2nd corinthians chapter 12 verse 9

We can see from Galatians, 1 and 2 Corinthians and Romans that Paul was collecting for the ‘poor’ of Jerusalem:

In Galatians 2:10, ‘Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do‘, Paul seems to be passing on and supporting a request by the Jerusalem brethren to send relief to the Christians of Judea.

1 Corinthians 16:1-4 refers to the support of the Galatians for a collection to assist the poor of Judea, and asks very directly that the Corinthians contribute as well. The Corinthians may have needed some prompting, since the request was repeated at some length in 2Corinthians. In 2 Corinthians 9:2-4, Paul appeals to the Corinthian sense of pride. In verse 9:5, Paul says that he would exhort the brethren to go before him to help the Corinthians make up their bounty. Verses 5-8 encourages them not to sow sparingly, so that they will reap bountifully (in grace).

He mentioned the collection in Romans, listing only Macedonia and Achaia (the Corinthians) as contributing, to the obvious exclusion of the Galatians, as well as other churches with which he must have been in contact.

One inference is that Judea faced an economic crisis, and that the crisis affected all of the world in which Paul worked. Such a crisis was the famine that occurred between 44 and 48 CE. This famine would explain the Jerusalem brethren seeking assistance, the importance Paul placed on the collection and his comparative lack of success, particularly in Galatia.

Acts 11:28‑29, supports that proposition, although the author of Acts seems to have believed that Paul had not begun his mission at the time of the famine.

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A. Paul’s vision and its legacy in his life.

1. (1-6) Paul reluctantly describes his vision.

It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord: I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago; whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows; such a one was caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man; whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows; how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. Of such a one I will boast; yet of myself I will not boast, except in my infirmities. For though I might desire to boast, I will not be a fool; for I will speak the truth. But I refrain, lest anyone should think of me above what he sees me to be or hears from me.

a. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord: The “super apostles” among the Corinthian Christians no doubt claimed many spectacular spiritual experiences, such as visions and revelations of the Lord. Paul has “reluctantly boasted” since the last chapter, so now he will boast of his own visions and revelations of the Lord.

i. Paul’s reluctance is expressed in the opening words of this chapter: It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. Paul is tired of writing about himself! He would rather write about Jesus, but the worldly thinking that made the Corinthian Christians think little of Paul also made them think little of Jesus, even if they couldn’t perceive it.

b. Visions and revelation: Whether they concern angels, Jesus, heaven, or other things, these things are more common in the New Testament than we might think.

· Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, had a vision of an angel (Luke 1:8-23)

· Jesus’ transfiguration is described as a vision for the disciples (Matthew 17:9)

· The women who came to visit Jesus’ tomb had a vision of angels (Luke 24:22-24)

· Stephen saw a vision of Jesus at his death (Acts 7:55-56)

· Ananias experienced a vision telling him to go to Saul (Acts 9:10)

· Peter had a vision of the clean and unclean animals (Acts 10:17-19 and 11:5)

· Peter had a vision of an angel at his release from prison (Acts 12:9)

· John had many visions on Patmos (Revelation 1:1)

· Paul had a revelation of Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 22:6-11 and 26:12-20)

· Paul had a vision of a man from Macedonia, asking him to come to that region to help (Acts 16:9-10)

· Paul had an encouraging vision while in Corinth (Acts 18:9-11)

· Paul had a vision of an angel on the ship that was about to be wrecked (Acts 27:23-25)

i. So we should not be surprised if God should speak to us through some type of visions and revelations of the Lord. But we do understand that such experiences are subjective and prone to misunderstanding and misapplication. In addition, whatever real benefits there are to visions and revelations of the Lord, they are almost always limited to the person who receives the visions and revelations. We should be rather cautious when someone reports a vision or revelation they have regarding us.

ii. “How often people have wanted to tell me about their visions! I am always suspicious. I want to know what they had for supper the night before! If people have visions of this sort they are silent about them.” (Morgan)

c. I know a man in Christ: Paul describes this experience in the third person instead of the first person (he didn’t say, “I myself had this experience”). This makes some wonder if he is really speaking about himself here, or if he speaks of someone else. But because he transitions into the first person in verse seven, we may be assured that he really writes about himself.

i. Then why does he use the third person at all? Because Paul, in describing this remarkable spiritual experience, is describing just the kind of thing that the “super apostles” among the Corinthian Christians would glory in. When he described his humble experiences in 2 Corinthians 11:23-30, he did not hesitate to write in the first person. No one would think he was glorifying himself as the “super apostles” did. But here, he walks more carefully. Paul does everything he can to relate this experience without bringing glory to himself.

d. Fourteen years ago: This dating by Pauldoes little to help us know when this happened, because scholars are not in agreement regarding when 2 Corinthians was written.

i. Suggestions have been made that the experience he describes happened during Paul’s ten years in Syria and Cilicia (Galatians 1:21-2:1), at his stoning in Lystria (Acts 14:19), or during his time in Antioch (Acts 13:1-3).

ii. The important thing to notice is that Paul kept quiet about this for fourteen years, and now he mentions it reluctantly.

e. Whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows: Paul doesn’t really know if he was in the body or out of the body during this vision. It seems that in his mind, either one was possible.

i. Many might ask, what really happened to Paul? Was he carried up in the body to heaven, or did his spirit separate itself from his body and go there? The whole point of the passage is that if Paul didn’t know, we can’t know. In fact, Paul emphasizes the point by repeating the idea twice (in verse two and in verse three). Therefore, speculation at this point is useless. “As he could not decide himself, it would be ridiculous in us to attempt it.” (Clarke)

f. Such a one was caught up to the third heaven: The third heaven doesn’t suggest different “levels” of heaven (although this is what some ancient Jewish Rabbis believed). Instead, Paul is using terminology common in that day, which referred to the “blue sky” as the first heaven, the “starry sky” as the second heaven, and the place where God lived and reigned as the third heaven.

i. “In the sacred writings three heavens only are mentioned. The first is the atmosphere . . . The second, the starry heaven . . . And, thirdly, the place of the blessed, or the throne of the Divine glory.” (Clarke)

ii. So, this one – whom we understand to be Paul himself – was caught up to the heaven where God lives. Paul had a vision or an experience of the throne of God, just as Isaiah (Isaiah 6:1) and John (Revelation 4:1-2) did.

g. He was caught up into Paradise: Paul identifies this third heaven as Paradise. The word Paradise is taken from the Persian word for an enclosed, luxurious garden often only found among royalty in the ancient world.

i. Some early Christians wrongly thought Paradise was the place where souls of believers went after death to await resurrection. Some of them (like the ancient theologian Origen) even believed Paradise was located somewhere on the earth’s surface.

h. And heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter: In describing this heavenly vision, Paul doesn’t relate anything he saw, only a shadowy description of what he heard.

i. When we think of this, we realize how different Paul is from most of those who describe their so-called “visions” of heaven today. There is nothing self-glorying, self-aggrandizing, or foolish in the description of his experience.

· Paul waited 14 years to say anything about the incident, and when he finally did he said it reluctantly

· He did everything he could in relating the story to take the focus off himself (such as writing in the third person)

· He doesn’t bother at all with breathless descriptions of what he actually experienced. Instead, he says nothing of what he saw, and says only that he heard things not lawful for a man to utter.

ii. So what did Paul hear? We don’t know! They were inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. God didn’t want us to know, so He didn’t give Paul permission to speak.

iii. Nevertheless, some commentators can’t resist speculating: “It is probable that the apostle refers to some communication concerning the Divine nature and the Divine economy, of which he was only to make a general use in his preaching and writing. No doubt that what he learned at this time formed the basis of all his doctrines.” (Clarke)

i. Of such a one I will boast; yet of myself I will not boast, except in my infirmities: Paul essentially says that this “nameless” man who had the vision really had something to boast about. But “Paul himself” really could only boast in his infirmities, which was exactly what he did in 2 Corinthians 11:23-30.

i. Though I might desire to boast, I will not be a fool: Again, Paul is sharply – and humorously – contrasting himself with the “super apostles” among the Corinthian Christians. They would not hesitate to boast about the kind of vision Paul had. In fact, they would write books, make tapes and videos, and go on speaking tours about such a vision! And if they did, each of them would be a fool. Paul will not be a fool, so he will not boast in this vision.

ii. At the same time, we almost sense that it was important for Paul to communicate to the Corinthian Christians that he really did have such experiences. Often, it is easy to think that the only ones who have profound experiences with God are those who boast about them constantly. Paul never did boast as the “super apostles” did, but he certainly had profound experiences with God. The proof of those profound experiences was found in his transformed life and powerful, truthful ministry.

iii. Therefore, Paul felt it was important to mention this experience but not to dwell on it in any way. He wasn’t trying to “sell” himself to the Corinthian Christians. In fact, he holds back from his description (But I forbear), because he didn’t want to persuade the Corinthian Christians that he was just another “super apostle” (lest anyone should think of me above what he sees me to be or hears from me). If the Corinthian Christians thought Paul was weak and different from the “super apostles,” that was fine with him. He wanted the Corinthian Christians to see the glory of God expressed in weakness, not to see him as “great” as the “super apostles” claimed to be.

j. Why was Paul given this vision? First, he was given it for you and me so that we would benefit from what the Lord showed Paul. Secondly, he was given it because what God told him through this vision sustained him through all the trials of ministry and enabled Paul to give everything God wanted him to give to all generations. This vision helped Paul finish his course.

2. (7) The presence of Paul’s thorn in the flesh.

