1 Corinthians 12

 

1Co 12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.

1Co 12:2 Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.

We no longer have to remain in darkness about spiritual things after coming to Christ, like we were before coming into a life filled with the spirit. We don't have to be in ignorance. That is another reason that the Holy Spirit was given to us. To teach, to equip, and to comfort. We don't have to be in the dark. Those that once worshiped idols were in darkness and ignorant of the true God.

1Co 12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

One speaking by the true spirit of God will not call Jesus accursed. We might be able to mechanically repeat someone saying the Jesus is Lord but to truly acknowledge Jesus is Lord one would have to have the Holy Spirit.

1Co 12:4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

1Co 12:5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.

1Co 12:6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.

This is a good reason not to copycat each other. In one local body, many may be used by the Holy Spirit in with different gifts of the spirit. 1 Corinthians 12 is dealing with spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit and not natural talents we might possess which we also can use for the Lord's work but this chapter is dealing with the supernatural gifts given and under the authority of the Holy Spirit, not our natural inclinations or talents.

All nine gifts are available to us by way of the Holy Spirit but many of us do not seek and ask the Lord to stir up those gifts within us. Some may limit these things to the clergy or one particular person that has allowed God to use them but kind of depend on that one person instead of teaching and encouraging all believers to seek to be used of God in the gifts of the spirit. Those that do allow this freely are those that are teaching correctly.  All is done to glorify God, should be Christ centered and never done to exalt the person being used by the Lord. We are never to expect all believers to be used by the Lord for every single gift of the spirit.  Some may be used of God for prophecy, some to lay hands on the sick and some to exhort, encourage, teach etc.

We need to seek God for our own particular assembly and not just mimic another church or denomination.

1Co 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

1Co 12:8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

Notice the words, to profit with all. The gifts are for the good of the whole church body, not just the individual God uses. We need wisdom to run a church and make decisions based on truth and the will of God. We need knowledge of the word in order to use the wisdom God gives us. We also need wisdom to use the knowledge we have. Both are necessary. The word of knowledge here though is a little different than natural knowledge and wisdom. It is a special gift from God that allows a prophetic word to go forth concerning a church or individual. This is a supernatural revelation that could not have been known but by the Holy Spirit.  Gifts of the Spirit Introduction is a separate deeper study on the gifts. For more on the study of Wisdom and Knowledge, click on the links leading to a more in depth study.

I will say this. I believe that to make sure things are on the up and up and genuine, we are to try the spirits and make sure what is given by the word of knowledge is true and does not contradict the known word of God. God is not going to add to or take away from what men inspired by the Holy Ghost has already written. Some have greatly misused or claimed this gift and messed up many lives. We are to have discernment and search the scriptures like the Bereans.

I've heard of many times when there would be a problem in the church and somehow God would supernaturally give someone or a group of people the word of wisdom and they would be able to solve the problem. I've met some people who were gifted also in being able to figure out by wisdom the right things to do in a given situation. Some of these gifts come naturally but the gifts of the spirit will be a supernatural revelation from God in a given situation that we know was not just a natural gift or talent someone may have.

1Co 12:9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;

Have you ever met a person that has so much faith, they never doubt. They just believe in God and do not worry about anything? That might be the gift of faith. I've seen this operate as a one time event also. There is a need and someone or a group of people will suddenly be able to believe God for a miracle and the answer comes. That gift of faith is from God.  A more in depth study of the gift of faith is available.

There are different gifts of healing. Some are one time when the need arises. A group or a person may receive the gift to lay hands on a person and they be healed instantly. I remember being used only once in this area. Some see this happen quite frequently. We may also see healings in one place but not in another. There is so much about this gift that we still do not understand. Like why it happens to some and not all. Some claim to have this gift and base their ministries on it. I don't know if that is the case but I will not say that it is not the case because of this very chapter which tells us of the gifts of healing. I do prefer to see the gift of healing used in a way that only God gets the glory and not some individual but I'm not going to judge whether or not a faith healer has what he claims to have. There is no way for me to know. I do know that all healing is done by God and we are just the vessels. We should never accept the praise of men for healing and we should always remember that we have nothing that we have not received and never should we think that we are not the only ones God can use in that area.  All gifts of the spirit are to accompany the gospel to confirm that the word preached is true.  Click on healing for a deeper study on this gift.

1Co 12:10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

Miracles are supernatural things that help someone in a crisis situation that only God can do. Miracles is studied more in depth also.

