1 CORINTHIANS - Chapter 12 Print E-mail

1 CORINTHIANS – Chapter 12

Sunday Evening Service – February 24, 2013, the Year of Our Lord

Pastor Carolyn Sissom


1 Cor. 12:1:  “And now brethren, we come to the subject of spiritual gifts…”


I praise the Lord that by Grace the Holy Spirit touched my life with the Baptism of the Holy Spirit in 1973 during the Charismatic Renewal.  That was over 40-years ago and I understand the “joy unspeakable and full of glory” and have continually been “drinking freely of the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:13) irrigating my mind, will and soul with the Spirit.


I came slowly into the “Baptism”  from a “very conservative” upbringing and an intellectual mind set.  However, I read the Holy Bible and by the Grace of God I believed what was written in the Bible, not the doctrines of men who had spun the gospel into social correctness.


When I received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, I “ate” these three chapters on the Spiritual Gifts as well as the other passages in the New Testament.


 The greatest blessing of our life right along with our salvation, and loved ones is to “hear the voice of God”; be used by Him under the Divine empowerment of the Holy Spirit; and experience His Presence in power and Glory.


The Good News of this chapter is every Christian has a gift and often multiple gifts of the Holy Spirit once they have been baptized in the Holy Spirit.  We are also born with innate giftings and when those are energized by the power of the Holy Spirit we experience the anointing.


In the New Testament the Holy Spirit has been poured out upon us as His church.  Anyone who speaks, moves, or ministers by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit is spoken of as being anointed.


Other Bible synonyms for this term are “unction” and “mantle”.  There are four dimensions of this anointing:


1.  “To Pour Out”   (Ez. 16:9; James 5:14; Jn. 12:3).

2.  “To smear on” (11 Sam. 3:39; James 5:14; Jn. 12:3).

3.  “To Rub In”     (Lk. 4:18; Acts 4:27; 10:38; 11 Cor. 1:21; Heb. 1:9; 1 Jn. 2:20;27).

4.     The infilling



 Paul is dealing with a problem church and the abuse and mis-use of the Spiritual gifts.  The big error of the Corinthians was in assuming the gifted person was spiritually superior to the ungifted person.  And the more spectacular the gift, the more superior he was thought to be. 


Paul opened this letter acknowledging that the Corinthians didn’t lack any spiritual gift (1:7).  They had “not come behind” in any of the gifts.  But it is clear as the letter progresses they didn’t have the maturity to grasp the proper administration and operation of the gifts.


1 Cor. 12:1-3:  Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.  You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, even as you were led.  Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed; and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.”


Paul is assuring the believers that the controlling Holy Spirit will not lead men into blasphemy.  Also, the Holy Spirit within us will be grieved when we hear others blaspheme the name of God, the name of Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit.  Similarly, “Jesus is Lord” is a real confession clearly distinguishing the Christian from the Jews and pagans around him.


1 Cor. 12: 3-5:  Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.  There are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.  There are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which works all in all.” 


The gifts (Charismata) of the Spirit, administration and operation are the work of the Divine Trinity and have unity in function:


  1. Spiritual gifts by the Holy Spirit.
  2. Administrations by Jesus Christ.
  3. Operations by God the Father.


In this chapter there are 10 Ministries of the Holy Spirit revealed:


  1. Glorifies Jesus (Vs. 3; Jn. 16:13-14).
  2. Inspires manifestations (Vs. 7, 11).
  3. Forms the Body of Christ (Vs. 13).
  4. Energizes believers (vs. 13).
  5. Imparts love (13: 1-13; Rom 5:5).
  6. Speaks mysteries in tongues (12:10; 14:2; 13-19, 21-23, 26-28).
  7. Interprets mysteries of tongues (12:10; 14:5, 13, 26-28).
  8. Edifies by prophecy (14: 3-31).
  9. Edifies believers in tongues (V. 4)\
  10. Gives gifts to believers (V 8-10; Rom 12:6 ;)


A grace-gift is taken from the same root as charis—grace.


