Bible Commentaries
1 Corinthians 12

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

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Verse 1


1) "Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren,"(peri de ton pneumatikon, adelphoi) "Now about spiritual matters (things) brethren." The spiritual things or matters, also referred to as spiritual gifts, constitute Paul’s subject matter through chapters 1 Corinthians 12:1 to 1 Corinthians 14:40. Even if other matters had to wait, spiritual matters of the nature, purpose, proper function, and usage of spiritual gifts could not be put aside.

2) "I would not have you ignorant." (ou thelo humas agnolin) "I have a strong will that you all not be ignorant." Of these spiritual gifts or spiritual matters, as they related to spiritual gifts, Paul had an high, deep, or holy desire that the Corinth church members be not in a state of ignorance. Spiritual gifts were divine tools of service given to church members. Yet one must know how o use good tools, else they may be hurtful to him or others.

Verse 2

1) "Ye know that ye were Gentiles." (oidate hoti hote ethne ete) "You all perceive that when ye were Gentiles or heathen." Having come to wisdom and comprehension in Jesus Christ, the beginning of wisdom, the Corinthian church brethren were reminded of their heathen conduct in babbling heathen worship, Proverbs 1:7; Ephesians 2:1-3; 1 Corinthians 10:20.

2) "Carried away unto these dumb idols." (pros ta eidola ta aphona) "To or toward the voiceless idols, (Greek apagomenoi) being led away." Those who pursue idols, the worship of idols, voiceless and lifeless things, are led by demon spirits or the Devil, thus kept from the gospel of Christ, 2 Corinthians 4:3-4; 1 Corinthians 10:21; 1 Thessalonians 1:9.

3) "Even as ye were led." (hos an egesthe apagomenoi) "However ye were led." Unsaved are as surely led in false worship by the devil and demon spirits as the saved are by the Spirit of God, 1 John 4:1; 1 Timothy 4:1-2; Psalms 115:4-8; Revelation 6:13.

Christian living and Christian church worship are on a much higher moral and ethical plane than heathen living and heathen worship. Christian worship and church worship are therefore to be regulated by the law of the Lord, not by heathen concepts. This is the essence of Paul’s presentation of Spiritual gifts and their purpose and function in the edification of the church.

Verse 3

1) "Wherefore I give you to understand." (dio gnorizo humin) "Wherefore I make known to you." The instructions Paul wrote to the Corinth church were to dissolve or remove their ignorance of and enlighten them regarding the Holy Spirit through whom spiritual gifts were exercised among them.

2) "That no man speaking by the Spirit of God." (hoti oudeis en pneumati theou lalon) "That not one speaking in (by) (the) Spirit of God." The phrase indicates that true men of God speak by the power and leading of the Holy Spirit through which Jesus is honored. To speak against Jesus is to do so by an evil spirit.

3) "Calleth Jesus accursed." (Legei anathema iesous) "Says: a curse (is) Jesus." To speak against, to set one’s self against Jesus Christ or His Word, is to call Him accursed or to classify Him as only a depraved imperfect one, Galatians 1:6; Galatians 1:9.

4) "And that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord." (kai oudeis dunatai eipein kurios iesous) "And not one is able to say: Lord Jesus." To reverently speak of Jesus was to be empowered or led by the Holy Spirit who was to glorify Him, John 16:13-14; Romans 10:9.

5) "But by the Holy Ghost " (ei me en pneumati hagio) "Except (if not) in or by (the) Holy Spirit he is enabled." Galatians 4:6. Paul laid out the premise that spiritual matters, or spiritual gifts, come through the Holy Spirit of God, as afore promised to the church, to empower and guide her and her membership in worship and service, John 16:9-14; Luke 24:49; Acts 2:1-4; Acts 2:16-18.

Verse 4


1) “Now there are diversities of gifts.” (diaireseis de charismaton eis) "Now there exist difference of gifts and charismatic distributions." These (charis) Grace - "distributions" or gifts in and for spiritual matters, in plurality form, had been a possession of the church from Pentecost.

