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Spiritual Gifts

Spiritual Gifts - Image 2 1 Corinthians 12

Spiritual Gifts

[1] Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed. [2] You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led. [3] Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.

[4] Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; [5] and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; [6] and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. [7] To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. [8] For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, [9] to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, [10] to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. [11] All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

[12] For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. [13] For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

[14] For the body does not consist of one member but of many. [15] If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. [16] And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. [17] If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? [18] But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. [19] If all were a single member, where would the body be? [20] As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

[21] The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” [22] On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, [23] and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, [24] which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, [25] that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. [26] If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

[27] Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. [28] And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. [29] Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? [30] Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? [31] But earnestly desire the higher gifts.

And I will show you a still more excellent way. (ESV)... which is "the way of love" read more about that in 1 Corinthians 13

Spiritual Gifts - Image 1Those who put their faith, hope and trust in Jesus Christ, believing in Him, who are part of the one body will have spiritual gifts [Greek: charismata] given to them in order to build up and strengthen the Church. Spiritual gifts are gifts of God’s grace, given by the Holy Spirit, normally at their baptism. As Christians live out their faith they will, with the help of other, discover these God given gifts and put them to use in His service and in the service of their neighbour. Alongside the Christian's God given spiritual gifts the Lord also provides natural skill and abilities which likewise can be employed to service God and the neighbour.

The Apostle Paul mentions spiritual gifts several times in his writings – including the Bible text quoted here. The total number of spiritual mentioned in the Scriptures is more than 20. The Scriptures stress each individual has their own distinct gifts. The bottom line is this: As God’s people put these gifts to use, the church – the Apostle Paul calls it the “Body of Christ” – works together in harmony using a divinely given division of labour. When this body is full of people doing their part with the variouse gifts they've been given the Church naturaly becomes a place of joy and mercy and help for memebers and the neighbour. John Heywood (1497–1580) an English writer provides an applicable phrase to further illustrate this, "Many hands make light work." Remember also that the kingdom of Christ is spiritual and in this kingdom Christ inwardly rules, strengthens, and comforts hearts, and imparts the Holy Spirit and various spiritual gifts: Just as the Lutheran Apology of the Augsburg Confession says in Article VII and VIII (The Church) when it says that, "Christ's kingdom is righteousness of heart and the gifts of the Holy Spirit." AC VII and VIII 13. 

What might this look like as you live your daily life outside of volunteer work in a church or a church related project or mission? Here's a quick article by Pr. Todd Wilken: God's Will for Your Daily Life