And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.

a. And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations: Paul’s vision was so impressive that it would have been easy for him to be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations. He could have gloried in himself or caused others to glory in him because of this experience.

i. Paul was not immune to the danger of pride. No one is. “The best of God’s people have in them a root of pride, or a disposition to be exalted above measure, upon their receipt of favours from God not common to others.” (Poole)

b. A thorn in the flesh was given to me: To prevent being exalted above measure, Paul was given this. In this, Paul reveals the real reason for telling of his heavenly vision: not to glorify himself but to explain his thorn in the flesh.

i. It seems that everyone could see the thorn in the flesh Paul suffered from – it was no secret. His heavenly vision was a secret until now, but everyone saw the thorn. Some among the Corinthian Christians probably thought less of Paul because of his thorn in the flesh, but they knew nothing of the amazing spiritual experience that lay behind it.

ii. “He says, ‘There was given to me.’ He reckoned his great trial to be a gift. It is well put. He does not say, ‘There was inflicted upon me a thorn in the flesh,’ but ‘There was given to me.’ ” (Spurgeon)

c. What is a thorn in the flesh? When we think of a thorn, we think of a somewhat minor irritation. But the root word Paul used for thorn here describes a tent stake, not a thumbtack.

i. In the ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament known as the Septuagint, the word skolops (thorn) shows “something which frustrates and causes trouble in the lives of those afflicted.” (Kruse)

d. A thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me: In a strange way, the thorn was given – ultimately given by God – but it was also a messenger of Satan.

i. Satan probably jumped at God’s permission to afflict Paul and did so with malice towards the apostle. But God had a purpose in it all and allowed Satan’s messenger to successfully keep Paul from being exalted above measure.

ii. To buffet me means that this thorn in the flesh – the messenger of Satan – “punched” Paul. He felt that he was beaten black and blue by this messenger of Satan.

iii. Paul, punched about by the devil? Who would have thought it? “Perhaps you have looked into the face of a Christian who is always smiling, who never seems to have any worry, is always happy and radiant and, as you have thought about your own circumstances, you have said in your heart, ‘I wish I were he! He seems to have no problems. He doesn’t have to take what I do.’ But perhaps you have lived long enough, as I have, to know that sometimes the most radiant face hides great pressures, and often the man who is being most blessed of God is being most buffeted by the devil.” (Redpath)

e. It is interesting to consider what a counselor without a Biblical perspective might have said to Paul. Imagine that Paul tells the counselor about his great infirmity, his troublesome “thorn in the flesh,” and how Paul feels weak and powerless to continue on against it. We might imagine that the counselor would say, “Well Paul, what you need is a positive mental outlook to meet this problem.” Or he might say, “Paul, the power is within you to conquer this infirmity; you should look deep within the inner man to find the resources for success.” Perhaps the counselor would then tell Paul, “What you really need a support group of caring individuals.” The counselor might suggest Paul take medication for depression. Or he might even seek to challenge Paul by saying, “Paul, if you really had faith, you would be delivered from this thorn in the flesh.” Some of this advice might be good in different circumstances, but Paul will take his problem to the Wonderful Counselor, and He has something different to say.

3. (8) Paul’s prayer regarding the thorn in the flesh.

Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.

a. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord: Paul did exactly what he told others to do in a time of trouble. Paul believed for himself what he wrote in Philippians 4:6: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.

b. I pleaded with the Lord three times: In fact, Paul repeatedly prayed about this thorn in the flesh. We might imagine that when the thorn in the flesh first appeared Paul thought, “This is no problem. I’ll just give it to the Lord in prayer.” But nothing happened when he prayed. So he thought, “This is a tough one,” and prayed again. When nothing happened after praying the third time, he knew God was trying to tell him something.

i. Some think that Paul is using a Hebrew figure of speech that really means much more than three times. “That does not mean three times. It is the Hebrew figure for ceaselessly, continuously, over and over again.” (Morgan)

ii. Some say it is unspiritual and evidence of little faith to pray for something more than once. That would be surprising to Paul, who pleaded with the Lord three times, and to Jesus, who prayed with the same words three times in His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:39-41).

iii. But there was nothing wrong with Paul’s prayer. “God respecteth not the arithmetic of our prayers, how many they are; not the rhetoric of our prayers, how neat they are; nor the geometry of our prayers, how long they are; nor the music of our prayers, how melodious they are; nor the logic of our prayers, how methodical they are; but the divinity of our prayers, how heart-sprung they are. Not gifts, but graces prevail in prayer.” (Trapp)

c. Pleaded with the Lord: Paul’s prayer on this matter was passionate. We wonder if he wasn’t surprised when the prayer was not answered the first or second time.

d. That it might depart from me: Paul’s initial prayer was to escape the suffering this thorn in the flesh brought him. Paul was no masochist. When he suffered, his first instinct was to ask God to take the suffering away.

i. When his passionate and repeated plea was not answered, it must have concerned Paul. It added another dimension to this trial.

· It had a physical dimension, in that it was a thorn in the flesh

· It had a mental dimension, in that it was a messenger of Satan

· It had a spiritual dimension, in that it was an unanswered prayer

e. What exactly was Paul’s thorn in the flesh? We simply don’t have enough information to say precisely, but that hasn’t prevented many commentators and teachers from giving their opinion.

i. Some see it mainly as spiritual harassment. Others think it was persecution. Many suggest that it was a physical or mental ailment. Some say this was Paul’s struggle with lustful and sinful thoughts.

ii. Among Christians, Tertullian gives the earliest recorded guess at the exact nature of Paul’s problem. He thought the thorn in the flesh was an earache or a headache.

iii. In more modern times, historian Sir William Ramsay offered the suggestion that Paul’s infirmity was a type of malaria common to the area where he served as a missionary. Sufferers of this type of malaria experience attacks when under stress, and they “feel a contempt and loathing for self, and believe that others feel equal contempt and loathing.” This malarial fever also produces severe headaches, described by sufferers as being “like a red-hot bar thrust through the forehead.”

iv. Each of these suggestions is possible, but God had a definite purpose in not revealing the exact nature of Paul’s thorn. If we knew exactly what Paul’s thorn was, then everybody who was afflicted – but not in exactly the same way – might doubt that Paul’s experience was relevant for them. God wanted everyone with any kind of thorn in the flesh to be able to put themselves in Paul’s shoes. “I generally find that each expositor has selected that particular thorn which had pierced his own bosom.” (Spurgeon)

4. (9-10) God’s provision to Paul through his thorn in the flesh.

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

a. And He said to me: God had a response for Paul. The answer was not what Paul initially hoped for or expected, but God still had a response for Paul. We often close our ears to God if He responds in a way we did not hope for or expect.

b. My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness: Instead of removing the thorn from Paul’s life, God gave and would keep giving His grace to Paul. The grace God gave Paul was sufficient to meet his every need.

i. Paul was desperate in his desire to find relief from this burden, but there are two ways of relief. It can come by removing the load or by strengthening the shoulder that bears the load. Instead of taking away the thorn, God strengthened Paul under it, and God would show His strength through Paul’s apparent weakness.

ii. To do this, Paul had to believe that God’s grace is sufficient. We really don’t believe God’s grace is sufficient until we believe we are insufficient. For many of us, especially in American culture, this is a huge obstacle. We are the people who idolize the “self-made man” and want to rely on ourselves. But we can’t receive God’s strength until we know our weakness. We can’t receive the sufficiency of God’s grace until we know our own insufficiency.

iii. “Great tribulation brings out the great strength of God. If you never feel inward conflicts and sinking of soul, you do not know much of the upholding power of God; but if you go down, down, into the depths of soul-anguish till the deep threatens to shut her mouth upon you, and then the Lord rides upon a cherub and does fly, yea, rides upon the wings of the wind and delivers your soul, and catches you away to the third heaven of delight, then you perceive the majesty of divine grace. Oh, there must be the weakness of man, felt, recognized, and mourned over, or else the strength of the Son of God will never be perfected in us.” (Spurgeon)

c. My grace is sufficient: How did God’s grace make the difference? How did it meet Paul’s need at this point?

i. Gracecould meet Paul’s need because it expresses God’s acceptance and pleasure in us. When we receive His grace, we enjoy our status of favor and approval in God’s eyes. Grace means that God likes us, that He is favorably disposed towards us and that we have His approval and promise of care.

ii. Gracecould meet Paul’s need because it was available all the time. When we sin or fail, it does not put us outside the reach of God’s grace. Since grace is given freely to us in Jesus, it can’t be taken away later because we stumble or fall. When we come to God by faith through the blood of Jesus, His grace is ever ready to meet us and to minister to our insufficiencies.

iii. Gracecould meet Paul’s need because it was the very strength of God. So much of the power of this world is expressed in things that can only bring harm and destruction, but God loves to show His power through His goodness and grace. Sometimes we associate goodness with cowardice or timidity. When we do, we take a worldly perspective about power and strength, and we deny God’s truth about the strength of grace and love. Grace is not weak or wimpy. Instead, it is the power of God to fulfill what we lack.

d. My grace is sufficient for you: You may emphasize any aspect of this you please.

i. “My grace is sufficient for you.” Grace is the favor and love of God in action. It means He loves us and is pleased by us. Can you hear it from God? “My love is enough for you.” Isn’t it true?

ii. “My grace is sufficient for you.” Whose grace is it? It is the grace of Jesus. Isn’t His love, His favor, enough? What will Jesus fail at? Remember too that Jesus suffered thorns, so He cares and He knows.

iii. “My grace is sufficient for you.” It is right now. Not that it will be some day, but right now, at this moment, His grace is sufficient. You thought something had to change before His grace would be enough. You thought, “His grace was sufficient once, His grace may be sufficient again, but not now, not with what I am going through.” Despite that feeling, God’s word stands. “My grace is sufficient for you.” Spurgeon wrote, “It is easy to believe in grace for the past and the future, but to rest in it for the immediate necessity is true faith. Believer, it is now that grace is sufficient: even at this moment it is enough for thee.”

iv. “My grace is sufficient for you.” Redpath explains this aspect best: “Do you see the humor of the situation? God’s grace: me. His grace sufficient for little me! How absurd to think that it could ever be any different! As if a little fish could swim in the ocean and fear lest it might drink it dry! The grace of our crucified, risen, exalted, triumphant Saviour, the Lord of all glory, is surely sufficient for me! Do you not think it is rather modest of the Lord to say sufficient?”

v. “My grace is sufficient for you.” I’m so glad God didn’t say, “My grace is sufficient for Paul the Apostle.” I might have felt left out. But God made it broad enough. You can be the “you” in for you. God’s grace is sufficient for you! Are you beyond it? Are you so different? Is your thorn worse than Paul’s or worse than many others who have known the triumph of Jesus? Of course not. This sufficient grace is for you.