2) "But the same Spirit”- (to de auto pneuma) "but the same Spirit." The one Holy Spirit, vice-gerent of Jesus Christ, third person of the God-head, was the empowering dispenser of these gifts, often conferred by the Apostles, following Pentecost, by the laying on of the Apostles’ hands, Acts 8:14-21; Acts 19:6; 1 Timothy 4:14.

Verse 5

1) "And there are differences of administrations," (kai diaireseis diakonion eisin) "And differences of ministries there exist." The existing ministries refer to the various special spiritual or charismatic gifts that enabled members of the church to serve the Lord, the church, and their fellow man in edifying the church of Jesus Christ, to the glory of God, Ephesians 3:21.

2) "But the same Lord." (kai ho autos kurios) "And the same Lord." There was one Lord, Jesus Christ, who was to be honored or glorified through the charismatic gifts, as given to various members of each church, until the Bible was completed, John 16:13-15.

Verse 6

1) "And there are diversities of operation." (kai diaireseis energematon eisin) "And differences of operations or functions there are or (exist)." The premise is laid that there existed a broad or wide variety of spiritual gifts to fit the needs of every member of the church, 1 Corinthians 1:29; 1 Corinthians 1:31.

2) "But it is the same God." (ho de autos theos) "But the same God (exists)." There are not many gods, each performing a different function, alleged in heathen religions. Our God is one true God who has dispensed gifts to men, through the Holy Spirit, for His own glory, to the edifying of the congregation.

3) "That worketh all in all." (ho energon ta panta en pasin) "The one (God) energizing, empowering, or working all things in all." No credit or occasion was to be taken by anyone having a charismatic gift, to glory in it. None was to glory above another, Galatians 6:14.

Verse 7

1) "But the manifestation of the Spirit." (hekasto de didotai he phunerosis tou pneumatos) "But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit." Distribution of spiritual gifts were visible manifestations, credentials of genuineness, to sustain the testimony of every member of the Corinth church.

2) "is given to every man to profit withal." (pros to sumpheron) "To or toward the profit (of others)." Paul asserted that visible manifestations of supernatural gifts held by the Corinth members, were not for their singular, individual, or personal profit and glory, but for the help of the entire church, and even those without. Miracles and special spiritual gifts appear to have been given primarily to convince the unbelievers of the deity of Jesus Christ and to strengthen the weak believers. Mark 2:10-11; John 11:41-44; 1 John 2:11.

Verse 8

1) "For to one is given by the Spirit." (9) Nine kinds of charismatic, spiritual gifts, manifestations, are now classified (homen gar dia tou pnematos didotai) "For to one, through the Spirit, is given" -Let it be noted that the distribution or parceling of gifts is first done by the Holy Spirit working in the church, and second for the profit of the local assembly.

2) "The Word of wisdom." (logos sophias) "A word or expression of wisdom." This refers to a right judgment or evaluation for practical or profitable application of knowledge to meet a certain or specific problem or need, James 1:5.

3) "To another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit." (allo de logos gnoseos kata to auto pneuma) "Yet to another an expression of knowledge according to the same Spirit." The Christian religions have not a multiplicity of imaginary gods that endow men or help or hinder them, as heathenism claims. It has but one Holy Spirit who empowers, energizes, or distributes spiritual gifts according to the need and profit of all and each. The "word of knowledge", as a spiritual gift, seems to identify apprehension of truth, the capacity to recognize truth.

Verse 9

1) "To another faith by the same Spirit;" (etero pistis en to auto pneumati) The term "by the same Spirit" refers to the Holy Spirit by which one is first begotten or born into the family of God, John 6:63; 1 John 5:1, and second to the Holy Spirit sent on Pentecost to empower the church, and to give her members special gifts, including faith, Ephesians 2:9.

2) "To another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit" (allo de charismata hiamaton en to eni pneumati) "And to another gifts of cures by the one Spirit." All genuine healing or cure of ills and sickness is Divine healing, whether it be by supernatural intervention or gradual healing and cure of mind, body, or spirit, aided and empowered by use of physical medicine and means employed by men. The gift of instantaneous miraculous healing, empowered by the Holy Spirit, ceased with the completion of the New Testament. See 1 Corinthians 13:13.

