1 Corinthians 12:14
For the body is not one member, but many.
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(14) For the body is not one member, but many.—Here follows a series of suggestions as to the different parts of the body claiming independence of the body itself, which the nature of the case shows to be absurd.

1 Corinthians 12:14-20. For the body is not one member, but many — All of which are necessary, that the various sorts of offices belonging to the body may be all performed: thus there must be different gifts and offices in the church of Christ, which all conduce to the advantage and perfection of the whole. If the foot — One of inferior gifts and place; shall say, Because I am not the hand — Do not appear in a more honourable place, and have not a more important office; I am not of the body — I am separated from, or despised by it, in my low situation; is it therefore not of the body — Is the inference good? Would it have reason on this account to represent or think itself an outcast? The foot here is elegantly introduced as speaking of the hand, the ear of the eye; each of a part that has some resemblance to it. So among men, each is apt to compare himself with those whose gifts some way resemble his own, rather than with those who are at a distance, either above or beneath him. Perhaps the foot may represent private Christians; the hand, active officers in the church; the eye, discerning teachers; and the ear, attentive hearers. If the whole body were an eye — And a man could look, at will, through every pore; where were the hearing — That important sense, which admits so much pleasing entertainment and improvement? And if the whole were hearing, where were the smelling — A sense which, though less important than the former, is not destitute of its proper delight and its proper use. The sense is, If all the members of the church had the same gifts, though the most excellent, as seeing or hearing, what would become of the church? There must be different offices and gifts for different uses, and each ought to employ his gift, according to the nature of it, for the service of the whole. But now we see God — The wise and great Creator; hath set the members in the body as it hath pleased him — With the most exquisite wisdom and goodness. If they were all one member — Or if the members were all of one form and use; where were the body — How could it possibly subsist? But now they are many members — Different from each other, possessed of different powers, and intended for different uses; yet but one harmonious, regular body — Furnished for the various animal functions, and capable of a variety of sensations and actions. And it is a necessary consequence of this unity, that the several members need one another.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 the body ... - The body is made up of many members, which have various offices. So it is in the church. We are to expect the same variety there; and we are not to presume either that all will be alike, or that any member that God has placed there will be useless. 14. Translate, "For the body also." The analogy of the body, not consisting exclusively of one, but of many members, illustrates the mutual dependence of the various members in the one body, the Church. The well-known fable of the belly and the other members, spoken by Menenius Agrippa, to the seceding commons [Livy, 2.32], was probably before Paul's mind, stored as it was with classical literature. As the natural body is totum integrale, a whole consisting of many members; so the body spiritual, the mystical body of Christ, is not made up of one single member, but of many members. For the body is not one member,.... Not only one; nor is anyone member the body, though ever so eminent, as the head or eye: thus the church of Christ is not one person only, or does not consist of one sort of persons; as only of Jews, or only of Gentiles, or only of rich and freemen, or only of men of extraordinary gifts and abilities, or greatly eminent for grace and spiritual knowledge:

but many; members, as the Arabic version adds; as eyes, ears, hands, feet, &c. so in the mystical body of Christ, the church, there are many members, some in a higher station, others in a lower; some of greater gifts, grace, and usefulness, others of lesser; some Jews, other Gentiles; some bond, others free; yet all one in Christ the head, and all related to each other.

{9} For the body is not one member, but many.

(9) He amplifies that which followed of the similitude, as if he should say, The unity of the body is not prevented by this diversity of members, and furthermore it could not be a body if it did not consist of many members, and those being different.

1 Corinthians 12:14 ff. For the further illustration (γάρ) of this unity, the figure of the human body is again brought forward in order now to carry it out more minutely, and to show by it in detail on to 1 Corinthians 12:26 how preposterous it is to be discontented with the gift received, or to despise those differently gifted. On the whole passage, comp the speech of Menenius Agrippa in Livy, ii. 32, also Seneca, de ira, ii. 31; Marc. Anton. ii. 1, vii. 13; Clem. Cor. I. 37.

ὅτι οὐκ εἰμὶ χείρ] because I am not hand, I am not of the body, do not belong to it.

οὐ παρὰ τοῦτο κ.τ.λ[1989]] cannot, with Erasmus, Luther, Castalio, Beza, Calvin, and most expositors, including Griesbach, Scholz, Flatt, Schulz, de Wette, Ewald, Maier, Neander, be taken as a question (which Billroth, Rückert, Hofmann, following Bengel and others, rightly reject), so that the double negative should strengthen the denial: Numbers ideo non est corporis? In this case, namely, οὐ would only be the ordinary interrogative, which presupposes an affirmative answer; but as such it can by no means warrant or explain an intensifying repetition. And an anadiplosis of the Οὐ (Klotz, a[1990] Devar. p. 696 f.; Stallbaum, a[1991] Plat. Symp. p. 199 A) would be suitable in an earnest declaratory sentence, but not in such a question as this. We must therefore delete the mark of interrogation, as Lachmann also and Tischendorf have done, so as to make Οὐ serve as a negative for the whole sentence, while the succeeding ΟὐΚ applies simply to the ἜΣΤΙΝ. We render consequently, so is he not on that account (namely, because he asserts it in that discontented expression) no part of the body; that peevish declaration does not do away with what he is, namely, a member of the body.

Regarding παρά with the accusative in the sense of: for the sake of, in virtue of, on account of, see Klausen, a[1992] Aesch. Choeph. 383; Krüger on Thuc. i. 141. 6; so often in Demosthenes. By τοῦτο[1993] cannot be meant: this, that it is not the hand (Billroth and others), but only (comp Hofmann), as the logical relation of the protasis and apodosis requires: this, that it gives vent to such discontent about its position of not being the hand, as if it could not regard itself in its capacity of foot as belonging at all to the body. Erasmus in his Paraphrase happily describes the temper of the member which spoke in this way as: “deplorans sortem suam.”

It may be added, that as early an interpreter as Chrysostom has appreciated the fact of Paul’s placing together foot and hand, eye and ear, as analogous members: ἐπειδὴ γὰρ οὐ τοῖς σφόδρα ὑπερέχουσιν, ἀλλὰ τοῖς ὀλίγον ἀναβεβηκόσι φθονεῖν εἰώθαμεν.

[1989] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[1990] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[1991] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[1992] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[1993] Comp. παρὰ τοῦτο, 4Ma 10:19; παρὰ ταῦτα πάντα, Jdt 8:25.1 Corinthians 12:14 recalls, under the analogy of the σῶμα, the reason given in 1 Corinthians 12:12 for the diversity of spiritual powers displayed in the Church: it is not “one member,” but “many” that constitute the “body”. This thesis the rest of the § illustrates.14. For the body is not one member, but many] The same leading idea is kept in view—the diversity of functions, offices, gifts, but the unity of the body. No more complete or apposite illustration could be given. The body is one thing, animated by one soul, belonging to one being, yet with an infinity of various parts, each contributing by their action to the fulfilment of one and the same purpose, the life and usefulness of the man.1 Corinthians 12:14. Καὶ γὰρ, for even) This protasis concerning the body extends to 1 Corinthians 12:26 : and is so adjusted, that the apodosis, 1 Corinthians 12:27, is summarily added.The body

The student will naturally recall the fable of the body and the members uttered by Menenius Agrippa, and related by Livy, ii., 32; but the illustration seems to have been a favorite one, and occurs in Seneca, Marcus Antoninus, and others.

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