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THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS - Chapter 12 - Verse 4

Verse 4. Now there are diversities of gifts. There are different endowments conferred on Christians. For the meaning of the word gifts, See Barnes "Ro 1:11".

Comp. Ro 5:15,16; 6:23; 11:29; 12:6; 1 Co 1:7; 7:7.

But the same Spirit. Produced by the same Spirit—the Holy Ghost. What those diversities of gifts are, the apostle enumerates in 1 Co 12:8-11. The design for which he refers to these various endowments is evidently to show those whom he addressed, that since they are all produced by the same Holy Spirit, have all the same Divine origin, and are all intended to answer some important purpose and end in the Christian church, that therefore none are to be despised; nor is one man to regard himself as authorized to treat another with contempt. The Spirit has divided and conferred those gifts according to his sovereign will; and his arrangements should be regarded with submission, and the favours which he confers should be received with thankfulness. That the Holy Spirit—the Third Person of the adorable Trinity—is here intended, by the word "Spirit," seems to be manifest on the face of the passage, and has been the received interpretation of the church until it was called in question by some recent German commentators, at the head of whom was Eichhorn. It is not the design of these Notes to go into an examination of questions of criticism, such as an inquiry like this would involve. Nor is it necessary. Some of the arguments by which the common interpretation is defended are the following:

(1.) It is the obvious interpretation. It is that which occurs to the great mass of readers, as the true and correct exposition.

(2.) It accords with the usual meaning of the word Spirit. No other intelligible sense can be given to the word here. To say, with Eichhorn, that it means "nature," that there are the same natural endowments, though cultivated in various measures by art and education, makes manifest nonsense, and is contrary to the whole structure and scope of the passage.

(3.) It accords with all the other statements in the New Testament, where the endowments here referred to—"wisdom," "knowledge," "faith," "working of miracles," etc.— are traced to the Holy Spirit, and are regarded as his gift.

(4.) The harmony, the concinnity of the passage is destroyed by supposing that it refers to anything else than the Holy Spirit. In this verse the agency of the Spirit is recognised, and his operations on the mind referred to; in the next verse the agency of the Son of God (See Barnes "1 Co 12:4"

on the verse) is referred to; and in the following verse the agency of God—evidently the Father—is brought into view; and thus the entire passage (1 Co 12:4-6) presents a connected view of the operations performed by the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, in the work of redemption. To deny that this verse refers to the Holy Spirit is to break up the harmony of the whole passage, and to render it in no small degree unmeaning. But if this refers to the Holy Spirit, then it is an unanswerable argument for his personality, and for his being on an equality with the Father and the Son.

{c} "of gifts" Heb 2:4; 1 Pe 4:10

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