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1 Corinthians 12:1-11 – Gifts of the Spirit
by Gary Sims
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The Letters
1 Corinthians 12:1-11 – Gifts of the Spirit

Key Verses: (NLT)
  • 1: “And now, dear brothers and sisters, I will write about the special abilities the Holy Spirit gives to each of us, for I must correct your misunderstandings about them.” – Paul is broaching this topic because divisiveness and disagreement had developed among the Corinthians as they debated which spiritual gift was the greatest.

  • 3: “So I want you to know how to discern what is truly from God: No one speaking by the Spirit of God can curse Jesus, and no one is able to say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.” – This distinction is important because false prophets and teachers can lead people astray from following God’s path.

  • 4: “Now there are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but it is the same Holy Spirit who is the source of them all.” – As Christians we are not carbon copies of one another. We are each uniquely gifted by the Holy Spirit.

  • 7: “A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church.” – This is an important verse to highlight in your Bible. Each of us is gifted and we are gifted for a reason: to build the church.

  • 8-10: “To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another He gives the gift of special knowledge…” – Paul is not attempting to identify every spiritual gift with this group of verses; instead, he is attempting to demonstrate that no single gift is greater than another.

  • 11: “It is the one and only Holy Spirit who distributes these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.” – Our Spiritual gifts are freely given by God and He alone decides what they should be. Our role is to determine how and when we will use these precious gifts.
Points to Contemplate:
  • Do you believe that you are uniquely created by God to serve God? If this is true, if you are a unique creation of God, then shouldn’t you expect that He has created within you special gifts and talents that He wants you to use for His purpose? If God has a plan and purpose for your life, doesn’t it follow that He would also give you the tools to complete that plan? Do you see that as you follow God’s call and respond to His lead that your special gifts and talents will be revealed?

  • Have you identified your ‘Spiritual Gifts?’ Have you taken the time to do a spiritual gift inventory?1 In those times that you have felt successful at a certain task, or at peace performing a particular job, have you paid attention to the special talents you possess that have helped lead to these feelings? Is there a particular aspect of your life that just feels naturally apart of you; that when you do this thing you feel really connected to God? Are these clues to your spiritual gifts?

  • Do you look for ways to use and enhance your ‘Spiritual Gifts?’ Or do you, instead, focus on the things you can’t do? Are you energized to move into areas of ministry that can take advantage of your special gifts and talents? Or do you spend time looking at other people’s talents, wishing for what they have? Paul teaches us that no gift or talent is better than another; that all spiritual gifts have the single purpose of fulfilling God’s kingdom. Does this lesson help you set aside your feelings of insecurity and inadequacy?

  • Do you enjoy serving God? What excuses do you offer to avoid serving? Do you feel you are not qualified? Do you doubt the value of your input? Do you feel that there are many other people who could respond and do a better job? Do you think that Kingdom building is really a job for just the pastor and ministerial staff? Have you had bad experiences in the past and are reluctant to risk those feelings again? How do you respond to Jesus’ teaching to “deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me?”
Promises of the Gospel:

Paul teaches that “each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! The variety is wonderful.”
(1 Corinth. 12:7-9, MSG) As we respond to God’s call, as we decide to move forward fulfilling His plan for our life, these gifts and talents of the Spirit are revealed. He would not ask us to move into ministry ill-prepared. Our spiritual gifts not only empower us to do God’s work but they, in themselves, reveal God’s nature to the world around us.

”Serving from the Heart – Finding Your Gifts and Talents for Service,” Abingdon Press, developed by the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, Leawood, KS.

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