1 Corinthians 12:16-17

Read Introduction to 1 Corinthians

 

1 Corinthians 12:16 "And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 17If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling?"
 
16And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body?
The ear feels inferior to the eye. The eye is out front whereas the ear is on the side. No one ever talks about the ears. Lovers do look into each other’s eyes; they do not look into each other’s ears! The only one who looks in our ears is our mother and all she ever says is, “Wash those dirty ears!” They say wonderful things about the eye. Eyes come in color. Poets write poems about the eye but never about the ear. Many people are sensitive about their ears.
Petulance and pouting were problems in Corinth. Some felt that if they could not have prominence in the church then they would not serve at all. If they had to have a “second-rate” gift then they deemed it shameful to serve. What a loss if we had good eyes and bad ears.
17If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling?
The body depends on union of all the members to function, so it is utterly ridiculous for the body to consist of one member. How gross it would be if the whole body were an eye. We would see everything but hear nothing. If all the church had was the pastor/teacher, how impoverished would that church be? A body with just an eye would not be able to hear. A body with just an ear would not be able to smell. The point is that we need each gift for the body of Christ to function.
PRINCIPLE: The body of Christ depends on union of members to function properly.
APPLICATION: As beautiful as the eye is, we would not want our whole body to be an eye. Imagine a large eye rolling down your street. It could not shake hands; I guess it could bump another eye gently! A football team made up of all quarterbacks would be a problem, for who would do the blocking? Diversity is necessary for the symmetry of the body. A body is not mere multiplication of parts (gifts) or multiplicity of persons. No gift or person is complete in himself or herself. None of us can say, “I have no need of you.”
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