vi. “This sufficiency is declared without any limiting words, and therefore I understand the passage to mean that the grace of our Lord Jesus is sufficient to uphold thee, sufficient to strengthen thee, sufficient to comfort thee, sufficient to make thy trouble useful to thee, sufficient to enable thee to triumph over it, sufficient to bring thee out of it, sufficient to bring thee out of ten thousand like it, sufficient to bring thee home to heaven . . . O child of God, I wish it were possible to put into words this all-sufficiency, but it is not. Let me retract my speech: I am glad that it cannot be put into words, for if so it would be finite, but since we never can express it, glory be to God it is inexhaustible, and our demands upon it can never be too great. Here let me press upon you the pleasing duty of taking home the promise personally at this moment, for no believer here need be under any fear, since for him also, at this very instant, the grace of the Lord Jesus is sufficient.” (Spurgeon)

vii. “John Bunyan has the following passage, which exactly expresses what I myself have experienced. He says that he was full of sadness and terror, but suddenly these words broke in upon him with great power, and three times together the words sounded in his ears, “My grace is sufficient for thee; my grace is sufficient for thee; my grace is sufficient for thee.” And “Oh! Bethought,” says he, “that every word was a mighty word unto me; as ‘My,’ and ‘grace,’ and ‘sufficient,’ and ‘for thee‘; they were then, and sometimes are still, far bigger than others be.” He who knows, like the bee, how to suck honey from flowers, may well linger over each one of these words and drink in unutterable content.” (Spurgeon)

e. Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me: Through his infirmities, God made Paul completely dependent on His grace and on His strength, but it was all for good. Paul’s continued – even forced – dependence upon God made him stronger than he would have ever been if his revelations had made him proud and self-sufficient.

i. Many of us think that real Christian maturity is when we come to a place where we are somewhat “independent” of God. The idea is that we have our act so together that we don’t need to rely on God so much day to day, moment to moment. This isn’t Christian maturity at all. God deliberately engineered debilitating circumstances into Paul’s life so he would be in constant, total dependence on God’s grace and God’s strength.

ii. Many people see God as a parent that we outgrow. Once we’re mature and once we have overcome certain obstacles in life, we can shake off God just the same as we shook off the authority of our parents. In this pattern, some of us treat God the same way we treat our parents. We give Him a measure of respect, we give Him His due – but we no longer feel we really have to obey Him any more. In our hearts, we have moved out of the house. We think we can make our own rules in life as long as we have supper at God’s house once a week and give the Him a little recognition.

iii. Many harbor a longing for the day when the Christian life will become “easy.” We hope for a time when the major struggles with sin are behind us, and now we go on to bigger and better things without much of a struggle. That day is an illusion. If the Apostle Paul himself constantly experienced weakness, who are we to think that we will surpass him?

iv. In fact, the illusion of strength and independence actually leaves someone in a weaker place. “There is nothing more hindering to the work of God than the uplifted and proud Christian.” (Morgan)

v. “Ministers of the Gospel especially should banish all thoughts of their own cleverness, intellectual ability, culture, sufficiency for their work, and learn that only when they are emptied can they be filled, and only when they know themselves to be nothing are they ready for God to work through them.” (Maclaren)

vi. “God works through the man who has been wiped clean and turned inside out, his life emptied before the Lord until he is hopelessly weak, that no flesh might glory in His presence.” (Redpath)

f. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities: In the end, Paul does not resign himself to his fate; he welcomes it. He rejoices that God has forced him to rely on the grace and strength of God all the more so he can say, “when I am weak, then I am strong.”

i. Paul was at such a level of spiritual strength and maturity that God had to deliberately introduce a thorn in the flesh. Most of us provide our own thorns, and an honest look shows us enough weakness to make us constantly and totally rely on the grace and strength of Jesus. Yet even if we were to grow to the spiritual strength and maturity of a Paul, God would say to us as well: “I need to keep you depending on Me in everything. Here is something to depend on Me for.” This is a place of victory, not of discouragement.

ii. “In the Christian perspective there is no place for the aimless non-resistance of dispirited resignation.” (Hughes)

g. Paul’s pleasure in infirmities is not the sick musing of an ascetic, thinking that we are justified before God by our sufferings. Paul didn’t seek his thorn in the flesh, it came to him.

i. “The concept, so pernicious in the Church at a later date, of courting martyrdom, of practising asceticism, and even of embracing dirt, disease, and destitution as means to the acquisition of favour before God, is diametrically opposed to the Apostle’s mind and to the whole tenor of the gospel in the New Testament, for it is a concept governing a way of life for one’s own sake, with a view to making oneself righteous and acceptable before God – a concept of works, not faith.” (Hughes)

h. For when I am weak, then I am strong: What triumph! What can the world do to such a man so firm in the grip of Jesus? God did not allow this thorn in the flesh to punish Paul or to keep him weak for the sake of weakness. God allowed it to show a divine strength in Paul.

i. Think about this man Paul. Was he a weak or strong man? The man who traveled the ancient world spreading the gospel of Jesus despite the fiercest persecutions, who endured shipwrecks and imprisonment, who preached to kings and slaves, who established strong churches and trained up their leaders was not a weak man. In light of his life and accomplishments, we would say that Paul was a very strong man. But he was only strong because he knew his weaknesses and looked outside himself for the strength of God’s grace. If we want lives of such strength, we also must understand and admit our weakness and look to God alone for the grace that will strengthen us for any task. It was the grace-filled Paul who said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

ii. “The valleys are watered with rain to make them fruitful while the summits of lofty mountains remain dry. A man must become a valley if he wants to receive the heavenly rain of God’s spiritual grace.” (Calvin)

iii. “From all this I gather, that the worst trial a man may have may be the best possession he has in this world; that the messenger of Satan may be as good to him as his guardian angel; that it may be as well for him to be buffeted of Satan as ever it was to be caressed of the Lord himself; that it may be essential to our soul’s salvation that we should do business not only on deep waters, but on waters that cast up mire and dirt. The worst form of trial may, nevertheless, be our best present portion.” (Spurgeon)

i. To summarize, instead of using his experience to glorify himself (as the “super apostles” among the Corinthian Christians did), Paul relates how his whole glorious experience humbled him more than ever.

i. All Paul’s enemies could see was the thorn; they could not see how and why it was there. But Paul knew, so he rejoiced even in his thorn in the flesh.

ii. Of course, the greatest example of the principle Paul communicates here was lived by Jesus Himself. “Could anyone on earth be more meek than the Son of God to be hung on the cross, hung in our place that He might redeem us from our sins? As that point of absolute weakness was met by the mighty power of God as He raised Him from the dead, I wonder if the pressure of the thorn in Paul’s life was a reminder of the power of the cross.” (Redpath)

iii. Yet, we should never think that in our lives, the mere presence of a thorn means the glory and strength of Jesus would shine in us and through us. You can resist God’s grace and refuse to set your mind on Jesus, and then find your thorn cursing you instead of blessing you. “Without the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit, thorns are productive of evil rather than good. In many people, their thorn in the flesh does not appear to have fulfilled any admirable design at all; it has created another vice, instead of removing a temptation.” (Spurgeon)

5. (11-13) Conclusion to Paul’s “foolish boasting.”

I have become a fool in boasting; you have compelled me. For I ought to have been commended by you; for in nothing was I behind the most eminent apostles, though I am nothing. Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds. For what is it in which you were inferior to other churches, except that I myself was not burdensome to you? Forgive me this wrong!

a. I have become a fool in boasting: Since he began this section in 2 Corinthians 10:1, Paul was forced to boast more than he wanted to before the Corinthian Christians. Paul is almost apologizing for writing so much about himself, because he would much rather write about Jesus.

b. For I ought to have been commended by you; for in nothing was I behind the most eminent apostles, though I am nothing: If Paul thought his “boasting” was foolish, why did he do it at all? Not for his sake, but for the sake of the Corinthian Christians. They did not defend Paul’s character and standing as an apostle before the most eminent apostles who criticized and undermined Paul.

i. It wasn’t so much that the presence of the most eminent apostles bothered Paul. It was their influence among the Corinthian Christians that bothered the true apostle.

c. Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you . . . in signs and wonders and mighty deeds: Paul could also point to the signs and wonders and mighty deeds that were accomplished among the Corinthian Christians. Each of these was evidence of Paul’s apostolic standing.

d. For what is it in which you were inferior to other churches: If Paul is inferior in any way, it is only in that he refused to take money from the Corinthian Christians. So, he sarcastically asks their forgiveness: Forgive me this wrong!

i. “A pleasant irony, such as whereof this Epistle is full.” (Trapp)

ii. “It is the privilege of the Churches of Christ to support the ministry of his Gospel among them. Those who do not contribute their part to the support of the gospel ministry either care nothing for it, or derive no good from it.” (Clarke)

B. Paul announces his third trip to Corinth.

1. (14-18) Paul isn’t trying to deceive the Corinthians.

Now for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be burdensome to you; for I do not seek yours, but you. For the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. And I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved. But be that as it may, I did not burden you. Nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you by cunning! Did I take advantage of you by any of those whom I sent to you? I urged Titus, and sent our brother with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Did we not walk in the same spirit? Did we not walk in the same steps?

a. Now for the third time I am ready to come to you: On his first visit to Corinth, Paul founded the church and stayed a year and six months (Acts 18:11). His second visit was a brief, painful visit in between the writing of 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians. Now he is prepared to come for a third time.

b. And I will not be burdensome to you: Paul lets the Corinthian Christians know that when he comes, though he will receive a collection for the saints in Judea (2 Corinthians 8), he will not receive money from them for his personal support. He will continue his previous practice among the Corinthian Christians of supporting himself and he will not be burdensome to the Corinthian Christians.

i. A minister may be burdensome to a congregation by receiving support when it is not appropriate or by receiving too much support. “He who labours for the cause of God should be supported by the cause of God; but woe to that man who aggrandizes himself and grows rich by the spoils of the faithful! And to him especially who has made a fortune out of the pence of the poor! In such a man’s heart the love of money must have its throne. As to his professed spirituality, it is nothing; he is a whited sepulchre, and an abomination in the sight of the Lord.” (Clarke)

c. For I do not seek yours, but you: This is the testimony of every godly minister. They do not serve for what they can get from God’s people but for what they can give to God’s people. They are shepherds, not hirelings.

i. This is the heart of Jesus towards us. We often think that what God really wants is what we have; but He really wants us. Jesus selflessly seeks our good, and His heart is for us, not for what He can “get” from us.

ii. “Paul is only a faint shadow of the Lord Jesus; and if these qualities are found in his life, it is only because they were found completely in the life of Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Redpath)

d. For the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children: This explains part of the reason why Paul did not want to receive support from the Corinthian Christians. Since he was their spiritual “father” and they were his spiritual “children,” it made sense that they should not feel “burdened” to support him.

