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.
Learn More About St Paul from the Trenches 1916
Translated in 1916, published in 1937.
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