1 Corinthians 12:1-31

What is something you are gifted at?

What do you like to do?

How do you get good at it?

Is there a way you can use that gift to serve the Lord. 

Peri de of v1 shows Paul is addressing a new topic with the church in Corinth, spiritual gifts, and he is telling them that…

Big Idea:

God gives people gifts to use for his glory, 

And we should eagerly desire to use them.


Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led. 3 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. 4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. 7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 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… 

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. (1 Corinthians 12:1-31 ESV)

  1. Everyone is Gifted
  1. v7 . To each. 

No one is left out. Christmas morning and everyone has a gift but you. Not like that. 

If you are a believer the spirit of God is in you and working through you. The natural gifts that you have are filled with the spirit just as your body is filled with it. 

Presents on Christmas day. No one gets left out. Grandma would make sure everyone got something. Don’t ever think you are not gifted by God. 

  1. Everyone is Gifted Differently

Varieties of gifts, service, activities and manifestations. Charismata, diakonias, energma, fanerwsis: to make known or reveal. The spirit is to well up inside of us and then 

Everybody is gifted. Everybody is different. 

There are lots of different gifts. Now these spiritual gifts are talked about in different passages of Scripture, and we have talked about these a few different times. Rom 12, Eph 4 has different lists.  

These passages are often used to get people in the church to sign up to serve in different areas of the church. We need a setup crew. We need worship team. We need small group leaders. And by the way we could use help in all those areas. But it is so much deeper than that. 

Let’s talk about some of the different gifts

8 For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom

and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 

9 to another faith by the same Spirit. 

“And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.” (Hebrews 11:32-34 NIV)

I think of my wife with this. I have dragged her all over the country on different ministry opportunities. We have been through some incredibly challenging situations. A lot of those we got into it and I looked and said this isn’t going very well. And she would say things like, “Get it together and have some faith.” She was never in doubt the Lord would provide and protect. To some God manifests the spirit of faith in a person. And by the way, I think these are the people that at times are really encouraging to be around and at times really annoying to be around! I mean you are sure the end of the world is coming, and they are there thinking, “This is totally cool!”

to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit. Maybe he refers in a natural way to God giving doctors or healthcare workers the patience and mercy and knowledge to help people get well. It may also refer to those who pray for people and they are healed. I don’t know where the line is and Paul does not define that line. 

10 to another the working of miracles. Works of power. Gideon is said to be strong in power (Judges 6:12). He went out and conquered armies. Luke 19:7 the crowd praised Jesus for all the miracles he had done. Acts of power. 

Jesus said bold statements. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Mat 17:20 ESV)

Do we expect God to do great things among us? Are we living like practical atheists?

to another prophecy. To speak before hand. The word of God comes to us through prophets. We see prophecy used for something other than God’s word too. You see Paul used it to refer to building people up. It’s used to describe people who reveal the thoughts of unbelievers. Also telling things that would happen in future (Acts 11:28).

People have done some silly things with this. Sometimes it’s like a tarot cards or lot casting with Christian words. It more seems to be applying God’s word in the lives of people. They are not adding to Scripture. He tells them to judge what prophets say, and it would seem they are using the word of God as their criteria (14:29, 14:37, 2 Tim 3:16). It’s subject to the word of God. It seems God was revealing to them things that could only be known by the spirit of God. Some will come among you and say God is really among you. 

to another the ability to distinguish between spirits. A gift of discernment. Seeing what is at the heart of things. 

to another various kinds of tongues. Tongues happen in the Bible. In Acts 2 the Spirit manifests itself and people begin speaking in tongues in the streets and they are understood by foreigners who speak different languages. In Corinthians Paul refers to it as a way a person prays and edifies himself personally. Supernatural empowerment, moving the mission forward. 

to another the interpretation of tongues

V28. He talked about gifts and ministries and now he talks about people and their offices or positions. There is a rank.

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.

Apostles could be Apostles as in the disciples of Jesus and Paul, authoritatively commissioned by Jesus to write Scripture and take the gospel out. An apostle is one who is sent out. Some churches see people with a role like that, where they send a person out to help build and strengthen other churches. 

V28 gift of Helps. Helpful deeds. Greg looking for way to go out and give things to people or talk to them.

Administration. Some have said these miraculous gifts have ceased. That interpretation is tripped up by administration and helps. literally, the skill with which a pilot guides a ship; figuratively, of leadership skill, administrative ability, gift of leadership, managerial skill. Leadership, governing. Guiding something. 

Everyone is gifted. There are a variety of gifts. What do we make of all this. 

