1 Corinthians 12:1–14:40

Gifts of the Holy Spirit

12 Brothers and sisters, I want you to know about the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

2You know that at one time you were unbelievers. You were somehow drawn away to worship statues of gods that couldn’t even speak. 3So I tell you that no one who is speaking with the help of God’s Spirit says, “May Jesus be cursed.” And without the help of the Holy Spirit no one can say, “Jesus is Lord.”

4There are different kinds of gifts. But they are all given by the same Spirit. 5There are different ways to serve. But they all come from the same Lord. 6There are different ways to work. But the same God makes it possible for all of us to have all those different things.

7The Holy Spirit is given to each of us in a special way. That is for the good of all. 8To some people the Spirit gives the message of wisdom. To others the same Spirit gives the message of knowledge. 9To others the same Spirit gives faith. To others that one Spirit gives gifts of healing. 10To others he gives the power to do miracles. To others he gives the ability to prophesy. To others he gives the ability to tell the spirits apart. To others he gives the ability to speak in different kinds of languages they had not known before. And to still others he gives the ability to explain what was said in those languages.

11All of the gifts are produced by one and the same Spirit. He gives them to each person, just as he decides.

One Body but Many Parts

12There is one body. But it has many parts. Even though it has many parts, they make up one body. It is the same with Christ. 13We were all baptized by one Holy Spirit into one body. It didn’t matter whether we were Jews or Greeks, slaves or free people. We were all given the same Spirit to drink.

14The body is not made up of just one part. It has many parts. 15Suppose the foot says, “I am not a hand. So I don’t belong to the body.” It is still part of the body. 16And suppose the ear says, “I am not an eye. So I don’t belong to the body.” It is still part of the body.

17If the whole body were an eye, how could it hear? If the whole body were an ear, how could it smell? 18God has placed each part in the body just as he wanted it to be. 19If all the parts were the same, how could there be a body? 20As it is, there are many parts. But there is only one body.

21The eye can’t say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22In fact, it is just the opposite. The parts of the body that seem to be weaker are the ones we can’t do without. 23The parts that we think are less important we treat with special honor. The private parts aren’t shown. But they are treated with special care. 24The parts that can be shown don’t need special care.

But God has joined together all the parts of the body. And he has given more honor to the parts that didn’t have any. 25In that way, the parts of the body will not take sides. All of them will take care of each other. 26If one part suffers, every part suffers with it. If one part is honored, every part shares in its joy.

27You are the body of Christ. Each one of you is a part of it. 28First, God has appointed apostles in the church. Second, he has appointed prophets. Third, he has appointed teachers. Then he has appointed people who do miracles and those who have gifts of healing. He also appointed those able to help others, those able to direct things, and those who can speak in different kinds of languages they had not known before.

29Is everyone an apostle? Is everyone a prophet? Is everyone a teacher? Do all work miracles? 30Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in languages they had not known before? Do all explain what is said in those languages? 31But above all, you should want the more important gifts.


And now I will show you the best way of all.

13 Suppose I speak in the languages of human beings and of angels. If I don’t have love, I am only a loud gong or a noisy cymbal. 2Suppose I have the gift of prophecy. Suppose I can understand all the secret things of God and know everything about him. And suppose I have enough faith to move mountains. If I don’t have love, I am nothing at all. 3Suppose I give everything I have to poor people. And suppose I give my body to be burned. If I don’t have love, I get nothing at all.

4Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not want what belongs to others. It does not brag. It is not proud. 5It is not rude. It does not look out for its own interests. It does not easily become angry. It does not keep track of other people’s wrongs.

6Love is not happy with evil. But it is full of joy when the truth is spoken. 7It always protects. It always trusts. It always hopes. It never gives up.

8Love never fails. But prophecy will pass away. Speaking in languages that had not been known before will end. And knowledge will pass away.

