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1 Corinthians 12

Various gifts within the body of Christ
Brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant concerning spiritual gifts. 2 You know that when you were Gentiles you were led away to those dumb idols, in whichever way you might have been led. 3 Therefore I make known to you, that no one speaking in the Spirit of God says Jesus is accursed. And no one can say Jesus is Lord, but in the Holy Spirit.
   4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are diversities of service, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of activities, but the same God who empowers them all in everyone. 7 But to each individual is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom and to another the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit. 9 To another faith through the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healings through the same one Spirit. 10 And to another workings of miracles, and to another prophecy and to another discerning of spirits; to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these gifts are energized by one and the same Spirit, apportioned to each man according as he is willing to receive it.
   12 For as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though being many, are one body; so also is Christ. 13 For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether slaves or free; and were all made to drink of one Spirit.

The body of Christ
   14 For the body is not one member but many. 15 If the foot shall say: Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body- that would not make it not a part of the body. 16 And if the ear shall say: Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body- that would not make it not a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where is the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where is the smelling? 18 But now has God set the members each one of them in the body, even as it pleased Him. 19 And if they were all one member, where is the body? 20 But now they are many members, but one body. 21 Therefore the eye cannot say to the hand: I have no need of you; nor the head to the feet: I have no need of you. 22 No, on the contrary, those members of the body which seem to be more feeble are necessary. 23 And those parts of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our unattractive parts have more abundant covering; 24 whereas our more attractive parts have no need of this. But God tempered the body together, giving more abundant honour to that part which lacked it, 25 so that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care one for another. 26 And whether one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or one member is honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
   27 Now you are the body of Christ and each individually members of it. 28 And God has set some in the church, first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers, then those who do miracles, then the gifts of healing, helping, administration and various kinds of languages. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak with languages? Do all interpret?
   31 But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.


12:3 There were people who claimed to have the Holy Spirit gifts who in fact didn’t, and who were willing to curse Jesus as the pagans demanded they did. The problem of false claims to Holy Spirit posession continues with us today.

12:10 Only some people in the first century were given the gift of speaking in tongues [foreign languages]. See too v. 30. Those who claim that ‘speaking in tongues’ is experienced by every truly converted believer are therefore wrong.

12:13 We become parts of the body of Christ by being baptized into His body. This is why baptism is so important; and it means that everyone who’s truly baptized is part of the body of Christ, and we therefore should not be divided from others in the body (v. 25); and we cannot say that we have no need of others in the body of Christ (v. 21). The bread which we break at the breaking of bread is a symbol of the body of Christ; we are one loaf (10:17). We should therefore welcome at the breaking of bread all those who have been validly baptized into Christ. Seeing there is only one body of Christ, one loaf, one bread, we are effectively breaking bread with them anyway even if we (wrongly) refuse to break bread with them.

12:22 The quiet or weak members of the body of Christ are very valuable- and we should recognize this.