1 Corinthians 12:12-31

One body with many parts

12 Each person has only one body, but that body has many parts. All those different parts make only one body. It is like that with Christ too. 13 When they baptized us, we all became parts of one body. It was the one Spirit who brought us together. It made no difference whether we were Jews or Gentiles. It made no difference whether we were slaves or free people. God poured his one Spirit into all of us.

14 A person's body does not have only one part. It has many parts. 15 If the foot could speak, it might say, ‘I am not a hand, so I do not belong to this body.’ But what it says makes no difference. It is still a part of the body. 16 If the ear could speak, it might say, ‘I am not an eye, so I do not belong to this body.’ But what it says makes no difference. It still belongs to the body. 17 If the whole body was an eye, the body would not hear anything. If the whole body was an ear, it would not recognize different smells. 18 But God has decided where each different part of our body should be.

19 If our body was all the same part, it would not be a proper body. 20 But as it is, a body has many parts. It is still only one whole body. 21 For that reason, the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I do not need you.’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I do not need you.’ 22 No. Even the parts of a body that seem to be weaker are very necessary. 23 Think about the parts of our body that are not very special. We dress them carefully! And we take special care of those parts that we do not want people to see. 24 But we do not need to do this with the beautiful parts of our body.

God has put all these parts together in one body. Some parts seem to be not very special. But God has shown that those parts are very valuable. 25 He has done that to bring all the parts together as one body. All the parts work together to help each other. 26 Then if one part of the body hurts, every other part also hurts. If people praise one part, every part of the body is also happy.

27 All of you together are Christ's body. And each of you is a part of that body. 28 Like the parts of a body, God has put people in different places in his church. First, there are apostles. Second, there are people who speak messages from God. Third, there are teachers. After that, there are people who do miracles. There are people who have gifts to make sick people well. There are people who help others in special ways. There are people who can lead others. And there are people who can speak different kinds of languages.

29 Not everyone in the church is an apostle. Not everyone speaks messages from God. Not everyone is a teacher. Not everyone can do miracles. 30 Not everyone has the gifts to make sick people well. Not everyone can speak in different kinds of languages. Nor can everyone explain what messages in those languages mean. You know that. 31 But it is good if you really want the more valuable gifts from God.

Now I will show you a way that is better than anything else.