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?
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
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.
PLAY YOUR PART IN THE BODY OF CHRIST (12:12-31)
i) CHRIST HAS A BODY
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.’