For by one Spirit - That is, by the agency or operation of the same Spirit, the Holy Spirit, we have been united into one body. The idea here is the same as that presented above I Corinthians 12:7, I Corinthians 12:11, by which all the endowments of Christians are traced to the same Spirit. Paul here says, that that Spirit had so endowed them as to fit them to constitute one body, or to be united in one, and to perform the various duties which resulted from their union in the same Christian church. The idea of its having been done by one and the same Spirit is kept up and often presented, in order that the endowments conferred on them might be duly appreciated.
Are we all - Every member of the church, whatever may be his rank or talents, has received his endowments from the same Spirit.
Baptized into one body - Many suppose that there is reference here to the ordinance of baptism by water. But the connection seems rather to require us to understand it of the baptism of the Holy Spirit Matthew 3:11; and if so, it means, that by the agency of the Holy Spirit, they had all been suited, each to his appropriate place, to constitute the body of Christ - the church. If, however, it refers to the ordinance of baptism, as Bloomfield, Calvin, Doddridge, etc. suppose, then it means, that by the very profession of religion as made at baptism, by there being but one baptism Ephesians 4:5, they had all professedly become members of one and the same body. The former interpretation, however, seems to me best to suit the connection.
Whether we be Jews or Gentiles - There is no difference. All are on a level. In regard to the grand point, no distinction is made, whatever may have been our former condition of life.
Bond or free - It is evident that many who were slaves were converted to the Christian faith. Religion, however, regarded all as on a level; and conferred no favors on the free which it did not on the slave. It was one of the happy lessons of Christianity, that it taught people that in the great matters pertaining to their eternal interests they were on the same level. This doctrine would tend to secure, more than anything else could, the proper treatment of those who were in bondage, and of those who were in humble ranks of life. At the same time it would not diminish, but would increase their real respect for their masters, and for those who were above them, if they regarded them as fellow Christians, and destined to the same heaven; see the note at I Corinthians 7:22.
And have been all made to drink ... - This probably refers to their partaking together of the cup in the Lord' s Supper. The sense is, that by their drinking of the same cup commemorating the death of Christ, they had partaken of the same influences of the Holy Spirit, which descend alike on all who observe that ordinance in a proper manner. They had shown also, that they belonged to the same body, and were all united together; and that however various might be their graces and endowments, yet they all belonged to the same great family.
Other Barnes' Notes entries containing 1 Corinthians 12:13:
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