22 May 2013

1 Corinthians 12:3b-13

“To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses. For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.” (vv. 8-12)


It seems odd that church members should fall out or be jealous over the gifts that the Holy Spirit pours out on one congregation. But, alas that is an accurate picture of the Christian community inCorinth! One month they had rival leaders. The next month they had rival gifts! Paul lists nine gifts of the Spirit off the top of his head: wise words; deep knowledge; believing faith; healing; miracles; inspired prophecy; discernment; ecstatic utterance; the gift of interpretation. Many gifts - but one Spirit!  It cannot be any other way. There is only one Spirit. There is only one Christ. The vocation of the Church is to be one community in Christ - to be a sign of unity to the world.

To Ponder

  • Jealousy and rivalry among a team in the changing rooms or on the sports field spells disaster. Jealousy and rivalry within a family should be unnecessary. Jealousy and rivalry are constant factors in the history of Christianity and in other world faiths.
  • The Japanese Christian leader Kagawa said that to his ear the pronunciation of 'denomination' and 'damnation' sounded pretty much the same.
  • How do you deal with jealously and rivalry in your church?
  • And how do you deal with its effects and the damage it can cause?


Bible notes author

The Revd Prebendary Norman Wallwork

Norman Wallwork is a supernumerary Methodist minister and a retail chaplain in central Exeter. He is also a prebendary or canon of Wells Cathedral.