Wednesday, 17 December 2014
If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? 1 Corinthians 12:17
This verse is evident in and of itself. After discussing various body parts and how they relate to the whole, he turns the concept around. For example, what if there were just an eye and nothing else? He asks the obvious – “Where would be the hearing?” There would be none.
But further, if an organism were only an eye, it would actually serve no purpose at all. Without a brain, there would be no processing of the signal which passes through the eye. Without feet, there would be nothing to allow the eye to move in order to see in various directions. Likewise, there would be nothing to move the eye when a predator came along. The list could go on forever at the huge lack there would be in the existence of any eye with nothing attached to it.
And the same is true with any other body part. Paul asks about the ear (hearing). If the whole body was an ear, “where would be the smelling?” There would be none. His comments here are known as Reductio ad absurdum, or the “reduction to absurdity.” This is an argument where the use of the assertion would have a ridiculous or untenable result. He is not attempting to be silly in his words, but rather to get those in Corinth (and thus us!) to consider the importance of each person, and the use of that person’s gift, for the benefit of the whole body.
If a pastor (say, an eye) has no one to accomplish the multitudes of other tasks within the church, then he would actually have no purpose at all. A pastor without a church of people (ears, noses, feet, hands, etc.) is not a church.
Life application: Nobody’s gift is so important that it can stand alone. Without a body to receive and compliment the gift, the gift is wasted.
Lord God, thank You for all the people I worship and serve with. I know that without each of us helping one another and receiving the fruit of one another’s labors, there would be nothing to enjoy. Certainly a hand without a body is a worthless body part. An eye without a head actually sees nothing. And a heart without a body to pump blood to and through is a heart lacking any purpose at all. But together, we make a wonderfully lovely body. Thank You Lord God for all the people I worship and serve with. Amen.