By Charles H. Welch
Member. The Greek word melos, which is translated "member" in the N.T., is according to Heyschius, a grammarian of Alexandria, applied to the parts of the body, from their harmonious adaptation to one another and to the body. For the Greeks call everything congruous and harmonious melos, which also signifies musical harmony, songs, etc., whence our word melody. In this latter sense it occurs in Ecclesiasticus 47:9. This relationship of the members of the Body with harmony and melody, appears in a passage in the epistle to the Ephesians.
The word translated "fitly joined together" in the Greek is sunarmogoumai and contains the word harmonia, the origin of the English "harmony". Melos occurs thirty-four times, and is always translated "member". Two references only are found in the Gospels (Matt. 5:29,30), all the rest are in the epistles, three being found in James (Jas. 3:5,6; 4:1), the remainder being found in the epistles of Paul. Of this number, three references only are found in the Prison epistles (Eph. 4:25, 5:30, Col. 3:5) the remaining twenty-six occurrences being distributed between 1 Corinthians and Romans, sixteen being found in 1 Corinthians and ten in Romans. The references in Romans 12:4,5 like those in 1 Corinthians 12, use the figure of a body with its many members to illustrate the principle "diversity in unity" as it relates to the distribution and employment of supernatural gifts. For a fuller treatment of 1 Corinthians twelve, see the articles BAPTISM and BODY. Melos occurs only in the practical section of Ephesians, and the one reference in Colossians relates to the actual members of the believer's physical body. This means that Ephesians 4:25 is the only reference to the believer in the epistles of the Mystery as a "member" and although the "body" is necessarily implied it is not stated.
When we study the implications of the term "fulness" (see PLEROMA), we shall see that the figure of the "Body" for the church refers only to time and development, but that when the whole company is complete, the figure changes, "the Church which is His Body" then becomes "the fulness of Him that filleth all in all" (Eph. 1:22,23).