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  • JAMIESON-FAUSSET-BROWN - 1CORINTHIANS 12
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    CHAPTER 12

    1Co 12:1-31. THE USE AND THE ABUSE OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS, ESPECIALLY PROPHESYING AND TONGUES.

    This is the second subject for correction in the Corinthian assemblies: the "first" was discussed (1Co 11:18-34).

    1. spiritual gifts--the signs of the Spirit's continued efficacious presence in the Church, which is Christ's body, the complement of His incarnation, as the body is the complement of the head. By the love which pervades the whole, the gifts of the several members, forming reciprocal complements to each other, tend to the one object of perfecting the body of Christ. The ordinary and permanent gifts are comprehended together with the extraordinary, without distinction specified, as both alike flow from the divine indwelling Spirit of life. The extraordinary gifts, so far from making professors more peculiarly saints than in our day, did not always even prove that such persons were in a safe state at all (Mt 7:22). They were needed at first in the Church: (1) as a pledge to Christians themselves who had just passed over from Judaism or heathendom, that God was in the Church; (2) for the propagation of Christianity in the world; (3) for the edification of the Church. Now that we have the whole written New Testament (which they had not) and Christianity established as the result of the miracles, we need no further miracle to attest the truth. So the pillar of cloud which guided the Israelites was withdrawn when they were sufficiently assured of the Divine Presence, the manifestation of God's glory being thenceforward enclosed in the Most Holy Place [ARCHBISHOP WHATELY]. Paul sets forth in order: (1). The unity of the body (1Co 12:1-27). (2). The variety of its members and functions (1Co 12:27-30). (3). The grand principle for the right exercise of the gifts, namely, love (1Co 12:31; 1Co 13:1-13). (4) The comparison of the gifts with one another (1Co 14:1-40).
    - I would not have you ignorant--with all your boasts of "knowledge" at Corinth. If ignorant now, it will be your own fault, not mine (1Co 14:38).

    2. (Eph 2:11).
    - that ye were--The best manuscripts read, "That WHEN ye were"; thus "ye were" must be supplied before "carried away"--Ye were blindly transported hither and thither at the will of your false guides.
    - these dumb idols--Greek, "the idols which are dumb"; contrasted with the living God who "speaks" in the believer by His Spirit (1Co 12:3, &c.). This gives the reason why the Corinthians needed instruction as to spiritual gifts, namely, their past heathen state, wherein they had no experience of intelligent spiritual powers. When blind, ye went to the dumb.
    - as ye were led--The Greek is, rather, "as ye might (happen to) be led," namely, on different occasions. The heathen oracles led their votaries at random, without any definite principle.

    3. The negative and positive criteria of inspiration by the Spirit--the rejection or confession of Jesus as Lord [ALFORD] (1Jo 4:2; 5:1). Paul gives a test of truth against the Gentiles; John, against the false prophets.
    - by the Spirit--rather, as Greek, "IN the Spirit"; that being the power pervading him, and the element in which he speaks [ALFORD], (Mt 16:17; Joh 15:26).
    - of God . . . Holy--The same Spirit is called at one time "the Spirit of GOD"; at another, "the HOLY Ghost," or "Holy Spirit." Infinite Holiness is almost synonymous with Godhead.
    - speaking . . . say--"Speak" implies the act of utterance; "say" refers to that which is uttered. Here, "say" means a spiritual and believing confession of Him.
    - Jesus--not an abstract doctrine, but the historical, living God-man (Ro 10:9).
    - accursed--as the Jews and Gentiles treated Him (Ga 3:13). Compare "to curse Christ" in the heathen PLINY'S letter [Epistles, 10.97]. The spiritual man feels Him to be the Source of all blessings (Eph 1:3) and to be severed from Him is to be accursed (Ro 9:3).
    - Lord--acknowledging himself as His servant (Isa 26:13). "Lord" is the Septuagint translation for the incommunicable Hebrew name JEHOVAH.

    4. diversities of gifts--that is, varieties of spiritual endowments peculiar to the several members of the Church: compare "dividing to every man severally" (1Co 12:11).
    - same Spirit--The Holy Trinity appears here: the Holy Spirit in this verse; Christ in 1Co 12:5; and the Father in 1Co 12:6. The terms "gifts," "administrations," and "operations," respectively correspond to the Divine Three. The Spirit is treated of in 1Co 12:7, &c.; the Lord, in 1Co 12:12, &c.; God, in 1Co 12:28. (Compare Eph 4:4-6).

    5, 6. "Gifts" (1Co 12:4), "administrations" (the various functions and services performed by those having the gifts, compare 1Co 12:28), and "operations" (the actual effects resulting from both the former, through the universally operative power of the one Father who is "above all, through all, and in us all"), form an ascending climax [HENDERSON, Inspiration].
    - same Lord--whom the Spirit glorifies by these ministrations [BENGEL].

    6. operations--(Compare 1Co 12:10).
    - same God . . . worketh--by His Spirit working (1Co 12:11).
    - all in all--all of them (the "gifts") in all the persons (who possess them).

    7. But--Though all the gifts flow from the one God, Lord, and Spirit, the "manifestation" by which the Spirit acts (as He is hidden in Himself), varies in each individual.
    - to every man--to each of the members of the Church severally.
    - to profit withal--with a view to the profit of the whole body.

