1 Corinthians Chapter Twelve, One In Spirit... 

In our study of 1 Corinthians chapter twelve, we look at spiritual gifts and their purpose in the church. There are those that say that these gifts were only for the early church but, as we will see, they are just as necessary for the church of today. 

1 Corinthians 12:1

"Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant." NIV translation

The word "gifts" is not in the original transcripts and it is unfortunate that it is included. It was put in to clarify but has instead been used to create confusion. The original text uses the word "spiritualities" and Paul is simply shifting the focus of his letter from physical things to spiritual matters.

1 Corinthians 12:2 & 3

"You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, 'Jesus be cursed,' and no one can say, 'Jesus is Lord,' except by the Holy Spirit." NIV translation

Paul reminds them and us that, before we came to Christ, we chased after physical things but they had no power. He says they were "mute idols" meaning they could not do anything for us. In contrast to that, he says that only the power of the Spirit in us can cause us to acknowledge Jesus as Lord of our lives.

1 Corinthians 12:4 - 6

"There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men." NIV translation

In this simple passage, we see the Holy Trinity at work. We see that we are all given gifts through the Holy Spirit to serve our Lord Jesus as we carry out our part in God's plan.

We also see in this that we should be united through these spiritual gifts because they are all from God and for His purpose. A gift (in this sense) is a capacity to perform a certain function that is necessary for the church as a whole. It is God using a believer to do a specific service for His people. Every believer has at least one gift and so is important to the church as a whole.