I Corinthians 12:1-11
Are you grateful to God for your salvation this morning?
Are you grateful that He has also given you Spiritual
If you recall, before we started our Christmas celebration
we were studying Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church.
Since chapter 11, Paul has been writing about proper
worship. He explained to them about the headship of
Christ in their worship and admonished them for the way
they had been improperly observing the Lord’s Supper.
In chapter 12 Paul writes about spiritual gifts and how
they ought to be used for the building up of others and
the church. That is where we pick up our study this
We should also keep in mind that Paul is writing this
letter because divisions had been occurring in the church
and some of the members considered themselves better
than others within the body of Christ.
They were going back to their old way of living rather
than being filled with the Spirit.
I Corinthians 12:1-3
Paul may be responding to the Corinthians question to
him about spiritual gifts. In chapters 7 and 8 he
addresses some questions from the church about
marriage and eating food sacrificed to idols and provides
them answers. He begins those sections with the same
phrase, now concerning.
The Greek word for gifts is Charismata.
This is similar to the Greek word charis which means
grace. Charismata means the gift of divine grace. Strongs
describes it this way, “grace or gifts denoting
extraordinary powers, distinguishing certain
Christians and enabling them to serve the church of
Christ, the reception of which is due to the power
of divine grace operating on their souls by the Holy
Spiritual gifts are from God because of His grace.
Paul mentions mute idols and reminds the church that
they were formerly led astray from the truth. Idols are
made by man and have no power to speak, let alone be
anything worthy of worship.
Next, Paul clarifies what it means to be in the Spirit.
No believer would say that Jesus is accursed because
believers are filled with the Spirit.
Also, only believers confess Jesus is Lord because they
are filled with the Holy Spirit.
I Corinthians 12:4-7
Notice the Trinity as Paul discusses the gifts.
Different Kinds of Gifts – they all come from the same
Spirit, the Holy Spirit distributes them.
Different Kinds of Service – they all come from the
same Lord, Jesus helps us know how to use them.
Different Kinds of Working – they all come from the
same God, it is God who gives us power to use them for
Even though there is variety in the gifts, they all come
from God and He wants us to use them for His glory.
Every believer receives one or more spiritual gifts from
God. No true believer can honestly say they don’t have a
spiritual gift. That would mean that God is a liar.
Each gift will be made known by the Spirit so that the
Christian can not take credit for it. It is God’s gift to
Each gift will be used for the common good of others.
God uses each gift to make Himself known in the world.
Spiritual gifts bring glory to God!!
I Corinthians 12:8-11
Paul lists 9 gifts here
Wisdom – remember, Paul has been very clear that the
wisdom of the world is folly in comparison to the wisdom
of God. The spiritual gift of wisdom is the ability to
practically apply the knowledge God gives. For example,
the apostles used wisdom to appoint deacons to serve
the Greek widows so they could continue teaching and
Knowledge – is the supernatural understanding of the
facts in a situation. For example, Peter knew that Ananias
was lying to him about the funds he was giving from the
property he sold. That was a word of knowledge given to
him by the Holy Spirit.
Faith – this is not faith that leads to salvation, this is
deeper faith, faith like that of George Mueller who trusted
God to provide for his every need. He had a confidence in
God that whatever he needed God would provide. And
God always did.
Healing – once again we must remember that all
spiritual gifts are for the good of the body of Christ.
There is much debate over whether or not the gift of
healing still exists today. The thing we must keep in mind
is that the healing power comes from God, not man. If
anyone claims that they can heal, the only way it is
possible is if God ordains it.
Miraculous powers – this gift falls in the same category
as healing, because again, only God can cause a miracle.
God did grant the disciples the ability to cast out demons
and heal the sick. This was to point people to Christ so
they would turn from their sin and accept Jesus as Lord.
Prophecy – we often associate prophecy with the OT
prophets who spoke a message from God of things to
come. Those with the gift of prophecy have a message
from God not discerned in their own mind. It’s God’s
message. It could be a message about something that is
going to occur or the public proclamation of His word.
One thing is for sure, the message will alway coincide
with God’s word. It will never contradict it.
Distinguishing between spirits – many of the pagan
temples had prophets who went out disseminating false
prophecies. John warned against that in I John 4:1
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the
spirits to see whether they are from God, for many
false prophets have gone out into the world.”
God has gifted some individuals with the ability to discern
the truth. This is going to be very important in the last
days because there will be folks who claim to be Christ.
Tongues – the Greek word here is glowsah and someone
with this gift would have the ability to speak a known
language that they have never studied. And the purpose
is for those who could not have understood it in another
language, as well as to confirm that God was speaking
through this person to deliver His message. Paul
describes this in much greater detail in chapter 14, so we
won’t spend more time on it today.
Interpretation of tongues – Paul indicates in chapter
14 that if tongues are spoken in church service, there
must be an interpreter or it is not being done biblically.
Some people argue that they have a prayer language
that they use in private with the Lord. I’m not sure how
this can be accurate when the Scripture says if tongues
are spoken there must be an interpreter.
Paul summarizes in verse 11 that all gifts are empowered
by the Spirit and He gives them as He sees fit.
He is sovereign.
Every believer receives a gift.
None is better or worse than another.
It takes all gifts for the church to function.
They are all critical.
The Bible is clear that God gives every believer one or
more spiritual gifts.
If you are not sure what you gift is you should work to
Identify Your Gift
You may be able to discern from looking at the Scriptures
and seeing how God uses them in different individuals, or
you may need to take a spiritual gifts inventory.
If you have never taken one, please let me know and I
can get you a copy to take at your convenience.
Once you determine which gift God has blessed you with,
the next step is to figure out how you will
Use Your Gift
Remember, not all the gifts are listed here in this
Paul also described gifts in Ephesians 4 and Romans 12.
If you are new to using your gifts, a great place to start
is in prayer. Ask God how He wants you to use your gift
and be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit as you
interact with others. God will give you opportunities to
use what He gave you. And remember, it is always for His
glory and for the building up of the church.