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Bible Commentaries

Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the Bible
1 Corinthians 12

 

 

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Introduction

Spiritually Gifted Men And Their Gifts
- First Corinthians Twelve -

In first Corinthians twelve, thirteen and fourteen Paul taught the Christians at Corinth about spiritual gifts. There must be unity in the church even though people are very different in the gifts they have received. The gifts that Paul was dealing with were spiritual gifts or supernatural ability that God gave as gifts to certain Christians. Those that have seriously studied the Bible are aware that these gifts ceased with the completion of the New Testament.

God had predicted that the Marvelous things" or miraculous gifts would last for about forty years in the early church. "According to the days of thy coming out of the land of Egypt will I shew unto him marvelous things." (Micah 7:1) Even though we do not have the same miraculous spiritual gifts of the early church God has still blessed us tremendously. We are new creatures rooted and grounded in the person of Jesus Christ.

In Christ people belong to the one body or church. While gifts differ in the church unity must prevail. There is but one body! The privilege of being a part of the one body is one of the great attractions to Christianity. The church is where you can truly belong and everyone can be a part of this one body, regardless of your gifts. You belong to God and He belongs to you! In this one body you have brothers and sisters and they belong to you and you belong to them.


Verses 1-11

Many members with different gifts - 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 : Sadly the brethren at Corinth were divided over "men." Paul wanted it understood that God had given different spiritual gifts to different men. These three chapters (1 Corinthians 12:1-31; 1 Corinthians 13:1-13; 1 Corinthians 14:1-40) dealing with spiritual gifts must be studied against the background of division in the church at Corinth. Paul did not want these brethren to be ignorant concerning spiritual gifts.

The Bible can be understood. Its purpose is to make know the truth, not to hide truth. Before becoming Christians the Corinthians worshipped idols in ignorance. They were led astray by their dumb idols. In contrast they are no longer spiritually blind. Now by the Spirit of God they serve Jesus as Lord. No dumb idol would induce them to confess that Jesus is Lord. This confession could only be induced by the Spirit of God.

Paul set forth the truth that the same God, the one true God not some idol gods, gave special gifts to men in the early church. This is a discussion of the true spiritual gifts and the disciples that possessed them. "There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit." The brethren at Corinth felt that some gifts were more important in the church than others. God wanted it understood that all nine gifts were equally important. The miraculous spiritual gifts were the word of wisdom, knowledge, faith, the gifts of healing, the working of miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, divers kinds of tongues and the interpretation of tongues. All the gifts were given by the same Spirit therefore there could be no difference as to the value of the various gifts. The Lord gave the proper gift to the proper person for the good of the church.


Verses 12-14

Many members in one body - 1 Corinthians 12:12-14 : The one body is the one church of Christ. (Ephesians 1:22-23, Ephesians 4:4) Paul used the human body to help us better understand the church. The church is the body of Christ. There is to be unity in the body concerning the use of spiritual gifts. Our physical body has many different parts. In the same way the spiritual body of Christ or the church has many different members. "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ." (1 Corinthians 12:12)

Men have been taught the necessity of baptism because the Spirit gave that message to the apostles and other inspired teachers. Baptism is to get into Christ or into His death. (Romans 6:3) Baptism is to put on Christ. (Galatians 3:27) Baptism is for remission of sins. (Acts 2:38) Baptism is to be saved. (Mark 16:16) Baptism is to wash away sins. (Acts 22:16) In New Testament day's people that learned the truth and received it were baptized into Christ without delay. That is the way it must be today also. The members make up the many parts of the body. Some were Jews, and others were Gentiles. Some were slaves, and others were free. But they were all baptized into the same body (church) by the same Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:13)


Verses 15-26

Many diverse members united - 1 Corinthians 12:15-26 : There is nothing more diverse and nothing more united than the body. The imaginary conversations between the various parts of the body make this point clearly. A body is not really a body, unless there is more than one part working together. In the body no part of the body can take the place of another part. Each member is an important part of the physical body. Just so, each member is an important part of the spiritual body. No one can take the place of another. All are important.

When a person becomes a Christian they take on a new identity. This new person becomes an important part of the body of Christ. There is to be one church for all mankind, regardless of race or background. We have all been baptized into the same body. Christians are one in Christ. The church is the only place where people are truly created equal! The body is not one member, but many useful and important members! Christianity is not a religion of independence. If one part of our body hurts, then we all hurt. If one part of our body is honored, the whole body will feel honored.


Verses 27-31

Members that love one another - 1 Corinthians 12:27-31 : In the close of this chapter we will see the application Paul made concerning the spiritual gifts given in the one body. The church is composed of many different members but they all make up one united body. Each member of the body must have a strong interest in other members and want to be a blessing to them. If each Christian will do his or her part there will be no jealousies or contentions.

The spiritual gifts were temporary. However the church must continue to function as one body. The spiritual gifts were no longer needed with the completion of the New Testament. We must remember that even in the early church not everyone was an apostle; not everyone was a prophet; not everyone was a teacher; not everyone could work miracles; not everyone could speak in tongues or interpret tongues. But everyone could desire and pursue the best gifts. In the next chapters Paul will identify and describe that more excellent gift. All of the spiritual gifts are temporary but love will continue into eternity.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.

Bibliography Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 12:4". "Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/box/1-corinthians-12.html. 2014.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, August 22nd, 2019
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20
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