Verse 10

1) "To another the working of miracles," (allo de energemata dunameon) "And to another operations of powers." Translated the "working of miracles," this phrase indicates energetic acts of dynamic nature, wrought by members of the church, to the edifying of the assembly.

2) "To another prophecy;" (allo [de] propheteia) "And to another prophecy." The gift of prophecy intelligibly speaking forth the word of God, was another of the numerous charismatic gifts distributed to the Corinth members, by the Holy Spirit. This gift was more of forth-telling than foretelling.

3) "To another discerning of spirits:" (allo de diakriseis pneumaton) "And to another discernings or comprehensions of Spirits" - spirits of good and evil nature, based on the Word of God, 1 John 4:1; 1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Timothy 1:14.

4) "To another divers kinds of tongues;" (hetero gene glosson) "To another (of different order) various languages," or the charismatic capacity to speak in another language, for the profit or benefit of the church membership, as occurred on Pentecost, Acts 2:4; Acts 2:6; Acts 2:8; Acts 2:11.

5) "To another the interpretation of tongues;" (allo de eremeneia glosson) "And to another the interpretation of tongues or languages." This was a special charismatic empowering gift that enabled one to understand and interpret or translate tongues or languages to the profit or help of hearers.

Verse 11

1) “But all these worketh" (panta de tauta energei) "And all these things (these nine spiritual gifts) operate" or "each operates." These spiritual gifts were energetically and dynamically to be used in witnessing and working for God.

2) "That one and selfsame Spirit." (to en kai to auto pneuma) "The one and same Spirit." As 1 Corinthians 12:9. There is unity in diversity. Though all nine charismatic demonstrations of the spirit vary in manifestations, each works to the edifying of the church, and to the glory of God.

3) "Dividing to every man as he will." (diairoun idia hekasto kathos bouletai) "distributing separately or personally to each one as he (the Holy Spirit) wills." The Spirit, as a person, was here declared to have had and exercised His judgment or discerning will in parceling gifts out to each Corinth church member, according to need. His will is always Holy, Hebrews 4:7; Revelation 22:17.

Verse 12


1) "For as the body is one." (kathaper gar to some en estin) "For just as the physical body is one - one body." So also is the church - body (assembly) one though each is made up of individual, important, and necessary functional members. Each body and both is and are indwelt by the Holy Spirit; (Ephesians 4:4; Ephesians 1:22-23; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 1 Corinthians 3:16-17). Here the human body is compared with each local congregation or church.

2) "And hath many members." (kai mele echei) And has, holds, contains, or is composed of many members or parts." Each human body is composed of many and diverse parts, neither of which alone constitutes a life body, yet each is biologically, functionally, and harmoniously important to’ the welfare of the human body.

3) "And all the members of that one body." (panta de ta mele tou somatos) "but all the members of the (one) body." But the members of the body, though many and important, could never long survive, function, or have and hold life or usefulness, apart from the life and unity of the whole body. So also the church body, apart from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the church and each assembly, cannot survive with candlestick power; John 16:7-14; John 14:13-17; Revelation 2:5.

4) "Being many, are one body." (polla onta en estin soma) "Being many (yet) are or exist as one body." As many members constitute the human body, so many members constitute the "Church-body", or assembly of Christ, in each community.

5) "So also is Christ." (houtos kai ho christos) Christ is one being. His church, called His body or assembly, is also one body: 1) Salvation was secured by His cross body from which His blood was shed, Colossians 1:20; Colossians 1:22; 2) Not from or through His church body (assembly) Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18.

Verse 13

1) "For by one Spirit." (kai gar en eni pneumati) "For even in one Spirit." As there is one physical body and one church body, each with functioning members, there is also one Holy Spirit through whom and in whom and by whom eternal life is imparted and spiritual gifts are distributed to each member of the local assembly.

2) "Are we all baptized into one body." (pantes eis en soma ebaptisthemen) "We are (were) all immersed (eis) with reference to one body or assembly." This alludes first to one’s being saved, in the Spirit, and second to his being baptized, (immersed) with reference to the one body, or church assembly. Note, that on Pentecost, all who received the charismatic gifts had first been saved, (in the Spirit) and second, baptized in water, with reference to our Lord’s church-following-company-duties; To receive the charismatic tongues gifts, individually, each received them through the "once for all" baptism of the Holy Ghost which came upon the church of Pentecost. He distributed to each according to His will, Acts 2:1-4; 1 Corinthians 12:11.

