1 Corinthians 12

spiritual gifts

The word pneumatika, lit. "spirituals," i.e. matters of or from the Holy Spirit, gives the key to Chapters 12., 13., 14. Chapter 12. concerns the Spirit in relation to the body of Christ. This relation is twofold:

(1) The baptism with the Spirit forms the body by uniting believers to Christ the risen and glorified Head, and to each other (1 Corinthians 12:12,13). The symbol of the body thus formed is the natural, human body (1 Corinthians 12:12), and all the analogies are freely used (1 Corinthians 12:14-26).

(2) To each believer is given a spiritual enablement and capacity for specific service. No believer is destitute of such gift (1 Corinthians 12:7,11,27), but in their distribution the Spirit acts in free sovereignty (1 Corinthians 12:11). There is no room for self-choosing, and Christian service is simply the ministry of such gift as the individual may have received (cf) Romans 12:4-8. The gifts are diverse (1 Corinthians 12:6,8-10,28-30), but all are equally honourable because bestowed by the same Spirit, administered under the same Lord, and energized by the same God.

gifts

Cf. Ephesians 4:8,11,12. The Spirit gives gifts for service to men, Christ gives the gifted men to the churches.

prophecy

The N.T. prophet is not ordinarily a foreteller, but rather a forth-teller, one whose gift enabled him to speak "to edification, and exhortation, and comfort" 1 Corinthians 14:3.

more excellent

Chapter 13. continues the pneumatika begun in Chapter 12. Gifts are good, but only if ministered in love. 1 Corinthians 13:1,2. Benevolence is good, but not apart from love.

1 Corinthians 13:3 Love is described.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is better than our present incomplete knowledge, 1 Corinthians 13:8-12 and greater than even faith and hope 1 Corinthians 13:13.

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