The Corinthians have divided themselves not only around loyalty to certain leaders, around understandings of ethical behavior, and around social status, but also around spiritual gifts such as gifts for Prophecy is the gift, inspired by God, of speaking and interpreting the divine will. Prophets such as Amos, Isaiah, and Ezekiel spoke words of judgment and comfort to the people of Israel on behalf of God. More, speaking in tongues, performing miracles, and so on. A Christian missionary who once persecuted the church More uses the metaphor of one body with many members to argue that everyone, regardless of specific giftedness, is indispensible to the whole.
Rank and status apparently matter to the Corinthians in every arena of their common life. They compare and boast in their affiliation to leaders, in their knowledge, and in their spiritual gifts. Paul acknowledges the variety of gifts and proclaims that one Spirit inspires all of them. Furthermore, spiritual gifts are “for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:7). The theme of the common good will continue through chapter 14 where Paul gives instructions for orderly worship so that all may be edified by any display of church members’ gifts.
The guiding metaphor of the chapter is one body with many members. The unity of the church is as real as a body’s unity, even though the body, like the church, is made up of different members. Both in 1 Corinthians 12 and in Romans 12, Paul uses this body-and-members imagery for the church.
The ranking of offices given in 1 Corinthians 12:27 may be merely chronological. First came the apostles, those who had followed Jesus is the Messiah whose life, death, and resurrection are God's saving act for humanity More during his earthly ministry along with one (the Derived from a Greek word meaning "one who is sent," an apostle is a person who embraces and advocates another person's idea or beliefs. At the beginning of his ministry Jesus called twelve apostles to follow and serve him. Paul became an apostle of Jesus... More Paul) who was called by the risen Christ. Then, as the apostles preached, the Spirit inspired Christian prophets, then teachers, and so on. Alternatively, the list could be hierarchical, inscribing more importance to the role of apostle than to any other roles. Either way, Paul concludes the section by pointing to “a still more excellent way” (1 Corinthians 12:31) which, as 1 Corinthians 13 will show, does not have comparisons with others at its center, but instead is characterized by love for others.