Introduction

\\INTRODUCTION TO 1 CORINTHIANS 12\\

In this chapter the apostle discourses concerning spiritual gifts,
showing the author, nature, use, and excellency of them; compares the
church to an human body, and in a beautiful manner sets forth the
symmetry and subserviency of the members of it to one another, being
set in different places, and having different gifts; and enumerates
the several offices and gifts in the church, and yet suggests there
is something more excellent than them. He intimates, that spiritual
gifts are valuable things, and should be taken notice of; nor would
he have the saints ignorant of them, and therefore gives the
following account, \\#1Co 12:1\\ and yet he would not have those that
have them be proud of them, and lifted up with them; for which reason
he puts them in mind of their former state in Heathenism, to make and
keep them humble, \\#1Co 12:2\\ and points out such who have the
Spirit of God, the author of all gifts and grace; not such who call
Jesus accursed, but they that call him Lord, \\#1Co 12:3\\ which Holy
Ghost, who is called Spirit, Lord, and God, is the author of the
different gifts bestowed upon men, \\#1Co 12:4-6\\ the end of
bestowing which gifts is the profit of others, \\#1Co 12:7\\ of which
gifts there is an enumeration in nine particulars, \\#1Co 12:8-10\\
of each of which the Spirit of God is the worker and giver, according
to his sovereign will and pleasure, \\#1Co 12:11\\ and which are all
for the good of the whole community; which is illustrated by the
simile of an human body, which as it consists of many members, and is
but one, so Christ mystical, or the church, though it consists of
divers persons, yet they are all one in Christ, and all their gifts
are for the service of each other, \\#1Co 12:12\\ which unity is
proved and confirmed by the saints being baptized by one Spirit into
one body, the church, and by drinking of him, or partaking of the
same grace, \\#1Co 12:13\\ and in order to show the usefulness and
profit of every spiritual gift, even the meanest, to the churches of
Christ, and that none might be despised, he enlarges upon the
metaphor of the human body he had compared the church to, and by it
illustrates the unity of the church, and the members of it,
\\#1Co 12:14\\ and shows that the inferior members should not envy
the superior ones, or be dejected because they have not the same
gifts: and conclude from hence, that they are not, or deserve not, to
be of the same body, \\#1Co 12:15,16\\ seeing it is convenient and
absolutely necessary that there should be many members, and these set
in different places, and have different gifts and usefulness; and
particularly what should make them easy is, that God has placed them
according to his will and pleasure, \\#1Co 12:17-20\\. And, on the
other hand, he shows, that the more noble, and excellent, and useful
members, ought not to despise the lower, meaner, and more ignoble
ones, partly because of the usefulness and necessity of them, they
cannot do without them, \\#1Co 12:21,20\\ and partly because of the
honour put upon them, \\#1Co 12:23,24\\, and all this is so ordered,
that there be no schism, but that there should be a mutual care of
one member for another, and that they should sympathize with each
other, \\#1Co 12:25,26\\. This simile the apostle more plainly and
particularly accommodates and applies to the church, the body of
Christ, and the members of it, and of one another, \\#1Co 12:27\\ and
gives an enumeration of the several officers and offices in the
church, set there by God himself; and there are no less than eight of
them, some greater than others, most of them proper and peculiar to
the primitive church, though some perpetual, and which still
continue, \\#1Co 12:28\\ but in the times in which they were all of
them in being and use, every member of the church was not possessed
of them, only some, though all had more or less the advantage of
them, \\#1Co 12:29,30\\. Wherefore, he concludes with an exhortation
to the saints to covet the best of those gifts; and yet observes that
there was something more excellent than them, and preferable to them,
which he was about to show them, \\#1Co 12:31\\ and hereby he makes
an easy transition to the next chapter, in which he recommends
charity, and prefers it to gifts.