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1 Corinthians 12:8-13

8. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

8. Huic quidem per Spiritum datur sermo sapientiae, alteri datur sermo cognitionis, secundum eundem Spiritum.

9. To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;

9. Alii fides in eodem Spiritu, alii dona sanationum in codera Spritu.

10. To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

10. Alii facultates potentiarum, alii autem prophetia, alii autem discretiones spirituum, alii genera linguarum, alii interpretatio linguarum.

11. But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

11. Porroomnia haec efficit unus et idem Spiritus, distribuens seorsum cuique prout vult.

12. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

12. Quemadmodum enim corpus unum est, et membra habet multa: onmia autem membra corporis unius quum multa sint, corpus autem est unum: ita et Christus.

13. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

13. Etenim per unum Spiritum nos omnes in unum corpus baptizati sumus, sive Iudaei, sive Graeci: sive servi, sive liberi: et omnes in uno Spiritu potum hausimus.

 

8. To one is given He now subjoins an enumeration, or, in other words, specifies particular kinds — not indeed all of them, but such as are sufficient for his present purpose. “Believers,” says he, “are endowed with different gifts, but let every one acknowledge, that he is indebted for whatever he has to the Spirit of God, for he pours forth his gifts as the sun scatters his rays in every direction. As to the difference between these gifts, knowledge (or understanding) and wisdom are taken in different senses in the Scriptures, but here I take them in the way of less and greater, as in Colossians 2:3, where they are also joined together, when Paul says, that in Christ are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Knowledge, therefore, in my opinion, means acquaintance with sacred thingsWisdom, on the other hand, means the perfection of it. Sometimes prudence is put, as it were, in the middle place between these two, and in that case it denotes skill 737737     “Le sqauoir et la dexterite;” — “Skill and dexterity.” As to this use of the term prudentia, (prudence,) see Cicero de Officiis, 1. 43. — Ed. in applying knowledge to some useful purpose. They are, it is true, very nearly allied; but still you observe a difference when they are put together. Let us then take knowledge as meaning ordinary information, and wisdom, as including revelations that are of a more secret and sublime order. 738738     One of the most satisfactory views of this subject is that of Dr. Henderson in his Lecture on “Divine Inspiration,” (pp. 193,196,) who understands by σοφία, (wisdom,) in this passage, “the sublime truths of the gospel, directly revealed to the Apostles, of which the λογος (word) was the supernatural ability rightly to communicate them to others;” and by λόγος γνώσεως (word of knowledge,) the faculty of “infallibly explaining truths and doctrines which had been previously divulged.” — Ed

The term faith is employed here to mean a special faith, as we shall afterwards see from the context. A special faith is of such a kind as does not apprehend Christ wholly, for redemption, righteousness, and sanctification, but only in so far as miracles are performed in his name. Judas had a faith of this kind, and he wrought miracles too by means of it. Chrysostom distinguishes it in a somewhat different manner, calling it the faith of miracles, not of doctrines. 739739     Chrysostom’s words are: Πίστιν οὐ παύτην λέγει τὴν τῶν δογμάτων ἀλλὰ τὴν τῶν σημείων. “By this faith he means not that of doctrines, but that of miraeles.” — It was called by the schoolmen fides miractelorum (faith of miracles.) — Ed This, however, does not differ much from the interpretation previously mentioned. By the gift of healings 740740     The plural is made use of, it is manifest, to intimate the number and variety of the diseases that were healed — the Apostles having been invested with power to heal all manner of sickness, and all manner of disease. (Matthew 10:1.) — Ed. every one knows what is meant.

As to the workings of powers, or, as some render it, the operations of influences, there is more occasion for doubt. I am inclined, however, to think, that what is meant is the influence which is exercised against devils, and also against hypocrites. When, therefore, Christ and his Apostles by authority restrained devils, or put them to flight, that was ἐνέργημα, (powerful working,) and, in like manner, when Paul smote the sorcerer with blindness, (Acts 13:11,) and when Peter struck Ananias and Sapphira dead upon the spot with a single word. The gifts of healing and of miracles, therefore, serve to manifest the goodness of God, but this last, his severity for the destruction of Satan. 741741     There does not appear to be sufficient ground for understanding the miracles here referred to as necessarily deeds of terror, while the connection in which the expression occurs seems to intimate, that the miracles here meant were more than ordinarily stupendous manifestations of Divine power, such as would powerfully constrain the beholder to exclaim, This is the finger of God! Thus, “the resuscitation of the dead, the innocuous handlng of serpents, or drinking of empoisoned liquor, the dispossession of demons, and the infliction of blindness,” as in the case of Elymas, the sorcerer, and of death itself, as in the case of Ananias and Sapphira,. were mighty deeds — to which “no mere created power could possibly pretend, under any circumstances, or by the application of any means whatever.” See Henderson on Inspiration, pp. 203-206. — Ed.

By prophecy, I understand the singular and choice endowment of unfolding the secret will of God, so that a Prophet is a messenger, as it were, between God and man. 742742     “Apportant la volonte de Dieu aux hommes;” — “Communicating the will of God to men.” My reason for taking this view will be explained more fully afterwards.

