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6We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; 7ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; 8the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.

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6-8. Having then gifts differing according to the grace given to us—Here, let it be observed, all the gifts of believers alike are viewed as communications of mere grace.

whether—we have the gift of

prophecy—that is, of inspired teaching (as in Ac 15:32). Anyone speaking with divine authority—whether with reference to the past, the present, or the future—was termed a prophet (Ex 7:1).

let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith—rather, "of our faith." Many Romish expositors and some Protestant (as Calvin and Bengel, and, though, hesitatingly, Beza and Hodge), render this "the analogy of faith," understanding by it "the general tenor" or "rule of faith," divinely delivered to men for their guidance. But this is against the context, whose object is to show that, as all the gifts of believers are according to their respective capacity for them, they are not to be puffed up on account of them, but to use them purely for their proper ends.

7. Or ministry, let us wait on—"be occupied with."

our ministering—The word here used imports any kind of service, from the dispensing of the word of life (Ac 6:4) to the administering of the temporal affairs of the Church (Ac 6:1-3). The latter seems intended here, being distinguished from "prophesying," "teaching," and "exhorting."

or he that teacheth—Teachers are expressly distinguished from prophets, and put after them, as exercising a lower function (Ac 13:1; 1Co 12:28, 29). Probably it consisted mainly in opening up the evangelical bearings of Old Testament Scripture; and it was in this department apparently that Apollos showed his power and eloquence (Ac 18:24).

8. Or he that exhorteth—Since all preaching, whether by apostles, prophets, or teachers, was followed up by exhortation (Ac 11:23; 14:22; 15:32, &c.), many think that no specific class is here in view. But if liberty was given to others to exercise themselves occasionally in exhorting the brethren, generally, or small parties of the less instructed, the reference may be to them.

he that giveth—in the exercise of private benevolence probably, rather than in the discharge of diaconal duty.

with simplicity—so the word probably means. But as simplicity seems enjoined in the next clause but one of this same verse, perhaps the meaning here is, "with liberality," as the same word is rendered in 2Co 8:2; 9:11.

he that ruleth—whether in the Church or his own household. See 1Ti 3:4, 5, where the same word is applied to both.

with diligence—with earnest purpose.

he that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness—not only without grudging either trouble or pecuniary relief, but feeling it to be "more blessed to give than to receive," and to help than be helped.