Bible Commentaries

1 Corinthians 12

Verses 1-31

Now the apostle turned from the corrective section of his letter to the constructive as he proceeded to deal with the spiritualities which negative the carnalities. These are those of the unifying Spirit (12), the unfailing law of love (13, 14), and the ultimate triumph of resurrection (15).

In the establishment of the Lordship of Jesus is the creation of a new unity. This unity, however, has its perfect variety. The unifying force is God, in the three Persons of His Trinity-the Spirit, the Lord, God. The variety in the unity is created by gifts, ministrations, workings. For this great service of co-operation the Church is gifted by the Spirit, directed by the Lord, energized by God.

The apostle emphasized under the figure of the body the union of those who minister with the Lord. There is diversity of function in the unity of the body. The key statement is, "for the body is not one member, but many." This fact is again simply stated in conclusion. The body is one in its totality of separate members. Christ the Head directs all the activity of the whole of the members, and so of the body itself. The members, responding to that central authority in the power of their own functions created by the Spirit, at once fulfil their ministry, contribute to the fulfillment of the ministry of the body, and exhibit the glorious wisdom of the directing Lord.

The section closes with the injunction, "Desire earnestly the greater gifts," and, said the apostle, in effect, I will show you the most excellent way to obtain them. What, then, is the most excellent way? The answer comes in the two chapters following. It is the way of love.