1 Corinthians 11–12: God & The Gifts

Read the Bible in 2011 ◊ Week 14: Sunday

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”
1 Corinthians 12:4–7

Sunday’s Bible reading is 1 Corinthians 11–12. There is so much in these two chapters on which I could comment. 1 Corinthians 11 is about the nature and identity of men and women and instructions and commands on the Lord’s Supper.

As a new Christian, 1 Corinthians 12 is the first chapter of the Bible that I heard taught. Here Paul begins a discussion of spiritual gifts that will continue through several chapters. In chapter 12, he lays a foundational understanding about abilities given by God to every Christian according to His will; they are not earned and they are not awards, and they are to be used for the common good. Paul uses the analogy of the human body to describe how the gifts should help each other as the different parts of the body do, and for this reason you will frequently hear people refer to the church as the body of Christ.

When the church works in harmony together with the gifts being used as God commands, it is a wonderful thing to see and be a part of. In chapter 13, his famous writing on love, Paul will tell us how the gifts are to be used.

One very important thing he discusses in chapter 12 is our attitude towards our gifts and towards the gifts of others:

But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members, but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”
1 Corinthians 12:18–21

We are to be inclusive and not exclusive. We are to appreciate and not denigrate. We are to be interdependent and not independent.

When someone comes to your church, what is your attitude towards them? Do you welcome who they are and include them in some ministry you may be working in? When you want to start doing some new kind of ministry at your church or perhaps expand or change something, do you actively seek to include people in the planning and creation? Do you consider what others can do that you cannot and what they can bring? If someone has a similar gift or the same gift do you consider how you can work together, or is your attitude one of me first territorialism? We must actively put aside sin and pride and remember that God gives the gifts, and God places each member as He desires.

Isaiah 42 Photograph: ChristianPhotos.net – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications

Original content: Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter

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