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1 Corinthians 12:7

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

But the manifestation of the Spirit - The word “manifestation” ( φανέρωτις fanerōtis) means properly that which makes manifest, conspicuous, or plain; that which illustrates, or makes any thing seen or known. Thus, conduct manifests the state of the heart; and the actions are a manifestation, or “showing forth” of the real feelings. The idea here is, that there is given to those referred to, such gifts. endowments, or graces as shall “manifest” the work and nature of the Spirit‘s operations on the mind; such endowments as the Spirit makes himself known by to people. All that he produces in the mind is a manifestation of his character and work, in the same way as the works of God in the visible creation are a manifestation of his perfections.

Is given to every man - To every man whose case is here under consideration. The idea is not at all that the manifestation of the Spirit is given to all people indiscriminately, to pagans, and infidels, and scoffers as well as to Christians. The apostle is discoursing only of those who are Christians, and his declaration should be confined to them alone. Whatever may be true of other people, this statement should be confined wholly to Christians, and means simply that the Spirit of God gives to each Christian such graces and endowments as he pleases; that he distributes his gifts to all, not equally, but in a manner which he shall choose; and that the design of this is, that all Christians should use his endowments for the common good. This passage, therefore, is very improperly adduced to prove that the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit are conferred alike on all people, and that pagans, and blasphemers, and sinners in general are under his enlightening influences. It has no reference to any such doctrine, but should be interpreted as referring solely to Christians, and the various endowments which are conferred on them.

To profit withal - ( πρὸς τὸ συμθέρον pros tosumtheron). Unto profit; that is, for utility, or use; or to be an advantage to the church; for the common good of all. This does not mean that each one must cultivate and improve his graces and gifts, however true that may be, but that they are to be used for the common good of the church; they are bestowed “for utility,” or “profit;” they are conferred in such measures and in such a manner as are best adapted to be useful, and to do good. They are bestowed not on all equally, but in such a manner as shall best subserve the interests of piety and the church, and as shall tend harmoniously to carry on the great interests of religion, and further the welfare of the whole Christian body. The doctrine of this verse is, therefore:

(1)That the Holy Spirit bestows such endowments on all Christians as he pleases; and,

(2)That the design is, in the best manner to promote the common welfare - the peace and edification of the whole church.

It follows from this:

(1)That no Christian should be unduly elated, as if he were more worthy than others, since his endowments are the simple gift of God;

(2)That no Christian should be depressed and disheartened, as if he occupied an inferior or unimportant station, since his place has also been assigned him by God;

(3)That all should be contented, and satisfied with their allotments in the church, and should strive only to make the best use of their talents and endowments; and,

(4)That all should employ their time and talents for the common utility; for the furtherance of the common welfare, and the advancement of the kingdom of Christ on earth.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Spiritual gifts were extraordinary powers bestowed in the first ages, to convince unbelievers, and to spread the gospel. Gifts and graces greatly differ. Both were freely given of God. But where grace is given, it is for the salvation of those who have it. Gifts are for the advantage and salvation of others; and there may be great gifts where there is no grace. The extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit were chiefly exercised in the public assemblies, where the Corinthians seem to have made displays of them, wanting in the spirit of piety, and of Christian love. While heathens, they had not been influenced by the Spirit of Christ. No man can call Christ Lord, with believing dependence upon him, unless that faith is wrought by the Holy Ghost. No man could believe with his heart, or prove by a miracle, that Jesus was Christ, unless by the Holy Ghost. There are various gifts, and various offices to perform, but all proceed from one God, one Lord, one Spirit; that is, from the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, the origin of all spiritual blessings. No man has them merely for himself. The more he profits others, the more will they turn to his own account. The gifts mentioned appear to mean exact understanding, and uttering the doctrines of the Christian religion; the knowledge of mysteries, and skill to give advice and counsel. Also the gift of healing the sick, the working of miracles, and to explain Scripture by a peculiar gift of the Spirit, and ability to speak and interpret languages. If we have any knowledge of the truth, or any power to make it known, we must give all the glory of God. The greater the gifts are, the more the possessor is exposed to temptations, and the larger is the measure of grace needed to keep him humble and spiritual; and he will meet with more painful experiences and humbling dispensations. We have little cause to glory in any gifts bestowed on us, or to despise those who have them not.
Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

The manifestation of the Spirit - Φανερωσις του Πνευματος . This is variably understood by the fathers; some of them rendering φανερωσις by illumination, others demonstration, and others operation. The apostle's meaning seems to be this: Whatever gifts God has bestowed, or in what various ways soever the Spirit of God may have manifested himself, it is all for the common benefit of the Church. God has given no gift to any man for his own private advantage, or exclusive profit. He has it for the benefit of others as well as for his own salvation.

