a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary
Select a resource above

Spiritual Gifts


Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2You know that when you were pagans, you were enticed and led astray to idols that could not speak. 3Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says “Let Jesus be cursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit.

4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; 6and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. 7To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.

One Body with Many Members

12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

14 Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15If the foot would say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16And if the ear would say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many members, yet one body. 21The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; 24whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, 25that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. 26If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.

27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 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. 29Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31But strive for the greater gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.

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.

15. This is a bringing out still farther (ἐπεξεργασία) of the preceding statement, or in other words, an exposition of it, with some amplification, with the view of placing in a clearer light, what he had previously stated in a few words. Now all this accords with the apologue of Menenius Agrippa. “Should a dissension break out in the body, so that the feet would refuse to discharge their office to the rest of the body, and the belly in like manner, and the eyes, and the hands, what would be the effect? Would not the result be — the destruction of the whole body?” At the same time Paul here insists more particularly on this one point — that each member ought to rest satisfied with its own place and station, and not envy the others, for he institutes a comparison between the more distinguished members, and those that have less dignity. For the eye has a more honorable place in the body than the hand, and the hand than the foot But if our hands were, from a feeling of envy, to refuse to discharge their office, would nature endure this? Would the hand be listened to, when wishing to be separated from the body?

To be not of the body, means here — to have no communication with the other members, but to live for itself, and to seek only its own advantage. “Would it then,” says Paul, “be allowable for the hand to refuse to do its office to the other members, on the ground of its bearing envy to the eyes?” These things are said of the natural body, but they must be applied to the members of the Church, lest ambition or misdirected emulation and envy should be the occasion of bad feeling among us, 754754     “Nous face restraindre et espargner les vns enuers les autres;” — “Make us restrict and spare ourselves — one towards another.” so as to lead one that occupies an inferior station to grudge to afford his services to those above him.

VIEWNAME is study