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Spiritual Gifts - A Study of 1 Corinthians 12 - 14

1 Corinthians 12:1-11

1. Spiritual gifts are:

A. Miracles, supernatural events.

B. Performed through the agency of men.

C. The power is received though the laying on of apostle's hands.

D. Given by the Holy Spirit according to the person's ability to use the gift.

2. There are different gifts given by the same Spirit. (4)

A. Different administrations from the same Lord.

B. Different operations from the same God.

C. The purpose for these differences is so that all can be a profit to the kingdom.

3. Nine specific gifts are listed. (3 sets of 3)

A. Teaching gifts.

  1. Word of wisdom. Inspired wisdom, advice from God. They helped answer questions about the best way for the church to function.
  2. Word of knowledge. Inspired teaching and doctrine. They could teach the will of God in matters of doctrine. They could expose false doctrines.
  3. Faith. Today, faith comes by hearing (reading) the Bible. Before the Word of God was fully revealed, it was necessary to have a demonstration of active faith.

B. Helping gifts.

  1. Healing. The instant cure from illness, infirmity or death. The purpose of this miracle was not to put hospitals out of business. It was not done out of compassion for the sick. Healing was done to confirm the words of the speaker and prove the teaching was from God.
  2. Miracles. This gift includes all non-healing miracles. Stilling storms, catching fish, feeding 5,000, and turning water into wine are examples of miracles.
  3. Discerning of spirits. There were many frauds in the first century, as there are today. God gave some the special gift of discerning spirits to distinguish the fakes from the genuine.

C. Evangelistic gifts.

  1. Prophecy. We usually think of a prophet as one who was able to predict the future. Prophets are more of a "forth-teller" than a "fore-teller." They were to speak for God. A prophet is a teacher. One who explains, illustrates, teaches, preaches the will of God. NOTE: One with the word of knowledge could state the teaching of God. The prophet could explain it, expound on it and make application of it.
  2. Tongues. Tongues are languages. The gift of tongues was the ability to speak in a language the speaker had never studied. If we could speak to a Russian in his native language without ever studying that language, we would have the gift of tongues.
  3. Interpretation of tongues. This gift gave one the ability to translate a foreign language into their mother tongue without having studied the foreign language. If we could listen to someone speak Russian and interpret that speech into English, we would have the gift of interpretation of tongues.
  4. 4. All gifts have value.

    A. They function together, like gears in a machine.

    B. They all have the Spirit as their origin and source of power.

    C. The Holy Spirit distributes the gift to each as He sees the need.

    1 Corinthians 12:12-27

    1. The major point - One body has many members.

    A. Different members function in very different ways.

    B. All are needed, even the ones we ignore.

    2. Questions to think about.

    A. Here are some "What if ..." questions.

    1. The foot wanted to be a hand?

    2. The ear wanted to be an eye?

    3. The whole body were an eye?

    4. Your body was just a big ear?

    5. Every member of your body was identical to all other members of the body?

    B. How would you feel if:

    1. The eye rejected the hand as useless?

    2. The head refused to talk to the feet?

    3. Spend some time thinking about:

    A. The parts of our body we take for granted.

    B. The parts we think are not necessary.

    C. Body parts that are less honorable, ugly.

    D. Body parts we spend more time caring for.

    4. There should be unity in the body.

    A. No splits, schisms, divisions are allowed.

    B. We should care for one another.

    1. When one suffers - we all suffer.

    2. When one is honored - all are honored.

    3. When one rejoices - we all rejoice.

    1 Corinthians 12:28-31

    1. The church must have order, rank, structure.

    A. 1 Cor. 14:40 Decently and in order.

    B. There must be rank and order or there is chaos.

    2. God set (established) the order for the church.

    A. First - apostles.

    B. Secondly - prophets.

    C. Thirdly - teachers.

    D. After that - miracles.

    E. Gifts of healing.

    F. Helps.

    G. Governments.

    H. Diversities of tongues.

    3. We should seek (covet) the best (most useful) gifts.

  5. There is something superior to all of these gifts - LOVE.



1 Corinthians 13

1. General outline.

A. Spiritual gifts minus love equals nothing. 1-3

B. Love defined and explained. 4-8a

C. Spiritual gifts are temporary while love is eternal. 8b-13

2. Spiritual gifts must be governed and used with love.

Spiritual Gift Minus LoveEquals

  1. Speak in tongue Clangs, and dings
  2. Prophecy Nothing
  3. Understand all
  4. All knowledge
  5. Give to poor Profits nothing
  6. Martyr for Christ

