Monday, August 15, 2016
1 Corinthians 12:1 "Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware."
Thus far we have attempted to establish Paul's stated intentions for writing 1 Corinthians 12 (as well as 13 & 14) when it comes to this vital subject of the gifts. Today, we want to consider a possible way of outlining these three key chapters of 1 Corinthians. Yesterday's post focused on outlining part of 1 Corinthians 12. Today we will conclude our overall study of 1 Corinthians 12-14 by offering an outline of the remainder of 1 Corinthians 12, 13 and 14. It is hoped that the proposed outline below will aid readers in the study of these chapters.
1. Spiritual gifts: the finger prints of God's activity. 1 Corinthians 12:12-27
Note: When I say that spiritual gifts are likened to fingerprints, I mean the way in which the Holy Spirit distributes the gifts in various mixes and clusters among individual Christians and churches. The first thought regarding "spiritual gift fingerprints" has to do with how God so-gifts individual Christians, hence...
a. Spiritual gift finger prints apply to individual Christians. 1 Corinthians 12:12-23a
This idea can then be expanded to include God's spiritual-gift finger print for local churches, hence...
b. Spiritual gift finger prints apply to churches. 1 Corinthians 12:23b-26
It would seem that if a church-body can identify the make-up of spiritual gifts in the church body, then the "spiritual gift finger-print" for that church has been identified. Such information can go a long way in seeing how to structure the church around the needs and gifts of the membership and more importantly, to understand how God has gifted that local church to fulfill a particular God-preferred future (i.e vision) for that area.
thus, in apply these thoughts, we can note...
c. Spiritual-gift fingerprints define God's vision for the believer and the church. 1 Corinthians 12:27
i. God has given the right mixture of gifts to result in uniquely gifted Christians.
ii. God has given the right mixture of gifts to result in different looking churches.
note: When we consider the six places in the New Testament where the gifts are mentioned, it seems that each church was gifted by God to achieve whatever vision God wanted for that area. Romans 12:6-8; 1 Cor 12:8-10; 12:28; 12:29-30; Ephesians 4:11-12; 1 Peter 4:10-11.
2. God's love coursing through the gifts. Corinthians 13
a. Problem of exercising the gifts without His love. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
b. Power for the gifts is associated with His love. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
c. Purpose of the gifts is found in God's love. 1 Corinthians 13:8-13
3. Gaining a right perspective on the gifts. 1 Corinthians 14
Note: It is in this chapter that Paul devotes space to the issue of tongues, interpretation of tongues and having the right perspective on the gifts. The latter emphasis ought to be focused upon more so than the gift of tongues. Paul's point in this entire chapter is to issue forth a need to not emphasize the gifts too much nor avoid them all together. If anything, Paul is ending his section on the gifts of the Spirit by correcting the excesses and abuses of gifts in 1 Corinthians 14 whilst beginning his discussion by raising awareness of them in 1 Corinthians 12. The middle chapter of 1 Corinthians 13 serves to maintain the proper perspective by emphasizing God's love manifested and ministered by the gifts.
We have spent the last two days outlining 1 Corinthians 12-14. The following five headings were put forth:
1. Every Christian is supernaturally gifted by God. 1 Corinthians 12:1-7
2. Defining the supernatural gifts of God. 1 Corinthians 12:8-11; 28-29
(and other passages)
3. Spiritual gifts: the finger prints of God's activity. 1 Corinthians 12:12-27
4. God's love coursing through the gifts. 1 Corinthians 13
5. Gaining a right perspective on the gifts. 1 Corinthians 14