We are the body of Christ
1 Corinthians 12: 12-27 (NIRV)
One Body but Many Parts
12 There is one body, but it has many parts. But all its many parts make up one body. It is the same with Christ. 13 We were all baptized by one Holy Spirit. And so we are formed into one body. It didn’t matter whether we were Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free people. We were all given the same [Holy] Spirit…. 14 So the body is not made up of just one part. It has many parts.
15 Suppose the foot says, “I am not a hand. So I don’t belong to the body.” By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body. 16 And suppose the ear says, “I am not an eye. So I don’t belong to the body.” By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, how could it hear? If the whole body were an ear, how could it smell? 18 God has placed each part in the body just as he wanted it to be. 19 If all the parts were the same, how could there be a body? 20 As it is, there are many parts. But there is only one body.
21 The eye can’t say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 In fact, it is just the opposite. The parts of the body that seem to be weaker are the ones we can’t do without. 23 The parts that we think are less important we treat with special honour. The private parts aren’t shown. But they are treated with special care. 24 The parts that can be shown don’t need special care. But God has put together all the parts of the body. And he has given more honour to the parts that didn’t have any. 25 In that way, the parts of the body will not take sides. All of them will take care of one another. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it. If one part is honoured, every part shares in its joy.
27 You are the body of Christ. Each one of you is a part of it.
New International Reader’s Version (NIRV)
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- What verse “jumps out” of the text at you? Why?
- In (vs. 14), the “body” is described as having “many parts”; the context of (vs.14) is verses (vs.12-13). What is “the body”?
With your answer in mind, what differences is Paul highlighting from the reality of the church in his day, that need to “work together”, for the “body” to be healthy? Does Paul’s thinking hold any relevance for us in South Africa?
- Diversity can bring life and vibrancy to a church. Do you agree?
Does St. Thomas have a congregation that is diverse and that reflects the necessary differences as outlined by Paul (vs. 12-14)?
- Read (vs.15-20) again; what do these verses have to say about your experiences of being part of a church congregation? Can you relate to these sentiments? Have you ever felt this way about your involvement in the work of the church?
- What do you think Paul is getting at in (vs.22-24)?
Focus for the week
Prayerfully reflect on the challenges of (vs.25-27) this week. Is God calling you to become more a part of the “body of Christ”?