1 Corinthians 12:1-31, Spiritual gifts
V 1-3, 1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant: 2 You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led. 3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.
Paul enlightened his audience on spiritual gifts. They were once idol worshipers. No one speaking by the Holy Spirit can curse Jesus. No one can call Jesus as Lord except by the Holy Spirit.
VV 4-11, 4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another, gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 10 to
another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another, different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one, and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
The same Holy Spirit gave Christians a diversity of spiritual gifts. The same Lord gave us a diversity of ministries. Spiritual gifts are the word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, speaking in tongues, and interpretation of tongues. Not every Christians will receive all the spiritual gifts. The Holy Spirit imparts spiritual gifts to Christians individually according to their level of faith, ministries, and God’s grace.
VV 12-14, 12 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. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For, in fact, the body is not one member but many.
Christ is the head of the body, the church. Christians are the different parts of the church. The same Holy Spirit baptise every Christians into the church, irrespective of whether they are Jews, Gentiles, slaves, or free people.
VV 15-18, 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? 18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. 19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be?
Paul asked four rhetorical questions. A hand cannot say that it is not part of the body. An eye cannot say that it did not belong to the body. The whole body cannot say that it is an eye or an ear. Every Christian has a
specific and important role to play and operate in the body of Christ, the Church, under the headship of Christ.
VV 20-26, 20 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. 23 And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, 24 but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, 25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
The church had many parts but only one body. The eye is not independent of the hand, and the head is not independent of the feet. No member can work in isolation. Every member is dependent on other members to operate in unison. The weaker members depend on stronger members to lend a hand. The less honourable members depend on the more honourable members for protection. The body of Christ should not be divided by factionalism, sectarianism, and personality cults. If one member suffered all members suffered with him. If one member is honoured, all members rejoiced with him.
VV 27-31, 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. 28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that, miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.
The church is the body. Christians are members of the body. Christ is the head of the body, Colossians 1:18. God appointed different ministers to work in the church viz. apostles, prophets, teachers, miracle workers,
healers, helpers, administrators, speakers of tongues, and interpreters of tongues. Paul asked seven rhetorical questions, all with negative answers. Not everyone is an apostle, prophet, teacher, miracle worker, healer, speaker of tongues, and interpreter of tongues. We should desire and ask the Holy Spirit for the best gifts. In the next chapter, Paul will reveal an even more excellent gift, that is love.
Colossians 1:18, “And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.”
There is a diversity of spiritual gifts, such as word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, tongue-speaking, and tongue interpretation. There is a diversity of ministries, such as apostles, prophets, teachers, miracle workers, healers, etc. We should desire and ask the Holy Spirit for spiritual gifts appropriate to our faith and ministry, Luke 11:13.
Luke 11:13, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”
Heavenly Father, we are members of the body of Christ. We are dependent on others and we cannot operate in isolation. Help us to play our respective roles in the church serving in the appropriate ministry. We pray for the Holy spirit’s impartation of spiritual gifts based on Your grace, our faith, and our ministry, in Jesus’ name, Amen.