Daily Devotional

April 4, 2019

Daybreak: 1 Corinthians 12:1-31

“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” (1 Corinthians 12:27)

Did you know that approximately every seven years, your body replaces the equivalent of an entire skeleton? Were you aware that the average person will breathe about seventy-five million gallons of air during his lifetime? The fun part of learning anatomy in school was discovering these intriguing facts. The hard part was memorizing all the correct terms! The study of the human body is complex and interesting. Though there are many structures within the body that each have a particular function, they interact with each other in a precise manner. When there is normal interaction, the body functions properly and is strong. When the normal interaction is interrupted, performance slows down and the body lacks the energy it needs.

The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, used the human body as an example of how the Body of Christ should work. We are one church body, made up of many individuals with different personalities and talents. God has a specific purpose for each of us, yet we must interact with each other in our work. As we desire to do His will each day, God will use us to attend to needs within and outside of the Body of Christ. 

Perhaps today He wants you to be the “hand” that helps a brother or a sister who is ill. God may use your act of kindness to lift up his or her spirits. Tomorrow, He may want you to be a “foot” and travel for Him. Regardless of whether we travel across the street to invite a neighbor to church, or travel overseas to spread the Good News of salvation, God will use our service to work out His purpose. Often, His purpose is two-fold in nature. While He uses our efforts to reach out to others, He also continues to reach out to us. He lovingly molds us and encourages us to look to Him as the Source of our strength. The more surrendered we become to His will, the more His love will flow through us to others. 

So, whether you will live long enough to breathe approximately seventy-five million gallons of air or not, remember that God has a purpose for you for each day of your life! 

Background

In this chapter, the Apostle Paul answered questions that the brethren at Corinth had seemingly asked regarding spiritual gifts. The supernatural demonstrations of the Holy Spirit that God had permitted to be manifested in their midst had become symbols of spiritual power. This distorted view of divine revelation and inspiration, held by some in the group, had become grounds for strife and contentions that were tearing apart the unity of the body of believers.

In his attempt to clear up misunderstandings, Paul reminded the Corinthian believers that before their conversions they were worshipping the Greek gods and serving idols. He wanted them to recognize that the evil spirit who had guided their lives then was different from the Holy Spirit who originates from God. By differentiating between the two, Paul established that a person could not both affirm and blaspheme God through the same spirit.

Next, Paul enumerated the different ways God had manifested Himself through His Spirit by listing the various offices through which He accomplished His purpose. The functioning of the human body was used as a vivid picture to show how God intended the Body of Christ to work. By describing how each part of the physical body has a different function, he illustrated the fact that each individual had a unique role to play in the function and well-being of the church. 

God designed the human body in such a way that even small parts cannot be removed without the body as a whole being affected. In the same manner, the Body of Christ loses symmetry, function, and beauty when a person uses the gifts of the Spirit to promote oneself rather than to edify, nourish, and support the Body as a whole. The Corinthians were further exhorted to build unity by having mutual sympathy and joy one for another. By doing so, each individual supported and strengthened the Body of Christ. The apostle ended his dissertation on this topic by exhorting the believers to act as one body with one purpose, which is derived from one Source, Jesus Christ. 

Amplified Outline

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
III.   Answers to inquiries
      C.   Concerning matters in public assembly
            3.   The use of gifts
                  a.   Introduction (12:1-3)
                  b.   The unity of spiritual gifts (12:4-11)
                  c.   The diversity of spiritual gifts (12:12-31)

A Closer Look

  1. What spiritual gifts are mentioned in chapter 12 of 1 Corinthians?
     
  2. When does God allow the workings of the Spirit to be manifested? 
     
  3. Consider what unique talents God has given you. How might they be used to benefit the Body of Christ?

Conclusion

We each have a part we can contribute to the well-being of the Body of Christ. Are you faithfully making your contribution today?

Reference Materials