3) "Whether we be Jews or Gentile " (eite foudaioi eite hellenes) "Whether Jews or Greeks." The order was 1) salvation, 2) water baptismal identity with one local congregation, and 3) in the one body, gifts were distributed to each.

4) "Whether we be bond or free. " (eite dou lo i eite elutheroi) "Whether we be slaves or free men." Impartially, the Holy Spirit (vice-gerent of Christ in the church) parceled out or distributed to each member of each congregation His gifts.

5) "And have been all made to drink into one Spirit." (kai pantes en pneuma epotistheroi) n-And all one spirit were given to drink or partake." The term "all one spirit were given to partake or drink" refers to the subject matter of distribution of charismatic gifts - this "once for all gift," which Jesus promised to send to the church, to be with and in her forever came to the church as a local institution, body, or assembly on Pentecost, since which time, He has continued in that one body, (kind of body) local assembly, to distribute to each member charismatic energy power or gifts of the remaining three, as He wills, even as He did before the Bible was completed – John 14:13-17; 1 Corinthians 13:13. It was to the church " ye" that the Holy Ghost came for empowering, Acts 2:1-4.

Verse 14

1) "For the body is not one member." (kai gar to soma ouk estin en mellos) "For even the body is not one member." Not made up or composed of one member. Paul proceeds with the parallelism or comparison of the importance of harmony between and importance of function of each of the members of both the human body and the local church body.

2) "But many." (alla molla) "But numerous (members) or parts." The Corinth church was the body of (assembly of) Christ in Corinth made up of many members. Each member had been baptized, immersed for a special service in that congregation; and the Holy Spirit, Paul asserted, gave to each member some specific charismatic gift for service.

Verse 15

1) "If the foot shall say," (ean eipe ho pous) "if the foot says or should say." This is Paul’s use of the hypothetical contingency, or supposition, of reductio-ad-absurdum, reducing to an absurdity, any complaint of inferiority or non-importance of spiritual gifts.

2) "Because I am not the hand," (hoti ouk eimi cheir) "Because I am not a hand." What would a footless body be? The answer, a weakened, less perfect, complete, and useless body.

3) "I am not of the body;" (ouk eimi ek tou somatos) "I am not of, (a part of) or important to the body."

4) "is it therefore not of the body?" Does a false premise establish a truth? Certainly not! And for a foot of a physical body or a member of a church body to object that it or he is not a member of the body doesn’t make the erroneous assumption or affirmation a truth. This is Paul’s logical, practical, testamentary reply to the selfish, covetous church members who would complain, feet sorry for themselves, because their spiritual gift did not seem as spectacular as that of another.

Verse 16

1) "And if the ear shall say " (kai can eipe to ous) "And if the ear says or should say." This is a supposition contrary to possibility of the fact - an hypothesis of absurd nature - ears do not talk , complain, rebel - as singular members of the body. See Ephesians 4:25.

2) "Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body;" (hoti ouk eimi ophthlamos ouk eimi ek tou somatos) "Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body." The term "an eye" contrasts seeing with hearing and attributes supposed, hypothetical, rebellious speech to the eye in jealous conference with the eye against the whole body.

3) "Is it therefore not of the body?" (ou para touto ouk estin ek tou somatos) "Yet for this is it not of the body?" The mere complaint, dissatisfaction, of an ear, does not remove it from the body; or the lie that the dissatisfied evil ear tells does not change the fact that it exists as a vital part of the body, does it? The rhetoric implication is - it surely does not!

Verse 17

1) "If the whole body were an eye." (ei holon to soma ophthalmos) "If all the body (was) an eye." The supposition, contrary to existing fact, is continued for emphasis of the evident absurdity one member of the body’s dissatisfaction with its own gift of function, or its covetous jealousy of another member’s bodily gift exemplifies.

2) "Where were the hearing?" (pou he akoe) If all of a body were eyes, "where (would) hearing be?" The body would be a blank, staring monstrosity, useless and abhorrent. What other member of the body might do the hearing? Wiser-than-God-one?

