“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16: 11)
The Basket Case Chronicles #152
“Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?” (1 Cor. 12:29–30).
Paul is bringing his extended analogy in for a landing. He has been comparing the body of Christ to a physical body, and arguing that different individuals in the body are like different organs of the body—all having different functions, but with the well-being and health of the one body as their common goal and purpose.
He concludes with a series of rhetorical questions. A rhetorical question is one that is asked without expecting an explicit answer . . . because the answer is implied and obvious. The answer to all the questions here is obviously no. Is everyone supposed to be an apostle? No. Should everyone be a prophet? No. Is everyone supposed to be a teacher? No. Does everyone have the power to work miracles? No. Can anyone exercise the gift of healing? No. Should everyone speak in tongues? No. Should everyone interpret tongues? No.
This is the capstone of Paul’s argument about body life, and we could move on, but there is one item of continuing interest here. Not a few modern Christians maintain that everyone is supposed to speak in tongues, even though Paul says that this was not the case, even when the gift of tongues was extant.