (the body), but the church needs you! We're so united (whether it feels like it or not) because of the Spirit that if one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. (v 26) I cannot write you off, nor you me!! God's always taking it to the next level isn't he?
Questions to consider:
- How do I currently approach being part of the local congregation to which I belong? How could this passage influence my future interactions with people and participation in the church?
- What are some of the gifts God has given me (spiritual gifts as well as talents, life experiences, etc.) and how can I put them to use for the edification of the body?
- How can I be looking out for others' gifts and affirming the "body part" that they are?
In the final verse of chapter 12, Paul says, And I will show you the most excellent way to desire the greater gifts, to be fully invested in and part of God's body. We'll move that direction tomorrow; get ready!
Have a great day!