Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Year 8, Day 80: 1 Corinthians 12

Theological Commentary: Click Here

It should be no surprise that when we move to the next chapter that Paul continues to talk about the unified body of Christ.  What can we learn from this?  Paul was deeply concerned with the level of division within the Corinthians. He was worried that the level of division would be a major detriment to the congregation.  He continues to teach about unity from many different angles because a lack of unity is a tremendous threat to a community.

Paul tries to speak to unity with respect to the spiritual gifts.  Yes, people are individuals.  We all have different gifts and God equips us to play different roles in His kingdom.  We shouldn’t be trying to make carbon copies of one another because God has made us unique.  At the same time, our uniqueness should not divide the church!  Our gifts should add to the community, not split it!  Our interaction within the community should cause it to grow together, not give it reason to fracture.

In fact, with the analogy to the body to which Paul moves, he brings the discussion into greater focus.  Paul is blatantly honest when he says that the individual is not more important than the body.  The hand is not more important than the body.  Neither is the eye or the foot or even the heart.  After all, what would a single member of the body be if it didn’t have a body to which it belongs?  How useful is a hand without an arm, much less an entire body?  The desires of the one should never outweigh the needs of the many.

Furthermore, Paul goes a step further to make sure that we don’t undervalue certain parts of the community.  We all know that there are flashy people who command attention easily.  Just like it is easy to notice a person’s hair or their eyes, it is easy to give some people more attention than the rest.  However, the reality is that there are parts of the body that are easily overlooked but highly important.  How long will a regular person live without their liver or spleen, yet how often do we notice it or even remember its function?  Our sinuses provide an integral function to the working of our body, but how often do we notice them until they are stuffed, plugged, or draining?  We need to learn to value the whole community, especially those who are easy to overlook.