What does 1 Corinthians 12:18 mean?
ESV: But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.
NIV: But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.
NASB: But now God has arranged the parts, each one of them in the body, just as He desired.
CSB: But as it is, God has arranged each one of the parts in the body just as he wanted.
NLT: But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it.
KJV: But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
NKJV: But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.
Verse Commentary:
Here, Scripture extends the illustration of the church as the body of Christ. Paul has imagined parts of the body trying to quit because they cannot be some different member with a different function. Apparently, though, that's exactly what was happening in Corinth. Perhaps some Christians wanted to stop belonging to the church, at all, because they did not like the role they were given by the Spirit to serve in the church.

Now Paul drives home the point that body parts don't choose their jobs. God does that. He placed each body part in the best place on the body to do its work, giving each part the exact job for which it was designed. Those parts are meant to work in harmony—when certain parts refuse to work, the body cannot function as it was intended.

Paul's point is that God does the same with the church. Paul wrote in verse 11 that the Spirit matches every believer with their personal gift or gifts, to be used to serve the other members in the church and the body of Christ as a whole. God chooses our role; we don't decide what part in the church we would like to play. As Paul describes it, we receive the role and fill the part we're given.
Verse Context:
First Corinthians 12:12–31 continues Paul's teaching on the spiritual gifts as they cooperate to empower God's will for the church. The Christian church is like a human body. It is one individual organism made up of many different parts that serve a wide variety of functions. All those functions matter. Nobody should decide they don't like their gift or their role in the church and try to quit. The body needs each member to do its part in order to work properly. We must respect and value each other for the vital roles we serve in the church.
Chapter Summary:
Apparently in response to further questions from Corinth, Paul describes what spiritual gifts are, who receives them, and what they are for. His emphasis is that particular spiritual gifts do not make believers spiritual. Every believer is spiritual because every Christian has God's Spirit with him or her. In addition, the Spirit gives one or more spiritual gifts to each believer to be used to serve the church. The church is like a body, in which every part is needed, and all the parts exist to serve one another. Every believer must discover how they are gifted by the Spirit and value the function they serve in Christ's body.
Chapter Context:
After tackling the issues of head coverings for women and the Lord's Supper in the previous chapter, Paul moves to the issue of spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12. Paul insists that the display of spiritual gifts does not make one believer more spiritual or important than another. Every believer in Jesus has the Spirit, and the Spirit gives to every believer one or more spiritual gifts. The gifts are given for the common good, and the church is like a human body. Each gifted function in the church represents a body part, and all the parts are essential. This sets up a description of love, as defined from a Christian viewpoint, and famously recorded in chapter 13.
Book Summary:
First Corinthians is one of the more practical books of the New Testament. Paul writes to a church immersed in a city associated with trade, but also with corruption and immorality. These believers are struggling to properly apply spiritual gifts and to resist the ungodly practices of the surrounding culture. Paul's letter gives instructions for real-life concerns such as marriage and spirituality. He also deals with the importance of unity and gives one of the Bible's more well-known descriptions of love in chapter 13.
Accessed 5/26/2024 7:08:04 AM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.
www.BibleRef.com