I Corinthians 12:12-13
by Lois E. Gibson
As I mentioned at the end of the last study, we are now getting into some very important truths. We are going to learn about the body of Christ and how we all are a part of that body, with all being equally necessary and important.
In this lesson I am only covering two verses. These verses start our journey into Paul's explanation of the body of Christ. Know and see how this intricately ties in with the gifts of the Spirit. Paul isn't starting into another topic, but he is expounding upon the fact that all receive gifts but not all will receive the same gifts.
I Corinthians 12:12-13 (NASB)
12 For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ.
13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
The NIV puts verse 12 like this: "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."
Paul will be speaking at first of a physical body yet he likens this to believers being the body of Christ. If we jump ahead to verse 27 we see Paul say, "Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it."
Here are some additional verses that bring this out (all NIV):
Colossians 1:18 "And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy."
Colossians 1:24 "Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church."
Ephesians 1:22-23 "And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way."
Ephesians 2:22 "And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit."
Ephesians 3:6 "This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus."
Ephesians 4:4, 12-13, 15-16, 25 "There is one body and one Spirit- just as you were called to one hope when you were called- one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. To prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body."
Ephesians 5:29-30 "After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church- for we are members of his body.
1 Corinthians 10:17 "Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf."
Romans 12:4-5 "Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others."
Is it sinking in yet? Each believer is part of the body of Christ, the church, with Jesus being the Head. Many members and yet we are one- ONE- in Christ.
Let's go back to verse 12: "For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ."
Paul speaks of our physical body. It isn't two, three, four or more bodies, but is one. One body. Yet in this one body, we find it has many, many parts (members). But this fact does not make the body divided. It is all the parts fitted together, operating in unison, which make it one body. If each part were off on its own, independently functioning, it would cease to be one body. See?
Now- let that sink in and add to it, "so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit."
Paul now makes the parallel between our natural body and the body of Christ. He is doing this to drive home very essential things we need to see and understand by likening it to something physical in which we can relate.
God's Spirit brings us together as one body. Our nationality matters not. Our lot in life matters not. One Spirit has united and baptized us together into one body.
Galatians 3:28 says, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."
Colossians 3:11 says, "Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all."
Listen to what Paul shares in Ephesians 2:14-22 (NIV): "For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built up to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit."
So we are God's dwelling place, many members baptized together by one Spirit to form one body- the church- with Christ as the Head. We're many, yet one. We each have our function, yet are one. We are interdependent upon one another. Our Source is that one Spirit. All our giftings, our functions, flow to us from our Head. Without the Head, we'd cease to function as a body.
Count this as an introduction of our being the body of Christ and what it means. As Paul continues through the rest of chapter 12, he will drive home the full meaning. How does this tie into the gifts of the Spirit? Our eyes of understanding will be opened as we continue on in our next lessons.....
One, one, one, one, one.....it's all about being one body!
Posted November 4, 2004
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