1My fellow believers, I don’t want you to be confused about spiritual realities. # 12:1 The Greek word pneumatikos is “spiritual” (things), with the implication of spiritual realities or spiritual gifts. Some scholars believe that “spiritual” may refer to spiritual persons. 2For you know full well that when you were unbelievers you were often led astray # 12:2 Or “carried [or snatched] away.” in one way or another by your worship of idols, which are incapable of talking with you. 3Therefore, I want to impart to you an understanding of the following:
No one speaking by the Spirit of God # 12:3 Some scholars believe this “speaking by the Spirit of God” refers to speaking in tongues. would ever say, “Jesus is the accursed one.”
No one can say, “Jesus is the Lord Yahweh,” # 12:3 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek language has no equivalent for “Lord Yahweh” and uses the word kurios, which means “sir, master, wealthy landowner, boss” and is sometimes used for demons. The Aramaic is preferred. It is by divine revelation that one begins to see that the Lord Yahweh is none other than our Lord Jesus Christ. unless the Holy Spirit is speaking through him. # 12:3 Or “except by union with the Holy Spirit.”
4It is the same Holy Spirit who continues to distribute many different varieties of gifts. # 12:4 The nine gifts distributed by the Holy Spirit listed here include: the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, the gift of faith, gifts of healing, miraculous powers, prophecy, discerning of spirits, speaking in different kinds of tongues, and interpretation of tongues. See vv. 7–11.
5The Lord Yahweh is one, # 12:5 As translated from the Aramaic. See also Deut. 6:4. and he is the one who apportions to believers different varieties of ministries. # 12:5 See Eph. 4:7–16. The ministries Jesus apportions by grace are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers.
6The same God distributes different kinds of miracles # 12:6 As translated from the Aramaic, which can also be translated “powers.” that accomplish different results through each believer’s gift and ministry as he energizes and activates them.
7Each believer is given continuous revelation # 12:7 As translated from the Aramaic and implied in the Greek word phanerosis (“the clear display in light,” or “public manifestations”). by the Holy Spirit to benefit not just himself but all. # 12:7 To summarize, God the Father, the Son, and the Spirit delights to give spiritual gifts to his people, the bride of Christ. These gifts are imparted by God to every believer upon conversion as the Holy Spirit chooses (v. 11). They will confirm the Word of God and expand the kingdom of God. Spiritual gifts can be neglected and misused, but they remain the divine power source for Christ’s body on the earth. Through teaching, evangelizing, prophesying, and demonstrating the miraculous, God uses his people to expand his kingdom and to establish righteousness on the earth through the proper use of the gifts he has given. There is no place in Scripture or church history where these gifts were taken away or removed from the body of Christ. The church moves forward through these divine gifts. Spiritual gifts do not replace the Word of God, but the Word of God will spread and flourish as the fully equipped body of Christ operates in the wise use of God’s enabling power.
Varieties of Spiritual Gifts
The Spirit gives to one the gift of the word of wisdom. # 12:8 Or “the message [Gr. logos] of wisdom.” This is a revelation gift of the Holy Spirit to impart an understanding of strategy and insight that only God can give. This is more than simply wisdom, but the clearly crafted “word of wisdom” to unlock the hearts of people and free the corporate body to move forward under God’s direction. This gift will express the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, not of man. The best examples of this gift were (1) when Jesus saw Nathanael under the fig tree and knew his true character as a man without guile and (2) when Jesus spoke to the woman at the well and unlocked her heart with the words “Go get your husband.” See John 1:4.
To another, the same Spirit gives the gift of the word of revelation knowledge. # 12:8 The gift of the message (Gr. logos) of revelation knowledge has been defined by some as the Holy Spirit’s impartation through an impression, a vision, or his voice that gives understanding of a person or situation that cannot be known through the natural mind of man. It may be exercised in the prayer for healing. This revelation knowledge is seen in Saul’s healing of blindness in Acts 9 and in Acts 10–11 with Peter’s revelation knowledge of Cornelius’ servants outside his door and the subsequent salvation of Cornelius and his household. The word of revelation knowledge could also include knowing facts that are unknown to the speaker, such as names, dates, or events to come.
9And to another, the same Spirit gives the gift of faith. # 12:9 This is the supernatural power of faith released in a believer to do the miracle works of God on the earth.
And to another, the same Spirit gives gifts of healing. # 12:9 This is the supernatural power of God released through a believer to heal the sick.
10And to another the power to work miracles. # 12:10 This includes the divine ability to still a storm, feed a multitude, walk on water, cast out demons, turn water into wine, and raise the dead. This gift was one of the distinctive marks of an apostle. See 2 Cor. 12:12.