3) "If the whole body were hearing," (ei holon akoe) " If all (the body) was hearing,” “for hearing," an ear, a sound receiver, a mere sound receptacle - If the body were made up of all ears, a grisly, grotesque, hideous, useless vessel it would be.

4) "Where were the smelling?" (pou he osphresis) "Where the smelling?" What member of the body would bear the sense of scent or smelling? The strength of the physical body is in the unity of diversity and the harmonious function of each member of the body’s fulfilling its own work. Even so diversities of spiritual charismatic gifts are distributed by the higher wisdom and will of the Holy Spirit to members of the church body, congregation, or assembly for service and mutual helping and to the church. See? Each member of the body helps to make the other more useful, Ephesians 4:25.

Verse 18

1) "But now hath God set the members." (nun de ho theos etheto ta mela) The (Gk. nun) means "now and hereafter progressively, without cessation" -"God (has) set the members." Paul returned to consideration of God’s specific fixation or placing members, by divine means of salvation, baptism, and fellowship into each church body.

2) "Everyone of them in the body." (hekaston auton en to somati) "Each one of them in the body." The salvation, baptism, and place of fellowship of each member of each church body is, by Paul, attributed to the work of Almighty God.

3) "As it hath pleased him." (kathos ethelesen) "Just as he wished or willed. - He who complains, finds fault with his membership gift in the church, finds fault with God. Such is sacrilege! Paul simply affirms that as each member of a human body has a sense and duty to the whole body, as fixed by the wisdom of the Creator, so does each member of the church body with his spiritual gift, given to him by the high wisdom of God.

Verse 19

1) "And if they were all one member." (ei de en ta panta en mellos) "If indeed all was one member." A pile of hands, feet, ears, noses, and eyes, without unity of life, reflexes, and rhythm and intelligence and harmony would not and could not be functional or useful!

2) "Where were the body?" The body would not, could not exist, if carnal, covetous wills of each member were permitted to prevail, could it? or would it? Who shall try to "play God?" or question His will in constituting and directing service from each member of the human body or church body? Let him become a fool, or treat him as such, 1 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Corinthians 3:20.

Verse 20

1) "But now are they many members." (nun de polla men melle) "But now and hereafter are there many members" - (The Gk. nun is translated now and is always a progressive now without cessation of continuity.) The idea Paul affirmed was that the church body would never cease to exist and its existence was and would be of multiple or many members.

2) "Yet one body." (en de soma) "Yet one body." The church is the body (institution) of Christ, instituted and constituted by Him as a worshipping and serving fellowship, made up of many members, with differing gifts. It (His church-body) is never universal or invisible any more than the school, court, jury, or legislature is universal and/or invisible. Ephesians 1:22-23; Ephesians 4:4-5.

Verse 21

1) "And the eye cannot say unto the hand." (ou dunatai de ho opthalmos eipen te cheiri) "And the eye is not able to say to the hand." Since God placed members of the body, each in its own place, according to his higher will, it is not sensibly, defensively possible for it to complain.

2) "I have no need of thee:" (chreion sou ouk echo) "I have not a need of you." What could the eye do, if there were no hand to serve a need the eye beheld, to a need of the eye, or a need in another member? Isolated and alone members are useless.

3) "Nor again the head to the feet," (he palin he kephale tois posin) "Nor again (is it possible) the head to the feet." The wisdom and comprehension of the head would be non-practical for service to God or man, if there were no feet to carry the body. See?

4) "I have no need of you." "I have not a need of you." The depraved egotism, covetousness, and arrogance of any member of the body, out of harmony with the Divine purpose of the whole body, is out of the general will of God.

Verse 22

1) "Nay, much more those members of the body." (alla pollo mallon) "But by much more" (ta mele tou somatos) "the members of the body." To a greater degree - degree of importance than those major members of the body already named - major members, the eye, ear, nose, head, hands, feet, and ears---

2) "Which seem to be more feeble." (ta dokounta asthenestera huparchein) "The (members) seeming or appearing weaker to be" - the tongue the covert, internal members of the body, heart, lungs, etc. . . . These more visible members of the body receive greater recognition, yet the covert, less visible members are absolutely necessary for the best function of the body.

