Is there any place in the Bible where Jesus Himself claims that all believers are members of His Body? Or is it something that we only know from His apostles?

I mean we can infer this thought from such words of Jesus like "I am the vine and you are the branches" or "if the grain of wheat dies, it will bring a of of fruit, however, Jesus also spoke about His body at the last supper, so He might have said something about His believers being members of His Body even prior to His crucifixion.

2 Answers 2


Unless you do not consider Paul's testimony of his conversion as Jesus's direct claim, then no, as the disciples are not ready yet to receive such revelation.

When Saul was persecuting the church, on his way to Damascus, the Lord Jesus asked him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" (Acts 9:4). The Lord’s word was quite strange. He did not say, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting My disciples," but "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" He did not say, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting My church,” but “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?"

This showed and impressed Paul that the church and Christ are one. Christ is saying "When you [Paul] persecuted My followers, you persecuted My Body. To persecute My Body is to persecute Me." Therefore, the "Me" in 9:4 is corporate, comprising the Lord Jesus and all His believers.

Saul's experience of the corporate Me, Christ and the Body, must have made a deep impression on him and affected his future ministry regarding Christ and the church. That experience laid the foundation for his ministry.

EDIT: WE can and should infer from John 15 and 12:24 that there is a perichoretic union between Christ and the believers. Which is similar to the reality of Christ's relationship with His member of His Body.

George E. Ladd comments:

The idiom of abiding is usually called mysticism, but it is difficult to define. There is a mutual abiding of the believer in Christ (16:56; 14:20, 21; 15:5; 17:21) and Christ in the believer (6:56; 14:20, 23; 15:5; 17:23, 26). This is analogous to the Son abiding in the Father (10:38, 14:10, 11, 20, 21; 17:21) and the Father abiding in the Son (10:38, 14:10, 11, 21; 17:21, 23). Once it is said that believers are in both the Father and the Son (17:21); and once it is said that both Father and Son will come to make their abode in believers (Theology of the New Testament)

G.B. Verify boldly says the meaning of "abide" is "coninherence", the synonyms for "perichoresis" (Life in Christ).

  • +1 Acts is key, since it's virtually undeniable that St. Paul was inspired to use the concept of the "body of Christ" because of his encounter with the risen Christ who told them that when you persecute "the church of God" (Gal. 1:13) (which is a term for all believers), you are doing nothing else than persecuting "Him," hence it simply follows that 'members' is the proper word for individuals within that one Body. Cf. Mt. 25:40. Feb 8, 2019 at 22:55

“"I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” ‭‭John‬ ‭17:20-21, 23‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The idea of being in Him and being one is that of being one ‘body’

A drop of water in the ocean is now in the ‘body’ of water, perfectly indistinguishable. A drop of oil however is not one with the ocean, the ocean is not in it and it is not in the ocean. It is separate, distinguishable and different from the rest of the body of water.

In similar manner we are in His ‘body’ if we take on His nature. He is in us and we are in Him and together all of us are one body.

so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭12:5‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” ‭‭Galatians‬ ‭3:28‬ ‭ESV‬‬

  • Also in John, you can include the "I am the Vine, You are the Branches" parable. Feb 7, 2019 at 15:05
  • The Question itself addresses that passage already. Didn’t think I should repeat it. Thank you though.
    – Autodidact
    Feb 7, 2019 at 15:15
  • Interestingly, I note that John 17:23b is the REASON for Jesus' request.
    – rje
    Feb 8, 2019 at 19:43
  • Ok, well then if that doesn’t count I’ll try again and find something else but that passage is less ambiguous in my mind.
    – Autodidact
    Feb 8, 2019 at 19:52

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