1 Corinthians 12
-Paul opens up a new section now concerning questions and instructions on spiritual gifts. Keep in mind that he is still making the case for unity in the body, which he makes extremely explicit here in this passage, versus the divisions and factions that are currently plaguing the Corinthian church. He wants them to understand that they are all in this Kingdom thing together and that a culture of honor is paramount for their witness and effectiveness in Christ.
-Paul, speaking through the Holy Spirit, delineates the different spiritual giftings that God has so composed and ordained for His church (1 Corinthians 12:6, 18) for the common good (1 Corinthians 12:7). He lists wisdom, the utterance of knowledge, faith, healing, the working of miracles, prophecy (proclamation of the truth of God, forth telling and fore telling), discerning of spirits, various kinds of tongues (could be linguistic skills or supernatural abilities), and the interpretation of tongues (1 Corinthians 12:8-10). He also lists apostleship, teaching, helping, and administrating in addition (1 Corinthians 12:28). This is not an exhaustive list in my opinion. There are other potential places in Scripture we can look to in order to find even more gifts of the Spirit of God (Romans 12:6-8, Ephesians 4:8-12, 1 Peter 4:10-11). The important thing to remember here is that the same Lord is unifying all these many parts into a homologous whole with no division by His Spirit working within us (1 Corinthians 12:4-7, 11-13, 25-27).
-Paul uses the one body with many parts approach to help everyone understand the unity with diversity concept. This illustration was known to many he was writing to in the Greek world because of the works of Plato, who also used this analogy [Rosamond Kent Sprague, "Parmenides, Plato, and 1 Corinthians 12," Journal of Biblical Literature 86, no. 2 (June 1967): 213]. He strategically uses parts less presentable (feet and ears) in comparison to the more presentable parts (hands and eyes) to demonstrate the necessity for each part of the body in making it complete in its functionality. He also makes valid points for the unpresentable parts (for instance our heart and brain, sexual organs, etc.) being absolutely indispensable for the proper functioning of the body. The point should be clear enough; every person is vital to the common good of Christ’s body, the church, and there should be no divisions. “If one member suffers, all suffer; if one member is honored, all rejoice together (1 Corinthians 12:26).” Suffering together produces the important Christian trait of compassion and rejoicing together as a body eliminates jealousy and envy. *Application* Paul is teaching us the importance of valuing one another in the body of Christ at every level, which fulfills the law of Christ (Romans 12:10, Ephesians 5:21, Philippians 2:1-8). He will go on to teach the more excellent way of love in the next chapter, which is the quintessential virtue of the Christian. Therefore, from the least of these to the most prominent positions in the body of Christ, we should realize the extreme importance of each individual, designed by God for a specific task or tasks. Honor and totally respect everyone!
Verse to Memorize- 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, 18