February 22nd, 2007
Some spiritual gifts look quite like natural abilities, but all give a person an ability which the person did not previously possess. Types of spiritual gifts listed by Paul in today’s reading include wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment, ability to speak other languages, and interpretation. God gives different people different gifts, and as a result different people have different roles within the church, which is also called the body of Christ. If any person chooses not to participate or not to exercise his or her spiritual gift or gifts, then the whole body suffers.
Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians — Chapter 12
12:1 Friends, I do not want you to be ignorant about spiritual things. 12:2 You know that when you were unbelievers you drifted along and were seduced by unspeaking idols. 12:3 I make want you to understand that no-one speaking by God’s Spirit says, “Jesus is accursed.” No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
12:4 Now there are various kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 12:5 There are various ways of serving, but the same Lord. 12:6 There are various kinds of activities, but the same God who causes them all in everyone. 12:7 Each person is given the presence of the Spirit for the benefit of all. 12:8 The Spirit gives one person the gift of wisdom. The same Spirit gives another the gift of knowledge. 12:9 The same Spirit gives another faith, another gifts of healing, 12:10 another power to do miracles, another prophecy, another the ability to discern spirits, another the ability to speak different languages, and another the ability to interpret languages. 12:11 But one and the same Spirit does all of this, distributing them to each person as the Spirit chooses.
12:12 The body is one, and has many parts, and all the parts of the body, although many, are one body. It is the same with Christ. 12:13 In one Spirit we were all baptised into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free, and were all given one Spirit to drink. 12:14 The body is not one part, but many. 12:15 If the foot said, “Because I’m not the hand, I’m not part of the body,” that does not stop it being part of the body. 12:16 If the ear said, “Because I’m not the eye, I’m not part of the body,” that does not stop it being part of the body. 12:17 If the whole body was an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole was an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 12:18 God placed each of the parts in the body, just as he wanted. 12:19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 12:20 They are many parts, but one body. 12:21 The eye cannot tell the hand, “I don’t need you,” and the head cannot tell the feet, “I don’t need you.” 12:22 In fact, those parts of the body which seem to be weaker are essential. 12:23 Those parts of the body which we consider less honourable are the ones to which we give more honour. Our unpresentable parts are given more respect, 12:24 whereas our presentable parts have no such need. But God arranged the body, giving more honour to the inferior parts, 12:25 so that there should be no divisions in the body. Instead, the parts should have the same care for each other. 12:26 When one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it. When one part is honoured, all the parts rejoice with it.
12:27 You are the body of Christ, and each of you is a part. 12:28 God has placed people in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracle workers, then people with gifts of healing, helping, leadership, and various kinds of languages. 12:29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all miracle workers? 12:30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in various languages? Do all interpret? 12:31 Earnestly desire the best gifts. But let me show you a more exceptional path.
Entry Filed under: Hope