We begin this week by reading 1 Corinthians 12:1-11
When believers walk in obedience to the Word of G-d, the working of the Holy Spirit is going to be discernible in their lives. Whenever the Holy Spirit moves in our lives, He moves to bring order. He leads us, guides us, equips us with whatever we need so that G-d’s purposes are met through us, His glory is manifested through us, and blessing is extended through us to other individuals.
v1: Now concerning…: In this chapter Paul changes direction and starts to deal with another issue.
- Gifts: If you are reading from the NKJV you will notice that the word ‘gifts’ is italicised. Italicised words are words added into the text in an attempt to make it more understandable in the English. Paul is going to speak about spiritual gifts, but in this verse he is not yet talking about spiritual gifts but about spiritual things in general.
- Brethren: Paul is specifically addressing believers. All of this is only relevant for those who are followers of Messiah Yeshua.
- Ignorant: Literally ‘against knowing’. Frequently people don’t want to mature. They don’t want to grow in their understanding of that which is spiritual because growth involves letting go of their own (fleshly) desires and embracing G-ds.
v2: Gentiles: Pagans. The word Paul uses here is not a word speaking of a non-Jew. It is a word that relates to a previous condition. He is speaking about a people who had no (new) covenantal relationship with G-d.
- Dumb (silent) idols: What it is speaking of here is being in a situation where there is no revelation, there is no response from these idols of wood, stone and metal. They also have no power whatsoever.
v3: I make known to you: Paul is able to make it known to them because of the revelation that he has received. Everything that he’s revealing comes by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
- Noone: This is an absolute fact.
- Calls Yeshua accursed: If we have the Holy Spirit living in us we would never say that Yeshua was a sinner cursed by G-d. People who live by the Spirit are not going to be opposed to Yeshua in any way.
- Yeshua is L-rd: Only those who have the Holy Spirit can proclaim that Yeshua is L-rd.
- The Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit is not often mentioned in the Old Testament but is frequently mentioned in the New. The Holy Spirit, as an outcome of redemption, moves in our lives to enable us to fulfil the purpose of G-d by living holy lives.
v4: This verse now begins to emphasise spiritual gifts.
- Diversities: There are a variety of gifts. The Holy Spirit has an effect in our lives. He helps us to recognise the L-rdship of Yeshua, He helps us to be committed to the sanctified purposes of G-d and He leads and empowers us in order that G-d’s will is done through us – part of that is going to bring about the manifestation of spiritual gifts in our lives.
- Diversity of gifts, but the same Spirit: There are many different gifts, but there is only one Holy Spirit (Similar to what we saw in 1 Cor 10:17 – we are many, partaking of one Messiah)
v5: Differences of ministries: We don’t all serve G-d in the same way. There are a variety of ways whereby we can serve G-d.
- The same L-rd: Paul has linked the Holy Spirit to the L-rd. The implication of this is that the Holy Spirit is only going to move in our lives in a mighty way (fulfilling the purposes of G-d and imparting these gifts to us) when we are committed to and acknowledge His L-rdship in our lives. If we do not see ourselves as servants of the L-rd, we are not going to experience the anointing of the Holy Spirit, in a meaningful way, in our lives.
v6: Activities: Works.
- Works all (everything) in all (talking about in every believer): Those who are not in a new covenant relationship are not recipients of the Holy Spirit and therefore He is not going to be working in that person’s life through spiritual gifting, manifesting His works etc.
v7: Given: Written in the passive. We don’t take or choose what we get – it is given to us.
- For the profit of all: These gifts are given to us for a specific purpose and a joint benefit. They are not there for us alone, but they are given in order to be of benefit to everybody. These gifts/manifestations of the Spirit are given in order to edify or build up the church. He only does that which is good, and that which benefits His people.
v8: Word of wisdom: A word of wisdom shows a priority for G-d. Usually, wisdom is being able to take knowledge and apply it correctly in a situation.
- Spirit: Referring to the Holy Spirit.
- Wisdom…knowledge: These are gifts that are of a similar variety/type. Both involve knowing information.
v9: This verse reveals to us another type of spiritual giftedness – it has a different aspect to it.
- Faith, which is a spiritual gift, is the ability to put the truth of G-d into action. Faith changes the way that we behave.
- Gifts of healings: Notice that this is written in the plural. This does not involve the healing of just one disease, but can be referring to a multiplicity of diseases that can be healed – ie without limitation.
v10: Working of miracles: Here we see a subcategory for healings. Healings are miraculous. This however is talking about another expression of the miraculous.
- Discerning of spirits: The ability to discern whether the spirits are from G-d or whether they are not from Him.
- Different kinds of tongues: Tongues can be given in a variety of different languages.
- The interpretation of tongues: In the book of Acts (Acts 2:5-12) people spoke in a way that no matter what language they spoke (natural or supernatural) someone understood what they were saying. This account reveals to us what a miracle of hearing looks like. In order to be able to interpret tongues the hearer needs to be able to hear what is being spoken, needs to understand it and needs to share what is being said.
v11: Distributing to each one individually as He wills: All manifestations of the Spirit of G-d are done based in the will of G-d. That is why these gifts bring about power, leadership, giftings etc in a believer’s life – when they are committed to the L-rdship of Yeshua (concerned with doing HIS will).