1 Corinthians 12:12-31
New International Version (NIV)
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.
In this book of the Bible, Paul is writing to the church in Corinth. In chapter twelve verses twelve through twenty one, he is addressing the issue of diversity in the church. Paul lists many different gifts, and explains how each gift is important to making up the body of the church. He uses the human body as an example.
In your body, and on your body, you have many different parts. On the outside there are arms, legs, ears, eyes, and other parts. On the inside of your body you have your heart, lungs, brain, and other organs vital for you to live.
Just as you have many parts of your body, the church also has many parts to make up its body. The parts of your body are all different. Different parts have different functions, but all are needed, and all are used, for the body to function efficiently and properly. It is the same in the church. Different people have different gifts, and all of those gifts should be used to make the church function efficiently and properly. It is good that there are a variety of abilities among the people that make up the church. If everyone had the same ability, then that ability would not be of much use.
To further explain the fact that if everyone had the same ability then it would not be of much use, we will look at our human bodies. Say your heart is the only organ in your body. You have no brain, lungs, or other organs. You only have a heart. This heart would not be of any use to keeping you alive if it did not have those other organs to aid it in keeping you alive. It is a very important organ, but without the other organs to function alongside it, then it is of no use. It is the same in the body of people that make up the church. If everyone had the same gift, then it would be of no use. The variety of gifts we have been blessed with by God should be used to create a body of Christ that functions efficiently and properly.
In this passage by Paul, we can see how important each ability is and how important it is for the church to remain unified. If the church does not remain unified, then it will not function properly and efficiently. So remember, stay in unity as the body of Christ.