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THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS - Chapter 12 - Verse 10

Verse 10. To another the working of miracles. Commentators have felt some perplexity in distinguishing this from what is mentioned in 1 Co 12:9 of the gift of healing. It is evident that the apostle there refers to the power of working miracles in healing inveterate and violent diseases. The expression here used, "working of miracles," (energhmata dunamewn,) refers probably to the more extraordinary and unusual kinds of miracles; to those which were regarded as in advance of the power of healing diseases. It is possible that it may denote what the Saviour had reference to in Mr 16:18, where he said they should take up serpents, and if they drank any deadly thing it should not hurt them; and possibly also to the power of raising up the dead. That this power was possessed by the apostles is well known; and it is possible that it was possessed by others also of the early Christians. It is clear from all this that there was a difference even among those who had the power of working miracles, and that this power was conferred in a more eminent degree on some than on others. Indeed, the extraordinary endowments conferred on the apostles and the early Christians seem to have been regulated, to a remarkable degree, in accordance with the rule by which ordinary endowments are conferred upon men. Though all men have understanding, memory, imagination, bodily strength, etc., yet one has these in a more eminent degree than others; and one is characterized for the possession of one of those qualities more than for another. Yet all are bestowed by the same God; So it was in regard to the extraordinary endowments conferred on the early Christians. Comp. 1 Co 14, especially 1 Co 14:32.

To another prophecy. See Barnes "Ro 12:6".

 

To another discerning of spirits. Comp. 1 Jo 4:1. This must refer to some power of searching into the secrets of the heart; of knowing what were a man's purposes, views, and feelings. It may relate either to the power of determining by what spirit a man spoke who pretended to be inspired, whether he was truly inspired or whether he was an impostor, or it may refer to the power of seeing whether a man was sincere or not in his Christian profession. That the apostles had this power, is apparent from the case of Ananias and Sapphira, (Ac 5:1-10,) and from the case of Elymas, Ac 13:9-11. It is evident that where the gift of prophecy and inspiration was possessed, and where it would confer such advantages on those who possessed it, there would be many pretenders to it; and that it would be of vast importance to the infant church, in order to prevent imposition, that there should be a power in the church of detecting the imposture.

To another divers kinds of tongues. The power of speaking various languages. See Ac 2:4,7-11.

This passage also seems to imply that the extraordinary endowments of the Holy Spirit were not conferred on all alike.

To another the interpretation of tongues. The power of interpreting foreign languages; or of interpreting the language which might be used by the "prophets" in their communications. See Barnes "1 Co 14:27".

This was evidently a faculty different from the power of speaking a foreign language; and yet it might be equally useful. It would appear possible that some might have had the power of speaking foreign languages who were not themselves apprized of the meaning, and that interpreters were needful in order to express the sense to the hearers.

Or it may have been that in a promiscuous assembly, or in an assembly made up of those who spoke different languages, a part might have understood what was uttered, and it was needful that an interpreter should explain it to the other portion. See Barnes "1 Co 14:28".

 

{a} "discerning of spirits" 1 Jo 4:1 {b} "of tongues" Ac 2:4,7-11

{*} "tongues" "Languages"

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