Things Paul Wrote About – One


Poetically we know one as the “loneliest number”.  It is a concept we learn very early in life when we discover “me”. One can be a number or type of pronoun. Calculating with “one” is a major part of math that is done in science class.  In the New Testament “one” stands in contrast to “many” the example here is “one Lord”.  In Greek, it is used with other words to be “everyone” or “one another”.  Greek has three different words that are used for one – heis, mia, and hen; these are male, female, and neutral forms of the word.

When Many are One

Ephesians 5:31 uses marriage to stress the point that “many can be one”.  This verse on marriage was first stated in Genesis 2:24. Paul, however, expands this idea to cover the Body of Christ in numerous places: Romans 9:25, 1 Corinthians 10:17; 12:12,13,14-27; Galatians 3:28; Philippians 1:27; Colossians 3:15; Ephesians 2:14.  To show the importance of one Paul uses the concept of marriage again but he does this with a negative – why not to visit a prostitute – 1 Corinthians 6: 15 – 17.

This whole line of thought may seem to contradict my earlier statement about one not being many!  It is just the opposite, it shows us how we are to act within the Body of Christ. Jesus is coming for “A” bride.  One bride! 

Now, we are made of many parts but that does not mean we should not be one.  Jesus being (your) Lord is more important than slight variations in personal or church doctrine.  

Things That are One

Yes, Paul does talk of many things that are “one” but if you really look at what he says it will beat up many of the things Christians chose to fight about. In Acts and his letters Paul spends time addressing divisions in the Body.  He condemns false teachings and teachers and corrects Peter and Barnabas about separating themselves from other believers.  (Using Bible Gateway can make a hunt for these very easy.)  Here are some of the things that Paul declares and teaches are one (not many): God, Father, Spirit, Lord, gospel, faith, baptism. Many of those “ones” are in Ephesians 4. In Ephesians 6:16 Paul reduces warfare and who we are to be fighting very nicely to the “evil one”.

One Another

This phrase is complicated!  My Strong’s concordance puts the words “one” and “another” into the dreaded appendix section, while the Goodrick and Kohlenberger concordance (Zondervan NIV Concordance) does list them individually for better referencing.  It also has a reference tool so you can find the words meaning in the Strong’s.  This helped, but that shows there are three main words for “another”:  Allelon which comes from allos and heteros.  Allos and allelon should/could be understood as “another of the same sort” while heterosis “another of a different sort”.

I will use 1 Corinthians 12: 7-11 (NIV) as an example.  I am adding the bold and alternate words.

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

To one (hos) there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom,

to another (same sort) a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit,

 to another (different sort) faith by the same Spirit, 

to another (same sort) gifts of healing by that one (heis) Spirit, 

10 to another (same sort) miraculous powers, 

to another (same sort) prophecy, 

to another (same sort) distinguishing between spirits, 

to another (different sort) speaking in different kinds of tongues,

and to still another (same sort) the interpretation of tongues.

11 All these are the work of one (heis) and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

Hos is a “female” word for who, etc.  The “one” in vs.7 and the second “one” in vs. 11 are added for better reading in the NIV. 

Reflection: Doing this is challenging some thoughts on the Gifts of the Spirit.

Passover to Pentecost – Gifts from the Spirit

Passover to Pentecost – Gifts from the Spirit        Week 7 Day 4

We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. Romans 12: 6(NIV)    Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 1 Corinthians 12:7(NIV)

Jesus ascended so he could send the Holy Spirit.  The disciples probably had a good idea of the workings of the Spirit because of the many things He did in the Old Testament.  The gifts of the Spirit are mentioned frequently in the New Testament.  Gifts are given to people and in the case of spiritual gifts the person receiving them is supposed to use them for the Church of the Living God, who by the way does not change.

Paul was a great list writer and sometimes those lists seem to change form epistle to epistle.  The problem with list is how people handle them.  The first thing in the list is the best, or you will “receive” them in that order, or any number of things that can be turned into hard and fast rules.  I have used two different lists from Paul’s writings, both are list of gifts.  Paul just put the word spiritual in front of the ones to a more gifted Corinthian church.  Brother Joseph Prince groups the nine gifts into three groups in order to help you learn/remember them easier:

  • Vocal Gifts – Prophecy, Interpretation of Tongues, and Tongues (personal prayer language)
  • Knowledge Gifts – Words of Wisdom, Words of Knowledge, and Distinguishing of Spirits
  • Power Gifts – Faith (for special things), Healing, and Miraculous Powers

The gifts in Romans I divided into two groups:

  • Building Up Gifts – Prophesying, Teaching, Encouraging, and Showing Mercy
  • Building Out Gifts – Serving, Contributing, and Leadership

These gifts are for the Church.  In the Old Testament when the Holy Spirit “came upon” someone it was for the good of the Nation or God was protecting someone in the Nation.  The phrase “came upon” is translated from several different words that might suggest different levels of anointing. (I will study this topic out in a later post.)

The judges Othniel, Gideon, Jephthah, and Samson are noted for having the Spirit “come upon” them so they could lead the Nation in times of trouble.  Several people are sited for prophesying because of the Spirit.  Moses operated in several gifts in the course of leading and freeing the People.  Bezalel is “filled” with knowledge for doing the Ark.  David also has several gifts: leadership, knowledge (plans for the Temple), and prophesy.  Yes, spiritual gifts are real and should be part of the believer’s life as well as part of the church service.

I have heard many positive and negative things about the gifts over the last forty years.  But I will go back to the words of Jesus in Luke 11 where He is teaching on prayer.  In verses 11 to 13 He makes the point that if you are asking the Father for something He will not give you a snake if you are asking for an egg.  He ends the session with, “How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11: 13b (NIV)

In both Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 Paul shares about spiritual gifts and workings and then follows with a teaching/reminder on love.  I think the point is clear; love God and your neighbor, and part of that will be by using the gifts the Holy Spirit gives you for good.