Prophecy is both speaking to edify, teach and comfort but also involves foretelling prophetic events that the church needs to understand and hear. To study more on the gift of prophecy, click that link.

Preaching can be prophesying but not all preaching is prophesying. Giving a message in tongues and having another interpret that message is a form of prophesying. Given a prophetic message without tongues is prophesying. All utterances must always be judged by the word.

Here are the links to the study on discernment, tongues and Interpretation.

1Co 12:11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

It is the work of the spirit and we should trust God to know who, when and how to use these gifts of the spirit. We can't just go to a meeting and decide in ourselves that we are going to have a prophecy, a healing or a manifestation of the Holy Spirit.  We seek God and trust Him to use us at the Spirit would lead.  I will say that if we believe that these gifts of the spirit were only for the days of the Apostle's time and not for today, we will hinder and not be used of God because unbelief will hinder it.  The gifts do not disappear because God withdraws them but because we are not seeking to be used that way and try to do things by our own strength and knowledge.  We receive what we believe God for.

1Co 12:12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

1Co 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

Not one of us is greater than the other even if one has been used by the spirit in all nine gifts and one have been used in only one gift. All of us are of the same spirit and are the same.  This is true in one local body but also true in many local bodies.  For instance. The Pentecostals are not better or more superior to the Baptists.  The Baptists are not superior to the independent bodies.  All are part of the body.  The exception would be those that are teaching false doctrine or have gotten into apostasy.  We are never to feel that we have to have unity with those that are apostate or have left the true doctrine of salvation by Jesus Christ and Him alone. 

1Co 12:14 For the body is not one member, but many.

1Co 12:15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

1Co 12:16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

This is why we should be careful not to criticize another church for being used of God a little differently than we are used of God.

We can criticize false doctrine and teaching that leads people away from Christ but not criticize over things that are in the scriptures.

For instance: Those that speak with tongues are criticized and in some cases even accused of not being of God. There is no base for this criticism since it is in the scriptures. If tongues were not real as some suppose, why would Paul instruct us in the proper use of tongues?

Why go to all that trouble if they were not for real?

I will mention here also that there have been some of us Pentecostals in the past at least who would criticize others for not speaking in tongues. That makes no sense at all since we have no power to make someone speak in tongues. It is a gift of God. We can't force this on anyone.

I've heard of some bazaar things attributed to the Holy Spirit. If its not in the scripture, then we can doubt it and avoid it. If it is in the scripture we better leave them alone and not criticize them.

God gave us the bible for a reason. The gift of discernment is needed in almost every church of assembly of believers. We have to be very careful not to judge someone who gets it wrong or makes a mistake and accuse them of being of the devil. It may be flesh and weakness but it may not necessarily be "of the devil." We can destroy someone with our lack of knowledge.

Remember Christ came to save the lost. While we should not believe every spirit and we should discern between the real and the false or the real and the flesh, we have to remember God wants to save and not destroy. We can discern whether a prophecy or message is from God or not. We have to do that but we must be careful not to discern the person and discount them as demonic when they just may not know how to yield properly to the spirit. It is true that Satan may send in those that are not of God but in every case, we must remember that God wants to save, not destroy.

1Co 12:17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?

1Co 12:18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.

1Co 12:19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?

1Co 12:20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.

1Co 12:21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.

We are all needed and we are all equal and important. The exception would be those that would bring in a false doctrine or lead many away from Christ.

Other than that we are all needed and all have a part in the furthering of the kingdom of God.

1Co 12:22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:

1Co 12:23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.

1Co 12:24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked:

1Co 12:25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.

1Co 12:26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it.

Bear one another's burdens and share one another's joy. Never should there be envy, jealousy, strife and a desire to be puffed up above anyone else.

1Co 12:27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

1Co 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

I don't believe this means the first mentioned are greater than the others but it shows that God sends all these for our edification and all are needed. Some think this means that tongues are the lesser of the gifts. I don't believe that is the case here. How can any gift of God be considered unimportant. Paul says just the opposite. All are needed and all should be done to edify and do the work of God.

1Co 12:29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?

1Co 12:30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?

1Co 12:31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I unto you a more excellent way.

That excellent way is chapter 13 and is necessary in order that all things word together in love and for good. The gifts of the spirit should never operate apart from love. I don't know if this is possible but if it is, it should never be done except by the love shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost.


1 Corinthians 13

 
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