Thoughts for the Day

Monday, 30th January 2023: The body of Christ

Community 1 Corinthians 12 Saint Paul Corinth

Reading : Verses from 1 Corinthians

Body parts

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot were to say , 'Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body', that would not make it any less a part of the body.....If one member suffers, all members suffer together with it.

Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then deeds of power, then gifts of healing, forms of assistance, forms of leadership, various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But strive for the greater gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.

(Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


Saint Paul had spent eighteen months in Corinth, a city whose name was synonymous with wickedness. Later, while in Ephesus around 55 CE he hears that the church that he had established in Corinth is not united, and he writes to them in an attempt to repair the situation.

In Chapter 12 of his First Epistle to the Corinthians Paul begins to look at the essential unity of the Church. Christ may no longer be in the world but the Church, he argues, is 'the Body of Christ', and in a most famous passage he describes Christians as parts of that body each bringing different skills and gifts to the whole body. Some four centuries earlier Plato the philosopher wrote about something similar. He said we don't speak about parts of our physical body as though they were separate from the rest of our body. We don't say "That finger has a pain". We are far more likely to say "I'm in pain".

Saint Paul argues that each individual Christian is a different part of this body, the Church, but just as our arms and legs cannot exist separated from the rest of our body, so we cannot exist as solitary Christians apart from the Church. We must worship and work together, making use of all the gifts and strengths of our different parts to build up the Church which is the Body of Christ.


Lord Jesus Christ,
You call us to work together
as Your body in the world.
May we never forget that
each of us has a role to play
within the Church.
Help us to re-evaluate our gifts
and listen to Your voice,
so that we may strengthen
Your body.

Follow Up Thoughts

You might want to look further at today's theme:

You might also like to look at what I said on this subject two years ago:

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