|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
Verse 8. - The word of wisdom... the word of knowledge. In modern usage, "knowledge" is the learning which we by use and effort acquire; "wisdom" is the insight which gradually dawns upon us from thought and experience. In the language of the New Testament, the distinction between the two words is not so clearly marked, but" wisdom" seems to belong more to the human spirit, and "knowledge "to the intellect. The "discourse of wisdom" would be that which sets forth the truth of the gospel persuasively to work conversion (1 Corinthians 2:6, 7); the "discourse of knowledge" would be that which enters into the speculative and theoretical elaboration of systematic theology. The first might find its illustration in the 'Imitatio Christi;' the second in the 'Summa Theologiae.'
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For to one is given by the Spirit,.... Now follows a distinct and particular enumeration of the operations of the Spirit, though not all of them, yet as many as the apostle thought necessary; and which are called the manifestation of him, and which most clearly show him to be the author of them to different persons;
the word of wisdom: by which is meant "the manifold wisdom of God"; the wonderful scheme of salvation through the incarnation, sufferings, and death of Christ, in which God has "abounded in all wisdom and prudence"; together with all other deep, mysterious, and sublime doctrines of the Gospel, the knowledge of which were peculiarly given to the apostles in the first place, who have the first office or ministry in the church, by "the spirit of wisdom"; and which they had a faculty, a gift of declaring, opening, and explaining unto others.
To another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; meaning either knowledge of future events; or an universal knowledge of the Scriptures of truth, and the doctrines contained in them, of the whole mind and will of God therein, which is a distinct thing from saving grace: see 1 Corinthians 13:2 and is what was given to the prophets, the second office in the church, by him who is the spirit of prophecy, and by whom the prophetical writings were dictated; and therefore he is the best interpreter of them, and who only can lead into the true knowledge thereof.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
8-10. Three classes of gifts are distinguished by a distinct Greek word for "another" (a distinct class), marking the three several genera: allo marks the species, hetero the genera (compare Greek, 1Co 15:39-41). I. Gifts of intellect, namely, (1) wisdom; (2) knowledge. II. Gifts dependent on a special faith, namely, that of miracles (Mt 17:20): (1) healings; (2) workings of miracles; (3) prophecy of future events; (4) discerning of spirits, or the divinely given faculty of distinguishing between those really inspired, and those who pretended to inspiration. III. Gifts referring to the tongues: (1) diverse kinds of tongues; (2) interpretation of tongues. The catalogue in 1Co 12:28 is not meant strictly to harmonize with the one here, though there are some particulars in which they correspond. The three genera are summarily referred to by single instances of each in 1Co 13:8. The first genus refers more to believers; the second, to unbelievers.
by … by … by—The first in Greek is, "By means of," or "through the operation of"; the second is, "according to" the disposing of (compare 1Co 12:11); the third is, "in," that is, under the influence of (so the Greek, Mt 22:43; Lu 2:27).
word of wisdom—the ready utterance of (for imparting to others, Eph 6:19) wisdom, namely, new revelations of the divine wisdom in redemption, as contrasted with human philosophy (1Co 1:24; 2:6, 7; Eph 1:8; 3:10; Col 2:3).
word of knowledge—ready utterance supernaturally imparted of truths ALREADY REVEALED (in this it is distinguished from "the word of wisdom," which related to NEW revelations). Compare 1Co 14:6, where "revelation" (answering to "wisdom" here) is distinguished from "knowledge" [Henderson]. Wisdom or revelation belonged to the "prophets"; knowledge, to the "teachers." Wisdom penetrates deeper than knowledge. Knowledge relates to things that are to be done. Wisdom, to things eternal: hence, wisdom is not, like knowledge, said to "pass away" (1Co 13:8), [Bengel].
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