Lesson 39


Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

12:1 Now concerning spiritual things, brothers, I don't want you to be ignorant. 12:2 You know that when you were heathen, you were led away to those mute idols, however you might be led. 12:3 Therefore I make known to you that no man speaking by God's Spirit says, "Jesus is accursed." No one can say, "Jesus is Lord," but by the Holy Spirit. 12:4 Now there are various kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.

12:5 There are various kinds of service, and the same Lord. 12:6 There are various kinds of workings, but the same God, who works all things in all. 12:7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the profit of all. 12:8 For to one is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom, and to another the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit; 12:9 to another faith, by the same Spirit; and to another gifts of healings, by the same Spirit; 12:10 and to another workings of miracles; and to another prophecy; and to another discerning of spirits; to another different kinds of languages; and to another the interpretation of languages. 12:11 But the one and the same Spirit works all of these, distributing to each one separately as he desires.


Today's Lesson 

In the last lesson Paul dealt with problems that had occurred in the Corinthian church in regard to the observance of the Lord's Supper. In Today's Scripture, Paul begins to discuss another problem. The Corinthians had many incorrect notions concerning the work of the Spirit of God as well and the gifts that God gives to His people through the Spirit. This section of the First Letter to the Corinthians is one of the most important sections of scripture to address the Spirit of God and His role in God's work.

 

Paul begins this section by informing the Corinthians that he does not want them to be ignorant about things regarding the Spirit. Once they were heathens led away by mute idols. But God, through His Spirit, led them to the place in which they could declare that Jesus was Lord of their life. There is a direct contrast here between the mute idols that the Corinthians used to believe in and the living word the Spirit of God speaks to them.

 

He earnestly desires that they know that even though God gives His children various kinds of gifts, all of these gifts come through the work of the Spirit. Once of the major problems in Corinth seems to have been that many people considered one type of spiritual gift to be better than another. The jealousies and divisions that created the problems that Paul addressed concerning the Lord's Supper also affected the way that they viewed spiritual gifts.

 

Paul instructs them that every spiritual gift comes to us through the Spirit. To one Christian the Spirit may give the gift of wisdom, to another an extra measure of knowledge and to yet another abundant faith. Even the more dramatic gifts of healing and tongues all come from the Spirit for the edification and feeding of the body of Christ. It is the Spirit of God who distributes the gifts and it is the Spirit of God that controls the working of these spiritual gifts within the body of Christ.

 

Now because it is God who distributes and controls His gifts and because God has made us one in Christ, there is no room for divisions and jealousies because of the gifts. If God makes all Christians one in Christ then gifts that are given to one believer are given and shared with all believers. We are all one body. All that Christ has is ours and all that we are is His. The gifts that we are allowed to experience are a natural consequence of our position in Christ.

 

When we experience the gifts of the Spirit, it should re-affirm to us that God is with us. "No one can say, 'Jesus is Lord,' but by the Holy Spirit." When we affirm that Christ is Lord of our lives and when we participate in the life of the Spirit, we remind ourselves that we are Christians born anew by the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

What is God's Spirit saying to you and through you? Is Jesus your Lord? If so, what gifts does the Spirit of God want to manifest through your life to the world?

 

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