Having then gifts, differing
As in a natural body, the various members of it have not the same office, and do not perform the same actions, thus they have not the same, but different faculties; one has one faculty, another another; the eye has the faculty of seeing, the ear of hearing thus in the spiritual body the church, as there are different members, these members have not the same work and business assigned them; some are employed one way, and some another; also they have diversities of gifts for their different administrations and operations, and all from Christ their head, by the same Spirit, and for the service of the whole body,
according to the grace that is given unto us;
for all these gifts are not the effects of nature, the fruits of human power, diligence, and industry, but flow from the grace of God, who dispenses them when, where, and to whom he pleases in a free and sovereign manner; and therefore to be acknowledged as such, and used to his glory, and for the good of his church and people. Wherefore
whether prophecy, [let us prophesy] according to the proportion of
The offices here, and hereafter mentioned, are not of an extraordinary, but ordinary kind, such as are lasting, and will continue in the church unto the end of time: and are divided into two parts, which are after subdivided into other branches. The division is into "prophesying" and "ministering". By "prophesying" is meant, not foretelling things to come, thought this gift was bestowed upon some, as Agabus, and others in the Christian church; but this, as it is of an extraordinary nature, so it is not stinted and limited according to the proportion of faith; but preaching the Gospel is here designed, which is the sense of the word in many places of Scripture, particularly in ( 1 Corinthians 13:2 1 Corinthians 13:8 1 Corinthians 13:9 ) ( 1 Corinthians 14:1 1 Corinthians 14:3-6 1 Corinthians 14:22 ) ( 1 Corinthians 14:24 1 Corinthians 14:29 1 Corinthians 14:31 1 Corinthians 14:32 1 Corinthians 14:37 1 Corinthians 14:39 ) . Now such who have this gift of prophecy, or of opening and explaining the Scriptures, ought to make use of it, and constantly attend toil: "let us prophesy"; diligently prepare for it by prayer, reading and meditation, and continually exercise it as opportunity offers; nor should any difficulty and discouragement deter from it: or whereas this last clause is not in the original text, it may be supplied from ( Romans 12:3 ) ; thus, "let us think soberly", who have this gift, and not be elated with it, or carry it haughtily to those who attend on the exercise of it: but behave with sobriety, modesty, and humility, in the discharge thereof: "according to the proportion of faith". There must be faith, or no prophesying; a man must believe, and therefore speak, or speak not at all; a Gospel minister ought not to be a sceptic, or in doubt about the main principles of religion; such as concern the three divine persons, the office, grace, and righteousness of Christ, and the way of salvation by him: he should be at a point in these things, should firmly believe, and with assurance assert them, nor fear to be called dogmatical on that account: he is to preach according to his faith, the proportion of it: which may be the same with the measure of it, ( Romans 12:3 ) . And so the Syriac version reads it, (htwnmyhd atxwvm Kya) , "according to the measure of his faith"; to which the Arabic version agrees; that is, according to the measure of the gift of Christ he has received; according to the abilities bestowed on him; according to that light, knowledge, faith, and experience he has; he ought to preach up unto it, and not in the least come short of it; or by "the proportion", or "analogy of faith", may be meant a scheme of Gospel truths, a form of sound words, a set of principles upon the plan of the Scriptures, deduced from them, and agreeably to them; and which are all of a piece, and consistent with themselves, from which the prophesier or preacher should never swerve: or the Scriptures themselves, the sure word of prophecy, the rule and standard of faith and practice: the scope of the text is to be attended to, its connection with the preceding or following verses, or both; and it is to be compared with other passages of Scripture, and accordingly to be explained: and this is to follow the rule directed to.