1 Corinthians 12:12
For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
1 Corinthians 12:12-13. For as the human body is one, and yet hath many members — For different offices; and all the members, though many, constitute but one body — United in one well-regulated system; so also is Christ — That is, mystically considered, namely, the whole church or society, of which Christ is the head: in which, though there are several members, having different gifts, yet they do not constitute several churches, but only one church, and therefore they should all use their gifts for the good of that one. For by one Spirit — When it is indeed received by us; we are all baptized into one body — Are constituted true members thereof, united to the head of that body by faith, and to all the other members thereof by love: we are pardoned, regenerated, and created anew, and so made members of the true, invisible, or spiritual church; whether we be Jews or Gentiles — Who are at the greatest distance from each other by nature; whether we be bond or free — Slaves or freemen, who are at the greatest distance from each other by law and custom: we have all been made to drink into one Spirit — In other words, The religion we before professed, whether true or false; the rank which we now hold in life, whether high or low; makes no difference as to the grand point: our union with the body, and its various members, as well as with the head, is the same, and the same happy consequences follow from that union; we all imbibe the influences of the same Spirit, by which the divine life was at first produced, and is continually preserved in our souls.12:12-26 Christ and his church form one body, as Head and members. Christians become members of this body by baptism. The outward rite is of Divine institution; it is a sign of the new birth, and is called therefore the washing of regeneration, Tit 3:5. But it is by the Spirit, only by the renewing of the Holy Ghost, that we are made members of Christ's body. And by communion with Christ at the Lord's supper, we are strengthened, not by drinking the wine, but by drinking into one Spirit. Each member has its form, place, and use. The meanest makes a part of the body. There must be a distinction of members in the body. So Christ's members have different powers and different places. We should do the duties of our own place, and not murmur, or quarrel with others. All the members of the body are useful and necessary to each other. Nor is there a member of the body of Christ, but may and ought to be useful to fellow-members. As in the natural body of man, the members should be closely united by the strongest bonds of love; the good of the whole should be the object of all. All Christians are dependent one upon another; each is to expect and receive help from the rest. Let us then have more of the spirit of union in our religion.For as the body is one - The general sentiment which the apostle had been illustrating and enforcing was, that all the endowments which were possessed in the church were the work of the same Holy Spirit, and that they ought to be appropriately cherished and prized, as being all useful and valuable in their places. This sentiment he now illustrates 1Co. 12:12-27 by a beautiful similitude taken from the mutual dependence of the various parts of the human body. The human body is one, and yet is composed of various members and parts that all unite harmoniously in one whole.

Being many - Or, although they are many; or while they are in some respects separate, and perform distinct and different functions, yet they all unite in one harmonious whole.

So also is Christ - The church is represented as the body of Christ 1 Corinthians 12:27, meaning that it is one, and that he sustains to it the relation of Head; compare Ephesians 1:22-23. As the "head" is the most important part of the body, it may be put for the whole body; and the name "Christ" here, the head of the church, is put for the whole body of which he is the head; and means here the Christian society, or the church. This figure, of a part for the whole, is one that is common in all languages; see the note at Romans 12:4-5.

12, 13. Unity, not unvarying uniformity, is the law of God in the world of grace, as in that of nature. As the many members of the body compose an organic whole and none can be dispensed with as needless, so those variously gifted by the Spirit, compose a spiritual organic whole, the body of Christ, into which all are baptized by the one Spirit.

of that one body—Most of the oldest manuscripts omit "one."

so also is Christ—that is, the whole Christ, the head and body. So Ps 18:50, "His anointed (Messiah or Christ), David (the antitypical David) and His seed."

For as it is in the body natural, the integral parts, or members of it, are

many, yet the body is but one; so it is in the spiritual body, the church, which is that mystical body of which Christ is the Head. The members of the church may be many, and there may be in several members of the church a diversity of gifts, of administrations, and operations, yet the church is but one, yea, Christ and the church make up but one mystical body, of which he is the Head; and they are the members; and therefore the several members, having several gifts, or several offices, or several powers and operations, had no reason, for their difference in such gifts, or powers, or offices, to envy one another, or to despise each other, or glory over one another; for they were but one body, and had all the same Head, though they had from the same Spirit divers abilities, offices, and powers for several operations. For as the body is one,.... That is, an human body; for of this the apostle speaks, and takes a simile, and forms a comparison from, showing the union among saints, and their mutual participation of the various gifts of the Spirit; for an human body is but one body, and not more.

And hath many members; as eyes, ears, hands, feet, &c.

And all the members of that one body being many are one body; as numerous as they may be, they all belong to, and make up but one body; performing different offices, for which they are naturally fitted for the good of the whole:

so also to Christ; not personal, but mystical; not the head alone, or the members by themselves, but head and members as constituting one body, the church. The church, in union with Christ, the head, is but one general assembly, and church of the firstborn written in heaven, though consisting of the various persons of God's elect, who are closely united one to another, and their head Christ; and therefore are denominated from him, and called by his name; see Romans 9:3.