3. Love defined and explained. 4-8a

  1. Suffers long 2 Peter 3:9 1 Peter 3:20
  2. Kind Ephesians 4:32
  3. Envies not - Not resent another’s good fortune.
  4. Vaunteth not itself – Not boastful, a braggart.
  5. Is not puffed up – Not blow up, inflate, filled with pride.
  6. Not behave unseemly – Not shameful, disgrace, to be ashamed
  7. Seeks not her own - 1 Corinthians 10:24 Philippians 2:3-4
  8. Not easily provoked – Should not sharpen, arouse anger
  9. Thinks no evil – Always thinks the best
  10. Rejoices not in iniquity – Romans 1:32 Psalm 10:3
  11. Rejoices in the truth – 2 John 4
  12. Bears all things – Galatians 6:2 Romans 15:1
  13. Believes all things – Love can not build on a lack of trust
  14. Hopes all things – Share dreams, desires, aims, hopes
  15. Endures all things – "Puts up with"
  16. Love never fails

4. Love contrasted 8b-13

A. Prophecies, tongues, knowledge will stop

B. Know in part vs. know as known

C. Part vs. perfect

D. Child vs. mature adult

E. Dark mirror vs. face to face

F. Things that cease vs. things that abide

5. Proof that spiritual gifts have ceased.

A. Purpose is gone. 1. The church is now established, mature. 2. Revelation is complete, confirmed.



Prophecies Fail

Tongues Cease When that which is perfect is come

Knowledge Vanish away


Faith - Ends in Sight (2 Corinthians 5:7)

Hope - Ends in Realization (Romans 8:24) End at second coming of Christ

Love - E T E R N A L

C. Perfect = complete revelation, mature church

1. Greek "to teleon" = end of a process, completed task, mature, full grown, finished

2. This is not the Second Coming of Christ

a. No time for faith and hope to ABIDE.

b. "perfect" is neuter gender here

c. Not "he who" but "that which"

D. Seeking spiritual gifts today is "backwards."

  1. Tongues were part of the immature church.
  2. Spiritual Gifts were during partial knowledge.
  3. Saying dark mirror is better than face to face.



Chapter 14 – Rules for use in the worship assembly

1. In Summary - - Chapter 12 List the gifts and show their unity and origin

Chapter 13 Love is better than any other gift, it is eternal.

These gifts are temporary.

Chapter 14 Contrast of tongues and prophecy in worship.

Rules for using these gifts in the assembly.

2. Detailed outline - -

Chapter 12

1-7 Different gifts all come from the same Holy Spirit.

8-11 List of nine gifts, each with a purpose and use.

12-27 Church is compared to a body, many parts work together

31 Some are more important (rank higher) than others.

Chapter 13

1-3 Love is important.

4-8a Love defined.

8b-13 Love lasts longer that the spiritual gifts.

Contrasts are made to illustrate this point.


Gifts will stop - Love never fails

Partial - Perfect (complete)

Child - Man

Dark (dim) - Clear (bright)

Ceases - Abides

Chapter 14

Contrast between the usefulness of tongues and prophecy in the worship assemblies of the church.

Verse Prophecy Tongues
1 Rather prophesy  
2   Not to man
2   No understaning
2   Speaks mysteries
3 Speak to men  
3 Edification  
3 Exhortation  
3 Comfort  
4 Edify church Edify self only
5 Greater  
6   No profit
7-9   Uncertain sound
12 Edify the church  
13   Need an interpreter
14   No understanding
16   No one can say Amen
19   Better 5 word understood
20 Let's All Grow Up And Be Adults!
22 Sign to believers Sign to unbelievers

NOTE 1: This section is dealing with the "church assembled" for worship.

Verse 23 "whole church be come together into one place"

Vs. 19 "in the church" Vs. 24 "convinced of all"

Vs. 26 "when you come together" Vs. 28 "in the church"

Vs. 31 "that all may learn" Vs. 34 "in the churches"

NOTE 2: These gifts do not "control" the person. The person is to control the gift. Study verses 26 and 40. Some may have something to say but it must be done decently and in order.

Rules for Tongues in the assembly - (14:27-28)

  1. Two or at the most three can speak at one service.
  2. By course = one at a time.Let the message be interpreted.If no interpreter, speaker is to be silent.

Rules for Prophecy in the assembly - (14:29-32)

  1. Two or at the most three can speak at one service.
  2. Let another judge (agree that the teaching is correct). One speaking should stop if another receives a revelation.
  3. One by one - one at a time.
  4. The prophet is in control of his gift.

Rules for All Gifts in the assembly - (14:33-40)

  1. God does not create confusion.
  2. Worship should not be a time of debate and argument.Seek the gift you can best use.Do all things decently and in order.

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