12 For just (A)as the body is one and yet has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though they are many, are one body, (B)so also is Christ. 13 For [a](C)by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether (D)Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to (E)drink of one Spirit.

14 For (F)the body is not one part, but many. 15 If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason [b]any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason [c]any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But now God has (G)arranged the parts, each one of them in the body, (H)just as He desired. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 But now (I)there are many parts, but one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again, the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, [d]it is much truer that the parts of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; 23 and those parts of the body which we [e]consider less honorable, [f]on these we bestow greater honor, and our less presentable parts become much more presentable, 24 whereas our more presentable parts have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that part which lacked, 25 so that there may be no [g]division in the body, but that the parts may have the same care for one another. 26 And if one part of the body suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if a part is [h]honored, all the parts rejoice with it.

27 Now you are (J)Christ’s body, and (K)individually parts of it. 28 And God has [i](L)appointed in (M)the church, first (N)apostles, second (O)prophets, third (P)teachers, then [j](Q)miracles, then (R)gifts of healings, helps, (S)administrations, and various (T)kinds of tongues. 29 All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of [k]miracles, are they? 30 All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not (U)interpret, do they? 31 But (V)earnestly desire the greater gifts.

And yet, I am going to show you a far better way.

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  1. 1 Corinthians 12:13 Or in
  2. 1 Corinthians 12:15 Lit not a part
  3. 1 Corinthians 12:16 Lit not a part
  4. 1 Corinthians 12:22 Lit to a much greater degree the parts
  5. 1 Corinthians 12:23 Or think to be
  6. 1 Corinthians 12:23 Or these we clothe with
  7. 1 Corinthians 12:25 Or dissension
  8. 1 Corinthians 12:26 Lit glorified
  9. 1 Corinthians 12:28 Lit set some in
  10. 1 Corinthians 12:28 Or works of power
  11. 1 Corinthians 12:29 Or works of power

One Body with Many Parts

12 Just as the human body is one, though it has many parts that together form one body, so too is Christ.[a] 13 For by one Spirit we all were immersed and mingled into one single body.[b] And no matter our status—whether we are Jews or non-Jews, oppressed or free—we are all privileged to drink deeply of the same Holy Spirit.[c]

14 In fact, the human body is not one single part but rather many parts mingled into one. 15 So if the foot were to say, “Since I’m not a hand, I’m not a part of the body,” it’s forgetting that it is still a vital part of the body. 16 And if the ear were to say, “Since I’m not an eye, I’m not really a part of the body,” it’s forgetting that it is still an important part of the body.

17 Think of it this way. If the whole body were just an eyeball, how could it hear sounds? And if the whole body were just an ear, how could it smell different fragrances? 18 But God has carefully designed each member and placed it in the body to function as he desires.[d] 19 A diversity is required, for if the body consisted of one single part, there wouldn’t be a body at all! 20 So now we see that there are many differing parts and functions, but one body.

No Competition for Importance within the Body

21 It would be wrong for the eye to say to the hand, “I don’t need you,” and equally wrong if the head said to the foot, “I don’t need you.” 22 In fact, the weaker our parts, the more vital and essential they are.[e] 23 The body parts we think are less honorable we treat with greater respect. And the body parts that need to be covered in public we treat with propriety and clothe them. 24 But some of our body parts don’t require as much attention. Instead, God has mingled the body parts together, giving greater honor to the “lesser” members who lacked it. 25 He has done this intentionally so that every member would look after the others with mutual concern, and so that there will be no division in the body. 26 In that way, whatever happens to one member happens to all. If one suffers, everyone suffers. If one is honored, everyone rejoices.

One Body with Different Gifts

27 You are the body of the Anointed One, and each of you is a unique and vital part of it. 28 God has placed in the church the following:

First apostles,

second prophets,

third teachers,

then those with gifts of miracles, gifts of divine healing,

gifts of revelation knowledge,[f] gifts of leadership,[g]

and gifts of different kinds of tongues.

29 Not everyone is an apostle or a prophet or a teacher. Not everyone performs miracles 30 or has gifts of healing or speaks in tongues or interprets tongues. 31 But you should all constantly boil over with passion in seeking the higher gifts.

And now I will show you a superior way to live that is beyond comparison![h]

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  1. 12:12 Christ is now a body with many parts. The human body of Jesus is glorified and enthroned in heaven. So also is the body of Christ. We are co-enthroned with him (Rom. 8:29–30; Eph. 2:6; Col. 3:1–4), but we continue to exist on earth to represent him to the world.
  2. 12:13 This is not a baptism into the Spirit (Matt. 3:6) but a baptism into the body of Christ. Upon conversion, the Holy Spirit does four things for every believer: (1) He gives us new birth (regeneration—see John 3:5; Titus 3:5). (2) He comes to live inside us (indwelling—see Rom. 8:9). (3) He places us into the body as a member of Christ’s body on the earth (spiritual baptism—see 1 Cor. 12:13). (4) He seals us as the possession of Christ until the redemption of our human body (see Eph. 1:13–14; 4:30).
  3. 12:13 To “drink deeply” of the Spirit is the same as receiving his power and gifts until rivers of living water flow from the inside of us. See John 3:34; 7:37.
  4. 12:18 Every believer should be content with the place within the body God has placed him. And God is pleased when we serve him with joy in every activity or ministry that we engage in for the sake of the body.
  5. 12:22 Paul is, no doubt, speaking of our internal organs: liver, heart, lungs, etc.
  6. 12:28 Most translations render the Greek word antilēmpsis (a hapax legomenon) as “helps.” However, it is literally “laying hold of” (revelation) or “apprehending” (perception).
  7. 12:28 This is a hapax legomenon that can be translated “guidance” or “one who steers the ship.”
  8. 12:31 Or “a path corresponding to transcendence.”

One Body with Many Parts

12 The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. 13 Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles,[a] some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.[b]

14 Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. 15 If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?

18 But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. 19 How strange a body would be if it had only one part! 20 Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. 21 The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.”

22 In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. 23 And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, 24 while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. 25 This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. 26 If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.

27 All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it. 28 Here are some of the parts God has appointed for the church:

first are apostles,
second are prophets,
third are teachers,
then those who do miracles,
those who have the gift of healing,
those who can help others,
those who have the gift of leadership,
those who speak in unknown languages.

29 Are we all apostles? Are we all prophets? Are we all teachers? Do we all have the power to do miracles? 30 Do we all have the gift of healing? Do we all have the ability to speak in unknown languages? Do we all have the ability to interpret unknown languages? Of course not! 31 So you should earnestly desire the most helpful gifts.

But now let me show you a way of life that is best of all.

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  1. 12:13a Greek some are Greeks.
  2. 12:13b Greek we were all given one Spirit to drink.