The trinitarian gifts – 1 Cor 12:4-6

If you are like me, when you think about the spiritual gifts mentioned in the New Testament, you typically associate them with the Holy Spirit. In one of the longest sections in Scripture discussing spiritual gifts, Paul associates them with all three persons of our trinitarian God:

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit;
and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord;
and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God
who empowers them all in everyone.  (1 Corinthians 12:4-6).

The varieties of gifts, service, and activities are all referring to the one concept of spiritual gifts. When Paul uses the term Lord by itself (as in verse 5 here), he typically is referring to Jesus. And, when he uses the term God by itself (as in verse 6), he is typically referring to the Father. So, in these three verses we see that the triune nature of God just naturally flows from Paul’s thinking. Skeptics like to argue that the trinitarian nature of God was developed over a long period of time within the church. However, we see in this very early letter from Paul to the church at Corinth, the concept of the trinity was simply taken as a matter of fact. Paul does not have to go to great lengths to explain it to the Corinthians, but rather just uses this well-known fact in his writing.

As an aside, this is yet another example of the countless ways I am constantly amazed at the depth of the Bible. No amount of study by our limited human minds can ever plumb its depths. There will always be new insights to discover (with the help of the Holy Spirit, of course).


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