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1 Corinthians 12:23

ESV and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty,
NIV and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty,
NASB and those parts of the body which we consider less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor, and our less presentable parts become much more presentable,
CSB And those parts of the body that we consider less honorable, we clothe these with greater honor, and our unrespectable parts are treated with greater respect,
NLT And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen,
KJV 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.

What does 1 Corinthians 12:23 mean?

What are the least honorable and least presentable parts of the human body? Most of us immediately think of parts which seem crude to discuss among polite people. These are the parts we hope are never seen in public, and we are especially careful to keep from getting injured. These might include the body functions we train young children to control and only use in appropriate times or places.

Paul's analogy about the importance of certain members takes on a special power when seen in this way. Losing a finger, or an eye, for instance, would be difficult to endure. Both would create hardships of their own. And yet, some people know what it means to lose organs associated with those "less presentable" functions. Losing those is more disruptive to one's life and comfort than damage to a more "prestigious" member.

That is exactly Paul's point in this verse. Because we must keep them from view and protect them so carefully, the least honorable and seen parts of a human body become, in a way, the most honored and essential parts of the body. His purpose is to extend this idea to those members of the Christian church who some might dismiss as less valuable, or less important, since they have spiritual gifts "less presentable" than some.

The least honored functions of the church become the most honored when God's people work together to protect and care for those who need it most. What the more honored members do is important, yes, but it literally cannot be done without the contribution of those other members.
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