i. At the same time, this is not a compliment towards the Corinthian Christians. Since Paul did gratefully receive support from other churches (Philippians 4:10-19), we know this was not his policy towards all churches. Instead, it is as if Paul is saying, “You Corinthian Christians are not mature enough to support me yet. You are still spiritual children. When you grow up some, you can be partners with me in the work and support me. But until then I am glad to support myself.”

e. I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls: Paul did not resent the lack of support from the Corinthian Christians. Certainly, he would have appreciated it, but more for what it said about them than for what it did for him. For himself, Paul was glad to give; he would very gladly spend and be spent for your souls.

i. Paul had this heart, even though the Corinthian Christians were unappreciative. In fact, Paul puts it painfully: the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved. There is hurt in those words! Yet, Paul did not allow that hurt to cripple him or even to rob his joy in serving and living. He would still very gladly spend and be spent for the Corinthian Christians.

ii. We can give and do it in any number of ways; but do we resent it when we give or serve? A good way to measure this is to see our reaction when our service is unappreciated. Do we resent it? Paul’s service was unappreciated by the Corinthian Christians, yet he did not resent it. Instead, he would very gladly spend and be spent for your souls.

f. Nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you with guile! Here is Paul being sarcastic again. Some among the Corinthian Christians accused Paul of being crafty. Their accusation probably went like this: “Sure Paul won’t take any support money from you, but he will trick you by taking the collection that is supposed to be for the Jerusalem Christians and then put it in his own pocket.” In response Paul sarcastically said, “You bet I’m being crafty! I’ve caught you with guile and tricked you superbly!”

i. Paul’s opponents, the most eminent apostles mentioned in 2 Corinthians 11:5 and 12:11, were in ministry at least partly for the money. They could not bear the fact that Paul didn’t care about money in the ministry, so they assigned their motives to him.

ii. Some have thought that Paul spoke seriously here and admitted that he was crafty and used guile in his ministry to the Corinthian Christians. “Many persons suppose that the words, being crafty, I caught you with guile, are the words of the apostle, and not of his slanderers; and therefore have concluded that it is lawful to use guile, deceit, , in order to serve a good and religious purpose. This doctrine is abominable; and the words are most evidently those of the apostle’s detractors, against which he defends his conduct in the two following verses.” (Clarke)

g. Did I take advantage of you? Paul proves that the charge he is being crafty is false. He reminds the Corinthian Christians that neither Paul nor any of his associates had ever behaved in a financially inappropriate way before the Corinthians.

2. (19-21) Paul encourages the Corinthians to repent before he comes.

Again, do you think that we excuse ourselves to you? We speak before God in Christ. But we do all things, beloved, for your edification. For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish, and that I shall be found by you such as you do not wish; lest there be contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbitings, whisperings, conceits, tumults; lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and I shall mourn for many who have sinned before and have not repented of the uncleanness, fornication, and lewdness which they have practiced.

a. Again, do you think that we excuse ourselves to you? We speak before God in Christ. Paul is concerned that his defense before the Corinthians Christians may be taken as just excuse making. But Paul is not making excuses; he has nothing to excuse. Instead he boldly says, “We speak before God in Christ.” Paul proclaimed the truth before God, not excusing himself before the Corinthian Christians.

b. We do all things, beloved, for your edification: Everything Paul did for the Corinthian Christians he did to build them up in the Lord. Every letter he wrote, every visit he made, every prayer he prayed was with one goal: to build up the Corinthian Christians in Jesus Christ. His heart was for them, not for himself.

i. If Paul’s opponents – the most eminent apostles mentioned in 2 Corinthians 11:5 and 12:11 – were to speak honestly, they would say: “We do all things, beloved, for our edification.” But Paul was a different kind of man.

ii. “It is not his purpose to make the Corinthians squirm, but to bring them to their senses, to help them to rid themselves of the narcotic effect produced on them by the false apostles who had invaded their community.” (Hughes)

c. For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish: Paul is worried that he will find the same old problems among the Corinthian Christians when he visits a third time and that they would still be unrepentant.

i. Just so they know exactly what Paul is writing about, he makes it clear: lest there be contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbitings, whisperings, conceits, tumults. All these were the fruit of the worldly thinking the Corinthian Christians bought into, and these must change before Paul comes for his third visit to Corinth.

d. I shall be found by you such as you do not wish: Looking forward to his next visit, Paul warns the Corinthian Christians. If they are not in a state pleasing to Paul (before the Lord), then they will find him to be in a state not pleasing to them.

e. Lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you: If the Corinthian Christians were still stuck in their worldly thinking, Paul would be humbled among them. He would have reason to think, “I must not be a very good apostle or leader because these Corinthian Christians will not respond to me.” That was not the whole truth, but it would still humble Paul.

i. And I shall mourn for many: If the Corinthian Christians were mired in their worldliness when Paul came the third time, he would be angry, and he would be firm. But he would also be humbled, and he would also mourn. As much as anything, the worldliness of the Corinthian Christians grieved Paul and made him mourn for many.

ii. “Paul reveals to us the mind of a true and sincere pastor when he says that he will look on the sins of others with grief.” (Calvin)

f. Who have sinned before and have not repented of the uncleanness, fornication, and lewdness which they have practiced: Paul’s anger and mourning would not be directed to those who had sinned. More specifically, it would be directed to those who have sinned before and have not repented. Paul did not ask for perfection; he only asked for repentance.

©2013 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission

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Spiritual Gifts

1Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. 2You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 3Therefore 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.

4There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.

7Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.

12The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

14Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

21The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

27Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. 29Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31But eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way.

Paraphrase

Verses 1-3 Now friends I want you to know about spiritual gifts, I do not want you to be left in the dark anymore. Before you were Christians you let the world influence you. You cannot live like that any longer. If we are Christians, we need to confess that we are Christians, but not just with our mouth, but we need to show it through our actions.

Verses 4-6 The Spirit has given us all different kinds of gifts. There are many different types of services and workings. We all know that we serve the same Lord and that God works through all men.

Verses 7-11 The Spirit has given us all these gifts, and we are given these gifts for the good of the community. The Spirit will give us the gift of wisdom and knowledge; both of whom are given by the same Spirit. He also gives us faith, the gift of healing, power, prophecy, discerning of different spirits, speaking in tongues, and being able to translate different tongues. The Spirit gives each one of us a gift just as He determines; and they are all gifts from the same Spirit.

Verses 12-13 The body is made up of many different parts. The body needs all the parts to work together, in order for the body to function properly. For we have been baptized into one body by the same Spirit. Our background does not matter anymore.

Verses 14-20 The body is made up of many different complex parts. Every part of the body matters. Not one part can take over the whole body and function. In order for the whole body to work properly everyone needs to function together in unity. God has arranged every part just as He pleases. He gave us that part with a purpose in mind to benefit community. If we were all one part, there would be not body.

Verses 21-26 No one in the body can say to another person I do not need you. We all need each other. The people that seem to be weaker or pointless are not. In fact they are just as important as the strong parts. Each member has equal importance in the community. God has given great honor to the parts that seem to be less honorable. Because God has given us our point individually there should be no division. We need to act as one. When one person suffers, we all suffer. When one person gets honored, everyone needs to rejoice.

Verses 27-31 Now we are the body of Christ and each and every one of us is a part of it. God has given us a list of people who he has appointed position within the church: apostles, prophets, teachers, workers of miracles, having the gift of healing, those able to help others, administration, and the gift of speaking of tongues. Do all of us have these gifts individually or as a whole? We need to desire the greatest gift of love.

The Setting of the Letter

The first thing we must realize when talking about the setting of the letter is that we do not know as much as we would like. There are a lot of things that is just unknown to us. The setting of 1st Corinthians is kind of a mystery. We have to sketch together information that helps us provide context for our reading of this letter (Hays 2).

The City of Corinth

The city of Corinth is be considered very wealthy for many different reasons. First, Corinth was a very prosperous commercial crossroads. Its location on the Isthmus of Corinth overlooks two ports; Cenchreoe and Lechaeum. One of the ports leads straight to Asia, the other to Italy, and Corinth in the middle of the two. “Merchants shipping goods between Asia and Italy preferred to send their cargo through Corinth. Small ships could actually be carted across the Isthmus; shipments from larger vessels were unloaded, transferred on land to the other side, and reloaded at the other port (Hays 2).” Thus making Corinth a very major port city.

Second, Corinth hosted the Isthmian Games. The Isthmian games is an athletic festival only second to the Olympic Games in importance. These games occurred ever two years, and generated a great deal of revenue for the city (Hays 3).”

Corinth prosperous commercial life was interrupted in 146 B.C.E when the Roman army captured the city. The Romans destroyed all the buildings and they executed or enslaved the people. Julius Caesar rediscovered the Roman colony in 44 B.C.E. This was a hundred years before Paul would arrive on the scene. When considering all of this we need to keep in mind that the laws, political structures, and cultural customs were all geared towards the Romans even thought it was a Greek City (Hays 3).”

From Acts 18: 1-17 we know that there was a small Jewish community in Corinth. There was an inscription referring to the “Synagogue of the Hebrews,” that had been discovered where this Jewish community lived. They were not able to gather any information about the size of this Jewish community. From the context of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians most of the Christian community was Gentiles, rather than Jewish ancestry. This meant that Paul was faced with the task to reshape the Gentile converts into patterns of life consistent with the God of Israel (Hays 4).”

Literary Typing

The integrity of 1st Corinthians has been questioned. In one case scholars have suspected that 1st Corinthians had been compiled by many different interpolations. Interpolations are when an author pulls other resources together to get a final document. Other scholars have also questioned that the Epistle is made up of several portions of two, or even three different letters put together (Hays xvii). “A hypothesis of this kind naturally involves the supposition that there are a number of interpolations which have been made in order to cement the fragments of the different letters together (Hays xix).” Many scholars have this opinion that Corinthians was compiled by several different interpolations, but the fact of the matter is that Paul’s writing style changed when he wrote each section. Thus giving the appearance that fist Corinthians was compiled by many different sources. But the fact of the matter is, Paul wrote this letter over a period of time. His writing style might have changed over a period of time, when Paul was given the different problems that he needed to address.

1 Corinthians 1:1-16:24 Letter, Community Letter

1 Corinthians 5:1-12:31 Letter, Community Letter, Body: Exhortation

1 Corinthians 12:1-31 Letter, Community Letter, Body: Exhortation, Community Instruction

Take from Logos Bible Software 3.0

Authorship

Most scholars have such a strong case for the Pauline authorship. Both the external case and the internal evidence for his authorship. The external evidence that supports the Pauline authorship is very strong. Some proof that we have that Paul wrote this letter came from Clement of Rome around 95 A.D. “The letter of the Blessed Paul, the Apostle (Hays xvii).” This is the earliest example in the New Testament where the writer is being quoted by name (Hays xvii).

