This wonderful passage speaks of how believers can walk together as fellow-members of the body of Christ. We see here a partial list of spiritual gifts that God has given to the body so they can minister to one another for mutual edification. Let’s break these verses down using the NKJV.

Verse 3: “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not think of himself more highly that he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” Before mentioning various spiritual gifts, the apostle Paul reminds us that whatever gift we do have we owe to God’s wondrous grace. This should serve to humble us, for we had nothing to do with the gift(s) we have, and even the faith we have which enables us to use our gift is from God. Like Paul, we should all be able to say, “By the grace of God I am what I am” (1st Corinthians 15:10).

Verses 4-5: “For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.” I would encourage you to read 1st Corinthians chapter 12 where Paul also speaks of spiritual gifts and again he uses the “human body” to illustrate the “body of Christ.” He goes into great detail stressing the importance of each member of the body, for though there are “many members” it is still “one body” (verses 12 & 20) and each member must function for the good of the whole body. That chapter is an excellent commentary on these two verses.

Verse 6a: “Having then gifts differing according to the grace to us, let us use them.” Paul will now list SOME of the gifts God has given to us but he begins by saying “let us use them.” Each believer has at least one gift and he/she is responsible, as a “steward of God,” to use his God-given abilities. 1st Peter 4:10 declares, “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”

Verses 6b-8: “If PROPHECY, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or MINISTRY, let us use it in our ministering; he who TEACHES, in teaching; he who EXHORTS, in exhortation; he who GIVES, with liberality; he who LEADS, with diligence; he who SHOWS MERCY, with cheerfulness.” We will offer a brief description of these gifts:

*PROPHECY…a PROPHET is simply “one who speaks for God.” In the early church, prophets were given direct revelations from God since the scriptures had not been completed. Today a prophet still speaks for God, but he does so from the completed canon of Scripture. See 1st Corinthians 14:3.

*MINISTRY…this word refers to SERVICE, which would include “serving others in practical ways and in ministering the Word to them.” We have an example of both in Acts 6:1-4.

*TEACHING…this gift allows one to open up the scriptures to fellow-believers with simplicity and to apply it to their hearts and consciences. See Ephesians 4:11; Acts 13:1 and 2nd Timothy 2:2.

*EXHORTATION…one with this gift has the ability to “ENCOURAGE saints to stay true to Christ.” Barnabas, whose very name means “Son of EXHORTATION,” had this gift and used it faithfully. See Acts 4:36; 11:22-23; 13:43 and 14:19-22.

*GIVING…this gift causes one to be burdened to meet temporal needs (financial and otherwise) and to have the resources to do so liberally. See 2nd Corinthians 8:1-5 then 9:1, 7-13.

*LEADS…the word refers to one who has the gift to LEAD God’s children, both by example and through the Word. See Hebrews 13:7, 17, 24.

*SHOWING MERCY…to “show mercy” is to “help those who are suffering.” Notice, it is not to be done “grudgingly,” but with “cheerfulness.” See Matthew 5:7 and 1st Timothy 1:16-18. (290.3) (DO)