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12. Spiritual Gifts

1Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. 2Ye know that when ye were Gentiles ye were led away unto those dumb idols, howsoever ye might led. 3Wherefore I make known unto you, that no man speaking in the Spirit of God saith, Jesus is anathema; and no man can say, Jesus is Lord, but in the Holy Spirit. 4Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5And there are diversities of ministrations, and the same Lord. 6And there are diversities of workings, but the same God, who worketh all things in all. 7But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit to profit withal. 8For to one is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom; and to another the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit: 9to another faith, in the same Spirit; and to another gifts of healings, in the one Spirit; 10and to another workings of miracles; and to another prophecy; and to another discernings of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; and to another the interpretation of tongues: 11but all these worketh the one and the same Spirit, dividing to each one severally even as he will. 12For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of the body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ. 13For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free; and were all made to drink of one Spirit. 14For the body is not one member, but many. 15If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; it is not therefore not of the body. 16And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; it is not therefore not of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? 18But now hath God set the members each one of them in the body, even as it pleased him. 19And if they were all one member, where were the body? 20But now they are many members, but one body. 21And the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of thee: or again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. 22Nay, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be more feeble are necessary: 23and those parts of the body, which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness; 24whereas our comely parts have no need: but God tempered the body together, giving more abundant honor to that part which lacked; 25that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. 26And whether one member suffereth, all the members suffer with it; or one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. 27Now ye are the body of Christ, and severally members thereof. 28And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, divers kinds of tongues. 29Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? 30have all gifts of healings? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? 31But desire earnestly the greater gifts. And moreover a most excellent way show I unto you.

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He has in the beginning of the chapter spoken of gifts: now he begins to treat of offices, and this order it is proper that we should carefully observe. For the Lord did not appoint ministers, without first endowing them with the requisite gifts, and qualifying them for discharging their duty. Hence we must infer, that those are fanatics, and actuated by an evil spirit, who intrude themselves into the Church, while destitute of the necessary qualifications, as many boast that they are under the influence of the Spirit, and glory in a secret call from God, while in the meantime they are unlearned and utterly ignorant. The natural order, on the other hand, is this — that gifts come before the office to be discharged. As, then, he has taught above, that everything that an individual has received from God, should be made subservient to the common good, so now he declares that offices are distributed in such a manner, that all may together, by united efforts, edify the Church, and each individual according to his measure. 767767     “Selon sa portion et mesure;” — “According to his portion and measure.”

28. First, Apostles He does not enumerate all the particular kinds, and there was no need of this, for he merely intended to bring forward some examples. In the fourth Chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians, (Ephesians 4:11,) there is a fuller enumeration of the offices, that are required for the continued government of the Church. The reason of this I shall assign there, if the Lord shall permit me to advance so far, though even there he does not make mention of them all. As to the passage before us, we must observe, that of the offices which Paul makes mention of, some are perpetual, others temporary. Those that are perpetual, are such as are necessary for the government of the Church; those that are temporary, are such as were appointed at the beginning for the founding of the Church, and the raising up of Christ’s kingdom; and these, in a short time afterwards, ceased.

To the first class belongs the office of Teacher, to the second the office of Apostle; for the Lord created the Apostles, that they might spread the gospel throughout the whole world, and he did not assign to each of them certain limits or parishes, but would have them, wherever they went, to discharge the office of ambassadors among all nations and languages. In this respect there is a difference between them and Pastors, who are, in a manner, tied to their particular churches. For the Pastor has not a commission to preach the gospel over the whole world, but to take care of the Church that has been committed to his charge. In his Epistle to the Ephesians he places Evangelists after the Apostles, but here he passes them over; for from the highest order, he passes immediately to Prophets

