I Corinthians 12:1-11 • Am I spiritual?

The most apparent thematic link is Paul’s mention of his preaching as a demonstration of the Spirit (2:5), which paves the way for his exposition of the wisdom of God as “hidden” from those who belong to this age but now revealed “to us” through the Spirit (2:6–10). The Spirit makes known the wisdom of God and reveals those things freely given by God (2:12). Man in his natural state is not able to receive the things of the Spirit of God (2:14). Only the “spiritual person” is able to properly judge all things (2:15). This revelatory role of the Spirit is Paul’s first matter of emphasis in 12:1–3. No one who confesses that Jesus is Lord does so except by the Spirit (12:3). Furthermore, as noted above, the key term “spiritual (person)” opens and closes the discussion (12:1; 14:37) that identifies a central issue in Corinth, namely, what it means to be “spiritual.”168 Furthermore, in connection with the identification of the church as the dwelling place of the Spirit (3:16–17), Paul employs the language and imagery of “building up” the church in relation to church leaders and God’s wisdom (see esp. 3:4–15). The church as God’s “building” and wisely “building upon”170 the foundation of Jesus Christ anticipates the strong emphasis on “edification” in chap. 14.

 Taylor, M. (2014). 1 Corinthians. (E. R. Clendenen, Ed.) (Vol. 28, p. 281). Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group.

1 Now concerning spiritual gifts: brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be unaware. You know that when you were pagans, you used to be enticed and led astray by mute idols. Therefore I want you to know that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different ministries, but the same Lord. And there are different activities, but the same God works all of them in each person. A manifestation of the Spirit is given to each person for the common good: to one is given a message of wisdom through the Spirit, to another, a message of knowledge by the same Spirit, to another, faith by the same Spirit, to another, gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another, the performing of miracles, to another, prophecy, to another, distinguishing between spirits, to another, different kinds of tongues, to another, interpretation of tongues. 11 One and the same Spirit is active in all these, distributing to each person as he wills. 

 Christian Standard Bible. (2020). (1 Co 12:1–11). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.


Verse 1: "Now concerning spiritual gifts"  πνευματικός, -οῦ, ὁ, -ῆς, ἡ  pneumatikos

Noun Usage


1. spiritual gift† — a gift or endowment characteristic of the presence or enabling of the Holy Spirit.


1 Co 12:1 Περὶ δὲ τῶν πνευματικῶν,

1 Co 14:1 ζηλοῦτε δὲ τὰ πνευματικά,

2. spiritual person† — a person characterized by the presence of the Holy Spirit; especially of a mature, Christian life and its relation to the Spirit.


1 Co 2:13 πνευματικοῖς πνευματικὰ συγκρίνοντες.

1 Co 2:15 ὁ δὲ πνευματικὸς


Verse 4: "Now there are different gifts" χάρισμα, -ατος, τό  charisma

Noun Usage


1. present ⇔ grace — a present given as a sign of beneficent favor. Related Topic: Grace.


1 Co 12:4 Διαιρέσεις δὲ χαρισμάτων εἰσίν, τὸ δὲ αὐτὸ πνεῦμα·

1 Co 12:28 ἔπειτα χαρίσματα ἰαμάτων, ἀντιλήμψεις, κυβερνήσεις, γένη γλωσσῶν.

1 Ti 4:14 μὴ ἀμέλει τοῦ ἐν σοὶ χαρίσματος, ὃ ἐδόθη σοι διὰ

2 Ti 1:6 διʼ ἣν αἰτίαν ἀναμιμνῄσκω σε ἀναζωπυρεῖν τὸ χάρισμα τοῦ θεοῦ,

1 Pe 4:10 καθὼς ἔλαβεν χάρισμα,

When it comes to being spiritual...

What does it mean for you to be spiritual? vs. 1 - "I don't want you to be unaware"

It is not just the gifts that make someone spiritual, but how those gifts are used and applied...

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STORY OF TALENT:

Bo was a two-sport terror out of Auburn University. He chose baseball as his primary sport, signing with the Kansas City Royals, but negotiated a contract with the (then-LA) Raiders that allowed him to join the team once the baseball season was over.


As a baseball player, he quickly established himself as player to watch. OK, his batting average was a little low, but he could hit for power and had a speed component to his game. And his defense was solid -- maybe not Gold Glove caliber, but he definitely had good range and a strong arm.


In football, his raw stats mask it a little, but he was well on his way to a star career -- the fact that he only played about 2/3 of a season, and the fact that the guy ahead of him on the depth chart was future Hall of Famer Marcus Allen couldn't totally disguise the fact that Bo could do amazing things on a football field as well. Many people felt he was an even better football player than a baseball player and hoped (secretly or not-so-secretly) that he would make football his primary focus so we could see what he could do with a full season.


But then, in the 1991 playoffs with four seasons under his belt in both sports, it all came apart on an awkward tackle by Cincinnati's Kevin Walter. Bo dislocated his hip, which later led to a complete hip replacement because the bone started to deteriorate. And he was never the same again.


Football career... over. Baseball career... he tried a comeback, but the speed was gone and he missed chunks of time when the hip issues would flare up, and was gone from baseball by 1994.

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Look at how gifted they are!

But I submit to you, without the owner of the spiritual gifts that were bestowed, the Holy Spirit, controlling the narrative, it will always have a tragic end.

Three things to recognize when pursuing spirituality biblically:

  1. The Holy Spirit is not a tool to accomplish a job, but a person to engage in a relationship.


It was a practice of the day to ask your God for an upper hand in competition, business, ect. Like in this passage, asking Jesus to curse someone. Having a relationship with the one true God is a responsibility. Our God is not fake, but rather able to do exceeding above what we ask or think. So we should start thinking about our God not is terms of accomplishment, but rather nourishment.

  1. The Holy Spirit is God, and bears witness to the other members of the Godhead. -
26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.  
Christian Standard Bible. (2020). (Jn 14:26). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of ethings in heaven, and ethings in earth, and fthings under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 

 The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Php 2:9–11). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.


The Trinity is a beautiful picture of peace and unity. We are a part of that union through the Holy Spirit of God, but He is a part of the Whole.


  1. The Holy Spirit gives individual gifts for the collective purpose of the body.

We see that our lives should be driven by a common good. What is this good? There is no room for us to pursue a life a part from the gospel. Within the Godhead, they each work together for the collective redemptive purposes.


The introduction to this set of sermons on becoming spiritual, and specifically how the Holy Spirit works in that endeavor, first has us realizing that we are not spiritual for bettering ourselves independently in an effort to spread good in the world, but rather become spiritual beings by discovering the charisma/gifts that the Holy Spirit gave us, as it pertains to the purpose of the Body of Christ.


Can we acknowledge the futile attempt of people that try to pass their good on to the world, when it is only laced with self righteous intentions. We have an opportunity to access supernatural gifts, to build a supernatural kingdom that will never fail.