First Corinthians 12:4-11



There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.


diaireseiV            de     carismatwn       eisin    to    de     auto      pneuma     

Now differences                   of gifts                  there are   but   the       same        spirit


“Different kinds” - diaireseiV - Means “distribution, difference, variety, distinctions, apportioning, dealing outs”.  The focus of this word is on the distribution or apportioning variety.  It is used nowhere else in the NT.  In verse 11 diairoun (from the same root) is used and refers to the gifts being distributed among different people rather than referring to the different gifts.  So again, the focus is on the distribution of variety to different people not so much on the difference it self.


“of gifts” - carismatwn - from “carisma” or “charisma”.  This word is unique with Paul (16 of 17 NT uses are Paul’s) and is used only in Greek in the NT.  It is only used by one other person and that is Peter in 1 Peter 4:10.  We can assume Peter got the term from Paul.  Paul uses the word often in 1 Corinthians and Romans and once in each 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy. 

·        In 1 Corinthians 7:7 and the word “carisma” “charisma” or “gift” is translated “spiritual gift.” 

·        In Romans 1:11 the word “spiritual” or “pneumatikon” is added as an adjective to make it “spiritual gift”.

·        In 1 Cor. 7:7 the word “carisma” or “charisma” refers to an ability or a given capacity to live life single. 

·        In Romans 6:23 it refers to the gift of salvation.

·        carisma” or “charisma” has at its root the word “caris” “charis” or “grace” which communicates the idea of something free, not earned, unmerited.  It is something you could never have paid for or deserved.  It is favor given by the one doing the giving.

·        carisma” then is the favor or gift one receives without having shown any merit.

·        carisma” is better translated “favors” or “graces”


So 12:1 says “spirituals” or  “spiritual things” or “spiritual manifestations”.  There is no word for “gifts” in 12:1.

And 12:4 says “favors” or “graces”.  The verse 12:4 would read:

·        “the diverse dealing out of favors there are but the same spirit”


There is a different word for “gift” in the Greek:

1.      doma (1x) – present or gift

2.      dosis (1x)– gift

3.      dorea (11x) – gratuity, gift

4.      dorema (1x)– bestowment, gift

5.      doron (10x) – sacrificial present

None of these are used in 1 Cor. 12-14.  The singular of these words often refers to salvation, righteousness, eternal life or Jesus Christ. (Rom. 5:15-17; 2 Cor. 9:15; Eph. 2:8; 3:7: 4:7; Heb. 6:4; James 1:17)



There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.


kai   diaireseiV    diakoniwn    eisin      kai     o       autoV       kurioV:

and     differences    of ministries t  here are    and    the       same          Lord


“different kinds” or diaireseiV is the same word as above


“of service” is “diakoniwn” which is the genitive (“of . . .”) plural of the word diakonia”diakonia” which means “administration, minister, office or service”.  This comes from the word “diakonoV” where we get our word “deacon”.  The emphasis here is service, aid, and ministry.  It describes the servant in relationship to his work or service not in his relationship to people.  It is interesting that Jesus is the servant and this phase of these three parts is associated with the Lord Jesus.  This is the same word used to describe Jesus ministry and the ministry of his followers.



There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.


kai      diaireseiV      energhmatwn     eisin       o     de     autoV       qeoV

and      differences         of operations       there are    but  the      same          God


o energwn      ta     panta     en     pasin

     operating              all things    in          all


“different kinds” or diaireseiV is the same word as above


“of working” is “energhmatwn ” which is a noun and is a rare use of this word as a noun.  The verb use of this word means effective working.  It means that something is accomplished by the effort of the work done.  The English word “energy” can be seen in this Greek word “energhmatwn ” or “energamaton”.  (The Greek word for work is “ergon”) 


“the same God works uses the  Greek word “energwn” or “energon” which is present (see box below) active and means “to perform, to be at work, to be effective, to produce”.

The present tense means . . .conveys continuous or habitual action. 

                        1)  Continuous or uninterrupted action – John 15:4

 “. . .unless it [continuously] abides. . .unless you

            [continuously] abide. . .”

                        2)  Action that happens over and over again – Matthew 10:1

“. . .to [repeatedly] cast them out, and to [over and over again]

                                                heal every kind of disease.”

                        3)  Customary or habitual action – Matthew 7:12

                                    “. . . you [customarily] want people to [customarily] treat you.”


Helping Words:  Continuously, repeatedly, over and over again, uninterruptedly, constantly, keep on, customarily, habitually.





Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.


ekastw          de     didotai   h    fanerwsiV   tou   pneumatoV   proV  to   sumferon.

but to each      one    is given    the   manifestation  of the    spirit               to       the      profiting


This is Paul’s thesis statement. 

Verses 8-10 is an illustration of this thesis statement.

Verse 11 is this same thesis statement restated.


The Greek sentence begins with “each one” in the emphatic position which means this is the emphasis of the thesis statement.


“Each one” has something from the Holy Spirit.  The emphasis here is not on the fact (1 Peter 4:10) that each person has a gift or a manifestation but on the fact that the Holy Spirit gives each person a gift which is stated to continue proving the wide diversity of the manifestations.


Important to notice that the word “carisma” or “charisma” translated usually as “gifts” or “spiritual gifts” is not in this sentence.  Paul is not saying “each one is given a gift” but instead says “each one is given the “fanerwsiV   tou   pneumatoV” or “manifestation of the Spirit”.