3) "Are necessary." (anagkaia estin) "Are necessary." Without the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, tongue, or vocal folds the body would be greatly or totally hindered from its harmonious function and usefulness. Let this illustration of necessity of each member of each physical body be recognized as a similar self-existent condition in each body or congregation of the Lord. Let each be pleased to use his own charismatic gift to the honor of the Lord and usefulness in his church, without jealousy or complaint against God or his fellow man. 1 Corinthians 9:26-27; Romans 14:11-12; Philippians 2:3-4.

Verse 23

1) "And those members of the body," (kai ha tou somatos) ’And members of the body- which." The members of the human body are still used to point out the importance of each in the proper function and balance and use of the entire body. -

2) "Which we think to be less honourable." (dokoumen atimotera einai) "We think (consider) to be less honorable." This refers to less attention daily given to covert members of the body, the hidden or uncovered, less visible members.

3) "Upon these we bestow more abundant honour;" (toutois timen perissoteran peritithemen) "To these (members) we confer more abundant honor." Yet when the circulatory, digestive, respiratory, or nervous system’s function is disturbed, we give an increased or much greater degree of attention or care than to the visible members.

4) "And our uncomely parts have more abundant comeIiness." (kai ta aschemona hemon euschemenosunen perissoteran echei) "And the uncomely or covert members of us have or hold more abundant, (or a greater degree of) comeliness." The beauty of value of the comely, covert, or involuntary functioning members of the body are given special respect.

Verse 24

1) "For our comely parts have no need:" (ta de euschemona hemon ou chreian echei) "Yet the comely or covert members of us need not have." Evidently this refers to the more nearly involuntary functioning members of the body that do not require daily grooming and care.

2) "But God hath tempered the body together." (alla ho theos sunekerasen to soma) "But the God (trinity) blended together the body." This alludes to the fact that man is "fearfully and wonderfully made," Psalms 139:14; Psalms 8:4-6.

3) "Having given more abundant honour," (perissoteran dous timen) "giving a greater degree (of) honor." God doled out special honors to other less comely members of the human body or being, the intangible, yet members as a) the heart, b) the mind, and c) the spirit of man - essences of his soul-existence.

4) "To that part which lacked." (to husteroumeno) "To the (member) lacking." The "lacking" seems to refer to physical, outward demonstration of the uncomely members - 1) as the heart, the source of love, and 2) the mind, the source of knowledge, and 3) the spirit and will, invisible, covert, yet capacities of each person - to which the highest degree of honor and respect are given.

Verse 25

1) "That there should be no schism in the body;" (hina me he schisma en to somati) "in order that there be no schism, imbalance, division, or lack of coordination and harmony in the body." The trinitarian, Almighty, and omniscient God created a masterpiece of synchronized mechanism in the human body for service to Himself and humanity.

2) "But that the members should have the same care one for another." (alla to auto huper allelon merimnosin ta mele) "but (in order that) the members might have the coordinating, harmonious, or compassionate care on behalf of one another." God cemented, tempered, united and impulsively synchronized members of the human body that they might reflexively, by nature, work with and on behalf, not against, one another. In like manner He designs that all members of each church by His spirit be joined in harmony.

Verse 26

1) "And whether one member suffer," (kai ete poschei en melos) "And whether (wherever) one member suffers." So closely tied, united, or symphonized by reflex and impulse are all members of the body so that hurt, injury, or pain shocks the rest of the members.

2) "All the members suffer with it;" (sumpachei panta ta mele) "Suffers with it all the members." All the members of the body suffer when one has a headache, stomach ache, carbuncle, or broken finger. Even so the members of the local congregation, the church, should by charismatic unity of the Spirit share care for one another.

3) "Or one member be honoured” - (eite doksazetai melos) "Or whether (wherever) a member is glorified." The heart does not experience either gladness or sadness alone. And when the mind learns, is trained, the whole body is honored, glorified, helped.

