I Corinthians 12:12 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. (See also Romans 12:4-5.)

13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

14 For the body is not one member, but many.

18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.

19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?

20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.

21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.

22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:

23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.

24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:

25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.

26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.


MEMORY VERSE: Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. —I Corinthians 12:27


CENTRAL THOUGHT: One way the unity of believers is represented in Scripture is by comparing it to a physical body, which is composed of many members operating under one head. By the spiritual birth we are all built into one body, operating under one Head, Who is Christ.




I Corinthians 12:13 “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body”: “The baptism here referred to is spiritual birth. It is therefore taught in God’s word that men can enter the church only through the birth of the Spirit” (Biblical Trace of the Church by W. G. Schell). “This again proves that the birth which inducts us into the one body—church, or family of God—is not water baptism, but the work of the Spirit” (Christian Baptism, The Lord’s Supper and Feet Washing by H. M. Riggle).

I Corinthians 12:24 “Tempered”: to mix together; to co-mingle; to unite.

I Corinthians 12:25 “Schism”: split or gap; a rent, as in a garment; a division. “Care”: Usually the word was used in a negative connotation, as in worry or anxious care, but in this sense it means to look out for; to take thought; provide for; to be concerned.




Evidently, the church at Corinth had written to Paul for instruction concerning the operation of the church of God. Earlier in the twelfth chapter Paul outlined the various gifts of the Holy Spirit, explaining that there were differences of administrations and operations, but that the Holy Spirit was the same originator of all and His manifestation was given to every man for the profit of the entire church.

In our lesson he compares the working of the church to the human body. Interestingly, his discourse is very similar to one given in earlier Greek writings. Titus Livius (Livy), in The History of Rome, Book 2, tells of Meneius Agrippa, an ambassador or consul “chosen by the patricians during the secession of the plebs in 494 BC to persuade the plebs to end their secession.” (Plebs were common citizens in Rome, as opposed to the “upper class” patricians.) Livy [writing 500 years later] says that “Menenius told the soldiers a fable about the parts of the human body and how each has its own purpose in the greater function of the body. The rest of the body thought the stomach was getting a free ride so the body decided to stop nourishing the stomach. Soon, the other parts became fatigued and unable to function so they realized that the stomach did serve a purpose and they were nothing without it. In the story, the stomach represents the patrician class and the other body parts represent the plebs. Eventually, Livy says, an accord was reached between the patricians and the plebs, which included creating the office of tribune of the plebs” (

Paul may have drawn a parallel because he was writing to Greeks who would have evidently been familiar with Livy’s writings. However that may be, the study of the human body with its complex, interdependent systems can certainly give us many spiritual lessons, not the least of which are illustrations of the working of the members of His church.

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck




  1. Importance: Which verses give instruction that there is no member less important than another? How may we apply this in our day?
  2. Organization: From what part of the body are “orders” given for the rest of the body? How would this give insight into Colossians 2:19 describing some who were not “holding the Head?” Share the importance of following Christ, our Head.
  3. Schism: What positive action must be taken to avoid this? (See verses 24-26.)





By reminding us of the operation of the human body, Paul lets us know how crucial it is for us to keep right attitudes toward one another, as members of Christ’s body. The legs and arms of a normal human body don’t really have a “mind of their own.” They just do what the brain triggers them to do. But we as individuals are different. We must voluntarily keep ourselves submitted unto our Head, Jesus Christ. By following Him and taking on His mind and His thoughts, we will learn to bestow the proper honor, covering or protection, provision or care for one another.

At the root of many problems among congregations or groups of God’s people are attitudes that develop that communicate “I’m more important than you,” or “You are not necessary.” There is a danger of ignoring the hurts and needs of others when we are puffed up this way, so that we are not suffering with others as the Scripture instructs us. Before long there is a schism. We may attempt to shrug off our responsibility and say, “Oh, they’re picking up a wrong spirit or doctrine,” when if we would be honest, we would realize the very beginnings of schism were in our own lack of concern and proper honor of our brother or sister. It is time to earnestly pray about the responsibility we may have had in current struggles, that the Lord would show us how to bring about healing and restoration.

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck




Let Us Be United


Should not the children of one Father Live together here in harmony,

Bound by His love unto each other, So that they ne’er can divided be?

Hear Jesus praying for His people: “Sanctify them that they may be one.”

Oh, let His prayer in us be answered, And all His will in our hearts be done.

Sects and divisions shame our Savior, Cause the world to scoff and disbelieve,

Send many precious souls to ruin, Who might the grace of the Lord receive.

Let all contentions, names and parties Be forsaken for the truth alone;

Let all the ransomed be united, And no division among them known.


He hath broken down the middle wall of partition, And in Him hath made us one:

He hath saved us from the sin of strife and division, Through the precious cleansing blood of His dear Son.

—C. W. Naylor, #130, Truth In Song, published by the Gospel Trumpet Company, 1907

—Submitted by Bro. Harlan Sorrell