1 Corinthians 12
The different functions of the Spirit
1Now as to the phenomena of your faith which show in a special way the presence of God and the action of the Spirit. Recollect this Spirit is one. Many of you are moved far beyond your ordinary capacity, and do things which in your own strength would be utterly impossible to you, — you prophesy, teach, heal, speak with tongues, and perform wonders, marvels — and this is not yourselves, it is the Spirit by which you are possessed. 2But recollect, my brethren, there is nothing in this similar to those possessions by spirits you were once familiar with in the old religions. At one time that worship was part of your life. You were carried away willy-nilly as you were led in the service of these dumb idols. 3-5And because this type of worship was so familiar to you, I bid you remember that, if anyone is possessed and cries out a curse on Jesus, such possession you will know comes not from God, whilst on the other hand to acknowledge Jesus as Lord can never be done except by those to whom the Spirit has been imparted. Now this Spirit, as I say, is one, absolutely one, throughout all its manifestations, and that is why all those phenomena which represent to us its operations are so mutually harmonious and complementary. 6-8One man may evidence one kind of gift or service, one man’s sphere of usefulness or inspiration may differ entirely from another’s, but he will not differ in the spirit.
The oneness of the Spirit
9It is the same Spirit, the same Lord, the same God which imparts, ordains, inspires, possesses. 10The word of knowledge, the word of wisdom, faith, gifts of healing, inspiration and genius, prophecy, spiritual insight and discernment, tongues and the interpretation of tongues — 11these all proceed in varying degrees displayed by different individuals from the one infinite Spirit. He, that Spirit, is all in all, and one, and all these gifts are constituted in His action and operation. 12The Christ is as it were one infinite body, wherein all the parts and members are mutually helpful and interdependent. 13In the unity of the same organism there cannot be inharmonious contradictory parts. 14-16Hand cannot say to foot, I have no need of you. Ear and eye are different members and have different functions, but what if the ear said to the eye, “because I am different from you, we belong to different bodies,” would it be true? And so all of us were baptised into one vast body, the infinite Christ, — Jews, Greeks, slaves, and free — and we all drank the wine of the one Spirit. Hence these different gifts, functions and offices which operate in us. This very variety constitutes the essential being of the Spirit, because the Spirit includes all. 17If the body were all eye, where would the hearing be? If it were all ear, where would the eyebrow be? 18-21Every part is beautifully formed to assist and be complementary to the others; none is otiose, negligible or useless, 22but on the contrary those very parts which are held in least honour often have the most important functions, 23-25and the visible parts of the body which form its beauty are the most dependent on the organs which are not seen and are less esteemed. 26If one member suffer, all suffer with it, and no one part of the body can be affected, for good or ill, without all the others feeling it. 27So is it in that infinite spiritual body of the Christ, which we together constitute, of which we are all members. 28Whether in the church there be those that are called apostles, prophets, teachers, healers, helpers, officers, speakers with tongues — what is this but the activity of one life? 29Because it is one thing, all are not therefore apostles, nor all prophets, nor all teachers, 30nor all healers, nor all speakers with tongues, nor all interpreters. 31True, some gifts are greater than others, and it is right to wish for the greatest gifts of all, and in that respect, I will point out to you a way that is better than all others.
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Translated in 1916, published in 1937.
1 Corinthians 12
1Now, dear brothers and sisters,#12:1 Greek brothers. regarding your question about the special abilities the Spirit gives us. I don’t want you to misunderstand this. 2You know that when you were still pagans, you were led astray and swept along in worshiping speechless idols. 3So I want you to know that no one speaking by the Spirit of God will curse Jesus, and no one can say Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit.
4There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. 5There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. 6God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.
7A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. 8To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice#12:8a Or gives a word of wisdom.; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge.#12:8b Or gives a word of knowledge. 9The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. 10He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages,#12:10 Or in various tongues; also in 12:28, 30. while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. 11It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.
One Body with Many Parts
12The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. 13Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles,#12:13a Greek some are Greeks. some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.#12:13b Greek we were all given one Spirit to drink.
14Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. 15If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. 16And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? 17If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?
18But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. 19How strange a body would be if it had only one part! 20Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. 21The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.”
22In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. 23And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, 24while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. 25This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. 26If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.
27All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it. 28Here are some of the parts God has appointed for the church:
first are apostles,
second are prophets,
third are teachers,
then those who do miracles,
those who have the gift of healing,
those who can help others,
those who have the gift of leadership,
those who speak in unknown languages.
29Are we all apostles? Are we all prophets? Are we all teachers? Do we all have the power to do miracles? 30Do we all have the gift of healing? Do we all have the ability to speak in unknown languages? Do we all have the ability to interpret unknown languages? Of course not! 31So you should earnestly desire the most helpful gifts.
But now let me show you a way of life that is best of all.
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