I Corinthians 12:1-6 Part Two
by Lois E. Gibson
In part one we touched on some background of the city of Corinth and the Corinthian church. Keeping this background in mind will prove helpful as one reads the two letters written to the Corinthians. We'll now start to go through chapter 12, taking it by sections.
Paul starts his discourse on spiritual gifts by sharing he does not want the Corinthian believers to be unaware or ignorant and not know some things. He had been receiving reports of problems within the church and though they had a zeal for spiritual matters, they also lacked necessary knowledge to accompany this zeal.
He reminds them of their pagan background where they were led astray to images representing false gods that could not speak. From this he points out that no one who has the Spirit of God will ever call Jesus accursed and likewise no one may truly call Jesus Lord without the Spirit.
The word which was translated accursed is anathema and it is the same word used by Paul in his letter to the Galatians (1:8,9). According to Vine's, the use of the word in the New Testament was how the meaning had been later acquired in the Old; that was "the disfavor of Jehovah". It is pointed out that in this verse it speaks of the object on which the curse is laid. No one could act under the leading of the Spirit and speak such derogatory things of Christ as some had.
In verse four we read, "Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit." The word translated gifts is charisma and carries the meaning of "'a gift of grace, a gift involving grace' (charis) on the part of God as the donor, is used of His endowments upon believers by the operation of the Holy Spirit in the churches." (Vines) The same word is used in all the mentions of the word gifts in chapters 12 and 14. The gifts are not anything a believer can earn or deserve.
While there are various gifts, they all come from the same Spirit. They do not come from various sources, nor can they be acquired through any other means. It is the one Spirit that gives a variety of gifts to believers. So while one might be endowed by God to heal and another to prophesy, both have the same Source.
Verse five continues: "And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord." While there are various gifts endowed by the Spirit, there are also various ministries that are from the same Lord. The word translated ministries is diakonia and according to Vine's it means "'the office and work of a diakonos', 'service, ministry,' is used of religious and spiritual 'ministration' of the service of believers." Diakonos is "a servant, attendant, minister, deacon".
Verse six states, "There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons." The word translated effects is energema, which means "'what is wrought,' the effect produced by" the power. (Vines)
Paul is making it abundantly clear that no matter what gift, ministry, or workings a believer might have, and no matter how diverse they may be, they all are endowments of God's Spirit working in and through us. They all come from one source: God. It is truly God who gives the abilities and only God should receive the glory. This is something all Christians should remember as God uses them.
We will cover verses 7 through 11 next.
Posted November 4, 2004
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