The New Testament reading for Monday, February 18 is:

1 Corinthians 12

Spiritual Gifts

12:1 Now concerning1 spiritual gifts,2 brothers,3 I do not want you to be uninformed. You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led. Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

One Body with Many Members

12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves4 or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts,5 yet one body.

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the higher gifts.

And I will show you a still more excellent way.

Footnotes

[1] 12:1 The expression Now concerning introduces a reply to a question in the Corinthians' letter; see 7:1
[2] 12:1 Or spiritual persons
[3] 12:1 Or brothers and sisters
[4] 12:13 For the contextual rendering of the Greek word doulos, see Preface
[5] 12:20 Or members; also verse 22

(ESV)


English Standard Version: Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text provided by the Crossway Bibles Web Service.

New Testament Pastoral Commentary for 1 Corinthians 12
Author: Pastor Zach
My wife Melody and I have known each other for quite a while now. Even though our marriage is a relatively nascent one, we first met in college back in the mid 90's. However, during those years, we never dated and were, at best, only casual acquaintances. So you can imagine my surprise when, one day, after we were already dating, Melody asks me, "Zach, what did you think of me in college? Did you like me at least a little bit?" To which I fumblingly reply, "To be quite honest, I thought nothing of you in college."

Have you ever had one of those experiences where, as soon as certain words fell out of your mouth, you wished you could suck them back in? This was one of those experiences for me. Immediately, knowing how callous my response must have sounded, I began trying to clarify. "Uh, er, what I meant is although I didn't want to date you, I still thought you were a pretty awesome girl." But alas, my words of clarification did not help. The damage had been done. Melody still remembers (and reminds me of) my infamous foot-in-mouth statement.

In today's reading from 1 Corinthians 12, Paul writes about the Corinthians' unchristian past: "You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols" (verse 2). There are a couple of words and phrases to take note of to better understand this verse. The first is "influenced." The Greek word for "influenced" is ago, meaning "to lead." Thus, the Corinthians are being led toward mute idols. The second is the phrase, "led astray." In Greek, this word is apago, a cognate of ago, meaning "misled." Unfortunately, the NIV translation, from which I quoted, misses the wordplay between ago and upago in this verse. If I were translate this, I might translate, "You guys know that when you were pagans, toward mute idols you were led, that is, misled."

And it is here that we find Paul offering some clarification. But rather than trying to take back some foolish words as I tried to do with Melody, Paul actually strengthens his indictment of the Corinthians' past. Paul says, "In your unchristian past, you were led toward idols. Actually, let me clarify. It's worse than that. You weren't just LED toward idols, you were MISLED toward idols!" For the sake of clarity, Paul replaces his initial word "led" with a more indicting word, "misled." But Paul is concerned not only that he clearly diagnosis sin, he is also concerned that he clearly presents the gospel.

Paul writes in Colossians 4:3-4: "Pray for us, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it CLEARLY, as I should." Paul's desire is that, whether condemning sin or proclaiming grace, he does it clearly. Paul's desire should be ours as well. Is there a sin, in your life or in the life of another, that you need to confront head on? Paul's admonition to you would be this: be loving, but also be clear! Does someone need to hear the gospel of Christ from your lips? Speaking clearly is more urgent than ever in the face of such a need. So today, I pray that God would give you a clear head so that you can clearly share his Word... and his love!