“manifestation” or “fanerwsiV” “phanerosis” means a “making clear, or a manifestation, setting forth plainly.”  The genitive is probably objective (The International Critical Commentary, Driver, Plummer and Briggs editors, First Corinthians by Robertson and Plummer, T & T Clark LTD, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1999, p.264) which means it would say:

  • “the operation which manifests the Spirit” (objective)

and not:

  • “the manifestation which the Spirit produces” (subjective)

The point remains though the emphasis is on the Holy Spirit manifesting among people and not on the gifts or favors (carisma).   Thus the reason for using “manifestations” instead of “gifts”.  “Manifestations” focuses on the Holy Spirit while concern for the “gift” focuses on the one who has or receives the gift.


“for the common good” translates “proV  to   sumferon” “to the profiting” or “for the profiting”.  The manifestation of the Spirit is through the diverse individuals but it is not for the individuals.  The diverse manifestations of the Spirit are for the group, the union, the cause.


This verse has said:

·        The Spirit manifests

·        Each one manifests the Spirit (emphasis here is still on diversity of the Spirit and not on everyone having a gift from God.)

·        Now it says the reason the Spirit manifests diversely among each one: for the profiting or benefit of the whole or the group that is in union.

·        Once again the point is unity with diversity.  Why is there diversity among a unified group?  To strengthen the group and to cause it to succeed.


The List of Nine Manifestations of the Spirit


How to Categorize or Classify these Nine Gifts

All of these have been suggested as ways of organizing the gifts in this list:

  1. The list is written in descending order of value (Bruce)
  2. Four Groups (Jones)
    1. Intelligible Utterance – wisdom, knowledge, prophecy
    2. Power – faith, healings, miracles
    3. Spiritual Discernment – discerning of spirits
    4. Ecstatic utterance – tongues, interpretation
  3. Three Divisions (Brewster)
    1. Illumination – wisdom, knowledge, discernment
    2. Action – faith, miracles, healings
    3. Communication – prophecy, tongues, interpretation
  4. Three Groups
    1. Gifts of Instruction – wisdom, knowledge
    2. Gifts of Supernatural Power – faith, healings, miracles
    3. Gifts of Inspired Utterance – prophecy, discerning prophecies, tongues, interpretation of tongues
  5. Charismatic List
    1. Gifts of Revelation – wisdom, knowledge, discerning of spirits
    2. Gifts of Power – faith, miracles, healings
    3. Gifts of Inspiration – prophecy, tongues, interpretation of tongues
  6. Pairs of Gifts
    1. Tongues and interpretation
    2. Prophecy and discernment of spirits (spirits of the prophets)
    3. Wisdom and knowledge
    4. Healing and miracles
  7. Peter’s Classification from 1 Peter 4:11 “If anyone speaks., let it be as words coming from God; if anyone ministers, let it be out of the strength God provides”
    1. Speaking Gifts – wisdom, knowledge, prophecy, discerning, tongues, interpretation
    2. Action – faith, healing, miracles,
  8. The list is random – a couple of special named gifts for Corinth: wisdom and knowledge; a couple of typical manifestations like faith, healing, miracles; a couple of gifts that are causing the  Corinthians problems: prophecy, tongues, interpretation
  9. The list is not systematic, it is simply a sampling
  10. The list is not exhaustive; the list could have been much longer, possibly endless.
  11. Paul is grabbing at a list that is truly diverse to prove his point
  12. Paul’s List taken from Paul’s clues in his writing
    1. The third (faith) and eighth (tongues) gifts start with a different word for “another”.
    2. The first two – wisdom and knowledge are important to Corinthian thinking.
    3. Numbers three – seven (five gifts) all have a supernatural element
    4. The last two – are the problem and the cause of these chapters




To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit


w    men     gar     dia     tou     pneumatoV     didotai     logoV          sofiaV

      for to     one    through  the           spirit             is given       a word          of wisdom


allw     de      logoV       gnwsewV       kata      to        auto        pneuma,

and to  another  a word     of knowledge  according   to the    same           spirit


  1. Word of wisdom  logoV          sofiaV



  1. Word of knowledge “logoV       gnwsewV






to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit


eterw      pistiV    en     tw       autw      pneumati       allw   de         carismata

to another   faith       by      the       same         spirit             and to another           gifts


iamatwn       en       tw          eni            pneumati,

of cures            by        the         one                spirit


  1. faithpistiV


  1. gifts of healing  carismata   iamatwn





to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.

allw     de        energhmata      dunamewn       allw       [de]         profhteia

and to another        operations          of powers       to another    and            prophecy


allw     [de]       diakriseiV       pneumatwn,     eterw       genh        glwsswn

and to another        discernings           of spirits       to  another     kinds         of tongues


allw      de         ermhneia          glwsswn

and to    another  interpretation         of tongues



  1. miraculous powers  energhmata      dunamewn

“energamata” – means “workings”

“dunameon” – “miracles”

  1. prophecyprofhteia

“propheteia” – is the declaration of that which cannot be known by natural means.  It comes from God and is the forth telling of the will of God concerning the past, present or the future.

  1. discernings of spirits diakriseiV       pneumatwn

“diakriseis” – means “judging between things, distinguish, discerning”

“pneuma” –  means “current of air, breath, breeze.  Used to refer to spirit of men or man’s soul, man’s disposition.  Also refers to angels, demons or God’s Spirit.

  1. kinds of tongues genh        glwsswn

“yenos” – means “a generation, kind, stock”.  Translated as “kind, kindred, offspring, nation, stock, born, diversity, country, countryman, generation.”

“glossa” it means tongue as in the organ and by implication it means language

  1. interpretation of tongues ermhneia          glwsswn

“hermeneia” – “interpretation, translation. It means to interpret what has been spoken obscurely by others.

“glossa” it means tongue as in the organ and by implication it means language



All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines


panta     de     tauta        energei    to    en     kai     to     auto        pneuma

and all             these things    operates    the  one   and      the     same            spirit


diairoun     idia              ekastw          kaqwV          bouletai

distributing   separately      to each one          as                he purposes