I Corinthians 12: 12-31

In I Corinthians 12:12-31 we have a unique example or a parallel of the human body and the
spiritual body of Christ. Although it is an example it is, in actuality, true!
1 Corinthians 12:12 (KJV)
12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being
many, are one body: so also is Christ.
This is absolutely amazing to me that something as magnificent as this is explained here in
Corinthians, an epistle of correction and not in Ephesians which is a doctrinal epistle. The
Epistles are full of this information and, yet, we haven’t seen it or if some of the more learned
folks out there have seen it it was to big to believe. Let me expound upon this.
In Ephesians and in Colossians we see that the head of the body is Christ. We have taken that to
mean that Christ is the head much like a CEO is the head of the organization. NO, no, no. It is
much more than that! Christ is the head like my head is “head” of my body and your head is the
“head” of your body. I know that seems a little obvious, but, stick with me and hear me out.
Ephesians 4:15-16 (KJV)
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth,
according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the
edifying of itself in love.
Because of what Jesus Christ accomplished here on Earth he is not just the head, BUT, he is part
of the body! He is no more a part of the body than we are and he is no less a part of the body
than we are. That is why in Romans chapter eight it says that we are joint heirs with Christ. Do
you know what joint heirship means? It means that each and every Christian enjoys every benefit
that Christ has as a son of God. Let me give you an example. When a parent makes out a will and
he has three children. He may say to my son Bobby I give $20,000.00, to Mary I give $25,000.00
and my car and to Joan I give my house and $50,000.00. They are all heirs, but, they are not
“joint heirs.” To be a “joint heir” all the money, cars, houses, etc. go into one big pot and the
three children, Bobby, Mary and Joan all share what is in the pot. An even easier understanding
is a bowl full of M&M’s.
If Dad had an endless supply of M&M’s and he made all three children “joint heirs” then they
could take as many M&M’s as they want because they share fully everything that was made
available. That is the joint heirship that we have with Jesus Christ, but, our inheritance is much,
much more than an endless bowl of M&M’s.
Romans 8:15-17 (KJV)
15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of
adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer
with him, that we may be also glorified together.Because of what Christ accomplished and because he became the head of the Body Jesus Christ
could say to the Apostles and every Christian ever born:
John 14:12 (KJV)
12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater
works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
Because of what Jesus Christ accomplished and because he became the head of the Body you are
already seated in the heavenlies.
Ephesians 2:6-8 (KJV)
6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us
through Christ Jesus.
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Because of what Jesus Christ accomplished and because he became the head of the Body no
Christian will go through the great tribulation or suffer the wrath to come. WHY? Because we
are the body of Christ and members in particular!
1 Thessalonians 1:10 (KJV)
10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us
from the wrath to come.
This is the Great Mystery that had been kept secret from before the foundations of the World
1 Corinthians 2:7-9 (KJV)
7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the
world unto our glory:
8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the
Lord of glory.
9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the
things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
Colossians 1:26-27 (KJV)
26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to
his saints:
27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles;
which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
1 Corinthians 12:13 (KJV)
13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether
we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
Here is another great truth! The whole of the Old Testament is about God’s favor and covenants
being on and to Israel. It is not until the Day of Pentecost that the Gentiles are allowed into the
fold.1 Corinthians 12:14-26 (KJV)
14 For the body is not one member, but many.
15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the
16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of
the body?
17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where
were the smelling?
18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?
20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.
21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I
have no need of you.
22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
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.
24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given
more abundant honour to that part which lacked:
25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care
one for another.
26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured,
all the members rejoice with it.
I wish Christians would believe this! When one member hurts we all hurt! The greatest healing
salve, the greatest glue of fellowship is LOVE.
Colossians 2:1-3 (KJV)
1 For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for
as many as have not seen my face in the flesh;
2 That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full
assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father,
and of Christ;
3 In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Verses 27-31 explain how the ministries in the Body, the Church, work.
1 Corinthians 12:27-28 (KJV)
27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers,
after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
A literal translation of verse 28 is: And God has set (placed) in the Church (the Body of Christ)
some having the ministry of apostles, prophets and teachers. He has placed some in the Church
that minister more effectively as miracle workers, some minister most effectively ministeringhealing. Some are very capable as helps and governments and some minister most effectively
with a diversity of tongues.
The word “diversities” in the Greek is the word “genos” or genus in English. This means that
that person brings forth a variety of different tongues.
Ephesians 4:7-18 sheds more light on this subject.
Ephesians 4:7-18 (KJV)
7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto
9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the
10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill
all things.)
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors
and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a
perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind
of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even
16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint
supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the
body unto the edifying of itself in love.
17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles
walk, in the vanity of their mind,
18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the
ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
1 Corinthians 12:29-30 (KJV)
29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?
30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?
Verses 29 and 30 are rhetorical questions. “Are all apostles?” Of course not! Neither are they all
prophets or teachers. Not everybody is adept at ministering miracles etc.. Why? Because,, even
though we are all members of the Body of Christ we all have differing strong suits or in some
cases ministries.1 Corinthians 12:31 (KJV)
31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.
Remember, there are only six gifts, charismata, the gift of holy spirit and the five gift ministries apostles,
prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. What we are to “covet” or to earnestly desire are the
ministries that the body of believers, in our particular areas, need most.
In the last half of verse 31 it says there is a “more excellent way” and that is to be found in chapter