1 Corinthians | 1-5 | 6 | 7:1-16 | 7:17-40 | 8 | 9:1-18 | 10:1-13 | 10:14-33 | 11:1-16 | 11:17-34 | 12:1-11 | 12:12-30 | 14 | 15:1-28 | 15:29-58 | 16 |

These small group studies of 1 Corinthians contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications.  Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.

1 Corinthians 12:1-11 Inductive Bible Study and Discussion Questions

Outline: Spiritual Gifts

  1. The problem manifested in the Corinthian church (1-3)
  2. a)Ignorance (1)
  3. b)Deceived (2)
  4. c)Blasphemy (3)
  5. Teaching on the gifts (4-7)
  6. a)Many gifts; One Giver (4)
  7. b)Many areas to serve; One Master (5)
  8. c)Many outlets for the gifts; One God (6)
  9. d)Many people; One goal (7)

III.              Specific gifts (8-11)

  1. a)Word of wisdom (8a)
  2. b)Word of knowledge (8b)
  3. c)Special faith (9a)
  4. d)Healing (9b)
  5. e)Miracles (10a)
  6. f)Prophecy (10b)
  7. g)Distinguishing spirits (10c)
  8. h)Tongues (10d)
  9. i)Interpretation of tongues (10e)
  10. j)One Spirit who is the Giver and the one to receive the glory (11)

Discussion Questions:

Why did Paul write to the Corinthian church about spiritual gifts?

What seemed to be their problem?

What are spiritual gifts? Are they special talents and skills? Can anything be included like fixing computer skill or good singing ability skill?

Where do the gifts come from? Why is this fact so important?

Who receives them?

What is the purpose of these gifts? What are we to use them for?

Is it important to try to find out your gift? Should we try to discover our gift? If we don’t, how will we know we are using it?

What should you do to ensure that you are actually using your gift for the building up of the body?

If you think you know your gift, what should you do?

What is the “word of wisdom”? How would one use this gift? Is it still alive today?

What is the “word of knowledge”? How is it different than “word of wisdom”? How would one use this gift? Is it still alive today?

What is the “faith”? Doesn’t every believer have faith? What is the difference? How would one use this gift? Is it still alive today?

What is the “gifts of healing”? What kind of healing? How would one use this gift? Is it still alive today?

What is the “effecting of miracles”? How would one use this gift? Is it still alive today?

What is the “prophecy”? How would one use this gift? Is it still alive today?

What is the “distinguishing of spirits”? How would one use this gift? Is it still alive today?

What is the “various kinds of tongues”? How would one use this gift? Is it still alive today?

What is the “interpretation of tongues? How would one use this gift? Is it still alive today?


Romans 12:3-8 – Gifts passage.

Ephesians 4:11-16 – Gifts passage.

1 John 4:1-3 – Method of distinguishing true spirits from false ones. If one says Jesus is from God, true. If not, false.

Matthew 16:16-17 – Peter accepted Jesus as Lord because the Father revealed it to Him.

Galatians 1:8-9 – Let the one preaching a false gospel be eternally condemned.

1 Peter 4:10-11 – Be a good steward of the gifts God has given.

1 Corinthians 12:27-31 – Gifts mentioned again.

Philippians 2:13 – God works in us for His good pleasure.

Acts 6:10- The wisdom of Stephen.

2 Peter 3:15 – The wisdom of Paul.

Proverbs 2:6 – The Lord gives wisdom. Wisdom mentioned 156 times in Proverbs.

Colossians 2:2-3 – Wisdom and knowledge. Knowing the mysteries of God.

Matthew 17:20 – Faith that can move mountains.

Luke 7:1-9 – The centurion exercised a great and special faith.

2 Corinthians 12:12 – Healings were a special gift belonging to the apostles to prove them.

Philippians 2:27, 1 Timothy 5:23, 2 Timothy 4:20 – Examples that even at that time healings were not always performed.

Hebrews 11:1-2 – God has spoken in different times and in different ways, but now speaks through His Son.

John 2:11- Miracle done to manifest Christ’s glory.

Acts 2:22 – The miracles Jesus did attested to the fact that He was from God.

1 Corinthians 14:3 – Prophecy to edify and exhort.

Acts 2:5-12 – The real gift of tongues, real languages.

Verse by Verse Commentary:


In that day there were a lot of counterfeit gifts going around from the occult. Satan has always been one to mimic the real thing, twisting it and abusing it for his own purposes. The two most common of these included ecstasy and enthusiasm. Ecstasy was a kind of almost hypnotic frenzy where through sensuous and frenzied hypnotic chants one thought he was communicating with the divine. It was deemed a super spiritual practice and often confused with tongues. This has its roots in false religion and demonic activity. Enthusiasm involved dreams, visions, etc. The basic problem was that in the church many accepted anything that appeared to be a miracle or supernatural as automatically good and worthy to try. But they were ignorant and didn’t know they should test the things that were going on or how to test them.

