There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
1 Corinthians 12:4-6 (NIV)
Read: 1 Corinthians 12
Consider: In the latter part of 1 Corinthians 11 Paul was concerned about divisions in the church that came about because some of the believers were abusing the common meal, resulting in the differences in people’s wealth and status becoming apparent.
In 1 Corinthians 12 Paul concentrates upon something that caused division in the church then and still does today. Paul uses two very different words which have been translated as ‘spiritual gifts’; these are:
πνευματικός (pneumatikos) – referring to things of the spirit, the spiritual or supernatural realm. This word is used twenty-one (21) times in the NT (mostly in Paul’s letters);
χάρισμα (charisma) – referring to the ‘grace effects’, or gracious gifts of God bestowed on a believer. This word is used seventeen (17) times in the NT (again mostly in Paul’s letters).
Paul takes time to tell the Corinthian believers that whatever manifestation of the Spirit they see in the church has been given to each person for the benefit of all. In 1 Corinthians 12:7 he says: Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. There is absolutely no need for people to feel proud because they have a particular gifting, nor is there any reason to look down on other believers because of the gifting they have. This means that whatever gift or sphere of service a person has been given, is not for their own good, but for the good of others.
To reinforce and clarify his argument, Paul uses the analogy of the human body as an illustration. He speaks of the parts of the body as having different functions and some parts can be on open view while others are hidden. Despite these differences, all parts of the body are essential to the proper functioning of the whole. In 1 Corinthians 12:25 he says: … there should be no division in the body, but … its parts should have equal concern for each other. Paul’s argument is that if that is how our human bodies work, so much more should it be so in the church, the body of Christ. Different gifts, different areas of service and different workings of the Spirit should unite the church, rather than being a reason for division.
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? (1 Corinthians 12:27-30).
Pray: Father, may we see that the manifestations of the Spirit are to unite and equip the church and should not be reasons for disputes and divisions. Amen