READ: 1 Corinthians 12:1-31
THINK: What part of your physical body could you do without? You’d probably rather not dispense of any parts, because they all serve a purpose–and they’re meant to work together. This is a good picture of how God fits Jesus’ followers together in the church. All members are to function in harmony, each serving a purpose that benefits the whole body. No part is more important than others. God gifts them all according to His perfect plan. This doesn’t mean that things will always operate smoothly. Just like in a physical body, parts may become “ill,” dysfunctional or underdeveloped, depriving the body of vital functions. But the church is resilient, and through the power of the Holy Spirit is able to compensate for loss, bring healing to hurting parts and gain the strength to fulfill God’s purposes.
RESPOND: What are “spiritual gifts”? (See 12:1 note.) What are the purposes of the gifts described in this passage? Why is it important for Christians to understand how the gifts operate? What are some of the various terms and expressions the Bible uses for spiritual gifts, and what purposes do these terms imply? (See 12:1-6 note.) How do spiritual gifts relate to Jesus? (See 12:3 note.) In what ways are God’s people like parts of a body? (See 12:13 note.) How does the Holy Spirit unite all true followers of Jesus? Why and in what ways do Christians need each other? In what way are all believers equally important in regard to how God has gifted them? (See 12:25 note.) Why must we never be prideful in using spiritual gifts? Why must spiritual gifts never be the basis of honoring one person over another? In what ways and for what reasons do members of Christ’s body–the church–need to grieve and rejoice with one another (v. 26)? Who determines how to dispense the ministry gifts (vv. 27-31) and what purpose they serve? (See 12:28 note.) Does this passage list all ministry leadership gifts? Why or why not?
PRAY: Give God thanks for His gifts to the church. Ask Him to help you develop your specific gifts and to use you as He chooses to honor Him and benefit others. Pray for a greater appreciation for all church members and their gifts.
ACT: Read the article on Spiritual Gifts for Believers, p. 1645, which covers a broad base of Biblical information that is foundational to a Pentecostal perspective of the Bible. It will enhance your understanding of how the Holy Spirit desires to operate through individual Christians to strengthen and encourage the church as a whole.