9What we know now is not complete. What we prophesy now is not perfect. 10But when what is perfect comes, the things that are not perfect will pass away.

11When I was a child, I talked like a child. I thought like a child. I had the understanding of a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.

12Now we see only a dim likeness of things. It is as if we were seeing them in a mirror. But someday we will see clearly. We will see face to face. What I know now is not complete. But someday I will know completely, just as God knows me completely.

13The three most important things to have are faith, hope and love. But the greatest of them is love.

The Gifts the Holy Spirit Gives

14 Follow the way of love. You should also want the gifts the Holy Spirit gives. Most of all, you should want the gift of prophecy.

2Anyone who speaks in a language he had not known before doesn’t speak to people. He speaks only to God. In fact, no one understands that person. What he says with his spirit remains a mystery. 3But anyone who prophesies speaks to people. He says things to make them stronger, to give them hope and to comfort them. 4Those who speak in other languages build themselves up. But those who prophesy build up the church.

5I would like all of you to speak in other languages. But I would rather have you prophesy. Those who prophesy are more helpful than those who speak in other languages. But that is not the case if those who speak in other languages explain what they have said. Then the whole church can be built up.

6Brothers and sisters, suppose I were to come to you and speak in other languages. What good would I be to you? None! I would need to come with new truth or knowledge, or a prophecy or a teaching.

7Here are some examples. Certain objects make sounds. Take a flute or a harp. No one will know what the tune is unless different notes are played. 8Also, if the trumpet call isn’t clear, who will get ready for battle?

9It’s the same with you. You must speak words that people understand. If you don’t, no one will know what you are saying. You will just be speaking into the air.

10It is true that there are all kinds of languages in the world. And they all have meaning. 11But if I don’t understand what someone is saying, I am a stranger to that person. And that person is a stranger to me.

12It’s the same with you. You want to have gifts of the Spirit. So try to do your best in using gifts that build up the church.

13For that reason, those who speak in languages they had not known before should pray that they can explain what they say. 14If I pray in another language, my spirit prays. But my mind does not pray. 15So what should I do? I will pray with my spirit. But I will also pray with my mind. I will sing with my spirit. But I will also sing with my mind.

16Suppose you are praising God with your spirit. And suppose there are visitors among you who don’t understand what’s going on. How can they say “Amen” when you give thanks? They don’t know what you are saying. 17You might be giving thanks well enough. But the others are not being built up.

18I thank God that I speak in other languages more than all of you do. 19But in the church I would rather speak five words that people can understand than 10,000 words in another language. Then I would be teaching others.

20Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. Be like babies as far as evil is concerned. But be grown up in your thinking. 21In the Law it is written,

“Through people who speak unfamiliar languages

and through the lips of strangers

I will speak to these people.

But even then they will not listen to me.” (Isaiah 28:11, 12)

That is what the Lord says.

22So speaking in other languages is a sign for those who don’t believe. It is not a sign for those who do believe. But prophecy is for believers. It is not for those who don’t believe.

23Suppose the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in other languages. And suppose visitors or unbelievers come in. Won’t they say you are out of your minds? 24But suppose unbelievers or visitors come in while everyone is prophesying. Then they will be shown by all who speak that they are sinners. They will be judged by all. 25The secrets of their hearts will be brought out into the open. They will fall down and worship God. They will exclaim, “God is really here among you!”

Proper Worship

26Brothers and sisters, what should we say then? When you come together, every one of you brings something. You bring a hymn or a teaching or a word from God. You bring a message in another language or explain what was said. All of those things must be done to make the church strong.

27No more than two or three people should speak in another language. And they should speak one at a time. Then someone must explain what was said. 28If there is no one to explain, the speakers should keep quiet in the church. They can speak to themselves and to God.

29Only two or three prophets are supposed to speak. Others should decide if what is being said is true. 30What if a message from God comes to someone else who is sitting there? Then the one who is speaking should stop.

31Those who…

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