1 Corinthians 12

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Small Group Material: 
Week Commencing: 
7 Jun 2009
Bible Base: 
1 Corinthians 12:1-11

Background
Chapters 12-14 have often been treated as if they had no connection to the rest of the letter. But the issues being dealt with are very much the same. The chief problems at Corinth were about pride and status, and this seems to have been happening in many different ways. The question of spiritual gifts is therefore dealt with in this context.
 
Discussion Questions
1)      The problem in Corinth was NOT spiritual gifts; it was the attitude of people to spiritual gifts. Does Paul think that because the question of spiritual gifts has been causing problems we should ignore them?
2)      One of the problems at Corinth is that people were not very discerning about which gifts genuinely came from God. What does Paul give as the criterion for this?
3)      How can we recognise when someone is exercising a gift under the Lordship of Jesus?
4)      Verses 4-7 are very important in churches which encourage the use of spiritual gifts. According to these verses, who is given such gifts? What do these verses say to any Christian who thinks they have no gifts?
5)      Where does each gift come from? What implications does this have for us when we either (a) fail to exercise a gift that we have been given (b) fail to recognise a gift in another Christian?
6)      Two common problems around spiritual gifts have been described as (a) gift envy and (b) gift projection. Gift envy is when we want the gifts that other Christians have rather than the ones that God has given us. Gift projection is when we think other Christians should have the gifts that we have. This often happens when (for example) a gifted evangelist or youth worker thinks that what they do is what every Christian should be able to do if they were more dedicated to God. Share any experiences you may have had of gift envy or gift projection. How do verses 4-7 speak to gift envy and gift projection ?
7)      What does verse 7 tell us about the use of spiritual gifts? What does this verse tell us about how we can judge when they are being mis-used?
8)      Verses 8-11 represent a list of spiritual gifts; you will find other lists in ch 12 vv 28-30; Romans 12:6-8; 1 Peter 5:7-11. We need to recognise that these lists are not exhaustive. Paul is much more interested in the principles (every Christian has gifts; all gifts come from God; there are varieties of gifts; gifts should be used for the common good) than he is in defining the gifts. Many preachers try to define what is a gift of wisdom, what is a gift of knowledge and so on. I suspect that in much of this we do not really know. What is important are the principles. We will look ast tongues in more detail in chapter 14, but from the principles that Paul establishes how would you respond to the following statements:-
·         Speaking in tongues should be avoided as it can cause problems
·         Every proper Christian should speak in tongues
·         I don’t want God to give me the gift of tongues.