    8-10. Three classes of gifts are distinguished by a distinct Greek word for "another" (a distinct class), marking the three several genera: allo marks the species, hetero the genera (compare Greek, 1Co 15:39-41). I. Gifts of intellect, namely, (1) wisdom; (2) knowledge. II. Gifts dependent on a special faith, namely, that of miracles (Mt 17:20): (1) healings; (2) workings of miracles; (3) prophecy of future events; (4) discerning of spirits, or the divinely given faculty of distinguishing between those really inspired, and those who pretended to inspiration. III. Gifts referring to the tongues: (1) diverse kinds of tongues; (2) interpretation of tongues. The catalogue in 1Co 12:28 is not meant strictly to harmonize with the one here, though there are some particulars in which they correspond. The three genera are summarily referred to by single instances of each in 1Co 13:8. The first genus refers more to believers; the second, to unbelievers.
    - by . . . by . . . by--The first in Greek is, "By means of," or "through the operation of"; the second is, "according to" the disposing of (compare 1Co 12:11); the third is, "in," that is, under the influence of (so the Greek, Mt 22:43; Lu 2:27).
    - word of wisdom--the ready utterance of (for imparting to others, Eph 6:19) wisdom, namely, new revelations of the divine wisdom in redemption, as contrasted with human philosophy (1Co 1:24; 2:6, 7; Eph 1:8; 3:10; Col 2:3).
    - word of knowledge--ready utterance supernaturally imparted of truths ALREADY REVEALED (in this it is distinguished from "the word of wisdom," which related to NEW revelations). Compare 1Co 14:6, where "revelation" (answering to "wisdom" here) is distinguished from "knowledge" [HENDERSON]. Wisdom or revelation belonged to the "prophets"; knowledge, to the "teachers." Wisdom penetrates deeper than knowledge. Knowledge relates to things that are to be done. Wisdom, to things eternal: hence, wisdom is not, like knowledge, said to "pass away" (1Co 13:8), [BENGEL].

    9. faith--not of doctrines, but of miracles: confidence in God, by the impulse of His Spirit, that He would enable them to perform any required miracle (compare 1Co 13:2; Mr 11:23; Jas 5:15). Its nature, or principle, is the same as that of saving faith, namely, reliance on God; the producing cause, also, in the same,' namely, a power altogether supernatural (Eph 1:19, 20). But the objects of faith differ respectively. Hence, we see, saving faith does not save by its instrinsic merit, but by the merits of Him who is the object of it.
    - healing--Greek plural, "healings"; referring to different kinds of disease which need different kinds of healing (Mt 10:1).

    10. working of miracles--As "healings" are miracles, those here meant must refer to miracles of special and extraordinary POWER (so the Greek for "miracles" means); for example, healings might be effected by human skill in course of time; but the raising of the dead, the infliction of death by a word, the innocuous use of poisons, &c., are miracles of special power. Compare Mr 6:5; Ac 19:11.
    - prophecy--Here, probably, not in the wider sense of public teaching by the Spirit (1Co 11:4, 5; 14:1-5, 22-39); but, as its position between "miracles" and a "discerning of spirits" implies, the inspired disclosure of the future (Ac 11:27, 28; 21:11; 1Ti 1:18), [HENDERSON]. It depends on "faith" (1Co 12:9; Ro 12:6). The prophets ranked next to the apostles (1Co 12:28; Eph 3:5; 4:11). As prophecy is part of the whole scheme of redemption, an inspired insight into the obscurer parts of the existing Scriptures, was the necessary preparation for the miraculous foresight of the future.
    - discerning of spirits--discerning between the operation of God's Spirit, and the evil spirit, or unaided human spirit (1Co 14:29; compare 1Ti 4:1; 1Jo 4:1).
    - kinds of tongues--the power of speaking various languages: also a spiritual language unknown to man, uttered in ecstasy (1Co 14:2-12). This is marked as a distinct genus in the Greek, "To another and a different class."
    - interpretation of tongues-- (1Co 14:13, 26, 27).

    11. as he will-- (1Co 12:18; Heb 2:4).

    12, 13. Unity, not unvarying uniformity, is the law of God in the world of grace, as in that of nature. As the many members of the body compose an organic whole and none can be dispensed with as needless, so those variously gifted by the Spirit, compose a spiritual organic whole, the body of Christ, into which all are baptized by the one Spirit.
    - of that one body--Most of the oldest manuscripts omit "one."
    - so also is Christ--that is, the whole Christ, the head and body. So Ps 18:50, "His anointed (Messiah or Christ), David (the antitypical David) and His seed."

    13. by . . . Spirit . . . baptized--literally, "in"; in virtue of; through. The designed effect of baptism, which is realized when not frustrated by the unfaithfulness of man.
    - Gentiles--literally, "Greeks."
    - all made to drink into one Spirit--The oldest manuscripts read, "Made to drink of one Spirit," omitting "into" (Joh 7:37). There is an indirect allusion to the Lord's Supper, as there is a direct allusion to baptism in the beginning of the verse. So the "Spirit, the water, and the blood" (1Jo 5:8), similarly combine the two outward signs with the inward things signified, the Spirit's grace.
    - are . . . have been--rather as Greek, "were . . . were" (the past tense).

    14. Translate, "For the body also." The analogy of the body, not consisting exclusively of one, but of many members, illustrates the mutual dependence of the various members in the one body, the Church. The well-known fable of the belly and the other members, spoken by Menenius Agrippa, to the seceding commons [LIVY, 2.32], was probably before Paul's mind, stored as it was with classical literature.

    15. The humbler members ought not to disparage themselves, or to be disparaged by others more noble (1Co 12:21, 22).
    - foot . . . hand--The humble speaks of the more honorable

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