The discerning of spirits, was a clearness of perception in forming a judgment as to those who professed to be something. (Acts 5:36.) I speak not of that natural wisdom, by which we are regulated in judging. It was a special illumination, with which some were endowed by the gift of God. The use of it was this: that they might not be imposed upon by masks, of mere pretences, 743743     “Par la montre et belle apparence que les gens ont aucuneffois;” — “By the show and fair appearance which persons sometimes have.” but might by that spiritual judgment distinguish, as by a particular mark, the true ministers of Christ from the false.

There was a difference between the knowledge of tongues, and the interpretation of them, for those who were endowed with the former were, in many cases, not acquainted with the language of the nation with which they had to deal. The interpreters 744744     “Et en tel cas ceux que auoyent le don d’interpretation des langues;” — “And in such a case, those who had the gift of interpreting languages.” rendered foreign tongues into the native language. These endowments they did not at that time acquire by labor or study, but were put in possession of them by a wonderful revelation of the Spirit. 745745     The following classification of the, gifts, (χαρίσματα) here enumerated by the Apostle, is suggested by Dr. Henderson, as tending to show the “beautiful symmetry” of the passage: —
   I. ̔Ω μὲν — λόγος σοφίας  —  (I. To one, the word of wisdom)
2. ἄλλῳ δὲ λογος γνώσες  —  (2. to another, the word of knowledge.)
II. ̔ΕΤΕΡΩ δὲ πίστις —  (II. To another, faith,)
1. ἄλλῳ δὲ χαρίσματα ἰαμάτων —  (1. to another, gifts of healing,)
2. ἄλλῳ δὲ ἐνεργήματα δυμάμεων  —  (2. to another, working of miracles,)
3. ἄλλῳ δὲ προφητεια  —  (3. to another, prophecy,)
4. ἄλλῳ δὲ διαχρίσεις πνευμάτων  —  (4. to another, discerning of spirits.)
III. ̔ΕΤΕΡΩ δὲ γένη γλωσσῶν —  (III. To another, divers kinds of tongues,)
2. ἄλλῳ δὲ ἑρμηνεία γλωσσῶν  —  (2. to another, interpretation of tongues.)

   Thus the first class includes “the word of wisdom,” and “the word of knowledge. Under the head of faith, that is, the faith of miracles, four kinds of gifts are enumerated — “gifts of healing,” — “working of miracles,” — “prophecy,” and “discerning of spirits;” while the third class includes “divers kinds of tongues,” and “the interpretation of tongues.” See Henderson on Inspiration. — Ed.

11. One and the same spirit distributing. Hence it follows that those act amiss who, having no concern as to participation, break asunder that holy harmony, that is fitly adjusted in all its parts, only when under the guidance of the same Spirit, all conspire toward one and the same object. He again calls the Corinthians to unity, by reminding them that all have derived from one fountain whatever they possess, while he instructs them, at the same time, that no one has so much as to have enough within himself, so as not to require help from others. For this is what he means by these words — distributing to every one severally as he willeth The Spirit of God, therefore, distributes them among us, in order that we may make all contribute to the common advantage. To no one does he give all, lest any one, satisfied with his particular portion, should separate himself from others, and live solely for himself. The same idea is intended in the adverb severally, as it is of great importance to understand accurately that diversity by which God unites us mutually to one another. 746746     “Par laquelle Dieu nou conioint et oblige mutuellement les uns aux autres;” — “By which God connects and binds us mutually to one another.” Now, when will is ascribed to the Spirit, and that, too, in connection with power, we may conclude from this, that the Spirit is truly and properly God.

12. For as the body is one He now derives a similitude from the human body, which he makes use of also in Romans 12:4; but it is for a different purpose, as I have already stated above. In that passage, he exhorts every one to be satisfied with his own calling, and not to invade another’s territory; as ambition, curiosity, or some other disposition, induces many to take in hand more than is expedient. Here, however, he exhorts believers to cleave to each other in a mutual distribution of gifts, as they were not conferred upon them by God that every one should enjoy his own separately, but that one should help another. It is usual, however, for any society of men, or congregation, to be called a body, as one city constitutes a body, and so, in like manner, one senate, and one people. Monenius Agrippa, 747747     Menenius Agrippa, a Roman consul, on occasion of a rebellion breaking out among the common people against the nobles and senators, whom they represented as useless and cumbersome to the state, was successful in quelling the insurrection, by a happy use of the apologue referred to, founded on the intimate connection and mutual dependence of the different parts of the body. The reader will find this interesting incident related by Livy, Book 2. chapter 32. — Ed. too, in ancient times, when desirous to conciliate the Roman people, when at variance with the senate, made use of an apologue, not very unlike the doctrine of Paul here. 748748     “En remonstrant que les membres du corps ayans conspire contre le ventre, et se voulans separer d’auec luy s’en trouuerent mal les premiers;” — “By showing that the members of the body, having conspired against the belly, and wishing to separate from it, were the first to experience the bad effects of this.” Among Christians, however, the case is very different; for they do not constitute a mere political body, but are the spiritual and mystical body of Christ, as Paul himself afterwards adds. (1 Corinthians 12:27.) The meaning therefore is — “Though the members of the body are various, and have different functions, they are, nevertheless, linked together in such a manner that they coalesce in one. 749749     “Ils prenent nourriture et accroissement l’un auec l’autre;” — “They take nourishment and increase, one with another.” We, accordingly, who are members of Christ, although we are endowed with various gifts, ought, notwithstanding, to have an eye to that connection which we have in Christ.”

