Tuesday Bible Study
Adult Learning Center
Rev. Sarah TevisTownes
This week’s text comes from 1 Corinthians 12:12-31. The Apostle Paul challenges his congregation to consider what part they play in the Body of Christ. “Can everyone be an apostle?” he asks. “Can everyone teach?” Paul adds: “even those parts that seem weakest are indispensable.” So what do WE do best – as individuals and as a community? What part do we have to play?
1 Corinthians 12: 12-31
The Voice Translation
12 Just as a body is one whole made up of many different parts, and all the different parts comprise the one body, so it is with the Anointed One. 13 We were all ceremonially washed through baptism together into one body by one Spirit. No matter our heritage—Jew or Greek, insider or outsider—no matter our status—oppressed or free—we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
14 Here’s what I mean: the body is not made of one large part but of many different parts. 15 Would it seem right for the foot to cry, “I am not a hand, so I couldn’t be part of this body”? Even if it did, it wouldn’t be any less joined to the body. 16 And what about an ear? If an ear started to whine, “I am not an eye; I shouldn’t be attached to this body,” in all its pouting, it is still part of the body.
17 Imagine the entire body as an eye. How would a giant eye be able to hear? And if the entire body were an ear, how would an ear be able to smell? 18 This is where God comes in. God has meticulously put this body together; God placed each part in the exact place to perform the exact function God wanted. 19 If all members were a single part, where would the body be? 20 So now, many members function within the one body. 21 The eye cannot wail at the hand, “I have no need for you,” nor could the head bellow at the feet, “I won’t go one more step with you.”
22 It is actually the opposite. The members who seem to have the weaker functions are necessary to keep the body moving; 23 the body parts that seem less important we treat as some of the most valuable; and those unfit, untamed, unpresentable members we treat with an even greater modesty. 24 That’s something the more presentable members don’t need. But God designed the body in such a way that greater significance is given to the seemingly insignificant part. 25 That way there should be no division in the body; instead, all the parts mutually depend on and care for one another.
26 If one part is suffering, then all the members suffer alongside it. If one member is honored, then all the members celebrate alongside it. 27 You are the body of Christ, the Liberating Anointed One; each and every one of you is a vital member. 28 God has appointed gifts in the assembly: first emissaries, second prophets, third teachers, then miracle workers, healers, helpers, administrators, and then those who speak with various unknown languages. 29 Are all members gifted as emissaries? Are all gifted with prophetic utterance? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Or are all gifted in healing arts? Do all speak or interpret unknown languages? Of course not. 31 Pursue the greater gifts, and let me tell you of a more excellent way—love.