SOAP Study - October 29, 2020
1 Corinthians 12:12-20
12 The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. 13 Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles,[a] some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.[b]
14 Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. 15 If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?
18 But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. 19 How strange a body would be if it had only one part! 20 Yes, there are many parts, but only one body.
PERSONAL SOAP STUDY
- What verse stood out to you while you were reading?
- What did you discover about God, yourself, and others?
- How should this information impact your life?
- What needs to be different about the way you are currently living?
- Take some time to talk to God about the things you just learned and how you want your life to look different. Give God thanks for revealing these things to you, ask Him for wisdom and courage to move forward so that you can apply these things to your life.
STAFF SOAP STUDY
Paul is trying to help the Corinthian Church understand what the Church really is and what it is not, and the best way he could do that is to use the illustration of the human body. For Paul, he knows that he needs to teach the Church in Corinth how all of them in their differences need to become one like a body. Sometimes you have to appreciate the complexities and details that comes with the human body. That is why Paul couldn’t find a better example than this. Because humanity just as complex and detailed and unpredictable. Though the human body has all of these different parts and systems, that does not keep it from working together and functioning for the sake of the whole. That is how Jesus’ Church should be: one part is not superior, but many parts together are one.
Why does it matter? It is because this is the Corinthian Church. Paul is continuing his talk early in Chapter 12 that there has to be unity in the midst of beautiful diversity. That is what Jesus prayed for in his disciples then and later—unity in His Church. Look at the differences in Jesus’ Church that Paul points to—Jews and Gentiles, slaves and free. Very different upbringings, very different perspectives, very different experiences, but they were all part of the same body because of Jesus. The Greek word for “baptize” can mean “to immerse.” It is supposed to be like “immersing” a cloth into dye so the color can change. In the same way that a cloth visibly changes because of dye, the Spirit of God that Paul has been telling us about is supposed to transform all believers—black and white, rich and poor, older and younger—to a new way to live that is supposed to be done together. We were baptized into one new body, one new way of being and doing human that is only found in Jesus.
Paul tells us what happens when a part of the body tries to do its own thing. When we have this “I don’t belong to the body” mindset, we try to disconnect, and there is no benefit from it—for God, for us, or for others. The point is that no one is more valuable than any other. The same way God designed the human body with every part being what God intended, God also made God’s Church with every part, every person being what God intended. God gave each one of us the tools to do what God has dreamt for us. That means God has given us a spiritual gift to benefit the rest of the body and to benefit the world around us. Sometimes we don’t use what God has given us or we don’t use it the way God intended. When we do this, we are rejecting God’s perfect plan for us. So, let’s choose connection. If we chose to disconnect, let’s choose reconnection. Let’s choose to use what God has given us to be a part of the well-being of the rest of the body.
Almighty God! Your wisdom is clear and right! Your plan is perfect, and you have designed us with something divine and special within us that you want to see in the world. But, in Your wisdom, you designed us for community. You designed us for doing beautiful things together. Don’t let us reject your plan. Help us to see the value in being one. Don’t let us tear apart from one another over every petty thing. But, reconnect us where we thought we were broken beyond repair. Help us to see the beauty in what you are doing in and through us, especially when we are doing good work together!