The Body of Christ – 1 Corinthians 12:14-31
Do I have to belong to a church to be a Christian?
The Apostle Paul wouldn’t understand this question. For Paul, life in Christ means belonging to the community of Christ, the church. The letter of 1 Corinthians is written to help keep a struggling church family together. In chapter 12, Paul paints the enduring picture of the church as a body –many different parts united as one.
The church as a body
The human body is incredibly diverse: blood, breath, bones, nerves, and brains (among many other parts and systems). The body isn’t just one thing. Some parts of it we see, and a lot of it we don’t see or even fully understand. It’s a mystery. So it is with the Christian life. God doesn’t call you to be a Christian by yourself. God calls you and makes you part of this beautiful and mysterious body called Church.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you.” (1 Corinthians 12:21)
No part of the body can claim to be more important than another. It’s easy for some to feel superior and others to feel inferior. But Paul reminds us that every member, every person, is an essential and beloved part of the body of Christ.
The Biblical vision of the Christian life
Look at Romans 12:3-8. Here is another place where Paul talks about the church as the body of Christ. Look also at John 15:1-11 where Jesus says, “I am the vine, and you are the branches.” Isn’t it interesting that the two most prominent visions of the Christian life in the New Testament are not of the lone, individual Christian but of an interconnected entity like the body or a plant? This is a helpful corrective to our modern tendency to see everything from the perspective of individualism.