Ellen G. White
Christ's Object Lessons, 364

Upon the slothful servant the sentence was, “Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.” Here, as in the reward of the faithful worker, is indicated not merely the reward at the final judgment but the gradual process of retribution in this life. As in the natural, so in the spiritual world: every power unused will weaken and decay. Activity is the law of life; idleness is death. “The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.” 1 Corinthians 12:7. Employed to bless others, his gifts increase. Shut up to self-serving they diminish, and are finally withdrawn. He who refuses to impart that which he has received will at last find that he has nothing to give. He is consenting to a process that surely dwarfs and finally destroys the faculties of the soul. COL 364.1

Let none suppose that they can live a life of selfishness, and then, having served their own interests, enter into the joy of their Lord. In the joy of unselfish love they could not participate. They would not be fitted for the heavenly courts. They could not appreciate the pure atmosphere of love that pervades heaven. The voices of the angels and the music of their harps would not satisfy them. To their minds the science of heaven would be as an enigma. COL 364.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 29

The same spirit led the management of the publishing house at Battle Creek to take every step within its power to gain control of the literary products it handled, and this resulted in cutting off a fair royalty income to authors of the books published by the house. In this way the income of the publishing house was enhanced. It was argued that those in positions of management in the publishing house were in a better position to understand the needs of the cause, and know how to use profits which came from literature, than were the individual authors. The authors, they felt, might fall short in proper stewardship of royalty incomes. In several communications, Ellen White, writing to those in positions of management, pointed out that selfishness motivated such plans. Counsel in this area is found in Testimonies for the Church 7:176-180. TM xxix.1

The influence of selfish, grasping methods and the exercise of “kingly power,” as Ellen G. White termed it, were contagious. Elder Olsen, president of the General Conference, in his hope that he could stay the evil work of such influences, made available to the ministers of the church many of the messages of counsel which came to him and other leaders in Battle Creek during this critical period. These messages, published in pamphlet form, were sent out as special instruction to ministers and workers. They were often prefaced by an earnest statement signed by the president of the General Conference or by the Committee. In Elder Olsen's introduction to the second of these numbered pamphlets, written about 1892, he states: TM xxix.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, 144-5

In the meetings held let a number be chosen to take part in the song service. And let the singing be accompanied with musical instruments skillfully handled. We are not to oppose the use of instrumental music in our work. This part of the service is to be carefully conducted, for it is the praise of God in song. 9T 144.1

The singing is not always to be done by a few. As often as possible, let the entire congregation join. 9T 144.2

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Ellen G. White
Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 314-5

Skill in the common arts is a gift from God. He provides both the gift and wisdom to use the gift aright. When He desired a work done on the tabernacle He said, “See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship.” Exodus 31:2, 3. Through the prophet Isaiah the Lord said, “Give ye ear, and hear My voice; hearken, and hear My speech. Doth the plowman plow all day to sow? doth he open and break the clods of his ground? When he hath made plain the face thereof, doth he not cast abroad the fitches, and scatter the cumin, and cast in the principal wheat and the appointed barley and the rye in their place? For his God doth instruct him to discretion, and doth teach him. CT 314.1

“For the fitches are not threshed with a threshing instrument, neither is a cart wheel turned about upon the cumin; but the fitches are beaten out with a staff, and the cumin with a rod. Bread corn is bruised; because he will not ever be threshing it, nor break it with the wheel of his cart, nor bruise it with his horsemen. This also cometh forth from the Lord of hosts, which is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working.” Isaiah 28:23-29. CT 314.2

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Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 92

“There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: but all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-12. AA 92.1

Solemn are the responsibilities resting upon those who are called to act as leaders in the church of God on earth. In the days of the theocracy, when Moses was endeavoring to carry alone burdens so heavy that he would soon have worn away under them, he was counseled by Jethro to plan for a wise distribution of responsibilities. “Be thou for the people to Godward,” Jethro advised, “that thou mayest bring the causes unto God: and thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt show them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.” Jethro further advised that men be appointed to act as “rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.” These were to be “able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness.” They were to “judge the people at all seasons,” thus relieving Moses of the wearing responsibility of giving consideration to many minor matters that could be dealt with wisely by consecrated helpers. AA 92.2

The time and strength of those who in the providence of God have been placed in leading positions of responsibility in the church, should be spent in dealing with the weightier matters demanding special wisdom and largeness of heart. It is not in the order of God that such men should be appealed to for the adjustment of minor matters that others are well qualified to handle. “Every great matter they shall bring unto thee,” Jethro proposed to Moses, “but every small matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee. If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee so, then thou shalt be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place in peace.” AA 93.1

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