Paul taught the Corinthian Saints the principle of unity by telling them about the gifts of the Spirit. He told them that God gives us these gifts not only to bless our individual lives but also to give us the opportunity to bless one another (see 1 Corinthians 12:1–12). Every gift of the Spirit comes from the same source, the Holy Ghost. Paul compared these gifts to the parts of the body. Each part works independently but in a common cause. Likewise, the Saints were to use their gifts to benefit one another and be as one. Paul taught that of the spiritual gifts of faith, hope, and charity, the greatest is charity. He reminded the Saints that if they did not have charity, the other gifts would be of no value.
Prayerfully study 1 Corinthians 12–14and consider the following principles before preparing your lessons.
Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For
The knowledge that Jesus is the Christ comes by revelation through the Holy Ghost (see 1 Corinthians 12:1–3).
There are many gifts of the Spirit given to bless the Saints (see 1 Corinthians 12:4–31).
The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, 294–99.
Suggestions for Teaching
Choose from the following ideas, or use some of your own, as you prepare lessons for 1 Corinthians 12–14.
1 Corinthians 12–14. The Holy Ghost reveals and testifies that Jesus is the Christ; this is the spirit of prophecy. The Holy Ghost also blesses our lives through other gifts of the Spirit.
Invite a student to play a song on the piano or some other musical instrument using only one key or note. Or have a student write a sentence on the board using a single word. Have students read 1 Corinthians 12:1–4, and ask:
What is described in this scripture that can be compared to the keys of a piano or the words of a sentence?
According to verse 3, what important knowledge comes as a gift of the Spirit?
What are some of the other gifts of the Spirit?
Make a list of spiritual gifts.
Determine why the gifts are given.
Determine whether all people may receive at least one gift.
List as many examples as they can of people being blessed with spiritual gifts.
Have each group report, and compare and discuss their findings. Ask students why they think the gifts are explained in such detail in three different books of scripture.
Ask: Are there other gifts besides those listed in these scriptures? Read the following statement by Elder Marvin J. Ashton, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve:
“Let us review some of these less-conspicuous gifts: the gift of asking; the gift of listening; the gift of hearing and using a still, small voice; the gift of being able to weep; the gift of avoiding contention; the gift of being agreeable; the gift of avoiding vain repetition; the gift of seeking that which is righteous; the gift of not passing judgment; the gift of looking to God for guidance; the gift of being a disciple; the gift of caring for others; the gift of being able to ponder; the gift of offering prayer; the gift of bearing a mighty testimony; and the gift of receiving the Holy Ghost” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1987, 23; or Ensign, Nov. 1987, 20).
Ask: Are all the gifts equally useful? Show students an item or toy that is powered by batteries. Demonstrate how it works. Remove the batteries and show that now it will not work. Have students read 1 Corinthians 13:1–3looking for what gives validity to exercising spiritual gifts. Ask:
How is charity like a battery?
Why do you think charity is a most important gift of the Spirit?
Invite students to read 1 Corinthians 13:4–7and list the seven elements that describe how charity is manifest and the eight elements that describe what charity is not. Ask: How would your lives change if these elements of charity were part of your nature?
Read the definition of charity in the (Bible Dictionary (p. 632) and the following statement by Elder Bruce R. McConkie:
“Above all the attributes of godliness and perfection, charity is the one most devoutly to be desired. Charity is more than love, far more; it is everlasting love, perfect love, the pure love of Christ which endureth forever. It is love so centered in righteousness that the possessor has no aim or desire except for the eternal welfare of his own soul and for the souls of those around him” (Mormon Doctrine, 121).
If all the law and the prophets hang on two commandments, what is the relationship between the scriptures and charity?
Read Moroni 7:46–48. How does Mormon describe charity?
According to him, how do we obtain charity?
Point out to students that praying for charity is like praying for other blessings—we must also work hard to receive this blessing. Ask: What else can we do to develop charity? (Answers might include giving service, sacrificing for others, and obeying the commandments; see 1 John 5:2–3.)
Read 1 Corinthians 13:8–13and ask: How is developing charity like growing up from childhood? Encourage students to seek after charity, the most important of all the gifts of the Spirit.
1 Corinthians 12:13–31. Every member of the Church is important to the Lord and His Church.
Place on a table or other solid surface a small pile of pencil shavings or dry dirt. Invite a student to come forward, and give the student a single straw from a broom to sweep up the pile. Ask:
How is your broom working?
How long will it take to finish the job?
What would help?
Hand the student a real broom to finish the work. List the different parts of a broom. (Handle, stitches, strands of straw.) Ask:
How important are the different parts of the broom for doing the work?
Read 1 Corinthians 12:13–18. What did Paul compare to Church members?
To what parts of the body did he refer?
Which parts would we want to do without? Why?
What was Paul teaching? (see D&C 84:109–110).
How does this teaching compare to the broom?
Read 1 Corinthians 12:19–23and ask: Who is Paul referring to when he speaks of parts that are considered more feeble or less honorable or comely? (Perhaps those who feel useless or inadequate in the Church, or those whose duty may be of little notice.) Read this statement by President Gordon B. Hinckley:
“This church does not belong to its President. Its head is the Lord Jesus Christ, whose name each of us has taken upon ourselves. We are all in this great endeavor together. We are here to assist our Father in His work and His glory, ‘to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man’ (Moses 1:39). Your obligation is as serious in your sphere of responsibility as is my obligation in my sphere. No calling in this church is small or of little consequence. All of us in the pursuit of our duty touch the lives of others. To each of us in our respective responsibilities the Lord has said:
“‘Wherefore, be faithful; stand in the office which I have appointed unto you; succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees’ (D&C 81:5)” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1995, 94; or Ensign, May 1995, 71).
Have students read 1 Corinthians 12:24–27. Have each student write a letter giving counsel to an imaginary friend who has confided feeling insignificant at church. Collect the letters and share some of them.