1 Corinthians | 1-5 | 6 | 7:1-16 | 7:17-40 | 8 | 9:1-18 | 10:1-13 | 10:14-33 | 11:1-16 | 11:17-34 | 12:1-11 | 12:12-30 | 14 | 15:1-28 | 15:29-58 | 16 |


These small group studies of 1 Corinthians contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications.  Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.

1 Corinthians 12:12-30 Inductive Bible Study and Discussion Questions

I. The unity of the body (12-13)

II. The importance of each individual member as placed by God (14-21)

III. Caring for all the members of the body (22-26)

IV. Specific areas of service for individuals in the church (27-31)

Discussion Questions-

Define the “body”.

Define “members”.

What symbol does Paul use to describe the functioning of the church?

Explain the comparison and the main points that Paul wants to convey.

What other symbols are used in Scripture to describe the church?

Who is a member of the body?

So what is the role of the members?

Is every member equal?

Does every member have the same responsibilities?

Is there a member corresponding to the “foot” and if so who would that be? (No, don’t take a symbol too far.)

What is the implication of verses 15-17 (don’t be jealous of other members or desire different gifts/responsibilities than God has given you)?

Who decides who goes where and who does what (18)?

What implication is there for us in the knowledge that God has placed each member just where He desires?

Describe what the result would be if every person in the church tried to do the same thing?

What words occur more than any others in this Scripture?

One – Stressing Unity

Body – Christ is the head and the body belongs to Him. It is a living organism. It is not our body or our church. It is Christ’s body and Christ’s church.

Member – We are a part of it, not the owner of it. We each have a supporting role and a specific responsibility.

Why are the weaker members necessary?

Why is more honor bestowed upon those who seem less honorable?

How does this compare to a body?

What does this look like in a real church environment?

Why has God designed the church like this?

Does verse 28 tell us that some gifts are more important (first, second)?

What would the greater gifts be?

Cross-references-

I.

Romans 12:3-8 – Many gifts. One body. Many functions.

Ephesians 4:2-6 – Unity. Bear with one another. One body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism.

Galatians 3:28 – No slave or free, Jew or Gentile in the church.

Colossians 3:11-14 – Because there is no division in the body bear each others’ burdens and love one another. Forgive and exercise unity.

Philippians 2:1-2 – Talking about the unity believers should have.

III.

James 2:1-10 – Don’t show partiality. The poorer members are chosen by God.

Luke 5:31 – The unhealthy need a doctor. The church is largely made up of low people and horrible sinners.

1 Corinthians 1:10-12 – Division in the Corinthian church.

IV.

Romans 12:3-8 – Gifts passage.

Ephesians 4:11-16 – Gifts passage.

Other analogies for church used in Scripture.

Loaf of bread

A tree

Marriage picture of Christ and the church

Other analogies that can be used

Team

Family

Verse by Verse Commentary-

Intro – Throughout the whole book of Corinthians division in the church has been a major point Paul has addressed. He has addressed factious and misplaced loyalties, judging others, people looking down on others, and the poor and the rich to name a few. Now its some people getting prideful in their gifts or role in the church and looking down on those whose gifts aren’t as public or visible. Paul shoots their pride out of the water and tells them how a Christ-like church should run. Unity is essential.

I.

The first two verses repeat “one, one, one”. In Christ we are one and there are to be no divisions. This is one of the things that makes the church unique and set apart from the corrupt organizations and agencies in these world. These virtually always divide. The rich have their own little elite and exclusive club. The poor hang out together and look down on them. Women have their groups. Men have theirs. Pet-lovers get together. Retired people get together. Young people get together. There are as many divisions and ways to sort people as there are people. But all of those divisions should go out the window once we step foot in church.

Read Cross-references.

It is clear in the New Testament that one of the things God desires above all for His church is unity. It is a horrible testimony to the world if believers cannot even love one another and look past the color of skin or the size of the bank account. Unfortunately many churches today are divided on just those same things. The church overall has a definite problem in this area. It is miles past where the world is, but still not where it needs to be. How about us? Do we have a problem in this? Do we look down and judge in the church based on skin color, education level, bank account size, or as is the theme in this section of Scripture, perhaps what one does in the church, how much they contribute, or where they serve? Stress Ephesians 4:2-6.

