1 Corinthians 12:1-11
Now concerning spiritual gifts: brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be unaware. 2 You know that when you were pagans, you used to be enticed and led astray by mute idols. 3 Therefore I want you to know that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. 4 Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are different ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are different activities, but the same God produces each gift in each person. 7 A manifestation of the Spirit is given to each person for the common good: 8 to one is given a message of wisdom through the Spirit, to another, a message of knowledge by the same Spirit, 9 to another, faith by the same Spirit, to another, gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another, the performing of miracles, to another, prophecy, to another, distinguishing between spirits, to another, different kinds of tongues, to another, interpretation of tongues. 11 One and the same Spirit is active in all these, distributing to each person as he wills. — 1 Corinthians 12:1-11
by Patty Taylor
When we become Christians, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in our hearts forever. The Holy Spirit assures us of His eternal presence. He reveals truth to us and enables us to interpret and understand God’s Word. In addition, the Holy Spirit is the gift-giver.
First Corinthians 12 describes the spiritual gifts given to believers in order that we may function as the body of Christ on earth. Have you noticed that the gifts are varied? Some of them are rare; others are abundant. Some people have multiple talents; others may have only one outstanding gift.
Have you found yourself being envious of people who can pray a beautiful prayer? A person who seems to understand the Bible better than you? Do you wish you could sing or play an instrument? Think about this. Wouldn’t life be a little boring if everyone could do the same things? And since there are so many jobs and opportunities in the church, some of those tasks might go unmet if no one was gifted in the area needed.
Let’s consider the gifts Paul identifies. Wisdom is necessary in the administration of a church. Wisdom also matters and is important in understanding scripture and how to rightly explain it to others. It incorporates knowledge of the Bible, its authors and its purpose.
Christianity is faith-based. We didn’t live in the time of Jesus, we didn’t hear Paul preaching, nor did we walk alongside Moses or David. We have to accept their teachings with the faith that they told us the truth.
We might never have seen someone healed before our eyes. However, we know God uses our gifts of healing as we pray for those with physical or emotional problems. When a doctor performs a life giving surgery, we rejoice that his gift of healing has been used. The gift of miracles comes to us when we have the faith that through prayer and actions our prayers are answered. Can Jesus heal us? Certainly! Should we let someone pray over us for a miracle? Yes, indeed.
The Old Testament is filled with prophecies, many of which have come to pass, while others are yet unfulfilled. Isaiah 53 is an unmatched example of the prophecy of Jesus coming to earth to save us from our sins: “Yet he himself bore our sicknesses, and he carried our pains; but we in turn regarded him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced because of our rebellion, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on him, and we are healed by his wounds.” There aren’t many modern day prophets, but we do know that Christians in communication with God are given messages to share which warn or caution us.
The gift of discernment helps us to distinguish the right spirit—is it evil, godly, or from other beings? We have to be aware that Satan is competing for our attention. We must listen carefully to the voice of God and know when His spirit is directing us. We must be equally aware that the devil will tempt us and make us think it was God talking to us. Remember how Eve listened to a wrong spirit?
The phenomenon of tongues (or glossolalia) is identified by many as the supernatural utterance of foreign human languages (Acts 2:4, 6). Others contend that it includes speaking an angelic language (1 Corinthians 13:1) or some other verbal expression requiring interpretation (1 Corinthians 14).* Whatever the meaning, we must be careful that we are talking with God and not misinterpreting the message.
How do we receive these gifts? They all are given by the Holy Spirit. Verses 4 and 5 explain that these gifts are provided by the same Spirit and the same Lord. Why does the Holy Spirit impart these gifts to us? Verse 7 tells us, “A manifestation of the Spirit is given to each person for the common good.” We all cannot do all the jobs. God created us as distinct individuals with distinct gifts. Often if we don’t use our gifts, a job will not get done, or others will be burdened with doing what we have been gifted to do. Are you using your spiritual gifts?
- Do you know what your spiritual gifts are?
- Do your spiritual gifts help others AND glorify God?
- Will you encourage others to use their gifts and walk alongside them, holding them accountable?
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.