So also is Christ The name of Christ is used here instead of the Church, because the similitude was intended to apply not to God’s only-begotten Son, but to us. It is a passage that is full of choice consolation, inasmuch as he calls the Church Christ; for Christ 750750     “Ce bon Seigneur Iesus;” — “This good Lord Jesus.” confers upon us this honor — that he is willing to be esteemed and recognised, not in himself merely, but also in his members. Hence the same Apostle says elsewhere, (Ephesians 1:23,) that the Church is his completion, 751751     Calvin, along with some other interpreters, understands the term, πλήρωμα, (fullness,) in the passage referred to, in an active sense. Theophylact observes that the Church is the Πλήρωμαcompletion of Christ, as the body and limbs are of the head. The term may, however, be taken in a passive sense, as meaning a thing to be filled or completed. — Ed as though he would, if separated from his members, be incomplete. And certainly, as Augustine elegantly expresses himself in one part of his writings —

“Since we are in Christ a fruit-bearing vine, what are we out of him but dry twigs?” (John 15:4.)

In this, then, our consolation lies — that, as he and the Father are one, so we are one with him. Hence it is that his name is applied to us.

13. For we are all baptized by one Spirit. Here there is a proof brought forward from the effect of baptism. “We are,” says he, “engrafted by baptism into Christ’s body, so that we are by a mutual link bound together as members, and live one and the same life. Hence every one, that would remain in the Church of Christ, must necessarily cultivate this fellowship.” He speaks, however, of the baptism of believers, which is efficacious through the grace of the Spirit, for, in the case of many, baptism is merely in the letter — the symbol without the reality; but believers, along with the sacrament, receive the reality. Hence, with respect to God, this invariably holds good — that baptism is an engrafting into the body of Christ, for God in that ordinance does not represent anything but what he is prepared to accomplish, provided we are on our part capable of it. The Apostle, also, observes here a most admirable medium, in teaching that the nature of baptism is — to connect us with Christ’s body. Lest any one, however, should imagine, that this is effected by the outward symbol, he adds that it is the work of the Holy Spirit.

Whether Jews or Greeks. He specifies these instances, to intimate, that no diversity of condition obstructs that holy unity which he recommends. This clause, too, is added suitably and appropriately, for envy might at that time arise from two sources — because the Jews were not willing that the Gentiles should be put upon a level with them; and, where one had some excellence above others, with the view of maintaining his superiority, lie withdrew himself to a distance from his brethren.

We have all drunk in one Spirit. It is literally, “We have drunk into one Spirit,” but it would seem that, in order that the two words ἐν (in) and ἑν (one) might not immediately follow each other, Paul intentionally changed ἐν (in) into ἐις (into,) as he is accustomed frequently to do. Hence his meaning seems rather to be, that we are made to drink through the influence, as he had said before, of the Spirit of Christ, than that we have drunk into the same Spirit. It is uncertain, however, whether he speaks here of Baptism or of the Supper. I am rather inclined, however, to understand him as referring to the Supper, as he makes mention of drinking, for I have no doubt that he intended to make an allusion to the similitude of the sign. There is, however, no correspondence between drinking and baptism. Now, though the cup forms but the half of the Supper, there is no difficulty arising from that, for it is a common thing in Scripture to speak of the sacraments by synecdoche. 752752     A figure of speech, by which a part is put for the whole. See Quinctilian. (lnst. 8. 6, 19.) Thus he mentioned above in the tenth chapter (1 Corinthians 10:17) simply the bread, making no mention of the cup. The meaning, therefore, will be this — that participation in the cup has an eye to this — that we drink, all of us, of the same cup. For in that ordinance we drink of the life-giving blood of Christ, that we may have life in common with him — which we truly have, when he lives in us by his Spirit. He teaches, therefore, that believers, so soon as they are initiated by the baptism of Christ, are already imbued with a desire of cultivating mutual unity, 753753     “Si tost qu’ils sont amenez a Christ par le baptesme, desia leur est donne un goust de l’affection qu’ils doyuent auoir d’entretenir entr’eux unite et conionction naturelie;” — “So soon as they are brought to Christ by baptism, there is already given to them some taste of the disposition which they ought to have, to maintain among themselves a natural unity and connection.” and then afterwards, when they receive the sacred Supper, they are again conducted by degrees to the same unity, as they are all refreshed at the same time with the same drink.


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