Concerning Spiritual Gifts (1 Corinthians 12:1-14:40)
The whole discourse on spiritual gifts is one of the most controversial sections in the entire Bible. The study of the original text and employment of literary criticisms open the text in a different way than usually done on the popular level. We would like to point out one particular emphasis shared among all of such texts: benefit for others especially in the church. This is powerfully illustrated in 1 Corinthians 12:7: "To everyone, however, it is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the profitation" (gr. ἑκάστῳ δὲ δίδοται ἡ φανέρωσις τοῦ πνεύματος πρὸς τὸ συμφέρον).
First, the source of these spiritual manifestation is no super ability or quality on the part of people. As it is stressed "it is given" (gr. δίδοται), man is passive in this regard, he just receives it.
The author, originator of these is positively the Spirit (gr. τοῦ πνεύματος). Manifestations are many but the author is one and the same as is proved by emphasis of 1 Cor 12:8: "according to the same Spirit" (gr. κατὰ τὸ αὐτὸ πνεῦμα) and 1 Cor 12:9: "in the one Spirit" (gr. ἐν τῷ ἑνὶ πνεύματι). This is then summarized by 1 Cor 12:11 using same words plus explicitly pointing out Spirit's will (gr. βούλομαι).
Now the second point is the reason for the existence of these manifestations. It is not to be better then any other human being, but the service. It is not for my own benefit, but rather for the benefit of others. This is really, really important.
Since the spiritual manifestation is not from our origin there is nothing to boast about, just to praise for. Since it is for the greater good then our own, we should meekly use it in the service.
|ὁ, ἡ, τό||the|
|δέ||however, but, and|
|πᾶς, πᾶσα, πᾶν||all|
|εἰμί||I am; be, exist|
|οὐ, οὐκ, οὐχ||no|
|ἐν||in (with D)|
|γλῶσσα, ης, ἡ||tongue|
|πνεῦμα, τος, τό||spirit; breath|
|σῶμα, τος, τό||body|
|ἐάν||if, when, ever|