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To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

Apostle Paul


For the Common Good

Topic: Serving Others

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 working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

Apostle Paul

Saint Paul the Apostle, also referred to as Saul of Tarsus, was a pivotal figure in the formative years of Christianity. He lived between roughly 5 and 64 or 67 AD, and while not one of the original Twelve Apostles, he dedicated his life to spreading the teachings of Christ to the first-century world. Paul was a Roman citizen born in Tarsus, modern-day Turkey, and he had Jewish roots, being from the tribe of Benjamin. Initially, as a Pharisee knowledgeable in Jewish law, he actively pursued and persecuted early followers of Jesus, viewing them as a threat to Jewish doctrines.

The trajectory of his life was radically altered during a journey to Damascus. During this trip, Paul had a profound vision of the risen Jesus, a moment that has come to be known as the "Damascus Road experience." This spiritual encounter marked his conversion from an adversary of Christians to a zealous advocate of Jesus' teachings. Following this transformation, he spent several years in Damascus and Arabia, after which he returned to Jerusalem to meet some of Jesus' original Apostles. Paul then dedicated his efforts to evangelize, often focusing on spreading the gospel to non-Jewish, or Gentile, communities.

Throughout his life, Paul embarked on three significant missionary trips across Asia Minor and Europe, establishing Christian congregations and disseminating the gospel of Jesus. His letters, known as epistles, to these early Christian communities, such as the Corinthians, Galatians, and Romans, are a considerable part of the New Testament and have significantly influenced Christian theology. Around 57 AD, Paul was arrested in Jerusalem due to conflicts between his teachings and traditional Jewish beliefs. He was later sent to Rome for trial, and according to historical accounts, was martyred there in the mid-60s AD. His impact on the development and spread of Christian thought and doctrine has been profound and enduring, establishing him as an essential figure in the annals of Christianity.

Letter to the Corinthians

Wilson, Andrew, editor. World Scripture - a Comparative Anthology of Sacred Texts. Paragon House, 1991, p. 53 [1 Corinthians 12.4-7].

Apostle Paul

Theme: Serving

About Apostle Paul’s Quote From 1 Corinthians 12.4-7 [Commentary]

The Apostle Paul’s instruction in 1 Corinthians reminds us of the diverse talents, gifts, and capacities that we each possess. However, he emphasizes that though our gifts and services may vary significantly, they all stem from the same divine spirit. This divine spirit reflects an intrinsic unity underlying our differences, presenting a harmonious blend of skills, talents, and capacities, each offering its unique flavor to the mix. Essentially, our individuality doesn’t stand alone but is intertwined with the collective, and our actions, even though demonstrated in unique ways, are all expressions of the same divine source.

In emphasizing “the same God who inspires them all in everyone,” Paul affirms that our abilities and strengths are not truly our own, but are divine gifts, granted for a purpose beyond personal gain. Each gift, each talent, and each form of service is part of a Divine plan, meant to contribute to a larger harmony. Therefore, we are not so much ‘owners’ of these abilities as we are ‘stewards.’ As stewards, our task is to employ these gifts in the most beneficial way possible, not merely for personal advancement, but for the broader good.

Finally, Paul states, “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” This affirms that our gifts are not merely for ourselves, but are meant to serve others. Our individual expressions of service, though different, should essentially serve the same Lord, contributing to the same common good. He encourages us to put forth our gifts wholeheartedly and single-mindedly, not for personal recognition or benefit but as a selfless act of service. By embracing this wisdom, we can align our actions with a higher purpose, expressing our unique gifts to bring about the greatest possible good.