Chapter 12 starts a three-chapter discussion of gifts. The “Love Chapter” is sandwiched between gifts and offices and an explanation of prophecy and tongues. Verses 1-3 have puzzled me in this study, it is amazing how you can read something and not think about it. Paul clearly states why he is writing this section, “so we are not ignorant of spiritual gifts”. He then discusses idols and what the Spirit will and won’t do. I realized verse 2 and 3 are there because people claiming to have gifts from the Spirit were trying to make much of idols and cursing Jesus while claiming they have a spiritual gift. They could have also been giving credit to an idol while claiming it was from God. The test of Spiritual things is very simple – can/will/do the people proclaim Jesus as Lord! Some will not be able to say the words, others will not live the words.
Verses 4 – 6 seem to be an outline for what is coming and gives you a clear look at what the Spirit, Jesus, and Father God do for the Church. The repeating of the word “same” might alert us to what those people in 2 +3 were doing and saying.
We like to make list and when we make those lists it seems that the reason for making the list is the first thing on it. If we take time to edit our list how does the order change? Do we go most important to least important or the other way around? It always seems to me that Christians tend to take the first thing in Paul’s list as the most important and then diminish everything after that as less important. (See Things Paul Wrote About). Since I have done that also I can’t/won’t “throw rocks”. But, verses 12 – 26, the part done by the Lord Jesus should give us a different perspective. One part of the body is not more important than another, all are parts of the Body. (We should honor those who labor among us and verse 28 does show an order when God choose workers. But does that make them more important?) So, when verse 29 + 30 ask “are all” it is possible in response to “people choosing” what they “wanted to be” so they could be more important. Those offices will show themselves from “doing” the work, not from self-proclamation.
Why Did I?
- The reason I put Jesus with the Body part (v.12-26) which is labeled “service” is our service is to the Body.
- I called chapters 12 -14 a unit of thought because of chapter 12 starting with “Now”. Even though there are other “now’s” before chapter 15, at fifteen the thought changes and Paul reminds them of the Gospel he preached to them.
For other references to gifts see (Passover to Pentecost – Gifts from the Spirit) and Isaiah 11:1.