4) "All the members rejoice with it." (sugchairci panta ta mele) "All the members rejoice or are in symphony with (it)." All members of the body feel better when a pain has gone. Joy, gladness, coordinated reflexive joy, surges through the whole of man. Even the infantile church member should recognize that not all church members can have the same calling, gift, or special work in the Lord’s church body. All cannot be the pastor, deacons, or choir directors, or musicians. The covert, less conspicuous, less demonstrably gifted members are honored of God if and as they serve Him in symphonic harmony. There are no unimportant gifts, talents, or members, in any church of the Lord. Let each be diligent in his own calling, place of service to God daily, See 1 Corinthians 7:20-24; 1 Corinthians 15:58.

Verse 27

1) "Now ye are the body of Christ." (humeis de este soma christou) "You all indeed are (exist ’ as) members of the body (Corinth assembly) or Corinth church of Christ." The Corinth church was the body, local congregation, directly addressed in this letter, together with other congregations in concord, fellowship, or harmony with the church at Corinth. This was written to the church body at Corinth, then to be circulated among other fellowshipping churches.

2) "And members in particular." (kai mele ek merous) members in part." All were members of the church assembly at Corinth," but the term "in part" seems to be used to emphasize that, each as an individual to be and stay in the congregation, rather than apart. (not apart, not a member), must accept and use whatever charismatic gift the Holy Spirit wills to give him in fitly framing the church body, assembly, into a program temple of worship, praise, and service. 1 Corinthians 12:11; Ephesians 2:21-22.

Verse 28

1) "And God hath set some in the church." (kai ous men etheto ho theos en te ekklesia) "And the trinitarian God (administrator, sovereign of heaven and earth) fixed, placed, or set in the church, called out assembly." This term church has no connotation of a universal, invisible, intangible assembly. As an institution it always envisions a local assembly of individual people.

a) "First Apostles" (Gk. proton) "Firstly" is an ordinal, mathematical, definitive term meaning "first in order or rank," of all spiritual or charismatic gifts God set in the church was "apostles," Matthew 10:1-8.

b) "Secondarily prophets" (deuteron) "Secondarily" means second in order or rank of giving was the gift of prophets, a special gift to speak forth the word of-God, a forthteller, not necessarily a foreteller.

c) "Thirdly teachers." (triton) "Thirdly," in order or rank, not necessarily in importance, was given the charismatic gift of teaching or (Gk. didaskalous) teachers."

d) "After that miracles." (epeita dunameis) Then or following the other three gifts came the gift of "dynamics, powers, or miracles," Luke 10:19-20.

e) "Then gifts of healings" (epeita charismata hiamaton) "then followed the gifts (charismatics) of healing or cures."

f) "Helps ’ (antilempseis) "helpings", a gift closely akin to healing associated with physical needs administered by the deaconship.

g) "Governments" (kuberneseis) "governings" seems to be a gift associated with church administration.

h) "Diversities of tongues ’ (gene glosson) Different originating or kinds of tongues or languages - a special gift.

Verse 29

1) "Are all apostles?" (me pantes apostoloi) "Not all (are) apostles (are they)?" Paul asked seven successive rhetorical questions by use of parallelism. Each question implied a negative answer to be right.

2) "Are all prophets?" (me pantes prophetai) "All (are) not prophets (are they)?" Surely all church members were neither of the first four kinds name, 1) apostles, 2) prophets, 3) teachers, and 4) miracle

Verse 30

See comments above

Verse 31

1) "But covet earnestly the best gifts;" (zeloute de ta charismata ta meizonta) "But desire ye eagerly the greater charismatics (gifts)." Some were for internal, spiritual, intellectual help; others were for external, physical, health help, for a temporary being. The former were the better.

2) "And yet show I unto you," (kai eti kath deiknum i humin) "And yet of my own accord I show to you all." To the Corinth church and other congregations in close colleague or fellowship with her in various places, Paul pointed to something better ahead, awaiting the church; See 1 Corinthians 1:2.

3) "A more excellent way." (huperbolen hodon) "A more excellent, an hyperbolic, way - a way above and beyond former comprehension." A way or road or plan for the unity and strength of the church body was only a little away off (in time). This alluded to the completion of the Bible when dispensing of all special spiritual, charismatic gifts would cease, except faith, hope, and charity, 1 Corinthians 13:10-13; Ephesians 4:11-16.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 12". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. 1985.