Whether you like it or not, all believers are in the same boat. It’s like a family when you live together. You cannot escape them. You might as well learn to love them. A founding document in the US, says that all people are created equal. I have news for the founding fathers. All people are not created equal. Some are born rich and never have to work in their lives. Some are born in a low caste in India and can’t get out of it no matter how hard they try. BUT, in the church, in God’s eyes everyone IS equal. This does not mean we are clones or all doing the same thing. There is great diversity, but there is unity. It is like in a marriage. The husband and wife’s roles are different and complementary, but equally important.

  1. 14-21

Paul takes his “body” analogy even further to describe the different parts of the body and their own specific functions. Let me ask you doctors this. Is there any part of the body that has no function? At times in the past, some doctors thought that certain parts of the body had no function, such as tonsils, maybe appendixes. But later they discovered that these too have a function. I also have news for the scientific world. Even if they think a part of the body has no function, they are wrong. If God created it, it has a function. This is just as true with the church.

The key verse of this section is verse 18. God gave each member the gifts He wanted them to have and put them in the area of service He wanted them to have. Three things I want us to remember from this section of Scripture:

  1. You have a role in the church. There is not a believer in this entire world that God doesn’t have some work planned for and that doesn’t have the proper means/gift to accomplish this work. There are not supposed to be some sitters and some servers. There are not supposed to be some hearers and some speakers, some watchers and some doers. EVERYONE has a role. Your role might not be public speaking or singing and leading. But it is essential nonetheless. You wouldn’t cut off your foot and say it is not necessary. Neither should you lazily sit and do nothing and think that your work is not necessary or that you are not good enough to contribute. Ephesians 2:10.
  2. Your role is essential and ordained by God. You must be content in your role, whatever it is, and not be jealous of others. You must be willing to fulfill your God-given responsibility without shirking it in favor of something He didn’t give to you to do. If you don’t know what God would have you to do, start serving and volunteering and finding out. You must be humble and not seek glory for whatever God has given you to do.
  3. If you have a more visible role than others, you must not ever look down on them or get puffed up. We are all in the same boat and we are all there because of God’s grace, not because of our skills. If we have a more visible role we need to spend more time caring for and showing our love to those who are not as visible, while letting them know we appreciate all that they do.

III. Verses 22-26

Going back to the example of the body, Paul seems to be alluding to the ugliness and seeming insignificance of the internal organs. These don’t appear very presentable or very necessary, but they are actually more necessary than most of what we see when we look at a body. It’s like a play. Maybe 1% of the work is actually putting on the show and 99% is practice and preparation.

The weaker or less visible members are also crucial and have their own specific function. As mentioned above, we need to spend more time caring for and showing our love for and respect to this group of people. Should they be doing it for the thanks of men? Won’t God give them their reward? Yes, God will and they should do it to be thanked by us. That is from their side. But from our side, we should express our appreciation and care and not ignore them and treat them as inferior. If we are actually in this group, then we need to thank God for the role He has given us, recognize it is essential, and carry on to do it with our whole hearts.

Verse 25 reminds us that there should be no divisions and that we should have the same care for one another. There should be no divisions between different sets of workers or contributors. Neither should we care more for the rich or visible instead of the poor and background servers. James sternly warns the church against partiality. I think the biggest thing we can take from this passage is that we should be showing our care towards everyone in the body, even those we think aren’t doing as well as they should.

In a family, one person’s bad news is the whole family’s bad news and the same with the good. We should try to bear one another burdens, mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice. Romans 12:15

IV.

From my notes on 12:1-11.

In that day there were a lot of counterfeit gifts going around from the occult. Satan has always been one to mimic the real thing, twisting it and abusing it for his own purposes. The two most common of these included ecstasy and enthusiasm. Ecstasy was a kind of almost hypnotic frenzy where through sensuous and frenzied hypnotic chants one thought he was communicating with the divine. It was deemed a super spiritual practice and often confused with tongues. This has its roots in false religion and demonic activity. Enthusiasm involved dreams, visions, etc. The basic problem was that in the church many accepted anything that appeared to be a miracle or supernatural as automatically good and worthy to try. But they were ignorant and didn’t know they should test the things that were going on or how to test them.