The internal evidence has just as strong of evidence. These letters show characteristics of a strong and original text, only the product of an Apostle. “When tested by comparison with other writings of Paul, or with acts, or within other writing of the New Testament we find so many coincidences. Thus giving us great evidence of the Pauline authorship (Hays xviii).”

Place and Date

Some people suggest that the Epistle could have been written in two different place. The first place is Ephesus, give from 1st Corinthians 16:8. The second places is The Textus Receptus. The Textus Receptus says that the Epistle was written in Macedonia give from 1st Corinthians 16:5. In general the dates in which Paul writes his letter lies between the two points which can be approximately determined by his escape from Damascus under Aretas (Acts 9:25; 2nd Corinthians 11: 32,33) and the arrival of Festus as procurator of Judea (Acts 24:27) in succession to Felix (Hays xxvii).

Outline

1. Introduction: the Spirit empowers all Christian confession (vv. 1–3)

2. Manifestations of the Spirit (vv. 4–11)

3. The body diversity and interdependence (vv. 12–26)

4. Gifts and offices in the church (vv. 27–31a)

Detail Outline

  • Introduction The spirit Empowers all Christian confession (1-3)
    • Don’t be ignorant
      • We were pagans
      • We were influenced
        • Led astray
          • By idols
    • Two spirits
      • One that curses Jesus
      • One that confesses that Jesus is Lord
  • Manifestations of the Spirit (4-11)
    • Different kinds of gifts
      • All given by the same Spirit
    • Different kinds of service
      • The same lord
    • Different kinds of work
      • God works in all men
    • Manifestation of the Spirit
      • For the common good
        • Spirit of wisdom and knowledge
          • Given by the same Spirit
        • Faith and healing,
          • Given by the same Spirit
        • Miraculous powers, prophecy, distinguishing tongues, speaking in tongues, and interpretation of tongues
          • All given by the same Spirit
            • God gives them
              • Just as he determines
  • The body diversity and interdependence (12-26)
    • One Body
      • Made up of several different parts
    • All Baptized
      • By one Spirit
      • Background doesn’t matter
        • We are free now
    • Each part of the body is important
      • God arranged the parts just as he wanted
        • We need the small and large parts
          • In order to properly function as a body
    • When one person suffers
      • We all suffer
    • When one person receives honor
      • We all receive honor
  • Gifts and offices in the church (27-31)
    • We are the body of Christ
      • We all are a part of it
      • God appointed positions
        • Apostles, prophets, teaches, workers of miracles, healing, help others, administration, speaking in different tongues
      • We all need to work together to make the body function as God has planned
    • We need to seek the greater gifts

Introduction

The people of Corinth have been abusing and have a terrible misunderstanding of Spiritual gifts. The main gift that the people were struggling to understand was tongues. So Paul wrote to the people of Corinth to try and correct these misunderstandings. It was very crucial for Paul to write the people of Corinth and correct these misunderstandings and to educate the people of the importance of all the Spiritual gifts. The people of Corinth were using this gift from the Holy Spirit to show off, for personal status, instead of using it to glorify God. They would stand up in group meetings and stand speaking in tongues to try and impress the other people.

“The long section on spiritual gifts may be divided into several sections. The first emphasizes the source of the gifts, the Holy Spirit (1-11), second, the diversity of the gifts in their unity (12-31a) the third, necessary ingredient of love in the exercise of all gifts (31b-13:13)(Gaebelein 261).” Paul is concerned with the Corinthians knowledge of spiritual gifts, but more importantly that they should receive correct teachings about these gifts (Ellingworth 272). The subject of spiritual gifts will occupy Paul until the end of chapter 14 (Ellingworth 272).

In the second section (verses 4-11) it is difficult to distinguish between Paul’s thought and his language because it appears to vary between: first, comparing the church to the unity of the body, and second, you are the body of Christ (Ellingworth 281). The Corinthians had in some way introduced the topic of Spiritual gifts in a letter to Paul, so Paul is responding back to the people. “Paul‘s response is cautionary and corrective, but never disputes the authenticity of their experience or of the gifts that they have received from God (Hays 207).” With all this being said, this is where 1st Corinthians 12 picks up.

Introduction: the Spirit empowers all Christian confession (vv. 1–3)

Verse 1

Paul introduces the topic of Spiritual gifts by saying “peri de.” This literally means now concerning (Hays 207). The translations of “Spiritual gifts” literally mean “gifts from the Holy Spirit (Ellingworth 273). “The Corinthians used the term pneumatika to describe spiritual manifestations such as tongues and prophecy (Hays 207).”

The problem that Paul faces is he has to distinguish the differences between the activity of the Holy Spirit and other forms of spiritual “inspiration” that surrounded the church in Corinth (Hays 208).

Verse 2

Nowhere else in Paul’s writings does Paul call the Corinthians heathens. Paul uses the past tense, when you were heathens, he must have been thinking about before they became Christians. Heathen or “people who did not worship God” is probably more adequate translation than “non-Jews” (Ellingworth 273).

Before the conversion of the Corinthians they had been idolaters, enslaved by evil spirits. Paul might have been thinking not only manifestations of the Holy Spirit but of evil spirits as well. Paul implies that the Gentile Corinthians Christians have been made part of Israel. “This implication is not clear in the English translation that uses the word ‘pagans,’ because we tend to assume that the opposite of ‘pagans’ is ‘Christians’ a word that Paul himself never uses. In fact, the Greek word that Paul uses here is ethnē (Gentiles) whose opposite is ‘Jews.’ We would see the force of Paul’s claim more clearly if we translated as follows: ‘When you were Gentiles you were carried away to mute idols…’ This is the stand language of Jewish polemic again Gentile idolatry (Hays 209).”

Verse 3

Paul stresses the twofold test of the presence of the Holy Spirit. “Negatively, no person by the spirit can curse Jesus; and positively, only one by the Spirit can a person openly testifies that Jesus is lord (Gaebelein 261).” When Paul makes the simple confession “Jesus is Lord” there are two important implications. First, anyone that confession of the lordship of Jesus not just with their mouth is living within the Holy Spirit’s power (Hays 208). Second, the discernment to distinguish between spiritual experiences. Only where the lordship is confessed can we truly know that the Holy Spirit is at work. “To illustrate this point Paul gives us a counter example: No one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says, ‘let Jesus be cursed.’ Paul seeks to explain how persons in the faith might say such a thing. For example, Gnostic Christians cursing the fleshly Jesus of Christians cursing Jesus in order to escape persecution.” Paul is simply using this function of cursing Jesus to emphasize that those who are inspired by the Holy Spirit will speak and act in a way that will glorify the lordship of Jesus (Hays 209).

Emphasis falls on “speaking by the Spirit of God” and “expect by the Holy Spirit.” With both of these phrases the Holy Spirit is guiding a person when that person speaks (Ellingworth 275). Now that the people of Corinth had been saved, they must now learn how to tell the difference from the “evil voices” and the “authentic” voice of the Holy Spirit. A good example of this is if a man were to say, “Jesus is accursed,” you can presume that he is inspired by the evil spirits because evil spirits never blaspheme and curse the name of Jesus. The Spirit of God would never lead anyone to blaspheme the name of Jesus. The Spirit of God leads people to confess that Jesus is Lord, not only with their mouth, but with their actions (MacDonald).

Manifestations of the Spirit (vv. 4–11)

Verses 4-11 are almost poetic in character and include a good deal of balance, rhythm, and repetition (Ellingworth 274).

Verses 4-6

The next section lays the foundation for Paul’s understanding of Spiritual gifts in the church. “By using the words: charismata (gift), diakoniai (serving), and energemata (working). Paul indicates that such gifts were useful in serving the Christian community (Gaebelin 262).” The church is supposed to be made up of individuals having different gifts for the common good of the church. Paul explains this point by the means of Trinitarian formula in verses 4-6

varieties of gifts (charismata) but the same Spirit

varieties of services (diakoniai) but the same Lord

varieties of activities (energēmata) but the same God who activates all of them in everyone.

Some scholars seem to think that Paul here is talking about the trinity, because these things are given by the same spirit, same Lord, and the same God. “Paul of course had no explicit doctrine of the Trinity; this doctrine was not articulated formally by theologians until hundreds of years later. This passage shows, however, that he experienced God as Trinity: he can describe the activity of God in the community in three synonymous parallel clauses as the working of the Spirit and of the Lord Jesus and of God.” Paul gives us three terms that describe God’s working in the church: gifts, services, and activities (Hays 210).

Paul points out that there are differences of ministries and services within the church. We might be different but what we all have in common is what we do is done for the same Lord, with the attitude of serving others.

Verse 7

“The sense of the Trinity is summed up in verse 7. To each is given the manifestation (phanerōsis) of the Spirit for the common good (to sympheron) (Hays 210).” In verse seven the Spirit represents the Trinity. The phrase “manifestation of the Spirit” refers to God’s activity in each believer’s life (Ellingworth 276). The world manifestation also refers to the spiritual gifts as well as other activities inspired by God within the church. In this verse there is a heavy emphasis on; the manifestations are given to each believer, and the manifestation is to benefit the whole community for the common good.

Verses 8-10

In the original Greek manuscript, the Greek sentences run on without break from verse 8 to the end of 11. It is the translators that give those breaks where they think it is appropriate (Ellingworth 277). In verse 8-10, Paul gives a list of “manifestations of the Spirit.” This list is not the only list of spiritual gifts. Others lists are found in Romans 12: 6-8 and Ephesians 4: 11-13. In the list of spiritual gifts listed in 1st Corinthians, there could be some significance in the grouping. Gordon Fee suggests that there is a division in the list by the different uses and meaning of the word “another” (Hays 211).

To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom,

and to another (allō) the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit.

To another (heterō) faith by the same Spirit,

to another (allō) gifts of healing by the one Spirit,

to another (allō) the working of miracles,

to another (allō) prophecy,

to another (allō) the discernment of spirits,

to another (heterō) various kinds of tongues,

to another (allō) the interpretation of tongues.

