1 Corinthians 12:12-31a
The Functioning of Spiritual Gifts

Date: 19-Dec-10
Required Resources: Many Parts One Body – Survivor (comedy).mpg (4min 10sec)

Purpose (Why am I teaching this lesson? What effect did the writer expect it to have on the recipients?)
The purpose of this lesson is to cause the participant to consider their function and effectiveness within the Body of Christ.

Theme (What central idea does this passage communicate?)
Each part in the Body is essential to the functioning of the Body

Review & Homework:
A. Salutations & Reminders (v1:1-1:9)
B. Divisions within the church (v1:10-4:21)
C. …of conduct unbecoming a believer (v5:1-13) {church discipline}
D. Dealing with offenses in The Body (v6:1-11)
E. The bondage of sexual sin (v6:12-20)
 – Now For The Matters You Wrote About —
F. Marriage, Divorce & Singleness (v7:1-40)
G. Christian Liberty (v8:1-11:1)
H. Order in Worship (v11:2-14:39 )
   1. Submission to established order (v11:2-16)
   2. Order in the Observance of the Lord’s Table (v11:17-34)
   3. About Spiritual Gifts (v12:1-11)
   – Indentifying your Spiritual Gift(s) —
Ü 4. The functioning of Spiritual Gifts (v12:12-31a)
   5. The rule of using Spiritual Gifts (v12:31b -13:13)
   6. Proper use of the sign gifts (v14:1-25)
   7. Orderly worship (v14:26-39)
  • Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a and complete a page in your study booklet
  • Come to class with a one sentence summary of what Paul is saying in this passage.

WHITEBOARD ¿: Read v12:4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11.  What is the source of our spiritual gifts?

This passage stresses the importance of diversity as the KEY to unity.

In 12:v1-27 the term “body” is used 13 times. As a metaphor it uniquely pictures the life of a believer. All parts are needed.  If one part is not functioning or sick, performance will be less than optimal.

If a part is cut out it withers and dies.
Ü Life is in the body. Life is not in isolation.

¿: Did God give all the gifts required for this to be a healthy body?
¿: Do you see the variety of gifts in full use here?
¿: Are YOU fully exercising your gift (or gift mix) here?

WHITEBOARD: passage outline

The Text
1 Corinthians 12:12-13

12 The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.
13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

Unit… many parts… work as one

So it is with Christ” – This phrase equates the church to Christ

baptized by one spirit into one body”  - the baptism unifies us in headship as well as purpose.
Ü There are no partial Christians – either we’re baptized in the spirit or not
¿: Do you think Paul has stressed unity in the body throughout 1 Corinthians to now be saying there is a spiritual baptism after your salvation (manifested in some sign gift)?
Ü If so, wouldn’t this mean there IS reason for division if I can say, “I received a baptism you didn’t receive”?

READ Acts 8:14-17
¿: Why didn’t they receive the Spirit until Peter & John showed up?
READ Acts 10:44-46
¿: Why did tongues come with the receiving of the Holy Spirit?

¿: If you didn’t study these verses in the context to what was happening in the church at the time vs. today, what might you deduce from these verses?

READ Acts 11:1-3; 15-18
¿: What result did Peter’s relaying his experience have on those who criticized what he had done?

Baptism of the Holy Spirit is the divine operation which places believers into the Body of Christ.
Ü It is not water baptism (cf. Matt. 3:11; John 1:33; Acts 1:5)
Ü It is not a post-salvation work in which believers become more spiritual (cf. 1 Cor. 1:2, 7; 1 Cor. 3:1)
Ü It is not tongues, not all in Corinth were given this gift (v12:30)
Ü IT IS the salvation all receive at the moment of Salvation

Spirit to drink” – cf. John 14:12-14
1 Corinthians 12:14-20

I’m not good enough…
so I’ll not participate in the Body”

14 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.
16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.
17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?
18 But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.
19 If they were all one part, where would the body be?
20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

¿: Who arranged the parts of the body?
¿: Are there any parts which are unnecessary?
¿: What attitude does this passage address?

Ü There must be many members in order to have a body; variety is essential

Each part of the body should see itself as essential and be grateful for it’s God-given role.

Body example:
Is a finger as essential in the body as a lung?
Would a missing finger affect the body?  How?
1 Corinthians 12:21-26

You’re not good enough…
So get out of my way while I make the Body work”

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!”
22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,
23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty,
24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it,
25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.
26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

¿: What attitude does this passage address?

God designed that members of the body would demonstrate mutual concern for the well-being of the others.
Ü Some parts were considered “weaker” cf. 12:22; 8:7-13
Ü Some parts were considered “less honorable” cf. 12:23; 11:22
God desired there be no division in the body
Ü cf. 1:10; 11:18; 12:26

¿: Why is it that in the human body we clearly see how each part is essential but in the body of Christ, such a distinction is not so evident?

¿: What are your thoughts on denominational distinctions in the greater body of Christ?
¿: Is there use for the Pentecostals, Presbyterian’s, Baptists and 7th Day Adventists in the body?
1 Corinthians 12:27-31a

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
28 And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues.
29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles?
30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?
31 But eagerly desire the greater gifts.

v27 – ¿: What is the emphasis based on redundancy in this verse?

¿: Is our unity based upon common function?  What is it’s basis?

¿: Whose will does the body exercise?
first… second… third…” – possibly ranked because these gifts were so undervalued in Corinth (see chapter 14) or could be because they are “truth” gifts

Ü These gifts ministered to the body at large in a way the other gifts didn’t
Ü Given the Corinthian desire toward self-centeredness (e.g. divisions, lawsuits, divorce, meat sacrificed to idols, women in worship, manner of partaking in Lord’s Supper) an honest respect for other gifts was an essential attribute to the functioning as a body.

¿: As a matter of review, what is each of these gifts in verse 28?

¿: As you read verses 29 & 30, what is the answer to the question?
¿: What does this say about these gifts? [none are given to everyone]
¿: How would you respond to someone that says a specific gift is a sign that you have the Holy Spirit?

eagerly desire
¿: Which gift is the best?  How would you distinguish the “better” gifts from the others? [more of the body is edified]

¿: In the context of the letter based on the fact it is sandwiched between chapter 12 and 13, what does this say?
Ü The object of this phrase is the body (not the individual).  The idea being that as a body our focus should be on the gifts that edify more of the body (lung vs. finger)
Ü Taken in light of a “most excellent way” Paul is about to show them, the idea is to hold in high esteem not “my gifts” but “your gifts”

¿: Does this meaning fit [WHITEBOARD] v12:4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11?

¿: How do you think the “body” picture holds true for a local body vs. the church universal?

Personal Application:
  • What does it mean if you’re not exercising your gift in the Body?
  • What does it mean if you’re only half-heartedly exercising your gift in the Body?

  • Read 1 Corinthians 13
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