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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney


This week we return to our series in 1 Corinthians in our devotionals. This week we will be looking at 1 Corinthians 12:12-20.

‘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? Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.’ (1 Corinthians 12:27-31)

What does it mean to ‘eagerly desire the greater gifts’? It’s unlikely to mean that some gifts are more important than others; that would go against what he’s been teaching about the importance of every member in the body of Christ. Rather, the greater gifts are those that edify others. When the church meets together, we are to desire to use our gifts to build up the church through love. We read something similar in chapter 14:

“So it is with you. Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church.” (1 Corinthians 14:12)

In Ephesians we also read of how gifts are meant to be sought so as to build the church up:

‘Eagerly desire gifts because through them the church is equipped and matured. So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.’ (Ephesians 4:11-13)

Q - What, according to Ephesians 4:11-13, is the motive for desiring to have gifts?

Q - What will be the result of our using our spiritual gifts?

1 Corinthians 12:27-31, is often used as an argument that not everyone has certain gifts; Some would say that, according to this text, not everyone has the of tongues, for example. The point that Paul is making is about what happens when the church comes together (this is the context as we see in 14:26). In a church meeting, God gives a range of gifts. We are not to be fixated with one gift at the exclusion of others. The Corinthians were fixated with tongues (without interpretation) which needed to be corrected.


Paul is concerned that we have a diversity of gifts in operation when we meet together. The church is right to desire ethnic diversity in the church, but how much do we also hear about gift diversity? Our danger might be the monoculture of having teaching as our only gift rather than tongues as seemed to be the problem in Corinth. Are we desirous, praying for and encouraging the diversity of gifts in our church meetings?



1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.


2. Icebreaker

Do you have any encouragements to share from how God has been speaking to you from His word recently?


3. Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group

On Sunday, we continued with our series 'Becoming Love' from the book of 1 Corinthians.



Please read 1 Corinthians 12:12-14

Paul uses the illustration of a human to show how Jesus works through each of us in this world. Through the local church - His body- He continues His ministry. Bittlenger comments:

‘In order to accomplish his work on earth, Jesus had a body made of flesh and blood. In order to accomplish his work today, Jesus has a body that consists of living human beings.’


Please read 1 Corinthians 12:15-16, 18, 21, 25.

God wants us to understand that each of us has gifts that are important for the health and ministry of the church. It's easy to feel that we have nothing to offer or, alternatively, that our gifts are more important than that of others. Both attitudes need to be corrected. Every part of the body is important and needed. It's too easy to say "I'm not needed" or "I don't need you". Specifically, we are to be careful not to say I don’t need Apostles, Prophets, Teachers, Miracles, Gifts of healing, Helpers/servants, Administrators, and Tongues and interpretation.


Please read 1 Corinthians 12:31

Finally, we are urged to 'Eagerly desire the greater gifts.’ The 'greater gifts' are about using spiritual gifts that build others up in love. Gifts are not for self-indulgence. Gifts are given to build others up. Let's eagerly seek to use words, works and wonders to build others up according to their needs. Let's be eager in this!

Discussion questions

i) Did you feel that God spoke to you from any particular aspect of Sunday's message?

ii) How does the analogy of the body, help us to understand how Jesus works in His church.

iii) According to verse 13, how do we become members of Jesus' body and how should this identity affect us?

iv) In what ways can we 'eagerly desire' to grow in the use of our gifts?

SIV - How can we use our spiritual gifts to reach our community for Jesus?

SIV - Do you have any encouraging stories of sharing your faith with your friends?

SIV - How do you plan to 'serve, invest and invite' into your friendships?

SIV - Let's pray for the Spirit to lead us in reaching our community.

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