By this term he means, (in my opinion,) not those who were endowed with the gift of prophesying, but those who were endowed with a peculiar gift, not merely for interpreting Scripture, but also for applying it wisely for present use. 768768     “De l’accommoder prudemment, et l’appliquer en vsage selon les personnes et le temps;” — “To make use of it wisely, and apply it to use according to persons and time.” My reason for thinking so is this, that he prefers prophecy to all other gifts, on the ground of its yielding more edification — a commendation that would not be applicable to the predicting of future events. Farther, when he describes the office of Prophet, or at least treats of what he ought principally to do, he says that he must devote himself to consolation, exhortation, and doctrine. Now these are things that are distinct from prophesyings. 769769     “Et advertissemens des choses a venir;” — “And intimations or things to come.” Let us, then, by Prophets in this passage understand, first of all, eminent interpreters of Scripture, and farther, persons who are endowed with no common wisdom and dexterity in taking a right view of the present necessity of the Church, that they may speak suitably to it, and in this way be, in a manner, ambassadors to communicate the divine will.

Between them and Teachers this difference may be pointed out, that the office of Teacher consists in taking care that sound doctrines be maintained and propagated, in order that the purity of religion may be kept up in the Church. At the same time, even this term is taken in different senses, and here perhaps it is used rather in the sense of Pastor, unless you prefer, it may be, to take it in a general way for all that are endowed with the gift of teaching, as in Acts 13:1, where also Luke conjoins them with Prophets. My reason for not agreeing with those who make the whole of the office of Prophet consist in the interpretation of Scripture, is this — that Paul restricts the number of those who ought to speak, to two or three; (1 Corinthians 14:29,) which would not accord with a bare interpretation of Scripture. In fine, my opinion is this — that the Prophets here spoken of are those who make known the will of God, by applying with dexterity and skill prophecies, threatenings, promises, and the whole doctrine of Scripture, to the present use of the Church. If any one is of a different opinion, I have no objection to his being so, and will not raise any quarrel on that account. For it is difficult to form a judgment as to gifts and offices of which the Church has been so long deprived, excepting only that there are some traces, or shadows of them still to be seen.

As to powers and gift of healings, I have spoken when commenting on the 12th Chapter of the Romans. Only it must be observed that here he makes mention, not so much of the gifts themselves, as of the administration of them. As the Apostle is here enumerating offices, I do not approve of what Chrysostom says, that ἀντιλήψεις, that is, helps or aids, consist in supporting the weak. What is it then? Undoubtedly, it is either an office, as well as gift, that was exercised in ancient times, but of which we have at this day no knowledge whatever; or it is connected with the office of Deacon, or in other words, the care of the poor; and this latter idea pleases me better. 770770     This view of the import of the term ἀντιλήψεις, (helps,) is generally acquiesced in by modern interpreters. It is remarked by Dr. Dick, (in his Theology, volume iv, p. 390,) that “there are no persons who may be so reasonably supposed to be meant by helps, as deacons;” who “were instituted for the express purpose of helping the Apostles, for the purpose of relieving them from the care of the poor, that they might devote themselves exclusively to the ministry of the word.” He observes also, (p.389,) that “it does not follow, because some of the offices and ministrations enumerated in this place were miraculous and extraordinary, that they were all of that description.” — Ed In Romans 12:7, he makes mention of two kinds of deacons. Of these I have treated when commenting upon that passage.

By Governments I understand Elders, who had the charge of discipline. For the primitive Church had its Senate, 771771     “Auoit comme son Senate, ou Consistoire;” — “Had its Senate, as it were, or Consistory.” for the purpose of keeping the people in propriety of deportment, as Paul shows elsewhere, when he makes mention of two kinds of Presbyters. 772772     “Deux ordres de Prestres: c’est a dire d’Anciens;” — “Two kinds of Presbyters: that is to say, Elders.” (1 Timothy 5:17.) Hence government consisted of those Presbyters who excelled others in gravity, experience, and authority.

Under different kinds of tongues he comprehends both the knowledge of languages, and the gift of interpretation. They were, however, two distinct gifts; because in some cases an individual spoke in different languages, and yet did not understand the language of the Church with which he had to do. This defect was supplied by interpreters. 773773     Our Author repeats here what he had stated when commenting on verse 10th. — Ed.