1 Corinthians 12

Gifts from God's Spirit

1 My Christian friends, I want you to understand clearly about spiritual gifts. 2 You know how you lived before you came to know God. You let idols lead you in many wrong ways. And those idols cannot even speak! 3 This is what I want you to understand now. God's Spirit will never lead anyone to say, ‘God has cursed Jesus.’ And it is only God's Spirit that will lead someone to say, ‘Jesus is Lord.’

4 The Holy Spirit helps us with different kinds of gifts. But it is the same Spirit who gives them. 5 We serve the Lord in different ways, but all of us serve the same Lord. 6 We do different kinds of work. But it is the same God who helps us all to work in different ways.

7 God helps each of us with a gift from his Spirit. He does that so that we can help others.

8 The Spirit helps some people to speak wise messages. Other people can speak messages that help people to know what is true. It is the same Spirit that helps them to do that. 9 The same Spirit causes other people to trust God strongly. He gives to other people gifts to make sick people well. 10 The same Spirit gives other people power to do miracles. Other people can speak messages from God. Some people can recognize whether spirits are good or bad. Some people can speak in different kinds of languages. And other people can explain what those languages mean. 11 There is only one Holy Spirit. The same Spirit helps people to do all these different things. He decides which gifts he will give to each person.

One body with many parts

12 Each person has only one body, but that body has many parts. All those different parts make only one body. It is like that with Christ too. 13 When they baptized us, we all became parts of one body. It was the one Spirit who brought us together. It made no difference whether we were Jews or Gentiles. It made no difference whether we were slaves or free people. God poured his one Spirit into all of us.

14 A person's body does not have only one part. It has many parts. 15 If the foot could speak, it might say, ‘I am not a hand, so I do not belong to this body.’ But what it says makes no difference. It is still a part of the body. 16 If the ear could speak, it might say, ‘I am not an eye, so I do not belong to this body.’ But what it says makes no difference. It still belongs to the body. 17 If the whole body was an eye, the body would not hear anything. If the whole body was an ear, it would not recognize different smells. 18 But God has decided where each different part of our body should be.

19 If our body was all the same part, it would not be a proper body. 20 But as it is, a body has many parts. It is still only one whole body. 21 For that reason, the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I do not need you.’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I do not need you.’ 22 No. Even the parts of a body that seem to be weaker are very necessary. 23 Think about the parts of our body that are not very special. We dress them carefully! And we take special care of those parts that we do not want people to see. 24 But we do not need to do this with the beautiful parts of our body.

God has put all these parts together in one body. Some parts seem to be not very special. But God has shown that those parts are very valuable. 25 He has done that to bring all the parts together as one body. All the parts work together to help each other. 26 Then if one part of the body hurts, every other part also hurts. If people praise one part, every part of the body is also happy.

27 All of you together are Christ's body. And each of you is a part of that body. 28 Like the parts of a body, God has put people in different places in his church. First, there are apostles. Second, there are people who speak messages from God. Third, there are teachers. After that, there are people who do miracles. There are people who have gifts to make sick people well. There are people who help others in special ways. There are people who can lead others. And there are people who can speak different kinds of languages.

29 Not everyone in the church is an apostle. Not everyone speaks messages from God. Not everyone is a teacher. Not everyone can do miracles. 30 Not everyone has the gifts to make sick people well. Not everyone can speak in different kinds of languages. Nor can everyone explain what messages in those languages mean. You know that. 31 But it is good if you really want the more valuable gifts from God.

Now I will show you a way that is better than anything else.