Read for This Week’s Study: 1 Pet. 2:9; Exod. 19:5-6; Eph. 2:19-22; 1 Cor. 3:16-17; 1 Cor. 12:12-26; John 10:1-11; Psalm 23:1-6.
Memory Text: “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:12, NKJV).
As anyone who has studied the Bible knows, it is filled with images and symbols that point to realities greater than those images and symbols themselves. For instance, the essence of the whole biblical sacrificial system is, in a sense, symbolic of the much greater reality: Jesus and the entire plan of salvation.
Many other kinds of images are used in the Bible, and sometimes from the most basic elements, too-such as water, fire, wind. Depending upon the context, these are images for spiritual and theological truths. For example, when Jesus said, “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit” (John 3:8, NIV), the wind was used as a symbol for the Holy Spirit.
The Bible uses a number of images to describe the kind of unity we find in the church, the unity that God calls it to manifest before the world. Each individual image is not complete in and of itself. Instead, as a whole, these images reveal many things about church unity, such as the church’s relationship to God, the members’ relationships to one another, and the church’s relationship to the community as a whole.
This week’s lesson will look at some of the images and what they reveal to us about unity in Christ.