The aim of this devotional study is to grow in the knowledge and appreciation of the church.
1 Corinthians 12:12-27
12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body–Jews or Greeks, slaves or free–and all were made to drink of one Spirit. 14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many.
15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell?
18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”
22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
- In this chapter Paul seems to have reached the most fitting metaphor for his understanding of church. What is that metaphor?
- How does the individual relate to the church in this metaphor?
- In this metaphor of church, what role does God play?
- What is the most useful understanding about church we gain from this metaphor? (hint: v20-21, v25) Can you give one word for this revelation? [hint: the relationship between individual persons within the local church]
- In writing this metaphor, does Paul have the Eternal Church or a local church in mind? Why do you say that?
Reflection and Application
- When you think of your local congregation and the members of your church – how do you view your relationship? And how do you view your relationship with your local church itself?
- In relating to the members in your church, so you relate to them as “being baptized into one body through the Holy Spirit”? (verse 13) Do you consider yourself as such? How?
- If you were to view yourself and the other members in your church as being baptized in one body through the Spirit – how would that affect your relationship with the church and its members?
- What role do you think God has arranged for you in your local church? “Where” in the body has he set you?
- Forget for a while the Sunday service and even Bible study meetings – what role can you play in the lives of the members in your church – how can you build up the church?
Pray to God about your relationship with your local congregation, as well as its members; ask him to reveal his heart regarding “Christ’ body” and fill your heart with respect and love for each of its members. Secondly, pray that God will reveal and move you towards fulfilling your function in your local church.