1 Corinthians 12:26
And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
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(26) And whether one member suffer.—This verse completes the statement of the perfect unity of the members in one body and with one another. They are not only physically joined together, but they are so united as to feel together.

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 whether one member suffer - One member, or part of the body.

All the members suffer with it - This, we all know, is the case with the body. A pain in the foot, the hand, or the head excites deep solicitude. The interest is not confined to the part affected; but we feel that we ourselves are affected, and that our body, as a whole, demands our care. The word "suffer" here refers to disease, or sickness. It is true also that not only we feel an "interest" in the part that is affected, but that disease in any one part tends to diffuse itself through, and to affect the whole frame. If not arrested, it is conveyed by the blood through all the members until life itself is destroyed. It is not by mere interest, then, or sympathy, but it is by the natural connection and the inevitable result that a diseased member tends to affect the whole frame. There is not, indeed, in the church the same "physical" connection and "physical" effect, but the union is really not less close and important, nor is it the less certain that the conduct of one member will affect all. It is implied here also, that we should feel a deep interest in the welfare of all the members of the body of Christ. If one is tempted or afflicted, the other members of the church should feel it, and "bear one another's burdens, and so fulfil his law." If one is poor, the others should aid him, and supply his needs; if one is persecuted and opposed for righteousness' sake, the others should sympathize with him, and make common cause with him. In all things pertaining to religion and to their mutual welfare, they should feel that they have a common cause, and regard it as a privilege to aid one another. Nor should a man regard it as any more a burden and hardship to aid a poor or afflicted brother in the church, than it should be deemed a hardship that the head, and the heart, and the hands should sympathize when any other member of the body is diseased.

Or one member be honoured - If applied to the body, this means, if one member or part be regarded and treated with special care; be deemed honorable; or be in a sound, healthy, and vigorous condition. If applied to the church, it means, if one of its members should be favored with extraordinary endowments; or be raised to a station of honor and influence above his brethren.

All the members rejoice with it - That is, in the body, all the other members partake of the benefit and honor. If one member be sound and healthy, the benefit extends to all. If the hands, the feet, the heart, the lungs, the brain be in a healthy condition, the advantage is felt by all the members, and all derive advantage from it. So in the church. If one member is favored with remarkable talent, or is raised to a station of influence, and exerts his influence in the cause of Christ, all the members of the church partake of the benefit. It is for the common good; and all should rejoice in it. This consideration should repress envy at the elevation of others, and should lead all the members of a church to rejoice when God, by his direct agency, or by the arrangements of his providence, confers extraordinary endowments, or gives opportunity for extended usefulness to others.

26. And—Accordingly.

all … suffer with it—"When a thorn enters the heel, the whole body feels it, and is concerned: the back bends, the belly and thighs contract themselves, the hands come forward and draw out the thorn, the head stoops, and the eyes regard the affected member with intense gaze" [Chrysostom].

rejoice with it—"When the head is crowned, the whole man feels honored, the mouth expresses, and the eyes look, gladness" [Chrysostom].

From this union of the members in the body natural, of all the members proceedeth a natural sympathy, that if one member suffereth, all are afflicted, and ready to contribute to the relief and help each of other; and likewise the honour that is reflected on the body, is reflected on all the parts, and all rejoice in the good that affecteth any one single member.

And whether one member suffer,.... Pain; even the meanest, lowest, and most distant, as the foot or hand, toe or finger:

all the members suffer with it; are more or less affected therewith, and bear part of the distress; as is easily discerned, by their different forms and motions on such an occasion: so when anyone member of the mystical body is in affliction, whether inward or outward, of body or mind, the rest are, or should be, affected with it, condole, sympathize, help, and assist; and remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them, as if they themselves were in bonds, and them that suffer adversity, whether spiritual or temporal, as being in the body, not only in the flesh, but as being part of the body, the church; and therefore should weep with them that weep, and bear a part with them in their sorrows. The Jews have a saying (f), that

"if one brother dies, all the brethren grieve; and if one of a society dies, , "the whole society grieves";''

and also another (g),

"that everyone that afflicts himself, , "with the congregations", is worthy to see or enjoy the comfort of the congregation or church;''

or one member be honoured; by being set in the highest place, and employed to the greatest usefulness, or by being most richly and beautifully clothed and adorned:

all the members rejoice with it; as sharing in the honour, Or benefit of it: so if one member of the church of Christ is honoured with an high office, with great gifts, with a large measure of grace, spiritual light, knowledge, and experience, with great discoveries of the love of God, with the presence of Christ, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, or with the good things of this life, and an heart to make use of them for the interest of religion, the other members rejoice at it; for so it becomes the saints to rejoice with them that rejoice, and be glad, both at the temporal and spiritual prosperity of each other: and upon the whole it is clear, that the meanest have no reason to be discouraged, nor the highest and greatest to be proud and elated.

