For just as the human body is one and yet has many parts, and all its parts, many as they are, constitute but one body, so it is with the Church of Christ.
For, in fact, in one Spirit all of us--whether we are Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free men--were baptized to form but one body; and we were all nourished by that one Spirit.
For the human body does not consist of one part, but of many.
Were the foot to say, "Because I am not a hand I am not a part of the body," that would not make it any the less a part of the body.
Or were the ear to say, "Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body," that would not make it any the less a part of the body.
If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the nostrils be?
But, as a matter of fact, God has arranged the parts in the body--every one of them--as He has seen fit.
If they were all one part, where would the body be?
But, as a matter of fact, there are many parts and but one body.
It is also impossible for the eye to say to the hand, "I do not need you;" or again for the head to say to the feet, "I do not need you."
No, it is quite otherwise. Even those parts of the body which are apparently somewhat feeble are yet indispensable;
and those which we deem less honorable we clothe with more abundant honor; and so our ungraceful parts come to have a more abundant grace, while our graceful parts have everything they need.
But it was God who built up the body, and bestowed more abundant honor on the part that felt the need,
that there might be no disunion in the body, but that all the members might entertain the same anxious care for one another's welfare.
And if one part is suffering, every other part suffers with it; or if one part is receiving special honor, every other part shares in the joy.
As for you, you are the body of Christ, and individually you are members of it.
And by God's appointment there are in the Church--first Apostles, secondly Prophets, thirdly teachers. Then come miraculous powers, and then ability to cure diseases or render loving service, or powers of organization, or varieties of the gift of `tongues.'
Are all Apostles? Are all Prophets? Are all teachers?
Have all miraculous powers? Have all ability to cure diseases? Do all speak in `tongues'? Do all interpret?
But always seek to excel in the greater gifts. And now I will point out to you a way of life which transcends all others.