Online Bible Commentary
Concerning Spiritual Matters
! Corinthians 12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant: 2 You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led. 3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. 4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. (NKJV)
The Apostle Paul is writing this letter to the Christians in Corinth, Greece from Ephesus, Asia (present day Turkey) in A.D. 54-56, during his third missionary journey. These teachings are applicable to all Christians.
Paul is writing here of spiritual matters. The original Greek from which this translation is taken reads as follows: “concerning And the spiritual matters. brothers, not I wish you to be ignorant.”
In the Greek language the important word of the sentence is often pushed to the front. In this case, the sentence starts with the word “concerning”. Paul is writing “concerning spiritual matters” (v. 1a).
The word “gifts” is shown in italics in our Bibles which means that it was not part of the original writing. The translators have added this word in order to clarify the translation, but in this instance, it seems that this addition distorts the best meaning of the verse.
So, concerning spiritual matters, Paul did not want us to be “ignorant”, like these Christians were before becoming Christians. He states that the “Gentiles”, the non Jews, in this case the Greeks, were “led” away to worship “dumb idols” (v. 1b).
So it is ignorant to worship idols. An idol is anything we worship in place of the true God of the Bible.
The Greeks of the time worshipped “dumb idols” of wood and stone. Today, some people worship idols such as Buda, Allah. the earth, and other things of the world.
Some people worship all of these earthly gods in an attempt to cover all of their bases. Idol worship leads to an eternity in Hell.
These Christians to whom Paul is writing worshiped idols before becoming Christians. Since idols are a tool of Satan these Christians were susceptible to the evil spirits from Satan.
These spirits of Satan curse God. But “no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit” (v. 3).
The “Spirit of God” is a reference to the Holy Spirit, who indwells every Christian the moment he or she becomes a Christian. The Holy Spirit helps us to become a Christian and to speak and act as a Christian should speak and act.
After introducing the Holy Spirit, Paul writes of three activities of the Holy Spirit. The first activity is one of giving “diversities of gifts” to Christians (v. 4).
These gifts are referred to as spiritual gifts. There are many spiritual gifts given to Christians by the Holy Spirit, but each Christian is given only one or a few gifts. These gifts will be discussed in more detail in my next commentary.
The second activity of the Holy Spirit that Paul writes of is “differences of ministries, but the same Lord” (v. 5). The Holy Spirit leads us to serve in different ministries, but all of these ministries are ministries of the Lord Jesus.
The third activity of the Holy Spirit that Paul writes of is “diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all” (v. 6). Not only does He lead us to serve but He also equips us to serve as we carry out various activities. These activities are powered by God, the Father.
In this last case, Paul refers to God, the Father. It is apparent that Paul wanted to express the concept of the Trinity by including all three of the Godhead, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The concept of the Trinity is expressed many times in the Old and New Testament. The concept of the Trinity is that God has revealed Himself to us through the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. God is one God, revealed in three Persons.
In conclusion, regarding spiritual matters Christians should be cooperating with the Holy Spirit who indwells each of us. If not, Satan through his evil spirits, will fill the void.