1 Cor. 12:7:  For the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.”


The apostle establishes that the gifts in all their variety emanate from the one Spirit of God.  The Holy Spirit grants these giftings individually to whomsoever He wishes. I don’t believe we can earn them nor or they given out as rewards.  The manifestations of the Spirit are given to edify and build up the Body of Christ for the common good that Christ will be revealed and glorified in His Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven.


The ministry that meets the needs of man through the anointing and the manifestation of the Holy Spirit is the gospel of the Kingdom in supernatural demonstration and power.  It is the Gospel in action.


1 Cor. 12:8:  For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;


The Word of Wisdom, Word of Knowledge and Discerning of Spirits are part of what is known as the Knowing Ministry ---These Revelation gifts enable us to think the Mind of Christ. 


  1. Word of Knowledge – The Holy Spirit given ability to receive from God by revelation the knowledge of facts and information which is humanly impossible to know.  It is a portion or part or fragment of God’s all-knowing (omniscience).
  2. Word of Wisdom – An unearned and supernatural impartation of a fragment of God’s total wisdom to meet a particular need, answer a particular challenge, or utilize a particular piece (word) of knowledge.  This works with Word of Knowledge.
  3. Discerning of Spirits--- The God-given ability to recognize what spirit (God, man, Satan) is behind and underlying different manifestations and activities (note that this gift is both positive and negative).


1 Cor. 12:9-10: “To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues…”


The speaking ministries endued by the Holy Spirit are vocal gifts or gifts of utterance and enable us to speak what God is speaking through the manifestation of the Spirit:


  1. Divers Kinds of Tongues ---the gift of tongues is the God-given ability which enables a believer to talk in a language which he doesn’t know.
  2. Interpretation of Tongues ---The God-given ability to bring forth in a known tongue a message that was given in an unknown tongue.
  3. Prophecy – The God-given ability to speak forth in a known tongue a message which one has received directly from the Holy Spirit for that particular time and situation.  This will involve forth-telling and foretelling.  Prophecy is anointed utterance.


All prophesy is judged, being in the in-part realm of imperfection.  Those who are Spirit-filled (1 Jn. 2:27; Jn. 10:27); elders (Heb. 13:17; Acts 20:29); those with the gift of discerning of spirits (1 Cor. 12:10), and prophets (1 Cor. 14:29); judge prophecy by these standards:


(a)   Does it edify? (1 Cor. 14:3)

(b)   Does it agree with the letter and the Spirit of the Holy Bible? (11 Cor. 1: 17-20; Amos 3:3; 11 Pet. 1:21).

(c)    Does it exalt Jesus Christ? (1 Cor. 12: 1-3)

(d)   Does it bear witness with the Spirit with those who hear with an open heart? (Rev. 2:7, 11,17)

(e)   Does it produce the fruit of life and liberty? (Mt. 7;16)

(f)     Does it come to pass? (Deut. 13: 1-5)


The Doing Ministries are those Power or Action gifts which enable us to do the works of God:


  1. Faith – The God-given ability to believe God for the impossible.
  2. Working of Miracles – The God-given ability to perform the impossible.  The Greek word “dunamis” means power, inherent ability, and is used in referring to works of a supernatural origin and character, such as could not be produced by natural agents and means. 
  3. Gifts of Healings – The God-given ability to impart healing for the physical body within a diversity of gifts of healings and administrations.


1 Cor. 12:11-13: “All of these work by One and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man individually as He will.  For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ.  For by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”


Here the apostle insists it is the Spirit Who decides who gets what gift rather than any individual’s desire for a certain gift.  Although he does tell us in verse 31, we are to covet earnestly the best gifts.  In 15:39, Paul tells us we are to covet to prophesy and not forbid speaking in tongues.


Paul lays heavy stress on the fact that believers are in Christ.  The phrase “in Christ” appears 39 times in the book of Romans.  How do we get into Christ? We are baptized in Christ by the Holy Spirit.