(f) T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 105. 2. & 106. 1. Vid. Maimon. Hilch. Ebel, c. 13. sect. 12. & Seder Olam Rabba, p. 9. (g) T. Bab. Taanith. fol. 11. 1.

{13} And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

(13) Now he applies this same doctrine to the Corinthians without any allegory, warning them that as there are different functions and different gifts, it is their duty not to offend one another, either by envy or ambition. Instead, in being joined together in love and charity with one another, every one of them should bestow to the profit of all that which he has received, according as his ministry requires.

1 Corinthians 12:26. And how perfectly is this design of God realized in the mutual sympathy of the members! This happy result of the divine appointment stands most suitably here at the close of the whole discussion before the application ensues in 1 Corinthians 12:27, although Hofmann denies the connection of thought.

δοξάζεται] is glorified, which may take place practically by flourishing growth, by adornment, dress, anointing, and the like, and further by recognition of its usefulness, beauty, strength, dexterity, and so forth.

In view of the sympathy of the whole organism, and in consideration of the personifying style of the description, the concrete literal sense of the verse ought by no means to be modified.

1 Corinthians 12:26 illustrates the unselfish solicitude of the bodily organs; the nervous connexion makes it a veritable συμπάθεια (συμπάσχει). Plato applies the same analogy to the State in a striking passage in his Politicus, 462C;.see also Cm[1929], ad loc[1930]—δοξάζεται (glorificatur, Cv[1931]; not gloriatur, Vg[1932]) goes beyond nervous sympathy; “δόξα is more than εὐεξία” (Ed[1933]): for δοξάζω, applied to the body, cf. 1 Corinthians 15:40 ff., Php 3:21. Cm[1934] says finely, “When the head is crowned, the whole man feels itself glorified; when the mouth speaks, the eyes laugh and are filled with gladness”.

[1929] John Chrysostom’s Homiliœ († 407).

[1930] ad locum, on this passage.

[1931] Calvin’s In Nov. Testamentum Commentarii.

[1932] Latin Vulgate Translation.

[1933] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians.2

[1934] John Chrysostom’s Homiliœ († 407).

26. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it] This is a matter of the most ordinary experience in the human body. A pain in any portion, even the most remote from the seats of life, affects the whole. A glance at history will shew us that it is the same with the body politic. Whatever is physically, morally, or spiritually injurious to any one portion of society, or of the Church of Christ, is sure in the long run to produce injury, moral and spiritual deterioration to the rest.

or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it] St Chrysostom eloquently remarks here, “Is the head crowned? All the man is glorified. Do the lips speak? The eyes also laugh and rejoice.” This part of the verse is as true as the former. Whatever tends to exalt the character and purify the aims of any one class in society, is sure in a greater or less degree to affect every other. If the one thought is calculated to alarm us by calling our attention to the infinite mischief which may be wrought by one act of thoughtlessness or selfishness, it is an immense encouragement to be reminded by the other that no work for good, undertaken from unselfish motives and carried out in an unselfish spirit, can possibly be without effect.

1 Corinthians 12:26. Συγχαίρει) rejoice with it. Both this expression and suffer with not only denote the affection, but also the effect.

Verse 26. - Whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it, etc. St. Chrysostom illustrates this verse by saying that if a thorn runs into the heel, the whole body feels it and is troubled; and that, on the ether hand, if the head is garlanded, the whole man is glorified. 1 Corinthians 12:26Suffer with it

Compare Plutarch of Solon's Laws: "If any one was beaten or maimed or suffered any violence, any man that would and was able might prosecute the wrongdoer; intending by this to accustom the citizens, like members of the same body, to resent and be sensible of one another's injuries" (Solon). And Plato: "As in the body, when but a finger is hurt, the whole frame, drawn towards the soul and forming one realm under the ruling power therein, feels the hurt and sympathizes all together with the part affected" ("Republic," v., 462).

Is honored (δοξάζεται)

Or glorified. Receives anything which contributes to its soundness or comeliness. So Chrysostom: "The head is crowned, and all the members have a share in the honor; the eyes laugh when the mouth speaks."

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