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MEMBER (Heb. yātsur, Gr. melos). A word usually denoting any feature or part of the body (Job.17.7; Jas.3.5 kjv, mof, neb, rsv), “the members” meaning “the body” (Ps.139.16). The word is used for members of the body of Christ (1Cor.6.15; 1Cor.12.12-1Cor.12.27; Eph.4.25; Eph.5.30).

MEMBER (μέλος, G3517). A member of the body, such as the eye or the hand (Matt 5:29, 30).

It is not to be an instrument of wickedness but of righteousness (Rom 6:13); hence, no harlotry (1 Cor 6:15). In the “flesh,” sinful passions work toward fighting (James 4:1) and death (Rom 7:5, 23), but must be “put to death” (Col 3:5). Even the tongue can be “an unrighteous world” (James 3:5, 6).

Christians are Christ’s body, and so one must love his wife as his own body (Eph 5:28-30), and must “speak the truth...for we are members one of another” (4:25).

The body illustrates our function in the Church (Rom 12:4), to “have the same care for one another” (1 Cor 12:12, 25) in service (v. 21) or in suffering (v. 26).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)


(1) yatsur; melos;

(2) shaphekhah, "membrum virile" (De 23:1)):

The first Hebrew word is derived from a root meaning "to knead," "to mold in clay," "to create." It therefore denotes any feature or part of the body. "So the tongue also is a little member, and boasteth great things" (Jas 3:5). "The members" is equivalent with "the body" (which see; compare Ps 139:16 the King James Version). The members are not self-governing, but execute the orders of the mind, obeying either the lower nature in the commission of sin or iniquity, unrighteousness and uncleanness (Ro 6:13,19), or following the higher nature, the Divine impulses in the fulfilling of the law of Christ (6:19).

It is the difference in character and gifts of individual Christians which leads Paul to speak of the variety of members, which, though of manifold functions, are equally important to the completeness of the body. It is thus in the manifold variety of the body of Christ (1Co 12:12-27; Eph 4:16), and Christians being members of Christ, who is the head (Eph 1:22; 4:15; 5:23), are members one of another (Ro 12:5; Eph 4:25).

In De 23:1 the Israelite Law against emasculation is referred to, and a religious disability is stated for the eunuch. Heathen Semites and other neighbors of Israel often castrated for religious purposes in the temple service of various divinities and for functions in princely palaces and harems. Heathen monarchs almost invariably had large numbers of these unfortunates, who frequently attained to positions of high power and responsibility. Herodotus states their frequent occurrence among the Persians (Hist. vi.32), and in the light of 2Ki 20:18 and Da 1:3 it appears as not impossible that Daniel and his friends belonged to this class. In later years their existence is certain in Israel (1Sa 8:15 the Revised Version margin; Jer 38:7; Mt 19:12).