“Classically, allos means (another of the same kind) while heteros means (another of a different kind).” Paul may have used heteros to mark a pause for breath. With him pausing for a breath, it breaks the list into three sections (Hays 211).

Verse 8

“The two gifts in the first group are: the word of wisdom (sophia) and the word of knowledge (gnōsis) (Hays 211).” “The word of wisdom is the supernatural power to speak with divine insight, whether in solving difficult problems, defending the faith, resolving conflicts, giving practical advice, or pleading one’s case before hostile authorities (MacDonald).” “The word of knowledge is the power to communicate information that has been divinely revealed (MacDonald).”

Verse 9

When Paul talks about faith in verse nine he is not talking about ordinary faith. The gift of “faith” does not refer to the initial trust in Christ salvation but rather the kind of faith to move mountains (Gaebelein 262). The gifts of healings have to do with the power to heal diseases.

Verse 10

Working of miracles could include casting out demons, raising the dead, and exercising power over the natural elements. The literal translation of prophecy is “speaking God’s message.” This is a much more realistic definition generally used in Paul’s writing (Ellingworth 278). The gift of prophecy signified that a person received direct revelations form God and shared them with others. The gift to discerning spirits, describe the power to detect wheatear a prophet or other person is speaking by the Holy Spirit or by evil spirits. The person that has this gift has the ability to discern if a man is an imposter or an opportunist.

“Translators need to clearly distinguish prophecy from tongues. Prophecy is preaching that is inspired by God, but in the normal understandable human language. Speaking in tongues in Paul’s letters refer to a type of speech that could not be understood unless it was interpreted by someone having a special gift to do so (Ellingworth 279).” It is very important that we are able to distinguish between to two of these because if we do not we could end up in some serious trouble. The gift of interpretation of tongues is the gift of being able to interpret what other people are saying in a foreign language, and conveying the message back to the people. These people could have never heard the language before and have been able to interrupt what they were saying.

Verse 11

The overall picture of the church is implied in these verses. “All of the gifts mentioned in verses 8-10 are produced and controlled by the same Spirit.” We see that not everyone has the same gift; He does not give the same gift to everyone. He gives each one individually as He wills. The sovereign Spirit gives the gifts. In the conclusion in verse 11, Paul again stresses the central point, the diversity of gifts. Whether it is one of the gifts listed in 1st Corinthians or listed somewhere else, they are ally from the same Spirit. “There is no ground for boasting about being ‘spiritual,’ no matter what gifts one may possess. All the manifestations of the Spirit are to serve God’s purpose for the common benefit of the community (Hays 212).” “Paul concludes that regardless of what spiritual gift each person had, the Holy Spirit has sovereignty distributed them to produce his own spiritual results.” No one should despise another person’s gift given by the Spirit (Gaeblein 263).

The body, diversity and interdependence (vv. 12–26)

The Corinthians are dealing with the conflict over the manifestation of Spiritual gifts, which is the main topic of these chapters. “Paul places these conflicts within the larger framework of his vision for a unified church. He envisions not just the tolerance of differences within the community but a gracious and compassionate synergy in which all the members share one another’s sorrows and joys (Hays 218).” Paul speaks not of what the body should be, but what the body is. “Paul uses the body image in a somewhat more complicated way to argue for the need of diversity in the body (vv. 14–20) and, at the same time, interdependence among the members (vv. 21–26).” Paul’s reason also for this letter is to urge the members that are more “privileged” for their need to respect and value the contributions of those who might not be as gifted (Hays 213).

Verses 12-13

In verses 12-13 is the introduction of the body, which explains the basis for thinking of the church as one body (Hays 213). “Exegetes have long debated whether the designation of the church as ‘the body of Christ” is for Paul a mere metaphor or a mystical reality (Hays 213).”

Verse 12

In verse twelve Paul takes two steps in one. First, Christians in the church are like various parts of the body; second, the church is the body of Christ (Ellingworth 282). The human body is an illustration for the diversity within the body. Although the believers are different we all perform different functions, and all together we make up the body. We cannot do it all by our self we need each other in order to operate correctly as one unit. All believers are members of the body.

Verse 13

The Spirit is not the agent who does the baptizing, but the element into which the new believers were immersed. In verse 13 there are two different clauses that refer to the same experience. First, “drinking the Spirit” and “baptized in the Holy Spirit.” When Paul talks about “drinking of the Holy Spirit” he is talking about his conviction that the one spirit has been given in overflowing abundance to everyone in the community. When Paul said that they have been “baptized in the Holy Spirit,” he did not mean literal immersion; rather he meant that the community as a whole has been immersed in the Spirit’s power. Paul’s point with these illustrations was that they are one. Even though they might come from different ethnic and social backgrounds, Jews and Greeks, slaves and frees, they are still bonded together by the Spirit into one body. This closely parallels Galatians 3:28, “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female.” “Paul’s major point is that all in the church have been joined together in one body (Hays 214).

The day of Pentecost was the day that the church was born . On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit was baptized. When we are born again we partake of these benefits that happened on that day. We become members into the body of Christ. “The baptism of the Holy Spirit is that divine operation which places believers in the Body of Christ(MacDonald).”

Verses 14-26

Paul’s metaphor of the body has two different emphasizes. First, in verses 14-20 the theme is necessity for diversity. No member of the body or church should consider themselves worthless or unimportant. Each member should accept gracefully and gratefully whatever gifts God has given to them, and we need to use them to benefit the community. Second, in verses 21-26 the theme is interdependence of the members of the body. The different members of the church need everyone (Hays 215).

Verses 14-16

These two verses are very closely related in their structure. These two verses show the equal importance of each of the body parts. Weather it is a very important part or a small part; every part is needed in order for the body to function correctly.

Verses 17-20

Paul now emphasizes the necessity of having diversity in the body for it to operate as one. Each part must be willing to perform its own function in a role that God planed for their life. The apostles were to function as apostles, elders as elders, and the deacons as deacons (Gaeblein 265). Nobody can function as all eyes, all hearing, or all smelling. So for the church to function properly, it must have different gifts and offices(Gaebelin 265). God has arranged the different members just as He pleased. “The Corinthians should remember that if they all had the gift of tongues, then they would not have a functioning body (MacDonald).” As Christians we need to make the connection that not just one body part makes up the body; but rather it takes many different parts, and it should be obvious to us in connection with our service in the church.

Verses 21-23

It is God who has organized the body in the way he wants it. The implication is that it is the same with the church; according to God’s will, it is composed of many parts, so that it may function as one body, the body of Christ. The church with their various functions needs each other(Gaebelein 265). When one part of the body is looked down upon we need to remember that it is God who placed that person there and that they are there is a reason.

Verses 24-25

“In verses 24-25 members that are considered ‘dishonorable’ or even ‘shameful’ must be treated with all the greater respect. Paul insists that they must be ‘clothed’ with dignity and honor.” Paul goes even farther to show the great need for the members that are less important and weaker within the community. They are needed to make the body function, but more important God arranged the body is a special and specific way. The differences in members should not lead to division. Paul relates the body back to the dominating theme of the first part of the letter, the appeal for unity (Hays 216). Paul’s concern is to show that everyone has different gifts given to different members for the community as a whole, and this provided distinctions between members (Hays 215).

“The mutual care of them members prevents divisions within the body. One gives to another what is needed, and receives in return the help which only that other member can give (MacDonald).” When one person starts to focus on their spiritual gift rather than looking at the greater need of the church, then there will be great division within the church.

Verse 26

What happens to one part of the body affects the whole body. When one of us suffers then we all need to suffer together. When one of us receives honor we need to be happy and not jealous. Anything that hurts another Christian should be felt throughout the whole entire body.

Gifts and offices in the church (vv. 27–31a)

“Indeed, the inclusion in the list of ‘ability to help others or power to guide them’ shows that Paul is seeking to broaden the range of the Spirit’s activity beyond the range of ostentatiously supernatural manifestations that the Corinthians prized. Paul’s main concern, however, is to show that the gift of tongues, pointedly left for last in the list, is only one among many gifts appointed by God in the church. The rhetorical questions of verses 29–30 are formulated in the Greek in such a way that each expects a self-evidently negative answer (Hays 217).”

Verse 27

Paul reminds the people of Corinth that they are the body of Christ and that each one of them is a part of it. Verse 27 goes back and reflects upon what was said in verse 12. In verse 12 it reflects upon what a body is and what a body should look like. Then in verse 27 it tells us that we are the body of Christ and each one of us is a part of it. So all the verses leading up to verse 27 illustrates to us how we need to act within the body of Christ.

Verse 28

Paul gives a list of positions within the church that God has appointed. The first three apostles, prophets, and teachers and in the same order found in Ephesians 4:11 and are to be considered of greatest importance (Gaebelin 266). Within the Christians community the apostle comes first and founds the church, then the prophets, and then the teachers follow to continue the work in constructing the community (Hays 216).

Apostles: a number of other people were appointed as “apostles” after the original twelve. Paul is a great example of what an apostle is (Ellingworth 288). Prophets can be translated as “those who proclaim God’s message.” Translators should avoid using terms which suggest that these groups of people are the same as the Old Testament prophets (Ellingworth 288). Teachers are people that explain and teach the Gospel in an understandable way. Teachers were probably people who gave instruction in the Christian faith (Ellingworth 288).

Works of miracles are people who have the power to raise people from the dead, cast out demons, and many more acts. Healing is people that have the gift to cure a physical disease. Those having the gift of antilēmpsis (those able to help others) are people that are gift in the church who deal with the poor and help the sick. (266) Helpers: the context suggests that these were people who had the specific duty to aid the poor and needy (Ellingworth 288). Those with kybernēsis (administration) have the ability to govern and manage affairs in the church (Gaebelein 267) “Tongues in Paul’s letters refer to a type of speech that could not be understood unless it was interpreted by someone have a special gift to do so (Ellingworth 279).” There might be significance in the order that Paul places these things. Paul mentions apostles first and tongues last. This shows that the tongues were not as important, but they were missing the real meaning because they were so focused on tongues.

Verses 29-31

The Corinthians asked Paul if every believer possessed the same gifts. The answer is no. We all have different gifts. This relates back to the reason why Paul was writing the letter in the first place, because the Corinthians all wanted the gift of tongues. Paul illustrates to them in this chapter that if they all possessed the same gift of tongues then they would not have a functioning body. He also shows them that there are more important gifts to have than tongues Paul says that not all believers function in each of the ways listed, but God selects individuals and gives them their specific gifts (Gaebelein 267).

