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1 Corinthians 12:1-11

  • Many people use the word 'spiritual' to talk about their beliefs or experiences. What uses of this word have you seen outside of Christianity? How does that differ to what Christians mean by 'Spiritual'?

  • The next three weeks we will be looking at the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. What do you already know about Spiritual Gifts? And what would you like to know about them? [1]

Paul wrote this letter to the Corinthian Church, because there was some kind of controversy about the Holy Spirit, especially around people having 'spiritual experiences'.

Read 1 Corinthians 12:1-11

  • What does Paul say here about non-Christian 'spiritual experiences'? What does he say is the distinction between Holy-Spirit spirituality and pagan spirituality?

The phrase "Jesus is Lord" is used commonly throughout the new testament as short-hand for a declaration of true Christian belief. Saying "Jesus is Lord" is effectively equivalent to "becoming a Christian".[2]

  • What do you think it means that the Holy Spirit enables us to 'say Jesus is Lord'?

  • How does this serve as a foundation for our beliefs about the Holy Spirit and Spiritual gifts?

Look again at verses 4-6.

  • What is the connection between 'gifts', 'service' and 'working', 'the Spirit', 'the Lord' and 'God'?

  • In your own words, how would you sum up the point Paul is making in these three verses?

Look again at verses 7-11

  • Discuss one by one the 'manifestations' (or 'gifts') listed here. What does each one look like in practice?

  • This is not a complete list of every gift the Spirit ever gives. What other gifts have you heard of, experienced, or seen in others?

Spend some time praying

  • that the Holy Spirit would show us what gifts He has already given us,

  • that the Holy Spirit would give us more gifts,

  • that the Holy Spirit would strengthen or develop the gifts we already have, giving us more faith to operate in these gifts.

[1] Try to resist the urge to answer these questions now! You might like to write them down to answer later...

[2] See Romans 10:9 and Philippians 2:11 for two examples of this.


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