A person's body is only one thing, but it has many parts. Though there are many parts to a body, all those parts make only one body. Christ is like that also.
Some of us are Jews, and some are Greeks. Some of us are slaves, and some are free. But we were all baptized into one body through one Spirit. And we were all made to share in the one Spirit.
The human body has many parts.
The foot might say, "Because I am not a hand, I am not part of the body." But saying this would not stop the foot from being a part of the body.
The ear might say, "Because I am not an eye, I am not part of the body." But saying this would not stop the ear from being a part of the body.
If the whole body were an eye, it would not be able to hear. If the whole body were an ear, it would not be able to smell.
If each part of the body were the same part, there would be no body. But truly God put all the parts, each one of them, in the body as he wanted them.
So then there are many parts, but only one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the foot, "I don't need you!"
No! Those parts of the body that seem to be the weaker are really necessary.
And the parts of the body we think are less deserving are the parts to which we give the most honor. We give special respect to the parts we want to hide.
The more respectable parts of our body need no special care. But God put the body together and gave more honor to the parts that need it
so our body would not be divided. God wanted the different parts to care the same for each other.
If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts suffer with it. Or if one part of our body is honored, all the other parts share its honor.
Together you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of that body.
In the church God has given a place first to apostles, second to prophets, and third to teachers. Then God has given a place to those who do miracles, those who have gifts of healing, those who can help others, those who are able to govern, and those who can speak in different languages.
Not all are apostles. Not all are prophets. Not all are teachers. Not all do miracles.
Not all have gifts of healing. Not all speak in different languages. Not all interpret those languages.
But you should truly want to have the greater gifts. And now I will show you the best way of all.
And Christ gave gifts to people -- he made some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to go and tell the Good News, and some to have the work of caring for and teaching God's people.
Christ gave those gifts to prepare God's holy people for the work of serving, to make the body of Christ stronger.
This work must continue until we are all joined together in the same faith and in the same knowledge of the Son of God. We must become like a mature person, growing until we become like Christ and have his perfection.
Then we will no longer be babies. We will not be tossed about like a ship that the waves carry one way and then another. We will not be influenced by every new teaching we hear from people who are trying to fool us. They make plans and try any kind of trick to fool people into following the wrong path.
No! Speaking the truth with love, we will grow up in every way into Christ, who is the head.
The whole body depends on Christ, and all the parts of the body are joined and held together. Each part does its own work to make the whole body grow and be strong with love.