Online Bible Commentary
1 Corinthians 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: 8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. (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.
In the previous passage Paul wrote of spiritual matters. In verse one, 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.”
The spiritual matters to which Paul is referring are the Holy Spirit’s work of giving of Spiritual gifts, calling Christians into service and equipping those Christians for that service. In this passage, Paul introduces us to some of these Spiritual gifts.
This list of Spiritual gifts is not comprehensive. Other Spiritual gifts are listed in verse 28, Romans 12:6-8, Eph. 4:11, and 1 Peter 4:10-11.
The Holy Spirit manifests himself in the lives of Christians for the benefit of the church, the body of believers (v. 7a). These Spiritual gifts are not intended to glorify the individual Christian, but rather to “profit”, or benefit, all Christians, the church (v. 7b).
In verses 8-10 Paul then lists some of these gifts from the Holy Spirit.
The first Spiritual gift listed here is the gift of the “word of wisdom” (v. 8a). The Greek words used here for “word of wisdom” are the words logos sophia. Logos means the word of God and sophia means spiritual wisdom, wisdom that comes from the Holy Spirit. Logos sophia means wisdom of the Bible.
There is another word for wisdom in the Greek having to do with worldly matters. We receive spiritual wisdom from God, over time, by reading and studying the Bible.
The second gift listed is the gift of the “word of knowledge” (v. 8b). The Greek words translated “word of knowledge” are the words logos gnosis. Again, logos means the word of God. Gnosis means knowledge of spiritual mysteries. This gift is one of having knowledge of the Bible. The Holy Spirit helps us to understand the Bible.
The next spiritual gift is the gift of faith (v. 9a). The Holy Spirit converts non-Christians to Christians. The Holy Spirit helps us to have faith in God when we cooperate with His calling.
These three gifts of Spiritual wisdom, knowledge and faith are confirmed in the Bible over and over again. Faithfulness is one of the Fruit of the Holy Spirit which is given to every Christian upon becoming a Christian.
These first three gifts are thought to be permanent gifts. The remainder of the gifts listed in this passage are thought to be temporary gifts, ending with the first century disciples of the apostles.
These temporary Spiritual gifts are the gift of “healings, the working of miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, speaking in tongues, and the interpretation of tongues” (vv. 9b-10). Only God can heal, work miracles, and discern spirits. Prophecy ended with the Bible as affirmed by Jude when he wrote “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).
The gift of tongues is not mentioned in any New Testament epistle after 1 Corinthians. It was not a part of the Christian church from 100 until 1901 A.D., when Pentecostalism was introduced.
Paul concludes this passage by stating that the “Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills” (v. 11). So, Spiritual gifts are “distributed” to Christians as the Holy Spirit pleases.
The use of the word “distributed” means that individual Christians are not given all of the Spiritual Gifts. All Christians are given at lease one gift and some are given more than one.