1 Corinthians chapter 12

When the Holy Spirit is in your own life, you’ll have a spiritual gift. What is your gift? Do you know what it is? Are you able to put it into practice? [UPDATED]

 


 

DO NOT IGNORE THE GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

 

VERSE 1. Now concerning spiritual things, brothers, I don’t want you to be ignorant.

spiritual things. The Greek word is πνευματικῶν (“pneumatikōn”). It pertains to the realm of the spirit, the invisible sphere where the Holy Spirit is active. The word is derived from “pneuma,” which means “spirit.”

ignorant. The Greek word is ἀγνοεῖν (“agnoein”). It means to not know, to have no knowledge. The ignorance might be willful.

Paul does not want us to be ignorant of this matter of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

 

VERSE 2. You know that when you were heathen, you were led away to those mute idols, however you might be led.

 

THE BASIS OF THE GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

SUMMARY: When the Holy Spirit is in your own life, you’ll have a spiritual gift. What is that gift? Do you know what it is? Are you able to put it into practice?

When your local church is filled with the Holy Spirit, your church has people with a whole variety of spiritual gifts. Even though their gifting is diverse, it all works together in unity.

 

VERSE 3. Therefore I make known to you that no man speaking by God’s Spirit says, “Jesus is accursed.” No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” but by the Holy Spirit.

Jesus is Lord. Our spiritual gifts begin with faith in Jesus Christ.

by the Holy Spirit. Our spiritual gifts are not self-produced. And they are not the same as our natural talents. Rather, the spiritual gifts are from the Holy Spirit. They are supernatural.

How can you tell if the Holy Spirit is in your life? How can you tell if your church is filled with the Holy Spirit? Here is how »

 

THE GIFTS ARE DIVERSIFIED ON PURPOSE

SUMMARY: There are Three Divine Persons but only one God. Similarly, there are different gift and ministries and results, but only one Christian faith.

So the one God wants us to have different gifts and different ministries and different results. All this diversity comes from the one Holy Spirit.

This one Holy Spirit is at work within the hearts and lives of all Christians everywhere. The Pentecostals aren’t plugged into a different Holy Spirit than the Russian Orthodox or the Evangelicals or the Amish or the Catholics or the Lutherans. No, there is one Holy Spirit.

Yet this one Holy Spirit gives different gifts to different people. The fact that different people have different spiritual gifts isn’t a bad thing. It isn’t a sign of confusion. It does not mean that people have misappropriated God’s gifts to them.

Rather, the one Holy Spirit wants to give us a whole variety of gifts. The local church is blessed with differences, on purpose.

 

VERSE 4. Now there are various kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.

various kinds of gifts. There are all kinds of different spiritual gifts, but one Holy Spirit.

How can you tell if the Holy Spirit is in your life? How can you tell if your church is filled with the Holy Spirit? Here is how »

 

VERSE 5. There are various kinds of service, and the same Lord.

various kinds of service. There are different ministries but only one Lord Jesus Christ.

How can you tell if the Holy Spirit is in your life? How can you tell if your church is filled with the Holy Spirit? Here is how »

 

VERSE 6. There are various kinds of workings, but the same God, who works all things in all.

various kinds of workings. There are different ministry results, but only one God the Father.

How can you tell if the Holy Spirit is in your life? How can you tell if your church is filled with the Holy Spirit? Here is how »

 

VERSE 7. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the profit of all.

NIV translation: Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from First Corinthians.

How can you tell if the Holy Spirit is in your life? How can you tell if your church is filled with the Holy Spirit? Here is how »

These diverse gifts to the individuals will bring about the good for all. We have our differing gifts so that everyone can benefit.

However, it is part of our fallen human nature to want everybody to be the same.

It takes a great breadth of vision to allow people to be different. Look at people’s tendency to stay within their own ethnic/racial group. It takes a concerted effort to break through the barriers and befriend people who are different.

Yet diversity is one of the things that are almost autobiographically of the Holy Spirit. The diversity of gifts that the Holy Spirit gives the local assembly will strengthen it, not weaken it. A diversity of gifts makes the local assembly strong.

Now let’s look at the specific gifts. The verses ahead list several: wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment, tongues and interpretation.

 

THE GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

SUMMARY: The one God distributes a whole array of gifts to his people: wisdom, knowledge, above-and-beyond faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment, tongues, interpretation and many more.

There are different gifts, different ministries and different results. But they work together like the many instruments in a symphony orchestra, so that our lives will combine and make a beautiful hymn of praise to God. That’s how you can tell the Holy Spirit is in your own life, and in the life of your local church.

 

VERSE 8. For to one is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom, and to another the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit;

How can you tell if the Holy Spirit is in your life? How can you tell if your church is filled with the Holy Spirit? Here is how »

wisdom. The Greek word is sophia. Some translations render it “word of wisdom” or “wise counsel.” It means you can see into things.

