What does 1 Corinthians 12:7 mean?
ESV: To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
NIV: Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
NASB: But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
CSB: A manifestation of the Spirit is given to each person for the common good:
NLT: A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.
KJV: But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
NKJV: But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:
Verse Commentary:
Paul does not want the Corinthians to misunderstand the truth about spiritual gifts. He seems to be answering a question from them, written in a letter that has since been lost (1 Corinthians 7:1). Some speculate their question revealed a misunderstanding: that some Christians were given gifts while others were not, because "gifted" Christians were more spiritual than others.

Paul is making clear that this is a false idea. First, he has shown that every Christian is spiritual because every Christian has the Spirit with them (1 Corinthians 12:3). Next, he pointed out that the spiritual gifts are not about enriching the people who receive them. Spiritual gifts are about God's power at work through the Holy Spirit and under the authority of Christ. In other words, spiritual gifts do not make some people more important or impressive than others.

Now he adds two more ideas. First, each believer is given some manifestation of the Spirit. What does that mean? What is a spiritual gift, anyway? One way to describe a spiritual gift is the ability to do something that is beyond the normal human capacity. In other words, a spiritual gift is a specific supernatural ability. This does not mean something the secular world would call a superpower, or a magical skill. However, that gift "manifests" itself in the life of a Christian, often becoming noticeable to other people. Paul will list some of those abilities in the following verses.

The other revelation in this verse is that these gifts are given to Christians, all Christians, by God for the common good. The purpose of the gifts is to build up the church, to serve other Christians.
Verse Context:
First Corinthians 12:1–11 details Paul's specific teaching on what spiritual gifts are, who receives them, and why they are given. Every believer in Jesus is spiritual, because each Christian has God's Spirit with him or her. The Spirit gives one or more spiritual gifts to every believer for the common good, to be used in service to the church. Nobody acquires or earns their own gifts. The same Spirit gives them away, for free, as He sees fit, meaning that having one or the other gift does not make a Christian more important than another.
Chapter Summary:
Apparently in response to further questions from Corinth, Paul describes what spiritual gifts are, who receives them, and what they are for. His emphasis is that particular spiritual gifts do not make believers spiritual. Every believer is spiritual because every Christian has God's Spirit with him or her. In addition, the Spirit gives one or more spiritual gifts to each believer to be used to serve the church. The church is like a body, in which every part is needed, and all the parts exist to serve one another. Every believer must discover how they are gifted by the Spirit and value the function they serve in Christ's body.
Chapter Context:
After tackling the issues of head coverings for women and the Lord's Supper in the previous chapter, Paul moves to the issue of spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12. Paul insists that the display of spiritual gifts does not make one believer more spiritual or important than another. Every believer in Jesus has the Spirit, and the Spirit gives to every believer one or more spiritual gifts. The gifts are given for the common good, and the church is like a human body. Each gifted function in the church represents a body part, and all the parts are essential. This sets up a description of love, as defined from a Christian viewpoint, and famously recorded in chapter 13.
Book Summary:
First Corinthians is one of the more practical books of the New Testament. Paul writes to a church immersed in a city associated with trade, but also with corruption and immorality. These believers are struggling to properly apply spiritual gifts and to resist the ungodly practices of the surrounding culture. Paul's letter gives instructions for real-life concerns such as marriage and spirituality. He also deals with the importance of unity and gives one of the Bible's more well-known descriptions of love in chapter 13.
Accessed 5/30/2024 5:29:14 AM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.