1 Corinthians 12

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1 Corinthians 12
POxy1008 (1Co 7.33-8.4).jpg
1 Corinthians 7:33–8:4 in Papyrus 15, written in the 3rd century.
BookFirst Epistle to the Corinthians
CategoryPauline epistles
Christian Bible partNew Testament
Order in the Christian part7

1 Corinthians 12 is the twelfth chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. It is authored by Paul the Apostle and Sosthenes in Ephesus. In this chapter, Paul writes about spiritual gifts and the unity of the members of Christ in one body.


The original text was written in Koine Greek. This chapter is divided into 31 verses.

Textual witnesses[edit]

Some early manuscripts containing the text of this chapter are:

Unity and Diversity in One Body[edit]

Verse 12[edit]

For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.[1]

Paul refers to this image in several letters: Romans 12:4–5, Ephesians 4:11–16 and Colossians 2:19. There is a possibility that Paul was familiar with the fable of Menenius Agrippa (died 493 BC), who used the allegory of human body as a plea for civil unity.[2][3]

  • "As the body is one": using a simile of a human body which is one unit, Paul speaks of the unity among the believers, and their mutual participation of the various gifts of the Spirit.[4]
  • "Being many, are one body": as numerous and various as the body parts may be, such as eyes, ears, hands, feet, etc., they all make up but one body, even as they perform different functions, for which they are naturally fitted for the good of the whole.[4]
  • "So also is Christ" (KJV: "so also to Christ"): The church as one body, in union with Christ, the head, is one general assembly, which members are closely united one to another, denominated from Christ, as their head, and called by Christ's name (Romans 9:3; Jeremiah 33:16).[4]

A more excellent way[edit]

The final verse in this chapter refers to a "more excellent way", the way of love, which Paul sets out in the next chapter.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 1 Corinthians 12:12 NKJV
  2. ^ Pulpit Commentary on 1 Corinthians 12, accessed 7 April 2017
  3. ^ Livy. "From the Founding of the City" – via Wikisource.. Quote: "The senate decided, therefore, to send as their spokesman Menenius Agrippa, an eloquent man, and acceptable to the plebs as being himself of plebeian origin... In the days when all the parts of the human body were not as now agreeing together, but each member took its own course and spoke its own speech, the other members, indignant at seeing that everything acquired by their care and labour and ministry went to the stomach, whilst it, undisturbed in the middle of them all, did nothing but enjoy the pleasures provided for it, entered into a conspiracy; the hands were not to bring food to the mouth, the mouth was not to accept it when offered, the teeth were not to masticate it. Whilst, in their resentment, they were anxious to coerce the stomach by starving it, the members themselves wasted away, and the whole body was reduced to the last stage of exhaustion. Then it became evident that the stomach rendered no idle service, and the nourishment it received was no greater than that which it bestowed by returning to all parts of the body this blood by which we live and are strong, equally distributed into the veins, after being matured by the digestion of the food. By using this comparison, and showing how the internal disaffection amongst the parts of the body resembled the animosity of the plebeians against the patricians, he succeeded in winning over his audience."
  4. ^ a b c "1 Corinthians 12:12 Commentary – John Gill's Exposition of the Bible". Bible Study Tools.

External links[edit]