1 Corinthians 12:23
And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.
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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.We bestow more abundant honour - Margin, "Put on." The words rendered "abundant honor" here, refer to clothing. We bestow upon them more attention and honor then we do on the face that is deemed comely, and that is not covered and adorned as the other parts of the body are.

More abundant comeliness - We adorn and decorate the body with frivilous apparel. Those parts which decency requires us to conceal we not only cover, but we endeavor as far as we can to adorn them. The face in the mean time we leave uncovered. The idea is, that, in like manner, we should not despise or disregard those members of the church who are of lower rank, or who are less favored than others with spiritual endowments.

23. less honourable—"We think" the feet and the belly "less honorable," though not really so in the nature of things.

bestow … honour—putting shoes on (Margin) the feet, and clothes to cover the belly.

uncomely parts—the secret parts: the poorest, though unclad in the rest of the body, cover these.

All know what those parts of the body are, which are commonly judged less honourable and less comely; upon these we bestow more abundant honour and comeliness, by hiding them and covering them, that they are not, as the hands, and face, and head, (which we esteem more honourable parts of the body), exposed to the public view of those with whom we converse.

And those members of the body,.... As the back parts of it:

which we think to be less honourable; though greatly useful,

upon these we bestow more abundant honour; by clothing them, for a man's garments are his honour and glory; See Gill on Matthew 6:29, so the poor members of Christ's church, who are thought to be, though they really are not, the less honourable, have the more abundant honour conferred on them by God and Christ: God has chosen the poor of this world; Christ has sent his Gospel to them; these the Spirit calls and sanctifies, and makes them all glorious within; these Christ has given his churches a particular charge to take care of now, and will own them as his brethren at the great day, before angels and men; as he now greatly honours them with his presence, a large experience of his grace, and the supply of his Spirit:

and our uncomely parts; which distinguish sexes, and are appointed for generation;

have more abundant comeliness; by an external covering and ornament, to preserve decency and modesty. I do not know who should be designed by these, unless backsliding believers, who have been suffered to fall into great sins; these are the uncomely parts of the church, who, when made sensible of their evils, are restored again, and received into the church; and a mantle of love is cast over all their failings; and all possible care taken that their faults may not be exposed to the world, that so the name of God, and ways of Christ, may not be blasphemed and evil spoken of.

And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant {q} honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.

(q) We more carefully cover them.

23. and those members of the body, which we think to be lets honourable, upon these we bestow (literally, these we surround with) more abundant honour] i.e. by our admission that they are necessary to us. “The meanest trades are those with which we can least dispense. A nation may exist without an astronomer or philosopher, but the day-labourer is essential to the existence of man.”—Robertson.

and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness] Those parts which we are accustomed, from their ‘uncomeliness’ (rather, perhaps, unseemliness, since the word here used conveys an idea of shame), to conceal by clothing, do nevertheless perform nearly all the most important and necessary functions of the body.

1 Corinthians 12:23. Ἀτιμότερα, [less noble] less honourable) as the feet. The comparative is used to soften the expression; positively dishonourable [ignoble] was too severe. But he so calls those parts which are covered with garments.—ἀσχήμονα, uncomely) which stand in need of clothing.—τιμὴνπεριτίθεμεν) So the LXX., Esther 1:20, περιθήσουσι τιμήν; likewise Proverbs 12:9.—ἔχει, have) from the attention which they receive from the other members.

Verse 23. - Which we think to be less honourable. The shelter and ornament of clothing are used to cover those parts of the body which are conventionally regarded as the least seemly. The whole of this illustration is meant to show that rich and poor, great and small, high and low, gifted and ungifted, have all their own separate and indispensable functions, and no class of Christians can wisely disparage or forego the aid derived from other and different classes. The unity of the members in one body corresponds to "the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" which should prevail in the Church. 1 Corinthians 12:23We bestow (περιτίθεμεν)

Elsewhere in the New Testament the word is used, without exception, of encircling with something; either putting on clothing, as Matthew 27:28; or surrounding with a fence, as Matthew 21:33; or of the sponge placed round the reed, as Mark 15:36; John 19:29. So evidently here. Rev., in margin, put on. The more abundant honor is shown by the care in clothing.

Uncomely - comeliness (ἀσχήμονα - εὐσχημοσύνην)

See on honorable, Mark 15:43; see on shame, Revelation 16:15. Compare ἀσχημονεῖν behaveth uncomely, 1 Corinthians 7:36. The comeliness is outward, as is shown by the verb we put on, and by the compounds of οχῆμα fashion. See on transfigured, Matthew 17:2.

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