12:1 Now 1 concerning spiritual [gifts], brethren, I would not
have you a ignorant.
(1) Now he enters into the third part of this treatise touching
the right use of spiritual gifts, in which he gives the
Corinthians plainly to understand that they abused them.
For they that excelled bragged ambitiously of them, and so
robbed God of the praise of his gifts: and having no
consideration of their brethren, abused them to a vain
display, and so robbed the church of the use of those
gifts. On the other side the inferior sort envied the
better, and went about to make a departure, so that all the
body was as it were scatted and rent in pieces. So then,
going about to remedy these abuses he wills them first to
consider diligently that they have not these gifts of
themselves, but from the free grace and liberality of God,
to whose glory they ought to bestow them all.
(a) Ignorant to what purpose these gifts are given to you.
12:22 Ye know that ye were b Gentiles, carried away unto
these dumb idols, even as ye were led.
(2) He reproves the same by comparing their former state with
that in which they were at this time, being endued with
those excellent gifts.
(b) As touching God's service and the covenant, mere
12:33 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man
speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus c accursed:
and [that] no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by
the Holy Ghost.
(3) The conclusion: know you therefore that you cannot so much
as move your lips to honour Christ at all, except by the
grace of the Holy Spirit.
(c) Does curse him, or by any means whatever diminish his
12:44 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the d same
(4) In the second place, he lays another foundation, that is,
that these gifts are different, as the functions also are
different and their offices different, but that one self
same Spirit, Lord, and God is the giver of all these gifts,
and that to one end, that is, for the profit of all.
(d) The Spirit is plainly distinguished from the gifts.
12:6 And there are diversities of e operations, but it is the
same God which worketh all in all.
(e) So Paul calls that inward power which comes from the
Holy Spirit, and makes men fit for wonderful things.
12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is f given to every
man to g profit withal.
(f) The Holy Spirit opens and shows himself freely in the
giving of these gifts.
(g) To the use and benefit of the church.
12:85 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of h
wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same
(5) He declares this manifold diversity, and reckons up the
principal gifts, beating that into their heads which he
said before, that is, that all these things proceeded from
one and the very same Spirit.
(h) Wisdom is a most excellent gift, and very needed, not
only for those who teach, but also for those that
exhort and comfort. And this thing is proper to the
pastor's office, as the word of knowledge agrees to the
12:10 To another the i working of miracles; to another k
prophecy; to another l discerning of spirits; to another
[divers] kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation
(i) By "working" he means those great workings of God's
mighty power, which pass and excel among his miracles,
as the delivery of his people by the hand of Moses:
that which he did by Elijah against the priests of
Baal, in sending down fire from heaven to consume his
sacrifice: and that which he did by Peter, in the
matter of Ananias and Sapphira.
(k) Foretelling of things to come.
(l) By which false prophets are know from true, in which
Peter surpassed Philip in exposing Simon Magus;
12:11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit,
dividing to every man severally 6 as he will.
(6) He adds moreover somewhat else, that is, that although
these gifts are unequal, yet they are most wisely divided,
because the will of the Spirit of God is the rule of this
12:127 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all
the members of that one body, being many, are one body:
8 so also [is] m Christ.
(7) He sets forth his former saying by a similitude taken from
the body: this, he says, is manifestly seen in the body,
whose members are different, but yet so joined together,
that they make but one body.
(8) The applying of the similitude. So must we also think, he
says, of the mystical body of Christ: for all we who
believe, whether we are Jews or Gentiles, are by one person
by the same baptism, joined together with our head, that by
that means, there may be framed one body compact of many
members. And we have drunk one self same spirit, that is
to say, a spiritual feeling, perseverance and motion
common to us all out of one cup.
(m) Christ joined together with his Church.
12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into n one body,
whether [we be] Jews or Gentiles, whether [we be] bond or
free; and have been all made to o drink into one Spirit.
(n) To become one body with Christ.
(o) By one quickening drink of the Lord's blood, we are
made partakers of his Spirit alone.
12:149 For the body is not one member, but many.
(9) He amplifies that which followed of the similitude, as if
he should say, "The unity of the body is not prevented by
this diversity of members, and furthermore it could not be
a body if it did not consist of many members, and those
12:1510 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I
am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
(10) Now he builds his doctrine upon the foundations which he
has laid: and first of all he continues in his purposed
similitude, and afterward he goes to the matter plainly
and simply. And first of all he speaks unto those who
would have separated themselves from those whom they
envied, because they had not such excellent gifts as they.
Now this is, he says, as if the foot should say it were
not of the body, because it is not the hand, or the ear,
because it is not the eye. Therefore all parts ought
rather to defend the unity of the body, being coupled
together to serve one another.
12:1711 If the whole body [were] an eye, where [were] the
hearing? If the whole [were] hearing, where [were] the
(11) Again speaking to them, he shows them that if that should
come to pass which they desire, that is, that all should
be equal one to another, there would follow a destruction
of the whole body, indeed and of themselves. For it could
not be a body unless it were made of many members knit
together, and different from one another. And that no man
might find fault with this division as unequal, he adds
that God himself has joined all these together. Therefore
all must remain joined together, that the body may remain
12:2112 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need
of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of
(12) Now on the other hand, he speaks to those who were
endued with more excellent gifts, exhorting them not to
despise the inferiors as unprofitable, and as though they
served to no use. For God, he says, has in such sort
tempered this inequality, that the more excellent and
beautiful members can in no wise lack the more abject and
such as we are ashamed of, and that they should have more
care to see to them and to cover them: that by this means
the necessity which is on both parts, might keep the whole
body in peace and harmony. And that even though if each
part is considered apart, they are of different degrees
and conditions, yet because they are joined together, they
have a community both in prosperity and affliction.
12:22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be
p more feeble, are necessary:
(p) Of the smallest and vilest offices, and therefore
mentioned last among the rest.
12:23 And those [members] of the body, which we think to be less
honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant q honour;
and our uncomely [parts] have more abundant comeliness.
(q) We more carefully cover them.
12:25 That there should be no schism in the body; but [that] the
members should have the same r care one for another.
(r) Should bestow their operations and offices to the
profit and preservation of the whole body.
12:2613 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer
with it; or one member be honoured, all the members
rejoice with it.
(13) Now he applies this same doctrine to the Corinthians
without any allegory, warning them that as there are
different functions and different gifts, it is their duty
not to offend one another, either by envy or ambition.
Instead, in being joined together in love and charity with
one another, every one of them should bestow to the profit
of all that which he has received, according as his
12:27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in s
(s) For all churches, wherever they are dispersed through
the whole world, are different members of one body.
12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles,
secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that
miracles, then gifts of healings, t helps, u
governments, diversities of tongues.
(t) The offices of deacons.
(u) He sets forth the order of elders, who were the
maintainers of the church's discipline.
12:3114 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I
unto you a more excellent way.
(14) He teaches those who are ambitious and envious, a certain
holy ambition and envy. That is, if they give themselves
to the best gifts, and such as are most profitable to the
church, and so if they contend to excel one another in
love, which far surpasses all other gifts.