on 1-corinthians 12 :8
Word of wisdom - In all these places I consider that the proper translation of λογος is doctrine, as in many other places of the New Testament. It is very difficult to say what is intended here by the different kinds of gifts mentioned by the apostle: they were probably all supernatural, and were necessary at that time only for the benefit of the Church. On the 8th, 9th, and 10th verses (1 Corinthians 12:8-10), much may be seen in Lightfoot, Whitby, Pearce, and others.
1. By doctrine of wisdom we may understand, as Bp. Pearce and Dr. Whitby observe, the mystery of our redemption, in which the wisdom of God was most eminently conspicuous: see 1 Corinthians 2:7, 1 Corinthians 2:10; and which is called the manifold wisdom of God, Ephesians 3:10. Christ, the great teacher of it, is called the wisdom of God, 1 Corinthians 1:24; and in him are said to be contained all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, Colossians 2:3. The apostles to whom this doctrine was committed are called σοφοι, wise men; (Matthew 23:34); and they are said to teach this Gospel according to the wisdom given them, 2 Peter 3:15.
2. By the doctrine of knowledge we may understand either a knowledge of the types, etc., in the Old Testament; or what are termed mysteries; the calling of the Gentiles, the recalling of the Jews, the mystery of iniquity, of the beast, etc., and especially the mystical sense or meaning of the Old Testament, with all its types, rites, ceremonies, etc., etc.
3. By faith, 1 Corinthians 12:9, we are to understand that miraculous faith by which they could remove mountains, 1 Corinthians 13:2; or a peculiar impulse, as Dr: Whitby calls it, that came upon the apostles when any difficult matter was to be performed, which inwardly assured them that God's power would assist them in the performance of it. Others think that justifying faith, received by means of Gospel teaching, is what is intended.
4. Gifts of healing simply refers to the power which at particular times the apostles received from the Holy Spirit to cure diseases; a power which was not always resident in them; for Paul could not cure Timothy, nor remove his own thorn in the flesh; because it was given only on extraordinary occasions, though perhaps more generally than many others.
5. The working of miracles, ενεργηματα δυναμεων, 1 Corinthians 12:10. This seems to refer to the same class as the operations, ενεργηματων, 1 Corinthians 12:6, as the words are the same; and to signify those powers by which they were enabled at particular times to work miraculously on others; ejecting demons, inflicting punishments or judgments, as in the cases mentioned under 1 Corinthians 12:6. It is a hendyadis for mighty operations.
6. Prophecy. This seems to import two things:
1st, the predicting future events, such as then particularly concerned the state of the Church and the apostles; as the dearth foretold by Agabus, Acts 11:28; and the binding of St. Paul, and delivering him to the Romans, Acts 21:10, etc.; and St. Paul's foretelling his own shipwreck on Malta, Acts 27:25, etc. And
2ndly, as implying the faculty of teaching or expounding the Scriptures, which is also a common acceptation of the word.
7. Discerning of spirits. A gift by which the person so privileged could discern a false miracle from a true one; or a pretender to inspiration from him who was made really partaker of the Holy Ghost. It probably extended also to the discernment of false professors from true ones, as appears in Peter in the case of Ananias and his wife.
8. Divers kinds of tongues. Γενη γλωσσων, Different languages, which they had never learned, and which God gave them for the immediate instruction of people of different countries who attended their ministry.
9. Interpretation of tongues. It was necessary that while one was speaking the deep things of God in a company where several were present who did not understand, though the majority did, there should be a person who could immediately interpret what was said to that part of the congregation that did not understand the language. This power to interpret was also an immediate gift of God's Spirit, and is classed here among the miracles.
on 1-corinthians 12 :8
For to one is given - In order to show what endowments he refers to, the apostle here particularizes the various gifts which the Holy Spirit imparts in the church.
By the Spirit - By the Holy Spirit; by his agency on the mind and heart.
The word of wisdom - One he has endowed with wisdom, or has made distinguished for wise, and prudent, and comprehensive views of the scheme of redemption, and with a faculty of clearly explaining it to the apprehension of people. It is not certain that the apostle meant to say that this was the most important or most elevated endowment because he places it first in order. His design does not seem to be to observe the order of importance and value, but to state, as it occurred to him, the fact that these various endowments had been conferred on different people in the church. The sense is, that one man would be prominent and distinguished as a wise man - a prudent counsellor, instructor, and adviser.
To another the word of knowledge - Another would be distinguished for knowledge. He would be learned; would have a clear view of the plan of salvation, and of the doctrines and duties of religion. The same variety is observed in the ministry at all times. One man is eminent as a wise man; another as a man of intelligence and knowledge; and both may be equally useful in their place in the church.
By the same Spirit - All is to be traced to the same Spirit; all, therefore, may be really useful and necessary; and the one should not pride himself in his endowments above the other.
on 1-corinthians 12 :8
12:8 The word of wisdom - A power of understanding and explaining the manifold wisdom of God in the grand scheme of gospel salvation. The word of knowledge - Perhaps an extraordinary ability to understand and explain the Old Testament types and prophecies.