“August 26–September 1. 1 Corinthians 8–13: ‘Ye Are the Body of Christ’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: New Testament 2019 (2019)
“August 26–September 1. 1 Corinthians 8–13,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2019
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In Paul’s time, Corinth was a wealthy trade center with residents from all over the Roman Empire. With so many different cultures and religions in the city, Church members in Corinth struggled to maintain unity, so Paul sought to help them find unity in their belief in Christ. This unity was to be more than just peaceful coexistence; Paul wasn’t asking them merely to tolerate each other’s differences. Rather, he taught that when you join the Church of Jesus Christ, you are “baptized into one body,” and every body part is needed (1 Corinthians 12:13). When one member is lost, it’s like losing a limb, and the body is weaker as a result. When one member suffers, we should all feel it and do our part to relieve it. In this kind of unity, differences are not just acknowledged but cherished, because without members of diverse gifts and abilities, the body would be limited. So whether you feel like you’ve always been at home in the Church or find yourself wondering if you truly belong, Paul’s message to you is that unity is not sameness. You need your fellow Saints, and your fellow Saints need you.
Spiritual experiences, even miraculous ones, do not exempt us from temptations that are “common to man” (1 Corinthians 10:13). That may be one reason Paul wrote about how the Israelites in Moses’s day struggled with temptation, even though they witnessed mighty miracles (see Exodus 13:21; 14:13–31). As you read 1 Corinthians 10:1–13, what warnings in the Israelites’ experiences seem applicable to you? What kinds of “escape” from temptation has Heavenly Father provided for you? (see also Alma 13:27–30; 3 Nephi 18:18–19).
Although the ordinance of the sacrament involves a personal commitment between an individual and the Lord, it is also an experience we share with others—we almost always partake of the sacrament together, as a body of Saints. Read what Paul taught about the sacrament, and think about how this sacred ordinance can help “many” become “one” in Christ (1 Corinthians 10:17). How might you draw strength from partaking of the sacrament with other believers? How does this influence the way you prepare for the sacrament and how you strive to keep your baptismal covenants?
Paul referred to cultural customs of dress and grooming in order to teach about the relationships between men, women, and the Lord. While we do not follow these customs today, we can still learn from Paul’s declaration in 1 Corinthians 11:11 that men and women are both needed in the Lord’s plan, both in marriage and in the Church. As Elder David A. Bednar taught, “The man and the woman are intended to learn from, strengthen, bless, and complete each other” as they progress together toward exaltation (“We Believe in Being Chaste,” Ensign or Liahona, May, 2013, 42; see also Mark 10:6–9).
The list of spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12–13 is not exhaustive. But it is a good place to start as you identify and ponder the spiritual gifts Heavenly Father has given you. The article “Spiritual Gifts” in Gospel Topics (topics.lds.org) may help you understand these gifts better. You might add to Paul’s list gifts you have noticed in others, in yourself, or in people in the scriptures. If you have a patriarchal blessing, it may also mention some of your spiritual gifts. How do these gifts help us build God’s kingdom? Consider what you will do to seek “earnestly the best gifts” (1 Corinthians 12:31).
As you read the scriptures with your family, seek inspiration in order to meet the needs of your family. The following suggestions might help:
Since Paul compared living the gospel to running a race, you could have a family race to illustrate his point. Award a crown to everyone who finishes the race, and discuss how all who are diligent in following Jesus Christ in this life will win the “incorruptible” prize (1 Corinthians 9:25; see also 2 Timothy 4:7–8). What might a champion runner do to prepare for a race? Likewise, what can we do to prepare to return to Heavenly Father?
Consider giving everyone a piece of paper with the name of another family member at the top. Ask everyone to list the spiritual gifts they notice that person has. You could then pass the papers in a circle until everyone has had a chance to write about each family member’s gifts.
Why is the Holy Ghost necessary to gain a testimony of Jesus Christ? What can we do to invite the Holy Ghost to strengthen our testimonies of Him?
Paul’s analogy of a body could be a memorable way to discuss family unity. For example, family members could try drawing a body made only of eyes or ears (see verse 17). What do these verses suggest about how we should treat each other as family members?
Paul’s definition of charity might make an inspiring motto for your family. You could assign each family member to study a phrase in verses 4–8 and teach the rest of the family what it means using definitions, examples, and personal experiences. How is the Savior an example of these attributes? You could also make posters together for each of these phrases and display them throughout your house. Be creative!
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.