God’s Saving Word: Spiritual Renewal
1 Corinthians 12:12-31: In today’s reading, the apostle Paul compares the body of Christ to a human body. Each part of the body refers to individual members of the church, and all are united in one being.
One Body with Many Parts
12 Christ is like a single body, which has many parts; it is still one body, even though it is made up of different parts. 13 In the same way, all of us, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether slaves or free, have been baptized into the one body by the same Spirit, and we have all been given the one Spirit to drink.
14 For the body itself is not made up of only one part, but of many parts. 15 If the foot were to say, “Because I am not a hand, I don’t belong to the body,” that would not keep it from being a part of the body. 16 And if the ear were to say, “Because I am not an eye, I don’t belong to the body,” that would not keep it from being a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were just an eye, how could it hear? And if it were only an ear, how could it smell? 18 As it is, however, God put every different part in the body just as he wanted it to be. 19 There would not be a body if it were all only one part! 20 As it is, there are many parts but one body.
21 So then, the eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” Nor can the head say to the feet, “Well, I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, we cannot do without the parts of the body that seem to be weaker; 23 and those parts that we think aren’t worth very much are the ones which we treat with greater care; while the parts of the body which don’t look very nice are treated with special modesty, 24 which the more beautiful parts do not need. God himself has put the body together in such a way as to give greater honor to those parts that need it. 25 And so there is no division in the body, but all its different parts have the same concern for one another. 26 If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts suffer with it; if one part is praised, all the other parts share its happiness.
27 All of you are Christ’s body, and each one is a part of it. 28 In the church God has put all in place: in the first place apostles, in the second place prophets, and in the third place teachers; then those who perform miracles, followed by those who are given the power to heal or to help others or to direct them or to speak in strange tongues. 29 They are not all apostles or prophets or teachers. Not everyone has the power to work miracles 30 or to heal diseases or to speak in strange tongues or to explain what is said. 31 Set your hearts, then, on the more important gifts.
Best of all, however, is the following way.
Today’s Key Verse: 1 Corinthians 12:27
All of you are Christ’s body, and each one is a part of it.
Reread verses 27-31. What special abilities or responsibilities are described? How do people with various spiritual gifts enhance the work of the church? Where do you see this happening within your community of faith?
Holy Spirit, open my heart to your spiritual gifts, that I may carry out the work of the church, reach out to others, and strengthen the body of Christ through a life filled with love, joy, and peace. Amen.
You’re invited to join us in prayer for people around the world to meet God through the Bible. By signing up as an American Bible Society prayer partner, you will receive faith-igniting testimonies and specific prayer requests helping us bring God’s Word where it is most needed. As a part of this community, you will also receive prayer resources that inspire your prayers and faith journey in Scripture. Join us here today: https://americanbible.org/prayer
1 Corinthians 13:1-13: the apostle Paul teaches about love.