The person who has the Spiritual Gift of Wisdom is the one you probably go to for help in seeing what’s going on in your life. They see into situations and have godly wisdom about it.

knowledge. Whereas the gift of wisdom means seeing into something else, the gift of knowledge means knowing things. The Greek word is gnosis, which literally means knowledge.

Professors and scientists seem to remember just about every bit of information they’ve ever learned. They can talk with authority about things they learned decades ago. They’re not arrogant. It’s just their gifting. They remember it all. For scores of topics, they have knowledge.

The person who has the Spiritual Gift of Knowledge is the one you probably go to for help in seeing where something is in the Bible. It’s the one who can derive all sorts of insights from the history of the Christian faith.

Think of the person who retains what they read. Think of the catechist, or Bible teacher. Think of a learned theology professor. Years or decades of reading the Bible and theological book combines with their gift of knowledge, and they become somebody that everyone wants to come bend the ear of.

 

VERSE 9. to another faith, by the same Spirit; and to another gifts of healings, by the same Spirit;

How can you tell if the Holy Spirit is in your life? How can you tell if your church is filled with the Holy Spirit? Here is how »

faith. In this context, the word “faith” does not mean faith in the sense of “believe in Jesus.” Rather, the Spiritual Gift of Faith means believing for the impossible.

Think of the centurion who asked Jesus to heal his child. The centurion said that Jesus didn’t even need to come to his house for the miracle to take place. How did Jesus reply? Jesus said he had never seen such faith, anywhere in Israel.

That is above-and-beyond faith.

healings. The biblical testimony is clear that at least some people will have this gift.

Throughout the centuries of the Christian faith, there have always been individuals who could bring about miraculous healings. Some healed themselves. Some healed other people.

In our day, the Spiritual Gift of Healing seems concentrated into Charismatics and Pentecostals. But it’s likely that there are at least some healers in just about any sector of the Christian faith.

 

VERSE 10. and to another workings of miracles; and to another prophecy; and to another discerning of spirits; to another different kinds of languages; and to another the interpretation of languages.

How can you tell if the Holy Spirit is in your life? How can you tell if your church is filled with the Holy Spirit? Here is how »

miracles. The Greek word is dunamis. When you have the Spiritual Gift of Miracles, you have the power of God operative within you.

If you examine the history of the Christian movement, you’ll see that there’s never been a shortage of authentic miracle-workers.

Even in our day, miracles are still possible. Sometimes the miracle happens gradually. Sometimes it’s instantaneous. I

n any case, it’s instigated by someone who believes for the impossible. That person might be an ordinary believer, or it might be someone with this extraordinary gift of miracles.

prophecy. Here are four variations of the Spiritual Gift of Prophecy:

1. Evangelizing. When we speak of Jesus Christ, we are prophesying. All believers are called to this ministry of prophecy. We’re all called to evangelize.

2. Preaching. When a minister speaks of Jesus Christ before the assembly, that’s another type of prophecy: Jesus is spoken of, clearly and convincingly, in the power of the Holy Spirit. It is to communicate God’s revealed truth. That’s a type of prophecy.

3. Knowing the future. This is seen most often in the Old Testament. Someone is filled with the Holy Spirit and speaks with conviction about something that will happen in the future. In almost all cases, the one speaking had no knowledge about that future thing prior to speaking it.

4. A fourth type of prophecy is when someone speaks by faith about the future. They might not know for sure what the future will hold. But they received some sort of hint about it, become convinced of that, and speak about it as if it’s a sure thing.

discerning. The person with the Spiritual Gift of Discernment is the one you want to go see when you’re stuck.

Maybe you’re stuck between a rock and a philosophical hard place. Maybe you’re wrestling with two different theological issues. Maybe you wonder if God would have you do “A” or “B.” Maybe a disruptive person has showed up and you need to figure out what to do.

You’ll probably end up running to the person who is gifted in discernment.

languages. The Greek word here is glossa. There’s an enormous amount of literature about that word and other words like it in the Bible. Rather that go into all that, we’d simply like to mention a few practical ways that the Spiritual Gift of Tongues works.

Some people have the spiritual gift to speak in some unknown language. It might be the language of angels. It might be a human language unknown to the speaker. It might be in some obscure dialect, or in a language that’s been out of fluency for millennia. It might be a spiritual language that’s unknown except to the LORD God.

Other people have a gift to speak, spontaneously, in some foreign language. That actually happens sometimes.

Other people have a natural knack for learning languages. They can learn Spanish or German or Japanese or whatever it is, without it being excruciating. They’re a natural fit for going to another culture or nation as a missionary.

interpretation. The last gift that verse 10 mentions is the Spiritual Gift of Interpretation. The Greek word is hermeneia. It means to interpret what someone else says, especially when they’re speaking in tongues.

Sometimes we feel that parents have the gift of interpretation. They can hear their crying child and interpret what’s being communicated, even when it’s completely unintelligible to anyone else.

You see interpretation at work at the U.N. Experts provide spontaneous official interpretation of what’s being said. You see it at work when an interpreter speaks in Sign Language, helping the Deaf to communicate when they’re in the world of hearing.

