1 Corinthians 12:20
But now are they many members, yet but one body.
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(20) But now are they.—From the reductio ad absurdum of the previous verses the Apostle turns to the fact as it is, and proceeds (in 1Corinthians 12:21) to state that there is a mutual interdependence in the members of the body. The eye is dependent on the hand, the head upon the feet. Here, no doubt, the illustration is drawn out in this particular direction to rebuke those who being themselves possessed of what were considered important spiritual gifts despised the gifts which the Spirit had bestowed on others.

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.And if all were one member - If there were nothing but an eye, an ear, or a limb, there would be no body The idea which this seems intended to illustrate is, that if there was not variety of talent and endowment in the church, the church could not itself exist. If, for example, there were nothing but apostles, or prophets, or teachers; if there were none but those who spoke with tongues or could interpret them, the church could not exist. A variety of talents and attainments in their proper places is as useful as are the various members of the human body. 20. now—as the case really is: in contrast to the supposition (1Co 12:19; compare 1Co 12:18).

many members—mutually dependent.

The multiplicity of members, having several uses and offices for the service of the whole body, do not make a multiplicity of bodies, the body still is but one.

But now are they many members,.... Of different make and shape, in different parts and places, and of different use and service:

yet but one body; all are united together, and make up one complete body, and which without each of them would not be perfect: so there are many members in the body of Christ, the church; some are teachers, others are hearers; some give, and others receive; but all make up but one church, of which Christ is the head; nor can anyone of them be spared; was anyone wanting, even the meanest, there would be a deficiency, and the church would not be the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

But now are they many members, yet but one body.

1 Corinthians 12:19
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