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28And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then deeds of power, then gifts of healing, forms of assistance, forms of leadership, various kinds of tongues.

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28. set … in the church—as He has "set the members … in the body" (1Co 12:18).

first apostles—above even the prophets. Not merely the Twelve, but others are so called, for example, Barnabas, &c. (Ro 16:7).

teachers—who taught, for the most part, truths already revealed; whereas the prophets made new revelations and spoke all their prophesyings under the Spirit's influence. As the teachers had the "word of knowledge," so the prophets "the word of wisdom" (1Co 12:8). Under "teachers" are included "evangelists and pastors."

miracles—literally, "powers" (1Co 12:10): ranked below "teachers," as the function of teaching is more edifying, though less dazzling than working miracles.

helps, governments—lower and higher departments of "ministrations" (1Co 12:5); as instances of the former, deacons whose office it was to help in the relief of the poor, and in baptizing and preaching, subordinate to higher ministers (Ac 6:1-10; 8:5-17); also, others who helped with their time and means, in the Lord's cause (compare 1Co 13:13; Nu 11:17). The Americans similarly use "helps" for "helpers." And, as instances of the latter, presbyters, or bishops, whose office it was to govern the Church (1Ti 5:17; Heb 13:17, 24). These officers, though now ordinary and permanent, were originally specially endowed with the Spirit for their office, whence they are here classified with other functions of an inspired character. Government (literally, "guiding the helm" of affairs), as being occupied with external things, notwithstanding the outward status it gives, is ranked by the Spirit with the lower functions. Compare "He that giveth" (answering to "helps")—"he that ruleth" (answering to "governments") (Ro 12:8). Translate, literally, "Helpings, governings" [Alford].

diversities of tongues—(1Co 12:10). "Divers kinds of tongues."




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