{7} For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: {8} so also is {m} Christ.

(7) He sets forth his former saying by a similitude taken from the body: this, he says, is manifestly seen in the body, whose members are different, but yet so joined together, that they make but one body.

(8) The applying of the similitude. So must we also think, he says, of the mystical body of Christ: for all we who believe, whether we are Jews or Gentiles, are by one person by the same baptism, joined together with our head, that by that means, there may be framed one body compact of many members. And we have drunk one self same spirit, that is to say, a spiritual feeling, perseverance and motion common to us all out of one cup.

(m) Christ joined together with his Church.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Corinthians 12:12. Illustration of how one and the same Spirit works all the charismata as He will; namely, just as the case stands with the body, that its many members make up its unity, so also does it stand in like manner with Christ, whose many members likewise constitute the unity of His body. Ὁ Χριστός is not the Christian church, but Christ Himself, inasmuch, that is to say, as He, as the Head of the church, has in its many members His organic body,[1975] which receives forth from Him, the Head, the whole harmonious connection and efficiency of all its members and its growth. Christ is not conceived as the Ego of the church as His body (Hofmann), but as in all parallel expressions of the apostle (see especially Ephesians 4:16; Ephesians 4:25; Ephesians 5:30; Romans 12:4 f., and above on 1 Corinthians 6:15), as the Head of the church, and the church as the body of the Head. 1 Corinthians 12:21 does not run counter to this; see on that passage.

The repetition of τοῦ σώματος, which is superfluous in itself, or might have been represented by αὐτοῦ (comp Lobeck, a[1977] Aj. p. 222, ed. 2; Kühner, a[1978] Xen. Anab. i. 7. 11), serves here emphatically to bring out the unity.

[1975] Comp. Ehrenfeuchter, prakt. Theol. I. p. 57 f.; see also Constitt. ap. ii 59. 1.

[1977] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[1978] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.1 Corinthians 12:12-20. § 40. THE ONE BODY, OF MANY MEMBERS. The manifold graces, ministries, workings (1 Corinthians 12:4 ff.), that proceed from the action of the Holy Spirit in the Christian community, stand not only in common dependence upon Him (§ 39), but are mutually bound to each other. The Church of Christ is “the body” for the Spirit of God; and these operations are its correlated functional activities (1 Corinthians 12:12 f.). Differentiation is of the essence of bodily life. The unity of the Church is not that of inorganic nature,—a monotonous aggregation of similars, as in a pool of water or a heap of stones; it is the oneness of a living organism, no member of which exercises the same faculty as another. Without “many members,” contrasted as foot with hand or sight with smell (1 Corinthians 12:14-17), there would be no body at all, but only a single monstrous limb (1 Corinthians 12:19). In God’s creative plan, it is the integration and reciprocity of a multitude of distinct organs that makes up the physical and the social frame (1 Corinthians 12:18 ff.).12–31. Comparison of the Unity of the Body and the Unity of the Christian Church

12. For as the body is one, and hath many members] This simile is a very common one. It is used on several occasions by the Apostle. See Romans 12:4-5; Ephesians 4:16; Ephesians 5:30; Colossians 2:19. It was even familiar to Gentile minds from the well-known apologue of Menenius Agrippa in Livy xi. 32. Cf. Shakespeare, Coriolanus, Act i. Sc. 1. For other examples see Alford in loc. The point here is somewhat different. The unity of the body in the fable above-mentioned centres in the idea of the body politic. In the Christian scheme the unity is found in Christ, of Whose life all His members partake.

so also is Christ] The Apostle, like Christ Himself in the parable of the Vine in St John 15 (as also in ch. 17), identifies His members with Himself. The life they live (Galatians 2:20) is no longer theirs but His. They have put on the new man (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10), the second Adam (ch. 1 Corinthians 15:45; 1 Corinthians 15:47) Who was created afresh in the Image of God. And the result is the identification of themselves with Him. So that they are His Body (Ephesians 1:23), as filled with Him, Who filleth all things.1 Corinthians 12:12. Οὓτω καὶ ὁ Χριστὸς, so also Christ) The whole Christ is the head and body. The head is the only-begotten Son of God, and His body is the Church; Augustine. This is in harmony with Ps. 18:51. To His Anointed, to David and his seed: for so the accent requires it to be.Verses 12-31. - The Church compared to a body and its members. Verse 12. - As the body is one, and hath many members. To this favourite image St. Paul reverts several times (Romans 12:4, 5; Ephesians 4:11-16; Colossians 2:19). It is probable that he was familiar with the image from the fable of Menenius Agrippa, who had used it as a plea for civil unity (Liv., 2:32). So also is Christ. Christ and the Church form one body, of which Christ is the Head; one Vine, of which Christians are the branches (John 15.); one building, of which Christians are the living stones.
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