1 Corinthians 12
In 1 Corinthians 11-14 Paul addresses three areas where the Corinthians had demonstrated unruliness and selfishness as a body: gender roles in 11:1-16, the Lord’s Table (often referred to as Communion today) in 11:17-34, and spiritual gifts in chapters 12-14.
Paul begins this section with a discussion of the true nature and purpose of spiritual gifts. While natural abilities are talents you possess through genetics and/or hard work, spiritual gifts are a God-given ability to serve. Spiritual gifts are distributed by the Holy Spirit (12:11) to every believer (12:7) for the purpose building up or encouraging the body of Christ (12:7, 14:12).
To help the Corinthians understand the need for unity in the church exercising a diversity of gifts, he compares this to a human body (12:12-26). Just as all the body parts do not share the same function, not all believers share the same gift. And just as all the body parts have some function that is important to survival, every believer has some spiritual function that is vital to the church.
Do you know how God has wired you? Have you found your fit?
- Do you think the topic of spiritual gifts is still a controversial topic in today’s church? Why or why not?
- Paul gives considerable effort in explaining the unity and diversity inherent within the exercising of spiritual gifts. How should “unity and diversity” be applied to other areas of church life?
- What ways can you contribute to the overall health of the church? How has God gifted you for the purpose of building up the body of Christ?