Episode #145. Today we’ll read 1 Corinthians chapter 12 together. Paul speaks of diversity of spiritual gifts, unity yet diversity in the body, and teases an even better way.
Joy: You’re listening to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Episode #145. Today we’ll read 1 Corinthians chapter 12 together: Paul speaks of diversity of spiritual gifts; unity yet diversity in the body; and teases an even better way.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast. I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me as we simply read God’s word together. Some things require discipline and sometimes that’s just not easy to muster by yourself, no matter how badly you want to do it or how much you know you should. It’s just easier to do it with a friend. So refill your coffee or tea, get comfortable in your favorite chair and follow along as I read aloud. I’m so glad you’re here!
The east-facing wall of our living room is made up of windows and frames a pretty spectacular view of the Sierra Nevada Foothills and beyond. Because of that view, we can keep close track of the change of seasons as we witness the sunrise every morning. You see, two hills create what looks like a crevice or a notch. Coincidentally, in the height of summer, the sun rises right out of that crevice. But as we near the transition to Fall, that rise moves a little to the right every day.
I wish I could tell you that I knew all of this on my own. Heck, I’d be grateful just to be able to say I notice it at all. But not so, with my husband, Mitch. He scans that horizon everyday of summer to see that shift. I’m not sure if it’s because he only endures the summer or if he really loves the autumn or a combination of both.
What I do know is that when we get closer to Fall, it gives him hope. Hope for cooler weather, hope in the onset of the holiday seasons and all of its traditions, and the hope for time with family. Like the sunrises, there is a noticeable shift in my husband’s hope quotient. How about you? What’s your favorite season? Do you derive hope from it like Mitch? Please share your thoughts at Lifting Her Voice.com
1 Corinthians Chapter 12
Diversity of Spiritual Gifts
Now concerning spiritual gifts: brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be unaware. You know that when you were pagans, you used to be enticed and led astray by mute idols. Therefore I want you to know that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different ministries, but the same Lord. And there are different activities, but the same God works all of them in each person. A manifestation of the Spirit is given to each person for the common good: to one is given a message of wisdom through the Spirit, to another, a message of knowledge by the same Spirit, to another, faith by the same Spirit, to another, gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another, the performing of miracles, to another, prophecy, to another, distinguishing between spirits, to another, different kinds of tongues, to another, interpretation of tongues. One and the same Spirit is active in all these, distributing to each person as he wills.
Unity Yet Diversity in the Body
For just as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body — so also is Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body — whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free — and we were all given one Spirit to drink. Indeed, the body is not one part but many. If the foot should say, “Because I’m not a hand, I don’t belong to the body,” it is not for that reason any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I’m not an eye, I don’t belong to the body,” it is not for that reason any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?
But as it is, God has arranged each one of the parts in the body just as he wanted. And if they were all the same part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” Or again, the head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that are weaker are indispensable. And those parts of the body that we consider less honorable, we clothe these with greater honor, and our unrespectable parts are treated with greater respect, which our respectable parts do not need.
Honor to the Less Honorable
Instead, God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the less honorable, so that there would be no division in the body, but that the members would have the same concern for each other. So if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
Now you are the body of Christ, and individual members of it. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, next miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, leading, various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all do miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But desire the greater gifts. And I will show you an even better way.
I absolutely love the way Paul uses the human body as an illustration of the way a local church body works together. It makes so much sense when he uses this comparison. Have you heard someone in your church family lament that they are not as talented or gifted or spiritual as someone else? Or, have you ever said that about yourself, that because you are not a hand, you cannot be part of the body? I know, I’ve gone there before too.
But Paul quickly refutes if with the physical comparison we know to be true! How can the eye say to the hand, I don’t need you? How can the head say to the feet, I don’t need you? Well…they can’t! And it’s the same in our church families. We can’t all be the same with the same gifts because there are so many different things to be done! He even goes on to address that old challenge of perceived superiority vs inferiority. Some of us aren’t fashion plates or college-educated; nor do we all make the same amount of money. Paul says it clearly: God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the less honorable, so that there would be no division in the body, but that the members would have the same concern for each other. I love that!
Finally, he challenges us to desire the greater gifts but teases us that there is something even better. And that we’ll discover tomorrow in chapter 13. Let’s pray.
Oh, Lord, I want to shout this chapter from the rooftops. There are fallible human beings in the church! But we’re all in the same boat! I want to read it to everyone who has ever felt judged at church. Like a light, You hold up the ideal, the way it should be. Thank You. Thank You that we don’t have to guess. Thank You that when there is conflict, Your word gently steers us back in the right direction. Thank You for Your forgiveness when we are unloving to each other. Help us to quickly ask forgiveness of each other when we falter and help us always to faithfully give the mercy and compassion that another so desperately needs. Amen.
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray God will grow in you what has been planted and watered here. In this time of unprecedented struggle worldwide, we can look to God for guidance and comfort. Be sensitive to those in your circle of influence who need a word of encouragement and invite them to join us. If you like this show, it would be great if you give it a five-star review. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you right here tomorrow. Be well!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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