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1 Corinthians Chapter 12

1 Now concerning spiritual things, brothers, I don't want you to be ignorant.

2 You know that when you were heathen, you were led away to those mute idols, however you might be led.

3 Therefore I make known to you that no man speaking by God's Spirit says, "Jesus is accursed." No one can say, "Jesus is Lord," but by the Holy Spirit.

4 Now there are various kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.

5 There are various kinds of service, and the same Lord.

6 There are various kinds of workings, but the same God, who works all things in all.

7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the profit of all.

8 For to one is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom, and to another the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit;

9 to another faith, by the same Spirit; and to another gifts of healings, by the same Spirit;

10 and to another workings of miracles; and to another prophecy; and to another discerning of spirits; to another different kinds of languages; and to another the interpretation of languages.

11 But the one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing to each one separately as he desires.

12 For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of the body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ.

13 For in one Spirit we were all baptised into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free; and were all given to drink into one Spirit.

14 For the body is not one member, but many.

15 If the foot would say, "Because I'm not the hand, I'm not part of the body," it is not therefore not part of the body.

16 If the ear would say, "Because I'm not the eye, I'm not part of the body," it's not therefore not part of the body.

17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the smelling be?

18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body, just as he desired.

19 If they were all one member, where would the body be?

20 But now they are many members, but one body.

21 The eye can't tell the hand, "I have no need for you," or again the head to the feet, "I have no need for you."

22 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary.

23 Those parts of the body which we think to be less honourable, on those we bestow more abundant honour; and our unpresentable parts have more abundant propriety;

24 whereas our presentable parts have no such need. But God composed the body together, giving more abundant honour to the inferior part,

25 that there should be no division in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.

26 When one member suffers, all the members suffer with it. When one member is honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.

28 God has set some in the assembly: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracle workers, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, and various kinds of languages.

29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all miracle workers?

30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with various languages? Do all interpret?

31 But earnestly desire the best gifts. Moreover, I show a most excellent way to you.


Verse 2 (heathen)
or Gentiles

Version: World English Bible

1 Corinthians Chapter 12 Guide

Now the apostle turned from the corrective section of his letter to the constructive as he proceeded to deal with the spiritualities which negative the carnalities. These are those of the unifying Spirit (12), the unfailing law of love (13, 14), and the ultimate triumph of resurrection (15).

In the establishment of the Lordship of Jesus is the creation of a new unity. This unity, however, has its perfect variety. The unifying force is God, in the three Persons of His Trinity-the Spirit, the Lord, God. The variety in the unity is created by gifts, ministrations, workings. For this great service of co-operation the Church is gifted by the Spirit, directed by the Lord, energized by God.

The apostle emphasized under the figure of the body the union of those who minister with the Lord. There is diversity of function in the unity of the body. The key statement is, "for the body is not one member, but many." This fact is again simply stated in conclusion. The body is one in its totality of separate members. Christ the Head directs all the activity of the whole of the members, and so of the body itself. The members, responding to that central authority in the power of their own functions created by the Spirit, at once fulfil their ministry, contribute to the fulfilment of the ministry of the body, and exhibit the glorious wisdom of the directing Lord.

The section closes with the injunction, "Desire earnestly the greater gifts," and, said the apostle, in effect, I will show you the most excellent way to obtain them. What, then, is the most excellent way? The answer comes in the two chapters following. It is the way of love.

From "An Exposition of the Whole Bible" by G. Campbell Morgan.