With the Word online Bible study: one bread, one body…

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1 Corinthians 12.12-27

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot were to say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body’, that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear were to say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body’, that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many members, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’, nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and those members of the body that we think less honourable we clothe with greater honour, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honour to the inferior member, that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together with it.

Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.

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This is a familiar text–we hear it and reference it all the time. Take a moment to go back and read it out loud. It feels and sounds different aloud (the way it was intended to be received) than just as words on the page. Read it and hear yourself reading it aloud.

What do you hear? What phrase, word, or image jumps out at you and catches your attention?

What do you hear God saying through this text to us, today? This letter was written to a church, and then was sent on to many other churches–it’s intended for a community to read together and to learn from. What does the Spirit say through these words to our church? To the world church?

How do we live out this idea of being one body? How do we fail at living it out?

When we come to the communion table, we say that we are being formed and re-formed into the body of Christ–that through sharing a meal, all Christians are bound together the way grains are bound together to make bread. Is that your experience of communion? Share with us what you experience at the table.

What is the good news for us in this text? What is the challenge?

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