SOAP Study - October 28, 2020
1 Corinthians 12:1-11
12 Now, dear brothers and sisters,[a] regarding your question about the special abilities the Spirit gives us. I don’t want you to misunderstand this. 2 You know that when you were still pagans, you were led astray and swept along in worshiping speechless idols. 3 So I want you to know that no one speaking by the Spirit of God will curse Jesus, and no one can say Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit.
4 There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. 5 There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. 6 God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.
7 A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. 8 To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice[b]; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge.[c] 9 The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. 10 He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages,[d] while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. 11 It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.
PERSONAL SOAP STUDY
- What verse stood out to you while you were reading?
- What did you discover about God, yourself, and others?
- How should this information impact your life?
- What needs to be different about the way you are currently living?
- Take some time to talk to God about the things you just learned and how you want your life to look different. Give God thanks for revealing these things to you, ask Him for wisdom and courage to move forward so that you can apply these things to your life.
STAFF SOAP STUDY
Paul says to the Corinthian Christians, “You used to be pagans” meaning that they were tossed back and forth by worshiping idols and doing whatever they thought right in their own eyes. Why is Paul bringing up their past, when he is talking about spiritual gifts? Isn’t that supposed to be the subject of this section of his letter to the Corinthian Church? The point is not the spiritual gifts; the focus is actually on God the Holy Spirit and how God operates in and through us. We often only want people to focus on the part of our stories that look the best. We are masters at doing that on social media. With a little bit of cropping and filtering, we can make the best profile pics of our lives. Paul is not so much concerned with the Facebook pics of our lives. Paul knows that if we forget how we changed and by Whose power we changed, then we are bound to sneak some of our old stuff back into our lives now. So, Paul has to point to our past. Why? Because it is when we look at our past, we don’t forget how we got here. Before coming to know Jesus, these believers in Corinth were pagans who were led astray by “do-nothing” gods. Remember that they would bang on gongs and cymbals to try to wake them up, but they would not show up or do anything. But in comparison to God the Holy Spirit, it is by the power of God’s Good Spirit that we were able to turn to God and call Jesus “LORD.”
Paul is saying that we can never call the LORD our God a “do-nothing” God because we can see God’s work. The Holy Spirit has stirred up different situations and in different people, but it is the same God working in and through us. Look at Jesus’ Church! It is made up so many different people of both genders and of different ages, ethnicities, nationalities and languages. And, on top of that, Jesus’ church is made of people who have received different spiritual gifts from God. One Christian can be given one spiritual gift like wisdom, while another can have the spiritual gift of healing. This means that no one can claim a spiritual monopoly on God’s giftings. We need each other. We are dependent on one another, because God’s plan for these gifts is for us to serve God and benefit others. All of that variety, yet the one and the same Spirit is the source of all of it.
I wonder, “How many of us care to know our spiritual gifts?” I wonder if we acknowledge the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives is on purpose. Here is what I mean: God has worked in our lives not by accident but as God sowing a seed in us and hoping for the day that we grow into what God knows we can be. It starts with acknowledging the work of God before us and in us. Then, it becomes a curiosity to how God can work through us, so that there is a disciple beyond us. God wants to work through us, but we have to be curious about the things that matter to God. We need to know the natural gifts that God has placed within us and learn how we can submit them to God’s will. We don’t use our spiritual gifts for selfish reasons and promote more of the division we already see in Jesus’ Church. Instead, we use our spiritual gifts to solve problems and serve people. So, maybe that is the question? What do I bring to the table? What has God uniquely and thoughtfully gifted me with to make a difference in this world? What am I doing?
LORD, help me to see my past as a reminder of how great your grace is! By your Good Spirit, I have turned to You and it is by your Good Spirit that I will continue on this path. Don’t let us stop there. Don’t just let us know You. Help us to know ourselves. Help us to see what you can see in us! Show us what you dreamt for us! Make us curious about that! Make us ask more about who we have been made to be, so we can start to go after it!