You see interpretation at work when someone speaks in a tongue and then another person stands up and offers an interpretation. That’s the way St. Paul said it’s supposed to happen.

 

VERSE 11. But the one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing to each one separately as he desires.

 

VERSE 12. For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of the body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ.

 

VERSE 13. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free; and were all given to drink into one Spirit.

 

VERSE 14. For the body is not one member, but many.

 

VERSE 15. If the foot would say, “Because I’m not the hand, I’m not part of the body,” it is not therefore not part of the body.

 

VERSE 16. If the ear would say, “Because I’m not the eye, I’m not part of the body,” it’s not therefore not part of the body.

 

VERSE 17. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the smelling be?

 

VERSE 18. But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body, just as he desired.

 

VERSE 19. If they were all one member, where would the body be?

 

VERSE 20. But now they are many members, but one body.

 

VERSE 21. The eye can’t tell the hand, “I have no need for you,” or again the head to the feet, “I have no need for you.”

 

VERSE 22. No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary.

 

VERSE 23. Those parts of the body which we think to be less honorable, on those we bestow more abundant honor; and our unpresentable parts have more abundant propriety;

 

VERSE 24. whereas our presentable parts have no such need. But God composed the body together, giving more abundant honor to the inferior part,

 

VERSE 25. that there should be no division in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.

 

VERSE 26. When one member suffers, all the members suffer with it. When one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

NIV translation: If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from First Corinthians.

We are in it together!

Isaiah 63:9. In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them. In his love and in his pity he redeemed them. He bore them, and carried them all the days of old.

 

VERSE 27. Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.

 

GIFTED INDIVIDUALS IN THE LOCAL ASSEMBLY

SUMMARY: St. Paul lists the gifted individuals that the Holy Spirit gives to a local church: apostles, prophets, teachers, miracle-workers, healers, helpers, administrators, and languages.

 

VERSE 28. God has set some in the assembly: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracle workers, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, and various kinds of languages.

apostles. The Greek word is ἀποστόλους (“apostolous”). The Spiritual Gift of Apostle is a messenger, one who is sent, an envoy, a delegate, one who is commissioned.

Paul and Barnabas were sent out from Antioch as apostles. In our day, local churches send people out on a mission. They are acting as modern-day apostles.

prophets. The Greek word is προφήτας (“prophētas”). The Spiritual Gift of Prophet means an interpreter or a forth-teller of God’s will. They speak forth under inspiration from God, and tell us the mind of God for a particular situation. Many of the Old Testament prophets exhibited this gift.

It can also mean a person who is gifted at expositing divine truth.

teachers. The Greek word is διδασκάλους (“didaskalous”). The Spiritual Gift of Teacher means a teacher who is an avowed master in their particular field of learning.

Many preachers are more gifted as “teachers” than they are as “prophets.”

miracle-workers. The Greek word is δυνάμεις (“dynameis”). The Spiritual Gift of Miracles means power, might, strength, efficacy, energy. It is an ability to perform, a power through God’s ability.

The Greek word begins with dyna. Think of other words that begin with that: dynamite, dynamic, dynamism.

Lots of professing Christians view miracle-working as a sort of cheap fairground attraction, a gimmick based on trickery or deception, and something to be ignored.

However, the Bible clearly describes such gifted individuals. It is not likely that the Holy Spirit has deprived us of such individuals in our day.

gifts. The Greek word is χαρίσματα (“charismata”). It means an undeserved favor, a gift of grace. It is given to edify the church. It allows one to share God’s work with others.

Paul used this word in Romans 12:6 as well:

Romans 12:6. having gifts differing according to the grace that was given to us: if prophecy, let’s prophesy according to the proportion of our faith;

healings. That is, healers. The Greek word for healing is ἰαμάτων (“iamatōn”). It means healing, curing, remedy, medicine. In this verse, it is akin to “doctor” than “faith-healer.”

helps. The Greek word is ἀντιλήμψεις (“antilēmpseis”). The Spiritual Gift of Helping means to lay hold of, to help, to aid. Through this individual, God directs his grace and power to meet someone’s need.

governments. The Greek word is κυβερνήσεις (“kybernēseis”). It means steering, governance, administration. The Spiritual Gift of Administration is one who leads.

various kinds of languages. The Greek word is γλωσσῶν (“glōssōn”). It means tongue, language, a nation distinguished by their speech. It is a flowing speech. The 120 believers in the Upper Room experienced tongues as of fire. Those with the Spiritual Gift of Tongues speak in other languages that they could not speak before.

 

VERSE 29. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all miracle workers?

 

VERSE 30. Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with various languages? Do all interpret?

 

VERSE 31. But earnestly desire the best gifts. Moreover, I show a most excellent way to you.

a most excellent way. Love is superior to being an apostle, a prophet, a teacher, a miracle worker, a healer, a helper, an administrator, or speaking in tongues.

 


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Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


 

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