Last time we looked at the verses 1-11 of chapter 12. In verses 4-6 we saw the diversity of action that the trinity is involved with and noted the vast difference in spiritual gifts we have in the church whose head is Christ.
In this lesson we will move onto chapter 12:12-26 and see the nature of the body formed in the Acts period. A body which some say exists today -- after this lesson such a conjecture would have to be shelved as a wishful thinking at the least.
Chapter 12: 12-26
We shall now investigate the passages which relate to the formation of the body in Acts:
12 ¶ For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
12 Καθάπερ γὰρ τὸ σῶμα ἕν ἐστι, καὶ μέλη ἔχει πολλά, πάντα δὲ τὰ μέλη τοῦ σώματος τοῦ ἑνός, πολλὰ ὄντα, ἕν ἐστι σῶμα· οὕτω καὶ ὁ Χριστός.
The body is one (it functions as a unit) despite its many parts - then comes the last clause -- "οὕτω καὶ ὁ Χριστός" - literally "so also the christ". But what does this mean? We might expect Paul to say "ουτως και το σωμα του χριστου" "so also the body of Christ" -- instead we have a short and terse statement "so also the Christ". Is it possible that the verse does not relate to the person of Christ but the meaning of christ -- ie "the annointed"? The next verse does support that possibility (vs 13), we could say "so is the annointed" (for so does the meaning of the word "christ" allow), for by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body. So the action of the Spirit in his operation of baptizing into one body with its many members and manifesting gifts could be seen to be metaphorically pictured by the human body and its diverse and dependent members. Also in verse 23 Paul refers to uncomely parts -- how can these be likened to a fully functional body of parts that belong to the person of Christ who of course was perfect. The verb used to express "to annoint" is χρίw and contains the stem found in the noun "Christ" , a new testament concordance of the word is given below:
BGT Luke 4:18 πνεῦμα κυρίου ἐπ᾽ ἐμὲ οὗ εἵνεκεν ἔχρισέν με εὐαγγελίσασθαι πτωχοῖς, ἀπέσταλκέν με, κηρύξαι αἰχμαλώτοις ἄφεσιν καὶ τυφλοῖς ἀνάβλεψιν, ἀποστεῖλαι τεθραυσμένους ἐν ἀφέσει,
KJG 2 Corinthians 1:21 Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; (2Co 1:21 KJG)
Note that the same God who annointed the Corinthians (2 Cor. 1:21) also established or confirmed them. The gifts were not only functioning as signs but also confirmed (βεβαιῶν) and established the believers. The Acts believers were remarkably gifted and annointed:
KJG 1 John 2:20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.
TBT 1 John 2:20 καὶ ὑμεῖς χρίσμα ἔχετε ἀπὸ τοῦ ἁγίου, καὶ οἴδατε πάντα.
KJG 1 John 2:27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
TBT 1 John 2:27 καὶ ὑμεῖς, τὸ χρίσμα ὃ ἐλάβετε ἀπ᾽ αὐτοῦ ἐν ὑμῖν μένει, καὶ οὐ χρείαν ἔχετε ἵνα τις διδάσκῃ ὑμᾶς· ἀλλ᾽ ὡς τὸ αὐτὸ χρίσμα διδάσκει ὑμᾶς περὶ πάντων, καὶ ἀληθές ἐστι, καὶ οὐκ ἔστι ψεῦδος, καὶ καθὼς ἐδίδαξεν ὑμᾶς, μενεῖτε ἐν αὐτῷ.
They were given for the health of the body also and not simply to make Israel take note.
KJG Romans 1:11 For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established;
TBT Romans 1:11 ἐπιποθῶ γὰρ ἰδεῖν ὑμᾶς, ἵνα τι μεταδῶ χάρισμα ὑμῖν πνευματικόν, εἰς τὸ στηριχθῆναι ὑμᾶς,
This health in a dependent functional body is discussed in the following verses
13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
13 καὶ γὰρ ἐν ἑνὶ Πνεύματι ἡμεῖς πάντες εἰς ἓν σῶμα ἐβαπτίσθημεν, εἴτε Ἰουδαῖοι εἴτε Ἕλληνες, εἴτε δοῦλοι εἴτε ἐλεύθεροι· καὶ πάντες εἰς ἓν Πνεῦμα ἐποτίσθημεν.
Before moving further into this passage it is worth the note that the baptism is passive so also the drink, the verbs ἐβαπτίσθημεν and ἐποτίσθημεν are in the passive and aorist tense which means the action was not performed by the Corinthians but by the Spirit in time past. This is a one time event not something to look forward to. The idea of being baptized into a group has already been shown in Chapter 10 with very clear links to the current passage
KJV 1 Corinthians 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;
2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat;
4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. (1Co 10:1-6 KJV)
There is a clear parallel set up here -- the baptism unto Moses (This was done by God) and it involved "all" and they all drank of that spritual Rock which was Christ, that is it symbolized Christ. There of course is the possibility of unbelief and failure that Paul warns the Jewish believers of Vs 5,6 so also here in chapter 12 the believers could witness and be part of a "body" and experience evidential miracles but also come under judgment.
The Acts 28 boundary is again in view -- at least for us reading from our vantage point.
14 For the body is not one member, but many.
15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
Here different parts may function apparaently autonomously but they are still of the body and are made to help each other.
16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
These parts are in the head of the body -- this is a very different metaphore than that used in Ephesians of the body -- since Christ is the head and the Church the body.
18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
The members were placed in the body according to God's design.
19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?
20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.
21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
The need for different parts is neccessary for the full functionality of the body.
22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.
There are seemingly feeble parts -- these are necessary and we acknowledge them as necessary, there are parts which "we think" are less honourable , and parts we think are uncomely -- but after this reminder and teaching we must bestow more abundant honour and abundant comeliness.
24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:
25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
The passage shows the diversity and unity of the bodily parts and the metaphore fits the context perfectly. To take this out of the Acts context and place it onto an assembly now would be a starnge thing. For where are these gifts? Where is the gift of knowledge? Where is the gift of healing? You may attempt to resurrect these gifts but in so doing a work of the flesh will result and indeed it is happenning today.