God is spirit (John 4:24). Therefore our communications with God are spiritual. In 1 Corinthians 12, God proceeds to explain about some of the spiritual things in the church so that we will be equipped saints.
1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I would not have you ignorant.
This chapter is about spiritual matters because the subject is broader than gifts. The Greek word is pneumatikos which means spiritual things. The phrase “I would not have you ignorant” or a close variant is used seven times in the New Testament. It means that God wants us to have a full understanding. We have no excuses to be clueless.
2 You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, even as you were led.
Gentiles are the nations, not Jewish. They were led away to mute idols fashioned by man’s hands.
3 Why I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
“Speaking by the Spirit of God” is speaking in tongues. Therefore no man speaking in tongues curses Jesus and only by speaking in tongues can a man really say that Jesus is Lord.
4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which works all in all.
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit with.
There are different gifts from the same spirit
There are different administrations from the same Lord
There are different energizing’s but the same God who energizes all of them in all believers.
The manifestation of the spirit is given to each man for the benefit of all. The following verses list the nine manifestations of the spirit and emphasize that each are profitable.
8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
Each of the nine manifestations produce a profit. Each believer has the ability to operate all nine manifestations.
11 But all these work that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
All of the manifestations are energized by the same Spirit, distributing to every man as the man wills.
12 For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
The body of Christ is one but has many members and all members comprise the entire body of Christ.
13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
We are all members of the body of Christ by the baptism of holy spirit, both Jews and Gentiles, and slaves or non-slaves.
14 For the body is not one member, but many.
The body is not composed of only one member.
15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
18 But now has God set the members every one of them in the body, as it has pleased him.
God is comparing the body of Christ to the human body. Just like we need our hands and eyes which provide different functionality and are needed, so are all nine of the manifestations needed because they each provide a different function.
19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?
20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.
21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
22 No, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.
24 For our comely parts have no need: but God has tempered the body together, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked.
25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
God does not want divisions in the body because we have different gifts and talents. We are to have the same care for all members of the body.
26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
We are each unique members of the body of Christ. Your talents and gifts are not replaceable. If you do not contribute then then the body is handicapped or lacking.
28 And God has set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?
30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?
The equipping ministries (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers) and the nine manifestations are all needed. They are for the building up of the body.
31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I to you a more excellent way.
Zealously desire the best gifts. As we continue into Chapter 13 the more excellent way is to think, speak, and live life in love(agape).