1 Corinthians 12, pt.2

Please remember that this evening we are gathering to read through 1 Corinthians 12, on the church as the body of Christ and the role that each of us fills within that body. Paul has an abbreviated discourse on this same theme in Romans 12:3-8 and Ephesians 4:1-16, and I encourage you to read those selections as well. Within this discussion, Paul is not simply asking the Corinthians to embark on a journey to discover their God-given special abilities and then apply those to a particular ministry, rather Paul is speaking of forming a new community and encouraging everyone to fulfill the role they are given.  The emphasis is not on an individual’s self-actualization, but on building up the community itself.

Within the chapter, Paul draws on the Platonic and contemporary understanding of civil society and thereby sets up the Church as a rival to that of society. In Chapter 5 of his Republic, Plato compares the well-ordered State to a body, where the different members work seamlessly together for the good of the collective. (Plato is a proto-Communist.)  Within the Roman Empire, the head of the body of the well-ordered State was Caesar, and all people were expected to readily affirm that Caesar was Lord.  The greeting “Kaisar Kurios” (Caesar Lord) functioned similarly to the way “Heil Hitler” did in Nazi Germany.  Therefore, within this chapter, Paul is providing us with a different type of community with Jesus as Lord (“Iesous Kurios”) and each of us performing a specific function or office within this new unified undivided community.  As we gather this evening, think through the idea of the church as the community and body of Christ, and what office in the body you have been assigned. (A good discussion of “spiritual gifts” as a ministry assignment, and not simply an ability to be discovered is HERE.

Dinner is at 6. The menu is almond chicken. Please bring a friend. Hope to see you here.

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Ephesians 4:1-6

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