1 Corinthians 12
1. Now, dear brothers and sisters, about your question on the gifts of the Spirit. I do not want you to misunderstand this.
God gives a message to each one of us which is our life story. He gives us different gifts so that we can share this message. The message may be about how we escaped from some evil thing or how we lived through a very hard time of testing. We were put on this earth to share the message of how Jesus helped us to overcome these things. If the devil cannot get us to go back into sin than he tries to twist the message. We need to know how to use our gift in the right way.
2 – 3
You know that when you were still pagans, you were tricked into worshiping speechless idols. So I want you to know that no one speaking by the Spirit of God will curse Jesus, and no one can say Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit.
Paul wants them to know the difference between someone who is pretending to speak for God, and someone who is using his gift correctly.
4 – 6
There are different kinds of [personal] spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all.
There are different kinds of [servant leaders], but we serve the same Lord.
There are different kinds of [results], but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.
Ephesians 4 shows us the leaders of the church. Romans 12 shows us how each one of us sees something different that needs to be done in the church. 1 Corinthians 12 shows us how beautiful it can be when each one of us uses our gift through a local ministry in the correct way.
7. A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can build each other up.
The original language shows that when we understand how to use our gifts, it is like an orchestra playing a symphony. Next, Paul gives some examples of the results.
8. To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wisdom; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge.
When there was an argument in the church, God gave James a word of wisdom which stopped the arguing. Acts 15:19
When Ananias and Sapphira were hiding behind a lie, God gave Peter a word of knowledge that showed what the secret was. Acts 5:3
9. The same Spirit gives faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing.
Some teachers say that the reason people have problems is because they do not have enough faith. God is the one who gives faith, so this is like accusing God. If someone is weak in faith, let us build them up and not talk down to them.
The biggest danger with the gifts of the Spirit is that we can become proud. God can use your prayers to heal someone but it is very dangerous to think of yourself as someone special when God uses you this way. When men are looked up to because of their gift, and the glory does not go to God, there will be confusion in the church.
10. He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said.
God’s gifts are used to bring men to Christ. It is a miracle when a man escapes from Satan and the chains that were holding him. It is a witness to unbelievers when God shows us something that is coming to their lives. It is God’s word which shows us how to test the spirits. It is God’s Spirit who makes us able to speak God’s mind and understand what is being said. Romans 8:27
11. It is the one and only Spirit who sends all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.
These gifts are not given by men. God gives us a spiritual gift that works with what comes naturally to us. Here are some examples:
Some people are very strong in their minds and see things as right or wrong. Some like to study to make sure that everything is very clear. Some enjoy serving and doing more than they are asked to do. Some people are good at walking together with someone who is having problems. God has given some people a gift for using money very wisely. Some are good at seeing how a job needs to be done and getting others to help. There are also quiet people who know how to enter into the feelings of others.
12 – 13
The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.
If your body is hurt in an accident you feel bad in every part. When one of us is hurting, then all of us are hurt.
14 – 19
Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body.
And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body?
If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?
But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part!
Paul is warning them about thinking that they do not need each other just because they have some gift from the Lord. In the same way that the parts of the body all come together to solve problems, all of the spiritual gifts have to work together in the church or something will be missed.
20 – 22
Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, “I do not need you.” The head cannot say to the feet, “I do not need you.”
In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary.
God uses things that are weak to shame those who are strong. Colossians 1:27
23 – 24
And the parts of the body that we think are not worth much are the parts that we give the most care to. And we give special care to the parts of the body that we want to hide. The more beautiful parts of our body need no special care. But God put the body together and gave more honor to the parts that need it.
There are people in the church who are stronger in their hearts than in their minds. These people are quiet and are sometimes looked down on. Those of us who can talk very well and think we see things clearly have a lot to learn from these people.
25. This makes a symphony among the members, so that all the members care for each other.
The music would sound very bad if each one played a different song at the same time. This is what our churches must sound like to God sometimes.
26 – 27
If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.
As we work together for the Lord, we do not leave anyone behind. If something we are doing hurts one of our members –then we do not do it.
28 – 30
Here are some of the parts God has appointed for the church:
first are apostles,
second are prophets,
third are teachers,
then those who do miracles,
those who have the gift of healing,
those who can help others,
those who have the gift of leadership,
those who speak in unknown languages.
Are we all apostles? Are we all prophets? Are we all teachers? Do we all have the power to do miracles? Do we all have the gift of healing? Do we all have the ability to speak in unknown languages? Do we all have the ability to interpret unknown languages? Of course not!
Some churches are following a man and watching him use his gifts, but they are not paying attention to what kind of man he is. Using your gift is not as important as God showing you what kind of person you are.
It is best to live a quiet life and allow God to bring out our gift when He needs to use it. People’s lives will be changed when they see us live through hell on earth and escape from it. They will be more interested in this than watching us show off our gift.
Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. 2 Corinthians 4:10
For we are not bold to compare ourselves with some of those who lift themselves up; but when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not using wisdom. 2 Corinthians 10:12
31. So you should earnestly desire the most helpful gifts. Now let me show you a way that is best of all.
When you are fighting against a hard problem in your spirit, do you need someone to show you what great gifts they have? Or do you need to someone to show you that they are hurting with you and are going to walk through this valley with you?