1 Corinthians 12:10 MEANING

1 Corinthians 12:10
(10) Prophecy.--Not in its modern and limited sense of foretelling the future, but forthtelling truth generally.

Discerning of spirits--i.e., the power to distinguish between the workings of the Holy Spirit and of evil and misleading spirits (see 1 Timothy 4:1; 1 John 4:1). On the gifts of tongues and interpretations of tongues, see 1 Corinthians 14.

Verse 10. - The working of miracles; literally, active, efficacy of powers; such as "the signs of an apostle," to which St. Paul himself appealed in 2 Corinthians 12:12, which included "wonders and mighty powers" (comp. Romans 15:18). Prophecy. Not "prediction," but elevated and inspired discourse; the power of preaching to edification. Discerning of spirits; rather, discernings, or powers to discriminate between true and false spirits. It was necessary in those days of intense enthusiasm and spiritual awakenment to "test the spirits, whether they be of God" (1 John 4:1). There were such things as "deceitful spirits" which spoke "doctrines of devils" (l Timothy 4:1; Revelation 2:1, 2; see 1 Corinthians 14:29). Divers kinds of tongues. There is no need for the word "divers." The particular variety of the ecstatic, and often entirely unintelligible, utterance known as "the tongue" differed with the individuality or temperament of the speaker. Recent lines of research, by that historical method which can alone furnish correct results, have led to the conclusion that, whatever may be thought of the "tongues" on the day of Pentecost (which is a separate question), the "tongue" spoken of (for the most part with relative disparagement) by St. Paul as a charism of the Spirit was closely analogous to that wild, rapt, unconscious, uncontrollable utterance which, with varying details, has always occurred in the religious movements which stir the human soul to its utmost depths. The attempts to explain the word "tongues" as meaning "foreign languages," or "the primeval language," or "poetic and unusual phraseology," etc., are baseless and exploded. The notion that by this gift the early Christians knew languages which they had never acquired, is not only opposed to the entire analogy of God's dealings, but to every allusion in the New Testament (except a prima facie but untenable view of the meaning of Acts 2:4) and to every tradition and statement of early Christian history. The apostles (so far as we have any record of their missionary work in the New Testament) had not the slightest need to acquire foreign languages. Since Palestine was at this epoch bilingual, they could all speak Aramaic and Greek, and therefore could address Jews and Gentiles throughout the civilized world. Every single allusion which St. Paul makes to this subject excludes the possibility of the supposition of a miracle so utterly useless and meaningless, so subversive of every psychological consideration, and so alien from the analogy of all God's methods, as the talking in unacquired foreign languages by persons who did not understand them. The interpretation of tongues. Sometimes, but not always (1 Corinthians 14:13), the speaker, on relapsing from his ecstasy, was able to express his outburst of unintelligible soliloquy in the form of reasoned thought When he was unable to do so, St. Paul ordains that another should convey in ordinary language the impressions left by the inspired rhapsody (1 Corinthians 14:27-29).

12:1-11 Spiritual gifts were extraordinary powers bestowed in the first ages, to convince unbelievers, and to spread the gospel. Gifts and graces greatly differ. Both were freely given of God. But where grace is given, it is for the salvation of those who have it. Gifts are for the advantage and salvation of others; and there may be great gifts where there is no grace. The extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit were chiefly exercised in the public assemblies, where the Corinthians seem to have made displays of them, wanting in the spirit of piety, and of Christian love. While heathens, they had not been influenced by the Spirit of Christ. No man can call Christ Lord, with believing dependence upon him, unless that faith is wrought by the Holy Ghost. No man could believe with his heart, or prove by a miracle, that Jesus was Christ, unless by the Holy Ghost. There are various gifts, and various offices to perform, but all proceed from one God, one Lord, one Spirit; that is, from the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, the origin of all spiritual blessings. No man has them merely for himself. The more he profits others, the more will they turn to his own account. The gifts mentioned appear to mean exact understanding, and uttering the doctrines of the Christian religion; the knowledge of mysteries, and skill to give advice and counsel. Also the gift of healing the sick, the working of miracles, and to explain Scripture by a peculiar gift of the Spirit, and ability to speak and interpret languages. If we have any knowledge of the truth, or any power to make it known, we must give all the glory of God. The greater the gifts are, the more the possessor is exposed to temptations, and the larger is the measure of grace needed to keep him humble and spiritual; and he will meet with more painful experiences and humbling dispensations. We have little cause to glory in any gifts bestowed on us, or to despise those who have them not.To another the working of miracles,.... Or "powers": mighty deeds, wonderful works, such as are apparently above, and out of the reach of nature, and beyond the compass of human power and skill; such as raising the dead, causing the blind to see, the deaf to hear, the dumb to speak, the lame to walk, and the like; of which, see some instances in Acts 3:6. Though others understand by these the extraordinary powers the apostles had of punishing offenders; of which the striking Ananias and Sapphira dead, by Peter, the smiting Elymas the sorcerer with blindness, by Paul, and the delivering the incestuous person, and Hymenaeus, and Alexander, to Satan, by the same apostle, are instances.

To another prophecy: either foretelling of future events, as was given to Agabus, and the four daughters of Philip, and others, Acts 11:27 or a gift of understanding the prophecies of the Old Testament, and of preaching the Gospel, which is in this epistle frequently called "prophesying", particularly in the two following chapters; and those endowed with it are called prophets, Acts 13:1.

To another discerning of spirits; by which gift such that were possessed of it could, in some measure, discern the hearts of men, their thoughts, purposes, and designs, their secret dissimulation and hypocrisy; as Peter, by this gift, discerned the dissimulation and lying of Ananias and Sapphira; and by it they could also tell whether a man that made a profession of religion had the truth of grace in him, or not; so Peter knew hereby that Simon Magus was in the gall of bitterness, and bond of iniquity, notwithstanding his specious pretences to faith and holiness, whereby he imposed upon Philip the evangelist, who might not have this gift of discerning spirits; by which also they could distinguish the Spirit of God from the lying spirits in men; of which there is an instance, Acts 15:17.

To another divers kinds of tongues; whereby such could speak all manner of languages, which they had never learned, understood, and been used to: this Christ promised his disciples, when he sent them into all the world to preach the Gospel, Mark 16:16 and so anticipates an objection they otherwise might have made, how they should be able to preach it to all, so as to be understood, when they were not acquainted with the languages of all nations; an instance of which we have in the apostles on the day of Pentecost, Acts 2:4 and which continued many years after with them, and other persons in the churches; see 1 Corinthians 13:2.

To another the interpretation of tongues; one that had this gift, when a discourse was delivered in an unknown tongue, used to stand up and interpret it to the people, without which it could be of no use to them; and sometimes a person was gifted to speak in an unknown tongue, and yet was not capable of interpreting his discourse truly and distinctly in that the people understood: see 1 Corinthians 14:13. The rules to be observed in such cases, and by such persons, see in 1 Corinthians 14:27.

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