Using Gifts Properly (October 12)

1 Corinthians 12:12-26


Klesis: God's Call and the Journey of Faith, reviews some key themes in 1 Corinthians 12:

“Now let's note a few things about these gifts and their use.

The word Paul used here for “gift” is the Greek word charisma, from which we get our familiar word charismatic. The implication of the word is that the identified quality (the 'gift') is more the result of someone else's initiative (in this case, God's) than of one's choice to have it.

A second implication of the word is that the faithful response to the reception of such a gift is its use. Just as a donor to a cause expects the donation to be used appropriately, or a parent who gives a gift to a child desires that it be used according to its purpose, the gifts of God have special purposes.

While the various gifts have different functions, they have equal status within the community of faith. (Apparently, Paul was addressing a problem in this regard in the Corinthian church.) Can you imagine a body of believers regarding some gifts as more important than others in letting divisiveness creep into the fellowship? How little some things change with time!

Note Paul's powerful body analogy in verses 12-27 as a model for thinking about the family of faith (the body of Christ). The clear implication of Paul's treatment of spiritual gifts is that they cannot be understood apart from their place in the context of community and ministry.”

(Kathy Dobbins and others, Klesis, Atlanta: Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, 2005, pp. 26-27).

Reading the Scripture

Here is an activity to use as you read the scripture:

Wrap the individual spiritual gifts listed in the passages used during this unit (1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, and Ephesians 4), each in a separate package or gift bag. Open them each week as you discuss them.
1 Corinthians 12
Interpretation of Tongues
Romans 12    
Ephesians 4    

Teaching Suggestions

  • A Piece of the Puzzle: Your class has been given an 11 by 17 inch puzzle piece, along with all twelve adult Sunday School classes. On Sunday, October 26, from 9:30 until about 9:40 we invite you to the Welcome Cafe' to work the puzzle with the other adult classes. Display the puzzle piece throughout the month. Let class members write their names on it. As you learn about Spiritual Gifts and class members discover their unique spiritual gifts, you can print the gifts beside, under, or near their names. You will probably have to write small in order to have room. There are several ways you could write the spiritual gifts:
    • Class members write what they see as their spiritual gifts.
    • Class members write the spiritual gifts they see in others.
    • Or some combination.


  • Use The Symphony Orchestra as an illustration of the Body of Christ and Spiritual Gifts. 
    • Play a portion of Peter and the Wolf (posted on the website) or any orchestral piece.  Ask, “If you were to compose a symphony orchestra about Spiritual Gifts in the Body of Christ, what instrument would represent the gift of teaching, service, giving, leadership, etc.? How would you creatively use the themes of Romans 12?”
    • Some years ago, I discussed, with a gifted composer friend of mine, the possibility of an orchestral piece on the theme of Spiritual Gifts. He would use different instruments and musical themes to represent different gifts in turn and introduce them one at a time. Before bringing all of the instruments together in a beautiful sound, I asked if the music could be purposefully out of harmony for a time, representing competing gifts  and the body not working together. He said, “Yes, that could work very well,” and called it “dissonance and resolution.” He would have written it, for a fee. I didn't buy it. I would still be interested in hearing something like that. Phil?
    • There is a group called, “Jesus Christ Symphony Orchestra.” Their slogan is “Jesus Christ Symphony Orchestra. . . because, nobody, alone, is an Orchestra!” Isn't this a good slogan for a church?
  • The Teaching Guide (p. 32) suggests an activity, “Re-membering the Body.” We will provide a contact list for our homebound and nursing home members. Look for it in your room on October 12. You also have the weekly Prayer Board to use with this activity.



I have set aside a shelf in the library with resources for Sunday School teachers. I will place there resources of general interest and some specifically applicable to current lessons. Other resources are kept in my office.

  • Books and Resources on Spiritual Gifts in Keith's Office
    • Yours for the Giving: Spiritual Gifts, Barbara Joiner (Birmingham, AL: WMU Press, 1986).
    • Klesis: God's Call and the Journey of Faith, Kathy Dobbins, Colin Harris, Doris Nelms (Atlanta: Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, 2005).
    • Discovering Our Spiritual Gifts: A Seminar in Spiritual Formation, Timothy Brock
    • How to Discover Your Spiritual Gifts, John Hendrix (Nashville: Convention Press, 1979).
    • Rediscovering Our Spiritual Gifts, Charles Bryant (Nashville: Upper Room, 1991).
    • Discovering Your Spiritual Gifts: A Personal Inventory Method, Kenneth Cain Kinghorn (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1981)
  • For additional commentary on the text see these commentaries in our library:
    • Mercer Commentary on the Bible (Mercer University Press, 1995)
    • Harper’s Bible Commentary (Harper & Row, 1988).