The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit. Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part.1 Corinthians 12:12-14
Paul is still talking about the manifestation of the manifestation gifts. In thinking about that Paul has an idea that it is like the make up of the human body. It is one body with many working parts but which make up the whole. It is like that with the body of Christ. Is he speaking generally or specifically related to the gifts? He has come up with this imagery specifically to address the issue of the manifestation gifts of Spirit. I think he is being even more specific than that. I told you some gems ago that we don’t know the questions the Corinthians asked. It would sure help to know. It would help us to sift from what Paul is saying the essence of his answer to the Corinthian question. We all know it helps in a meeting when there is a question and answer time to have heard the question. It helps also to bear the question in mind either when we are answering a question that was asked to make sure we stay on track. It helps also to remember the question to be able to track an answer that is either long winded or off the topic.
I personally think as with us today so we can assume the Corinthians were focused on “tongues”. It is the reason why Paul would go on discussing tongues at some length. I think tongues were being given undue focus in the Corinthian church. I don’t know that for sure. It is a hunch. It is a gut feeling I have after reading and rereading the passage numbers of times. Hence Paul’s thoughts and arguments are arranged and focused on the issue for the Corinthian church. You can bet that anything that is an issue for us these days was an issue for them. With the exception of the question – are the gifts for today or for the early church only? They were the early church and there is no question as to whether the gifts were relevant in their day. I am sure you can read between the lines of my comments for Ian’s perspective on whether the manifestation gifts are for today or not. But we will get to those verses in due course.
I believe Paul’s use of the example of the physical body is a stroke of brilliance as it is applied to the manifestation gifts of the Spirit. The similarities between the functioning of the parts of body and the gifts as applied to the body of Christ are very appropriate. The body cannot function properly unless each part of the body is functioning properly and combined to form the complete entity of the body as it was designed. The same is true of the body of Christ. Each gift is so different but needed by the total body to make it all that God designed it to be. Paul focuses on the very real differences in make up of the Corinthian church. There were Jews and Gentiles, slaves and freemen, all combined to form the church in Corinth. Although there were these differences they were baptised into one body. They are one in Christ and share unity in the Holy Spirit. That said, like the physical human body has many different parts and yet is one body; so too the many different gifts come together to form one multi-faceted body. You and I know there is more coming on this concept.
At this stage I would like to make a formal statement on the Bible Gems as they related to Wycliffe Bible Translators. The simple truth is there is no formally sanctioned connection between the Bible Gems and Wycliffe. I work as a member of Wycliffe but I do not speak for “Wycliffe”. When I make comments on theological viewpoints or express my views on Scriptural things, I am not speaking on Wycliffe’s behalf. In fact it is hard to speak on Wycliffe’s behalf because each Wycliffe Organisation throughout the world is autonomous and linked only as family of organisations. My comments the other day (Bible Gem 438) related to Wycliffe statements of faith were specifically taken from those of WBT NZ. Others may well be different. I am not intending to speak for all of Wycliffe. I am merely intending to help you to understand some of the issues related to our belief system (yours and mine). I think maybe I ought to precede my comments on controversial topics with “This I say, not the Lord nor Wycliffe”. I trust you understand that it is I, Ian, who have come up with the concept of having my Quiet Time live on the Internet. It is in no way meant to be official. Not only that, I am aware there are times when typos, and grammatical mistakes come along with the essence of the Gems. I trust you can overlook those. They will be cleaned up with the Gem are published. In the meantime please bear with me. Bible Gems are live and interactive and for that reason there will be messy elements in order to facilitate the interaction.
I do hope these Gems are a blessing and a help to you. That is certainly my intention: to bless you and encourage you to get serious with the Word of God. The responses that I get from you, my readers, indicate that I am helping not hindering. That is an encouragement to me and keeps me doing what I am doing. It makes me continue to be willing to pay the price of keeping the Gems flowing day by day. Keep interacting with me on both the positive and the negative things you want to say. Some of you have told me I speak for you on issues you haven’t dared to comment on yourself because it was not in line with what others were saying. “Now Ian, you are saying those things that I have long thought to be true.” I would add at this point that I am not writing these things to fly in the face of officialdom. I repeat what I have said before that I am merely wanting to be biblical.
You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.C. S. Lewis
“We” is more important than “Me.” Do what’s best for the whole, “Our way” is always the best way.Ian Vail
Creativity, when mixed with teamwork, will take you where you never dreamed you could go!Brian Houston