“Having mentioned tongues and their interpretation, Paul urges Christians to seek the better gifts, not which of speaking in tongues, which the Corinthian apparently want to, have more fully (Gaebelein 268).

Theological Application

Spiritual Manifestations as Gifts

Over in over in first Corinthians Paul emphasizes that the working of the Holy Spirit in the church are gifts give by God. When we have the understanding that these gifts are just “talents” we can fall into the cycle of self pride. As a body we cannot have people that are full of themselves. We need to realize that every good gift comes from God; and that we need to uses these gifts to benefit the whole community. “We must exercise these gifts in the church for the sake of the ministry for the whole community (Hays 219).” When people uses their gifts for personal pleasure this is when a division occurs within the community. “Paul would not want us to spend our time gazing into the mirror and asking what profile of gifts each of us has; he would prefer that we simply be about he business of using our gifts in service to the community (Hays 219).”

Paul is persistent that the gifts given by God are to be used within the body of Christ to benefit the community as a whole. In Chapter twelve, Paul gives us two different themes when considering the body of Christ. Diversity and Interdependence. The image of the Body of Christ provides us with a great illustration of what the body of Christ should look like. As Christians our goal should be to strive to have these communities within our ministries (Hays 219).

Strong or Weak we are still one body

This theological theme requires a little reading between the lines. Paul is writing this letter to correct the division the Corinthians had made. The division they had made was, they thought that some of the spiritual gifts were superior to others, and that the weaker gifts were less important. “It is likely, though not certain, that this split with the community reflects the same social and economic differences that we have seen with regard to other problems in the letter, such as the use of law courts (6:1-8) and the abuse of the Lord’s Supper (11:17-34) (Hays 219).” Paul calls upon the Corinthians to come together and become one for one another’s peace and well being. As members of the same community given the gifts by the same spirit, we are called to rejoice and suffer together. We are to be one body. The body of Christ.

Interpretive Questions

Why would God give more of a gift to one person then another?

Is it because not all of us are at the same place in our walk?

I wonder how many churches really function like this?

Can the people today in the twenty first century really posses these gifts?

You do not really see that many people healing other people.

Or could a more modern translation consider doctors to be healers?

Are tongues the thing of the past?

A lot of the time you only seeing people speaking in tongues in the Pentecostal churches.

So if it is not a thing of the past, why don’t more people speak in tongues?

Words for Further Consideration

Vs. 1 Spiritual Gift

Vs. 2 Pagans

Vs. 3 Speaking by the Spirit, Holy Spirit

Vs. 4 Spirit

Vs. 5 Service

Vs. 6 Work

Vs. 7 Manifestation of the Spirit

Vs. 8 Wisdom, Knowledge

Vs. 9 Faith, Healing

Vs. 10 Miraculous Powers, Prophecy, Distinguishing between Tongues, Tongues, Interpretation of Tongues

Vs. 11 Same Spirit

Vs. 12 Body, Unity, Christ

Vs. 13 Baptized, Spirit to Drink

Vs. 17 Whole Body

Vs. 18 Arranged

Vs. 20 One Body

Vs. 22 Weaker, Indispensable

Vs. 23 Less Honorable, Special Honor, Indispensable

Vs. 25 Division, Equal Concern

Vs. 26 Suffers

Vs. 27 Body of Christ

Vs. 28 Apostles, Prophets, Teachers, Workers of Miracles, Healing, Help, Administration, Different tongues

Vs. 31 Greater Gift

Word Study

Body

body ˈbä-dē n

σκῆνος

  • A Human Being
  • The nave of a Church
  • The Organized Physical Substance of an Animal or Plant Either Living or Dead
  • The Material Part or Nature of a Human Being

This Graph illustrates how many time the word BODY appears in each book in the New Testament.

Graph take from Logos Bible Software 3.0

This is a breakdown of how many time the word BODY appears in 1 Corinthians Twelve.

1 Cor 12:12 For as the body is one, and hath many members,

and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body:

being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

1 Cor 12:13 into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles,

1 Cor 12:14 For the body is not one member, but many.

1 Cor 12:15 I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

1 Cor 12:16 I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

1 Cor 12:17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing?

1 Cor 12:18 one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.

1 Cor 12:19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?

1 Cor 12:20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.

1 Cor 12:22 members of the body, which seem to be more feeble,

1 Cor 12:23 of the body, which we think to be less honourable,

1 Cor 12:24 but God hath tempered the body together, having

1 Cor 12:25 that there should be no schism in the body;

1 Cor 12:27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

Taken from Logos Bible Software 3.0

Member

mem•ber ˈmem-bər n

μέλος

  • One of the Individuals Composing a Group
  • A Person Baptized or Enrolled in a Church
  • A Part of a Whole

The word MEMBER appears 34 times in the New Testament, with the primary emphasis in the Pauline letters. Paul takes up the image of the unity of the body and the variety of functions of the members, within the context of Spiritual gifts. Members are members of a body, and need to act in unity.

This Graph illustrates how many time the word MEMBER appears in each book in the New Testament.

2nd corinthians chapter 12 verse 9

Graph take from Logos Bible Software 3.0

This is a breakdown of how many time the word MEMBER appears in 1 Corinthians Twelve

1 Cor 12:12 and hath many members, and all the members of that

and all the members of that one body, being many,

1 Cor 12:14 For the body is not one member, but many.

1 Cor 12:18 God set the members every one of them in the body,

1 Cor 12:19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?

1 Cor 12:20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.

1 Cor 12:22 much more those members of the body, which seem

1 Cor 12:23 and those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable,

1 Cor 12:25 but that the members should have the same care one

1 Cor 12:26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it;

all the members suffer with it; or one member be

all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured,

or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

1 Cor 12:27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

Taken from Logos Bible Software 3.0

Gift

gift ˈgift n

δόμα

  • Something Voluntarily Transferred by one Person to Another Without Compensation

This Graph illustrates how many time the word GIFT appears in each book in the New Testament.

2nd corinthians chapter 12 verse 9

Graph take from Logos Bible Software 3.0

This is a breakdown of how many time the word GIFT appears in 1 Corinthians Twelve.

1 Cor 12:1 gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.

1 Cor 12:4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

1 Cor 12:9 to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;

1 Cor 12:28 after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps,

1 Cor 12:30 have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues?

1 Cor 12:31 gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

Taken from Logos Bible Software 3.0

Spirit

spir•it ˈspir-ət n

δόμα

  • A Supernatural Being or Essence
  • A Malevolent Being that Enters and Possesses a human being
  • The Activating or Essential Principle Influencing a Person

“πνεῦμα, derived from πνέω, designates the elementary power of nature and life: wind, breeze; breath (Balz 118).”

“Πνεῦμα occurs 379 times in the NT. Of those, it unequivocally yields its original meaning (strong wind / breeze) only 3 times. It frequently refers to the human πνεῦμα (47 times) and to evil spirits (38 times) or the spirits of the dead or of angels (9 time). It is quite often clearly used of God’s πνεῦμα (275 times) (Balz 118).”

This Graph illustrates how many time the word SPIRIT appears in each book in the New Testament.

2nd corinthians chapter 12 verse 9

Graph take from Logos Bible Software 3.0

This is a breakdown of how many time the word SPIRIT appears in 1 Corinthians Twelve

1 Cor 12:3 that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth

1 Cor 12:4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

1 Cor 12:7 the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

1 Cor 12:8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom;

to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

1 Cor 12:9 Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same

to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;

