"THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS" Chapter Twelve OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER 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 SUMMARY 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). OUTLINE I. SPIRITUAL GIFTS: UNITY IN DIVERSITY (1-11) A. IMPORTANCE OF PROPER KNOWLEDGE CONCERNING SPIRITUAL GIFTS (1-3) 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) B. THOUGH DIVERSE, THERE IS UNITY OF ORIGIN AND PURPOSE IN SPIRITUAL GIFTS (4-11) 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) II. THE NEED FOR DIVERSITY IN ONE BODY (12-31) A. ILLUSTRATED BY THE FIGURE OF A BODY AND ITS MEMBERS (12-26) 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) B. SUMMARY APPLICATION OF THE ILLUSTRATION (27-31) 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)
REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER Move your mouse pointer underneath each question to see the answer.
1) List the main points of this chapter. 2) Why were the "manifestations" (spiritual gifts) of the Spirit given? (7) 3) Who determined who received what gift? (11) 4) What part does the Holy Spirit play in our conversion and sanctification? (13) 5) Can any member of the body say that they are not important? (15-19) 6) Can any member of the body say others are not important? (21-22) 7) What indication is there in this chapter that spiritual gifts were temporary? (29; see also Ep 2:20-22) 8) Was there anything wrong with the Corinthians desiring the "best gifts"? (31)