Articles and Notes

1 Corinthians 12

Chapter Twelve


1) To be aware of the many different spiritual gifts enjoyed by the early church
2) To appreciate the interdependence of the members of the Body of Christ

In this chapter Paul begins to address the issue of spiritual gifts. From what we read later in chapter fourteen, it appears the jealousy and envy that characterized their division mentioned earlier also expressed itself in their use (and abuse) of certain spiritual gifts. Expressing his concern that they be not ignorant about these matters, Paul first emphasizes that spiritual gifts, though diverse, come from the same Spirit and are to be used for the benefit of all (1-11). To demonstrate that every person (and spiritual gift) is important, He compares the church to a body with many different yet essential members (12-27). The chapter closes with Paul pointing out that not all serve the same function and have the same gifts, encouraging them to earnestly desire the best gifts, and preparing to show them a more excellent way in the next chapter (28-31).


1. Paul does not want them to be ignorant concerning spiritual gifts (1)
2. For as Gentiles they had been misled by dumb idols (2)
3. Two general principles to bear in mind:
    a. No one speaking by the Spirit of God will call Jesus accursed (3a)
    b. No one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit (3b)

1. They all come from the same Spirit (4)
    a. Just as there are different ministries, but the same Lord (5)
    b. Just as diverse activities proceed from the same God (6)
2. Each "manifestation" (spiritual gift), though given to one, is to benefit all (7)
3. A summary of the different spiritual gifts (8-10)
    a. The word of wisdom
    b. The word of knowledge
    c. Faith
    d. Gifts of healing
    e. Working of miracles
    f. Prophecy
    g. Discerning of spirits
    h. Different kinds of tongues
    i. Interpretation of tongues
4. But it is the same Spirit who works all these things, distributing to each one as He wills (11)


1. Just like the human body, the body of Christ with its many members are yet one (12)
    a. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body (13a)
    b. And we have all been made to drink into one Spirit (13b)
2. No member can say that they are not important (14-19)
    a. The body is not one member, but many (14)
    b. As illustrated with parts of the human body (15-19)
3. No member can say that others are not important (20-26)
    a. Though many members, yet one body (20)
    b. As illustrated with parts of the human body (21-24a)
    c. God has composed the body to be one, and its members to have mutual concern for each other (24b-26)

1. You are the body of Christ, and individually are members of it (27)
2. God has appointed various functions in the church (28)
3. Rhetorical questions to illustrate that not everyone has the same function (29-30)
4. Certainly it was proper to desire the best gifts, yet Paul will show them a more excellent way (31)


1) List the main points of this chapter
- Spiritual Gifts: Unity In Diversity (1-11)
- The Need For Diversity In One Body (12-31)

2) Why were the "manifestations" (spiritual gifts) of the Spirit given? (7)
- For the profit of all

3) Who determined who received what gift? (11)
- The Spirit distributed to each one as He willed

4) What part does the Holy Spirit play in our conversion and sanctification? (13)
- By the Spirit we are all baptized into one body
- We have all been made to drink of the Spirit

5) Can any member of the body say that they are not important? (15-19)
- No!

6) Can any member of the body say others are not important? (21-22)
- No!

7) What indication is there in this chapter that at least some of the spiritual gifts or functions were temporary? (29)
- The reference to "apostles"; even most charismatics would agree that the office of apostle does not exist today, that it was only a temporary but necessary part of the establishment of the Lord's church (Ep 2:20-22)

8) Was there anything wrong with the Corinthians desiring the "best gifts"? (31)
- No, Paul encouraged them to do so, yet he would have them know a more excellent way (the way of love as expounded in chapter thirteen)

1 Corinthians 12

Spiritual gifts: unity in diversity

[1Co 12:1-31 NASB] 1 Now concerning spiritual [gifts,] brethren, I do not want you to be unaware. 2 You know that when you were pagans, [you were] led astray to the mute idols, however you were led. 3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus is accursed"; and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit. 4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. 6 There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all [persons.] 7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another [various] kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

Unity and diversity in one body

12 For even as the body is one and [yet] has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are 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 we were all made to drink of one Spirit. 14 For the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot says, "Because I am not a hand, I am not [a part] of the body," it is not for this reason any the less [a part] of the body. 16 And if the ear says, "Because I am not an eye, I am not [a part] of the body," it is not for this reason any the less [a part] of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. 19 If they were all one member, where would the body be? 20 But now there are many members, but one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; or again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." 22 On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; 23 and those [members] of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, 24 whereas our more presentable members have no need [of it.] But God has [so] composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that [member] which lacked, 25 so that there may be no division in the body, but [that] the members may have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if [one] member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. 27 Now you are Christ's body, and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, [various] kinds of tongues. 29 All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not [workers of] miracles, are they? 30 All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? 31 But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I show you a still more excellent way.

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