1 Cor 12:10 to another discerning of spirits; to another divers

1 Cor 12:11 Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

1 Cor 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body,

and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

Taken from Logos Bible Software 3.0

References

  1. ↑ Hays, R. B. (1997). First Corinthians. Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching (218). Louisville, Ky.: John Knox Press.
  2. ↑ Hays, R. B. (1997). First Corinthians. Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching (218). Louisville, Ky.: John Knox Press.
  3. ↑ Hays, R. B. (1997). First Corinthians. Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching (218). Louisville, Ky.: John Knox Press.
  4. ↑ Hays, R. B. (1997). First Corinthians. Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching (218). Louisville, Ky.: John Knox Press.
  5. ↑ Hays, R. B. (1997). First Corinthians. Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching (218). Louisville, Ky.: John Knox Press.
  6. ↑ Hays, R. B. (1997). First Corinthians. Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching (218). Louisville, Ky.: John Knox Press.
  7. ↑ Hays, R. B. (1997). First Corinthians. Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching (218). Louisville, Ky.: John Knox Press.
  8. ↑ “Eucharist.” Logos Bible Software 3.0. Belingham, Wa: Libronix, 2000-2006. Northweset Nazarene University network. 15 April 2009
  9. ↑ Hays, R. B. (1997). First Corinthians. Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching (218). Louisville, Ky.: John Knox Press.
  10. ↑ Hays, R. B. (1997). First Corinthians. Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching (218). Louisville, Ky.: John Knox Press.
  11. ↑ Hays, R. B. (1997). First Corinthians. Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching (218). Louisville, Ky.: John Knox Press.
  12. ↑ Hays, R. B. (1997). First Corinthians. Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching (218). Louisville, Ky.: John Knox Press.
  13. ↑ Gaebelein, FrankE. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary . Grand Rapids : The Zondervan Corporation, 1979.
  14. ↑ Ellingworth, P., Hatton, H., & Ellingworth, P. (1995). A handbook on Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. Rev. ed. of: A translator’s handbook on Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. UBS handbook series; Helps for translators. New York: United Bible Societies.
  15. ↑ Ellingworth, P., Hatton, H., & Ellingworth, P. (1995). A handbook on Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. Rev. ed. of: A translator’s handbook on Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. UBS handbook series; Helps for translators. New York: United Bible Societies.
  16. ↑ Ellingworth, P., Hatton, H., & Ellingworth, P. (1995). A handbook on Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. Rev. ed. of: A translator’s handbook on Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. UBS handbook series; Helps for translators. New York: United Bible Societies.
  17. ↑ Hays, R. B. (1997). First Corinthians. Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching (Gaebelein 218)
  18. ↑ Hays, R. B. (1997). First Corinthians. Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching (218). Louisville, Ky.: John Knox Press.
  19. ↑ Ellingworth, P., Hatton, H., & Ellingworth, P. (1995). A handbook on Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. Rev. ed. of: A translator’s handbook on Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. UBS handbook series; Helps for translators. New York: United Bible Societies.
  20. ↑ Hays, R. B. (1997). First Corinthians. Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching (218). Louisville, Ky.: John Knox Press.
  21. ↑ Hays, R. B. (1997). First Corinthians. Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching (218). Louisville, Ky.: John Knox Press.
  22. ↑ Ellingworth, P., Hatton, H., & Ellingworth, P. (1995). A handbook on Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. Rev. ed. of: A translator’s handbook on Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. UBS handbook series; Helps for translators. New York: United Bible Societies.
  23. ↑ Hays, R. B. (1997). First Corinthians. Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching (218). Louisville, Ky.: John Knox Press.
  24. ↑ Gaebelein, FrankE. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary . Grand Rapids : The Zondervan Corporation, 1979.
  25. ↑ Hays, R. B. (1997). First Corinthians. Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching (218). Louisville, Ky.: John Knox Press
  26. ↑ Hays, R. B. (1997). First Corinthians. Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching (218). Louisville, Ky.: John Knox Press.
  27. ↑ Ellingworth, P., Hatton, H., & Ellingworth, P. (1995). A handbook on Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. Rev. ed. of: A translator’s handbook on Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. UBS handbook series; Helps for translators. New York: United Bible Societies.
  28. ↑ MacDonald, W., & Farstad, A. (1997, c1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary : Old and New Testaments (1 Co 12:1). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
  29. ↑ Ellingworth, P., Hatton, H., & Ellingworth, P. (1995). A handbook on Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. Rev. ed. of: A translator’s handbook on Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. UBS handbook series; Helps for translators. New York: United Bible Societies.
  30. ↑ Gaebelein, FrankE. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary . Grand Rapids : The Zondervan Corporation, 1979.
  31. ↑ Hays, R. B. (1997). First Corinthians. Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching (218). Louisville, Ky.: John Knox Press.
  32. ↑ Hays, R. B. (1997). First Corinthians. Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching (218). Louisville, Ky.: John Knox Press.
  33. ↑ Ellingworth, P., Hatton, H., & Ellingworth, P. (1995). A handbook on Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. Rev. ed. of: A translator’s handbook on Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. UBS handbook series; Helps for translators. New York: United Bible Societies.
  34. ↑ Ellingworth, P., Hatton, H., & Ellingworth, P. (1995). A handbook on Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. Rev. ed. of: A translator’s handbook on Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. UBS handbook series; Helps for translators. New York: United Bible Societies.
  35. ↑ Hays, R. B. (1997). First Corinthians. Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching (218). Louisville, Ky.: John Knox Press.
  36. ↑ Hays, R. B. (1997). First Corinthians. Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching (218). Louisville, Ky.: John Knox Press.
  37. ↑ MacDonald, W., & Farstad, A. (1997, c1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary : Old and New Testaments (1 Co 12:1). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
  38. ↑ MacDonald, W., & Farstad, A. (1997, c1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary : Old and New Testaments (1 Co 12:1). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
  39. ↑ Gaebelein, FrankE. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary . Grand Rapids : The Zondervan Corporation, 1979.
  40. ↑ Ellingworth, P., Hatton, H., & Ellingworth, P. (1995). A handbook on Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. Rev. ed. of: A translator’s handbook on Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. UBS handbook series; Helps for translators. New York: United Bible Societies.
  41. ↑ Ellingworth, P., Hatton, H., & Ellingworth, P. (1995). A handbook on Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. Rev. ed. of: A translator’s handbook on Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. UBS handbook series; Helps for translators. New York: United Bible Societies.
  42. ↑ Hays, R. B. (1997). First Corinthians. Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching (218). Louisville, Ky.: John Knox Press.
  43. ↑ Gaebelein, FrankE. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary . Grand Rapids : The Zondervan Corporation, 1979.
  44. ↑ Hays, R. B. (1997). First Corinthians. Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching (218). Louisville, Ky.: John Knox Press.
  45. ↑ Hays, R. B. (1997). First Corinthians. Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching (218). Louisville, Ky.: John Knox Press.
  46. ↑ Hays, R. B. (1997). First Corinthians. Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching (218). Louisville, Ky.: John Knox Press.
  47. ↑ Hays, R. B. (1997). First Corinthians. Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching (218). Louisville, Ky.: John Knox Press.
  48. ↑ Ellingworth, P., Hatton, H., & Ellingworth, P. (1995). A handbook on Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. Rev. ed. of: A translator’s handbook on Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. UBS handbook series; Helps for translators. New York: United Bible Societies.
  49. ↑ Hays, R. B. (1997). First Corinthians. Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching (218). Louisville, Ky.: John Knox Press.
  50. ↑ MacDonald, W., & Farstad, A. (1997, c1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary : Old and New Testaments (1 Co 12:1). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
  51. ↑ Hays, R. B. (1997). First Corinthians. Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching (218). Louisville, Ky.: John Knox Press.
  52. ↑ Gaebelein, FrankE. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary . Grand Rapids : The Zondervan Corporation, 1979.
  53. ↑ Gaebelein, FrankE. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary . Grand Rapids : The Zondervan Corporation, 1979.
  54. ↑ MacDonald, W., & Farstad, A. (1997, c1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary : Old and New Testaments (1 Co 12:1). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
  55. ↑ Gaebelein, FrankE. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary . Grand Rapids : The Zondervan Corporation, 1979.
  56. ↑ Hays, R. B. (1997). First Corinthians. Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching (218). Louisville, Ky.: John Knox Press.
  57. ↑ Hays, R. B. (1997). First Corinthians. Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching (218). Louisville, Ky.: John Knox Press.
  58. ↑ MacDonald, W., & Farstad, A. (1997, c1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary : Old and New Testaments (1 Co 12:1). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
  59. ↑ Hays, R. B. (1997). First Corinthians. Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching (218). Louisville, Ky.: John Knox Press.
  60. ↑ Gaebelein, FrankE. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary . Grand Rapids : The Zondervan Corporation, 1979.
  61. ↑ Hays, R. B. (1997). First Corinthians. Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching (218). Louisville, Ky.: John Knox Press.
  62. ↑ Ellingworth, P., Hatton, H., & Ellingworth, P. (1995). A handbook on Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. Rev. ed. of: A translator’s handbook on Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. UBS handbook series; Helps for translators. New York: United Bible Societies.
  63. ↑ Ellingworth, P., Hatton, H., & Ellingworth, P. (1995). A handbook on Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. Rev. ed. of: A translator’s handbook on Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. UBS handbook series; Helps for translators. New York: United Bible Societies.
  64. ↑ Ellingworth, P., Hatton, H., & Ellingworth, P. (1995). A handbook on Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. Rev. ed. of: A translator’s handbook on Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. UBS handbook series; Helps for translators. New York: United Bible Societies.
  65. ↑ Ellingworth, P., Hatton, H., & Ellingworth, P. (1995). A handbook on Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. Rev. ed. of: A translator’s handbook on Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. UBS handbook series; Helps for translators. New York: United Bible Societies.
  66. ↑ Gaebelein, FrankE. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary . Grand Rapids : The Zondervan Corporation, 1979.
  67. ↑ Ellingworth, P., Hatton, H., & Ellingworth, P. (1995). A handbook on Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. Rev. ed. of: A translator’s handbook on Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. UBS handbook series; Helps for translators. New York: United Bible Societies.
  68. ↑ Gaebelein, FrankE. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary . Grand Rapids : The Zondervan Corporation, 1979.
  69. ↑ Gaebelein, FrankE. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary . Grand Rapids : The Zondervan Corporation, 1979.
  70. ↑ Hays, R. B. (1997). First Corinthians. Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching (218). Louisville, Ky.: John Knox Press.
  71. ↑ Hays, R. B. (1997). First Corinthians. Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching (218). Louisville, Ky.: John Knox Press.
  72. ↑ Hays, R. B. (1997). First Corinthians. Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching (218). Louisville, Ky.: John Knox Press.
  73. ↑ Hays, R. B. (1997). First Corinthians. Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching (218). Louisville, Ky.: John Knox Press.
  74. ↑ Merriam-Webster, I. (2003). Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary. Includes index. (Eleventh ed.). Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, Inc.
  75. ↑ “Eucharist.” Logos Bible Software 3.0. Belingham, Wa: Libronix, 2000-2006. Northweset Nazarene University network. 15 April 2009
  76. ↑ “Eucharist.” Logos Bible Software 3.0. Belingham, Wa: Libronix, 2000-2006. Northweset Nazarene University network. 15 April 2009
  77. ↑ Merriam-Webster, I. (2003). Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary. Includes index. (Eleventh ed.). Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, Inc.
  78. ↑ Balz, H. R., & Schneider, G. (1990-c1993). Exegetical dictionary of the New Testament. Translation of: Exegetisches Wr̲terbuch zum Neuen Testament. (2:404-405). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans.
  79. ↑ “Eucharist.” Logos Bible Software 3.0. Belingham, Wa: Libronix, 2000-2006. Northweset Nazarene University network. 15 April 2009
  80. ↑ “Eucharist.” Logos Bible Software 3.0. Belingham, Wa: Libronix, 2000-2006. Northweset Nazarene University network. 15 April 2009
  81. ↑ Merriam-Webster, I. (2003). Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary. Includes index. (Eleventh ed.). Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, Inc.
  82. ↑ “Eucharist.” Logos Bible Software 3.0. Belingham, Wa: Libronix, 2000-2006. Northweset Nazarene University network. 15 April 2009
  83. ↑ “Eucharist.” Logos Bible Software 3.0. Belingham, Wa: Libronix, 2000-2006. Northweset Nazarene University network. 15 April 2009
  84. ↑ Merriam-Webster, I. (2003). Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary. Includes index. (Eleventh ed.). Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, Inc.
  85. ↑ Balz, H. R., & Schneider, G. (1990-c1993). Exegetical dictionary of the New Testament. Translation of: Exegetisches Wr̲terbuch zum Neuen Testament. (3:117-122). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans.
  86. ↑ Balz, H. R., & Schneider, G. (1990-c1993). Exegetical dictionary of the New Testament. Translation of: Exegetisches Wr̲terbuch zum Neuen Testament. (3:117-122). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans.
  87. ↑ “Eucharist.” Logos Bible Software 3.0. Belingham, Wa: Libronix, 2000-2006. Northweset Nazarene University network. 15 April 2009
  88. ↑ “Eucharist.” Logos Bible Software 3.0. Belingham, Wa: Libronix, 2000-2006. Northweset Nazarene University network. 15 April 2009

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