And to another the gift of prophecy. # 12:10 This gift is a supernatural ability, given by the Holy Spirit, to speak the word of God in proclamation and at times in predicting the future. This is one gift that every believer should desire and never despise. See 1 Cor. 14:1; 1 Thess. 5:19–20; 1 Tim. 1:18; 4:14.
And to another the gift to discern what the Spirit is speaking. # 12:10 This gift imparts divine discernment to know if a prophetic message is from the Holy Spirit or from a human or demonic source. See Acts 5:3. Discernment is greatly needed in the church today to hear the voice of the Lord clearly and to know when defilement is attempting to enter the assembly.
And to another the gift of speaking different kinds of tongues.
And to another the gift of interpretation of tongues.
11Remember, it is the same Holy Spirit who distributes, activates, and operates these different gifts as he chooses for each believer. # 12:11 Spiritual gifts are given by the Holy Spirit at any time to anyone he chooses.
One Body with Many Parts
12Just as the human body is one, though it has many parts that together form one body, so too is Christ. # 12:12 Christ is now a body with many parts. The human body of Jesus is glorified and enthroned in heaven. So also is the body of Christ. We are co-enthroned with him (Rom. 8:29–30; Eph. 2:6; Col. 3:1–4), but we continue to exist on earth to represent him to the world. 13For by one Spirit we all were immersed and mingled into one single body. # 12:13 This is not a baptism into the Spirit (Matt. 3:6) but a baptism into the body of Christ. Upon conversion, the Holy Spirit does four things for every believer: (1) He gives us new birth (regeneration—see John 3:5; Titus 3:5). (2) He comes to live inside us (indwelling—see Rom. 8:9). (3) He places us into the body as a member of Christ’s body on the earth (spiritual baptism—see 1 Cor. 12:13). (4) He seals us as the possession of Christ until the redemption of our human body (see Eph. 1:13–14; 4:30). And no matter our status—whether we are Jews or non-Jews, oppressed or free—we are all privileged to drink deeply of the same Holy Spirit. # 12:13 To “drink deeply” of the Spirit is the same as receiving his power and gifts until rivers of living water flow from the inside of us. See John 3:34; 7:37.
14In fact, the human body is not one single part but rather many parts mingled into one. 15So if the foot were to say, “Since I’m not a hand, I’m not a part of the body,” it’s forgetting that it is still a vital part of the body. 16And if the ear were to say, “Since I’m not an eye, I’m not really a part of the body,” it’s forgetting that it is still an important part of the body.
17Think of it this way. If the whole body were just an eyeball, how could it hear sounds? And if the whole body were just an ear, how could it smell different fragrances? 18But God has carefully designed each member and placed it in the body to function as he desires. # 12:18 Every believer should be content with the place within the body God has placed him. And God is pleased when we serve him with joy in every activity or ministry that we engage in for the sake of the body. 19A diversity is required, for if the body consisted of one single part, there wouldn’t be a body at all! 20So now we see that there are many differing parts and functions, but one body.
No Competition for Importance within the Body
21It would be wrong for the eye to say to the hand, “I don’t need you,” and equally wrong if the head said to the foot, “I don’t need you.” 22In fact, the weaker our parts, the more vital and essential they are. # 12:22 Paul is, no doubt, speaking of our internal organs: liver, heart, lungs, etc. 23The body parts we think are less honorable we treat with greater respect. And the body parts that need to be covered in public we treat with propriety and clothe them. 24But some of our body parts don’t require as much attention. Instead, God has mingled the body parts together, giving greater honor to the “lesser” members who lacked it. 25He has done this intentionally so that every member would look after the others with mutual concern, and so that there will be no division in the body. 26In that way, whatever happens to one member happens to all. If one suffers, everyone suffers. If one is honored, everyone rejoices.
One Body with Different Gifts
27You are the body of the Anointed One, and each of you is a unique and vital part of it. 28God has placed in the church the following:
then those with gifts of miracles, gifts of divine healing,
gifts of revelation knowledge, # 12:28 Most translations render the Greek word antilēmpsis (a hapax legomenon) as “helps.” However, it is literally “laying hold of” (revelation) or “apprehending” (perception). gifts of leadership, # 12:28 This is a hapax legomenon that can be translated “guidance” or “one who steers the ship.”
and gifts of different kinds of tongues.
29Not everyone is an apostle or a prophet or a teacher. Not everyone performs miracles 30or has gifts of healing or speaks in tongues or interprets tongues. 31But you should all constantly boil over with passion in seeking the higher gifts.
And now I will show you a superior way to live that is beyond comparison! # 12:31 Or “a path corresponding to transcendence.”