1 Corinthians 12:4-10

There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord.

And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.

But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:

for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit,

to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit,

10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

diversities (v.4) — may include the meaning of “distributions”

gifts (v.4) — charisma, gifts of grace

same (vs. 4-6) — Here we see the Trinity present in the administration of the Church. In verse four — “diversities of gifts but the same Spirit.” This is God, the Holy Spirit. In verse five — “differences of administrations but the same Lord.” This is God, the Son. In verse six — “diversities of operations but the same God.” This is God, the Father, Thus, we see many  human capabilities but one divine source.

There is also to be seen here a unity of purpose in the object for which the gifts are given as expressed in verse seven. Here were gifts for human good. Their object was the good and benefit of man. All men were intended to profit from gifts that might have been given to a few men. These gifts were never intended for the monopoly of their possessors. God gave them for the blessing of all. —Laurin, page 206.

activities (v.6) — forms of service

wisdom (v.8) — God-given ability to gauge the true nature and value of things and their relation to one another

knowledge (v.8) — God-given intelligent apprehension of facts and principles

faith (v.9) — not referring to saving faith, but faith manifested by deeds

The three different prepositions in verses 8 and 9 regarding the agency of the Spirit are to be noted: “through” represents the instrumentality, the power to accomplish; “According to,” the standard or measure of accomplishment; “in,” the element in which the accomplishment is effected. — Vine, page 87

prophecy (v.10) — telling forth God’s revelation before the full revelation of Scripture was complete

discerning of spirits (v.10) — ability to determine if another was speaking from God or not

tongues (v.10) — a sign to Jews (1 Corinthians 14:21-22; Isaiah 28:11-13)

The supernatural manifestations such as speaking with tongues and prophesyings all took place within twelve years from Pentecost, as recorded in the Acts, and on all occasions when Jews were present. See Acts 2:22-36; secondly, 8:14-17, in Samaria; Thirdly, 10:45, in the house of Cornelius, where “they of the circumcision were amazed”; fourthly and lastly, 19:2-6, at Ephesus, in the case of “certain disciples” of John the Baptist. There is no further instance of, or even reference to, this kind of demonstration after this in the Acts or anywhere in the epistles. The period was one of transition, marked by God’s testimony to Jews. — Vine, page 88


The gift of tongues, then, was not an emotional gibberish but a genuine linguistic ability imparted to the apostles and disciples of the infant church for the purpose of presenting the gospel in languages they had never learned. — Laurin, page 211.


 “Divers kinds of tongues” refers to the gift of speaking in other languages without having learned them. “The interpretation of tongues” was a gift of the Spirit that gave confirmation through another member that the first did indeed speak in another language. Certain it is that the gibberish often heard at modern “tongues” meetings has nothing to do with the gift of tongues (See Acts 2:4-11; 1 Corinthians 13:1).

It is debatable whether the apostle lists these gifts of the Spirit strictly in the order of their importance, yet the gift of tongues is found last and in all three lists given by Paul (1 Corinthians 12:8-11, 28 and 29-30), very possibly indicating its relative significance. Also, in his main treatment of the subject (14:1-28) he consistently compares tongues unfavorably with prophecy, and adds words of caution with respect to speaking in tongues. Again, 1 Corinthians 12-14 is the only place in all of Paul’s epistles where the gift of tongues is even mentioned, and at the same time this is the only church he labelled “carnal” and “babes,” the very church that made so much of tongues. It appears that the highest word of commendation Paul could find for speaking in tongues was his statement: “Forbid not to speak with tongues” (14:39), for tongues, rightly and scripturally used were a “gift of the spirit.” Finally, the apostle clearly states in 1 Corinthians 13:8-11 that the gift of tongues would pass away like a childhood experience. It was a temporary thing. — Stam, pages 207-208.

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