  1. We have a mission that is spiritual. 
  2. You have a part to play in the mission. Christianity is not about a profession of faith but a life to live. Yes, our journey begins with a profession of faith but it is about continuing on the mission God has for us. It is about reaching others. 

Rudolph. Island of misfit toys: charlie in a box, choo choo with square wheels, polkadot elephant, bird doesn’t fly. 

One thing about the gifts God has given you, it means he will use your gifts in your life and the life of others. 

  1. Every Gift is to Honor the Lord

It’s not for you. We are used to getting things and it’s all for us. 

1 Cor 10:31 reminds us that “Whatever we do… do it all to the glory of God.” 

Good of others. V7 Manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.”

Find something that honors God, helps others, and go do it. 

If you can sing, then sing to the glory of God. If you can shoot a bow, then do it the glory of God. If you know how to depreciate capital assets in order to maximize your tax deductions then go do that to the glory of God. If you like talking to people then talk to the glory of God. The greater gifts build up other people. 

If you don’t know where you are gifted, then just look for a need and go do it. 

You will see things through your gifting. See someone come in and seem a little down and some will say, “Man, I just read this passage of Scripture and it changed me and lifted me up and I want to share it with you. Another will say hey you look down, can we grab coffee and you tell me all about it. Gift of compassion.” Others will say let’s sit down identify the core issues and develop a plan on how to overcome each issues. Leadership. Another will say God is going to get your through this and I am going to lay hands on you, pray and a miracle is going to happen. 

Look for opportunities to service. Do that in the church. Do it in your home. Do it in your office. Fan it into flame.  

Your gifts are not for you alone. Gift of teaching. May make a lot of money. It’s not for you. May have gifts of administration. It’s not for you alone. It’s for the Lord. And you serve the Lord by serving others. 

7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given through the Spirit … 

11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills…

Give kid a tent and then he goes, leaves homes, lives in his tent and never talks to anybody, I’d be like, hey that is not why I gave you that tent. Many people have God-given gifts and they are not using them for God, and God is sitting back saying you’re missing the whole point. 

  1. Each Gift Requires Eager Pursuit


be deeply committed to something, ‘to be earnest, to set one’s heart on, to be completely intent upon.’ 

be eager to prophesy, (1Co 14:39 CSB)

What does it look like to zealously desire a gift. 

What are you eager to grow in. Minecraft? You study it, you watch youtube clips. Maybe it is the stock market. You read blogs, you immerse yourself into it, you read books, you try different things. You are willing to invest effort, and time, and money and all those things, maybe even willing to have your friends laugh at you for it. How much more should we do that in our walk with the Lord. 

  1. Seek the Lord: pray, read the Bible, 
  2. Read books that push you. Get a library. 
  3. Use your gift. Want to be a teacher. Find a way to teach. Ask a friend to do a Bible study with you. Preached a lot of sermons to wall before I ever gave one to an audience.

How eager are you for the church to reach others. How eager are you seeking to be a dad who is discipling his kids. How eager are you to be in a small group that is creating missionaries. 

What do you long for? What do you long to see God do in your lifetime? How do you long to be used by him? Many people trust in Christ and have a season of great zeal. And then they have a few bumps in the road, experience the difficulty of ministry, and they pull back. Older and wiser. Wisdom or lack of faith. Let’s be aware of the problems but let’s not be intimidated by that. 

I think this passage is here to provoke the church to think big.

*Conversion. Jesus changes your desires. Changes your life.*

*The gifts remind christianity is not about a profession but a lifestyle.* 

Where is eagerness to make God famous? It’s not about number of people coming. Jesus turned the world upside down with eleven average people. We have a large group of better than average income, education, social status. Do we believe he can use us in his mission? Are we willing and zealous to honor him. 


A lot of clubs that you hear about and you think well I’m not that good so I won’t do that. Baseball… not my thing. Weightlifting club… no. Theatre club… not good enough. The church is not a specialized club for  certain few people. Everyone created by God has gifts to use to honor him with. We all need to engage in what he has called us to. The health of our church is dependent on every member using their gifts to build others up. 

Discussion Questions

  1. What are some of the ways God has gifted you? What are things you are good at or like doing? How can you use that to build others up?
  2. What gifts in this passage interested you? What gifts do you have questions about?
  3. How zealous are you to use and grow in the gifts God has given you? How can you create a greater desire to honor him and serve others? What is one thing you can do this week to help another person?
  4. How excited are you that God has a part for you to play in building his kingdom?