From the beginning of the book we remember that they lacked no spiritual gift. They were gifted spiritually, but they were abusing their gifts. The first problem was that they were ignorant. Satan is prowling around like a roaring like seeking someone to devour. If someone is ignorant of the truth, they are in danger. Imagine a deer who cannot recognize a lion. Bye bye deer. If the Corinthians did not even know the truth about spiritual gifts, then they wouldn’t know how to use them correctly. This was one of the first epistles, so though I’m sure Paul had taught them something, they didn’t have the benefit of a complete Bible yet. They may have had some excuse for being unaware. But we have absolutely none. We need to know the truth so that we can properly serve God. In Timothy we know that we need to rightly divide the Word.

Their second problem was that they seemed to be easily deceived. When they were unbelievers they had been led aside to idol worship and the occult and pagan practices that were so prevalent in that area. Unfortunately after they believed, a number of these practices carried over to church practice, though some in different forms. We see throughout the book that a big problem for the Corinthian church was imitating the world around them and getting sucked into it instead of truly being set apart. In chapter 14 we learn of some of their abuses of the practice of tongues and it is pretty clear that counterfeit gifts were creeping into the church and leading many astray. Today it happens too. There are countless stories of fake healings, fake tongues, as well as rolling in the aisles, acting like dogs and cats, etc. How can we prevent being led astray?

  1. Know the truth.
  2. Evaluate everything by the Scripture. Don’t just accept something because a church teaches it or is practicing it or it is common.

Verse 3: The abuse of the gifts was to such an extent that in moments of ecstasy people were actually blaspheming the Lord. It was clear that demons were responsible and using these moments of ecstasy as a way to mislead church members and wreak havoc spiritually. See cross-references in 1 John. The truth is always a measure of what is right and wrong. If things appear good and seem to work, but are untrue, they are not good. What areas could this be applied to today? Preachers. No matter how smooth and polished they are, if they don’t teach the word we should not listen to them.


In this section we learn about the source of gifts and purpose of gifts. The source is not people and certainly not demons. The source is the Holy Spirit, Jesus, God the Father. In short, the Trinity. If He is the source they are also for Him and always to be conducted in accordance with His will and in His way. These gifts are supernaturally bestowed on believers. There are three general categories of gifts, verbal, serving, and sign gifts. The verbal gifts are for the purpose of speaking to edify the church such as teaching, preaching, prophecy, knowledge, wisdom, etc. Serving gifts include things such as leadership, giving, mercy, faith, and discernment. The sign gifts included miracles, healing, tongues, and interpretation of tongues. So there all kinds of gifts and perhaps even combinations of gifts, but the same God gave all of them. Therefore there is no basis for pride that one’s gift is better than another person’s. Later in the chapter it shows that every gift and every believer is vital and has a distinct and important role to fill.

Although there are many gifts, the purpose of all the gifts is the same. That is the common good. They are for the building up of the body so that the body can better glorify the Lord and reach the world for Him. Review questions and cross-references.

This is a good reminder for all of us.

  1. We need to be unified.
  2. We have the same goal and need to be working for it.
  3. You have a special gift from the Lord.
  4. You should be using your special gift by actively serving others.

Are you using your gift? Are you actively serving others? Are you concerned about the common good?


What phrase repeats again and again.

In focusing on each spiritual gift and what it is, I almost looked over this repeated phrase. The fact that it is repeated again and again shows that it is very important and perhaps the main theme for this whole section. It is “Spirit” or “same Spirit”. The point is that The Spirit is the source of all spiritual gifts. It is a reminder of our unity in the Spirit, but also our diversity. Not everyone will do exactly what you do in the church. Not everyone will have this gift. Not everyone will have this calling. Not everyone has to do what you are doing to follow the Lord. As teachers, evangelists, disicplers, we have a tendency to think everyone should be doing this. But from Scripture, it is clear, not everyone has this gift or calling. God has different tasks for different people and we need to understand and accept that. We need to recognize the value of others’ contributions and not think we are doing the only thing valuable. It’s like marriage. The husband and wife have different roles, but they are both valuable and important.

Word of wisdom – Ability to understand God’s Word and His will, and to skillfully apply that understanding to life.

Word of knowledge – Ability to understand and speak God’s truth, with insight into mysteries of His Word.

Knowledge majors on grasping the meaning of truth, while wisdom majors on applying that to practical real-life situations in the proper way.

Faith – This would not be a saving faith or a persevering faith as every believer has that. But rather it is a kind of especially strong faith that places complete confidence in God no matter what the circumstance. Very likely guys like Hudson Taylor and George Muller had this gift.