Tuesday 17 May 2022

Bible Book:
1 Corinthians

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. (v. 1)

1 Corinthians 12:1-3 Tuesday 17 May 2022

Psalm 132:11-18


In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul continues to address issues of worship within the Church, turning specifically to the issue of spiritual gifts, an issue that dominates the next few chapters (12:1–14:25). The beginning of our passage today ("Now concerning spiritual gifts") indicates that Paul knew that this was an issue of concern within the Corinthian Church, and it may have been part of the report he had received from a Chloe, a Christian woman in Corinth (1:11).

Paul assures the Corinthians that he does not want them to be ‘uninformed’ and proceeds to explain the importance of the Holy Spirit before turning to spiritual gifts as such. It is the Spirit, after all, who introduces us into the body of Christ as well as the Spirit who sustains our life within it.

Paul notes that the Corinthians Christians when they were pagans had been led astray to worship mute idols  (v. 2). This shows that the Corinthian Church was predominately made up of Gentiles, even if some Jewish believers were also present. Idolatry was a common feature of the ancient world, and Paul frequently noted that following Christ meant turning away from false gods (see 1 Corinthians 10:14; 2 Corinthians 6:16; 1 Thessalonians 1:9).

In verse 3, Paul makes clear that it is the Holy Spirit who empowered the Corinthians to turn from idols to Jesus. The reference to "cursing Jesus" seems a little odd here but it may refer to pagan curses or it could perhaps just be a hyperbolic way of referring to Paul’s own rejection of Jesus prior to his call on the road to Damascus. The weight of the verse is on the confession of Jesus as Lord, and on the Holy Spirit’s role that makes this possible. The Spirit, then, is the one who unites believers with Jesus. In this sense, the Spirit is not just an ‘added extra’ for super-keen Christians, but a gift for all who seek to follow the carpenter from Nazareth.

To Ponder:

  • In your own life, how do you see the Spirit at work?
  • To what extent do you think that Christians recognise the Spirit’s work in uniting us with Jesus?
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