In 1 Cor. 12:12-27, the Apostle Paul uses the human body to demonstrate how every person contributes something that is necessary to the life and growth of the church. In fifteen verses, Paul uses three Greek words to explain this idea of each member’s importance:
- Body (17 times) – NT:4983 soma – the body as a sound whole; from NT:4982 sozo – to save, deliver or protect.
- Member(s) (13 times) – NT:3195 melos – a limb or part of the body.
- One (12 times) – NR:1520 heis – a primary numeral; indivisible by nothing.
Christ has “one” body, and at salvation, we were all baptized into that “one” body. (vv. 12-13)
- In these verses, the emphasis is on “one” (6)
- Baptized – NT:907 baptizo – to immerse, submerge, overwhelm, and cover over
- Example: A white cloth immersed in red dye becomes red and can never be white again.
Christ’s body is composed of a variety of parts designed for varying functions (vv. 14-17)
- In these verses, the emphasis is on “body” (6)
- If a part says…One’s confession nor their comparison make them any less a part of the body
- If the whole were a single part…No one part can fulfil the complete function of the whole
In order for Christ’s body to function properly, each part must be in its proper place (vv. 18-20)
- God determines where each part fits.
- Set – NT:5087 tithemi – to place properly
- 1 Cor. 12:18 ESV – But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each of them, as he chose.
- Arrange (Webster) – to put into a proper order or into a correct or suitable sequence, relationship, or adjustment.
- Example: Assembling a desk for my home office required all the parts, put in the right place, and assembled in the proper sequence.
- Every one of them – There is not one part that God has not personally placed in the body!
Each part must cooperate with God’s purpose for the design of the body. (vv. 21-26)
- But God composed (“tempered” KJV) – NT:4786 sugkerannumi – co-mingled, combined, and assimilated
- Combined (Webster) – to bring into such close relationship as to obscure individual characters
- Note: When we focus on individual parts instead of the body as a whole, we create a platform for division, and we fail to grow past our individual limitations!