When Paul is referring to “one faith, one Lord, one baptism,” he is referring to the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.


Water baptism pictures our death and resurrection in Christ.  Because His death is our death, we are buried in water.  But since we have His resurrection life, we rise from the water.  It is by virtue of our being in Christ that His work on the cross becomes ours.  Unless the Holy Spirit baptized us into Christ, there would be no “body of Christ”.


There is only one Baptism of the Holy Spirit, but with the Lord dwelling in us, we can be filled with the Spirit many times.  We can continually drink any time we are thirsty.


John 14:20:  In that day you shall know that I am in my Father, you in me and I in you”.


The human body, after all, is not made up of just one organ, but many.  If the foot should say, “I’m not a part of the body because I’m not a hand,” would that make it any less a part of the body?  If the ear should say, “I’m not a part of the body either, because I’m not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body?  If the body were just one big eye, how could anyone hear?  If the whole body were one big ear, who could smell anything?


No one can opt out of the body on the ground of dissatisfaction, or jealousy for a “higher” gift.  The body’s constitution demands their God-given function.  There is mutual dependence throughout the body.  There must also be mutual respect and care.  Sympathetic understanding produces true harmony. Unity in diversity creates a balanced body.


If one finds themselves competing, jealous or ambitious for another’s gifts and callings within the Body of Christ that one is on a slippery slope.  Consider the “walk” and “cost” of the brother/sister in Christ to answer their “calling”.  Ministry and the gifts are “free”, but they don’t come “cheap”.


You might not make it if you had to walk into another brother/sister’s calling.  Let us rejoice daily in who Christ made us to be for that day and just “be” the part of His body the Lord asks of us daily.


Luke 12:42-48:  The Lord said, “who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?  Blessed is that servant, whom his Lord when he comes shall find him, so, doing.  Of a truth I say to you, that he will make him ruler over all that he has…The servant which knew his lord’s will, and did not prepare himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.  He that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes.  For to whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required; and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.  I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it is already kindled?  I have a baptism to be baptized with…”


1 Cor 12:18:  God has set the members every one of them in the body, as it has pleased Him.  If they were all one member, then where is the body?  Now there are many members, and one body.  The eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you; nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.”


God has arranged many different parts into the human body and has so designed them so that none is complete without the other.  Consequently the eye cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you;” nor can the head say to the feet, “I don’t need you”.  To the contrary those parts that seem to be less essential are in fact indispensable.  Yes, there are some body parts that seem to be base and we treat them with great honor, because of the function they perform.  At the same time, some of these parts shouldn’t be seen by others, so we hide them from their eyes.  However, the parts that look beautiful have no need of special adorning by us.  In arranging these parts so that those which seem less important receive extra honor, God has brought harmony to the whole body.  Thus any sense of division in the body has been removed, because the different parts make each other’s welfare their common concern.  If one organ suffers, they all suffer with it.  If one organ prospers, the rest all share in the benefit.


Paul is emphasizing this because of the disunity of the Corinthian church. (Vs 25) “There should be no schism in the body; the members should have the same care one for another.”


Paul now comes to the point of what he has been saying:  Collectively everyone is part of Christ’s body and each of you is a necessary part of it, all depending on each other.  So in the church, God has appointed different positions for the various parts;


(Vs. 28) God has set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues; are all apostles?  Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles?  Have all the gifts of healing” Do all speak with tongues?  Do all interpret?


The teaching of Apostles, Prophets, and Teachers is a teaching unto itself.  I will continue that on Sunday evening, March 10, 2013, the Year of Our Lord.  We will be teaching on the gifts and callings of God for the next 3-4 weeks –at least through Easter Sunday.


Pastor Carolyn Sissom

Eastgate Ministries, Inc.


Scripture from K.J.V; I entered into the labors of  F. F. Bruce International Bible Commentary; C. S. Lovett’s Lights on 1 Corinthians; The Tongue of the Learned by: Kelly Varner.  Comments and conclusions are my own and not meant to reflect the views of those who I entered into their labors.

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