For as the body is one - Though the human body have many members, and though it be composed of a great variety of parts, yet it is but one entire system; every part and member being necessary to the integrity or completeness of the whole.
So also is Christ - That is, So is the Church the body of Christ, being composed of the different officers already mentioned, and especially those enumerated, 1 Corinthians 12:28, apostles, prophets, teachers, etc. It cannot be supposed that Christ is composed of many members, etc., and therefore the term Church must be understood, unless we suppose, which is not improbable, that the term Ὁ Χριστος, Christ, is used to express the Church, or whole body of Christian believers.
For as the body is one - The general sentiment which the apostle had been illustrating and enforcing was, that all the endowments which were possessed in the church were the work of the same Holy Spirit, and that they ought to be appropriately cherished and prized, as being all useful and valuable in their places. This sentiment he now illustrates 1 Corinthians 12:27, meaning that it is one, and that he sustains to it the relation of Head; compare Ephesians 1:22-23. As the “head” is the most important part of the body, it may be put for the whole body; and the name “Christ” here, the head of the church, is put for the whole body of which he is the head; and means here the Christian society, or the church. This figure, of a part for the whole, is one that is common in all languages; see the note at Romans 12:4-5.
“There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: but all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-12. AA 92.1
Solemn are the responsibilities resting upon those who are called to act as leaders in the church of God on earth. In the days of the theocracy, when Moses was endeavoring to carry alone burdens so heavy that he would soon have worn away under them, he was counseled by Jethro to plan for a wise distribution of responsibilities. “Be thou for the people to Godward,” Jethro advised, “that thou mayest bring the causes unto God: and thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt show them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.” Jethro further advised that men be appointed to act as “rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.” These were to be “able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness.” They were to “judge the people at all seasons,” thus relieving Moses of the wearing responsibility of giving consideration to many minor matters that could be dealt with wisely by consecrated helpers. AA 92.2
The time and strength of those who in the providence of God have been placed in leading positions of responsibility in the church, should be spent in dealing with the weightier matters demanding special wisdom and largeness of heart. It is not in the order of God that such men should be appealed to for the adjustment of minor matters that others are well qualified to handle. “Every great matter they shall bring unto thee,” Jethro proposed to Moses, “but every small matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee. If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee so, then thou shalt be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place in peace.” AA 93.1Read in context »
Skill in the common arts is a gift from God. He provides both the gift and wisdom to use the gift aright. When He desired a work done on the tabernacle He said, “See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship.” Exodus 31:2, 3. Through the prophet Isaiah the Lord said, “Give ye ear, and hear My voice; hearken, and hear My speech. Doth the plowman plow all day to sow? doth he open and break the clods of his ground? When he hath made plain the face thereof, doth he not cast abroad the fitches, and scatter the cumin, and cast in the principal wheat and the appointed barley and the rye in their place? For his God doth instruct him to discretion, and doth teach him. CT 314.1
“For the fitches are not threshed with a threshing instrument, neither is a cart wheel turned about upon the cumin; but the fitches are beaten out with a staff, and the cumin with a rod. Bread corn is bruised; because he will not ever be threshing it, nor break it with the wheel of his cart, nor bruise it with his horsemen. This also cometh forth from the Lord of hosts, which is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working.” Isaiah 28:23-29. CT 314.2Read in context »