Paul wrote about the numerous gifts of the Spirit. He compared the Church to a physical body and explained that just as the body needs every part to function properly, each Church member can use the gifts of the Spirit to contribute to and strengthen the Church.
Display a picture of the following stone:
Invite a student to read aloud the inscription at the top of the stone. Explain that while President David O. McKay was serving a mission in Scotland, he saw this stone above the door of a building near Stirling Castle and was inspired by its message (see Francis M. Gibbons, David O. McKay: Apostle to the World, Prophet of God , 45).
Explain that each symbol in the nine squares of the stone represents a numerical value. Ask students to identify the numerical value of each shape. (From left to right, the symbols represent 5, 10, and 3 in the top row; 4, 6, and 8 in the middle row; and 9, 2, and 7 in the bottom row.)
What is the sum of the three numbers represented in the top row? the middle row? the bottom row?
Explain that the three numbers represented in any row, column, or diagonal line on this stone add up to 18. One reason these shapes may have been included with the phrase “What-E’er Thou Art Act Well Thy Part” is that if any of these shapes were rearranged or if their values changed, the rows and columns on the stone would no longer add up to 18 in every direction.
Invite students as they study 1 Corinthians 12 to consider how we as members of the Church are like the shapes on the stone.
Invite a student to read 1 Corinthians 12:7 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for why gifts of the Spirit are given to us. (If necessary, explain that “to profit withal” means for the common good of all Saints.)
What truth can we learn from the Apostle Paul about why gifts of the Spirit are given to Heavenly Father’s children? (Students may use different words but should identify a truth similar to the following: Gifts of the Spirit are given to benefit all of Heavenly Father’s children. Write this truth on the board.)
Invite a student to read 1 Corinthians 12:8–11 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the spiritual gifts Paul mentioned.
Invite students to report the spiritual gifts they discovered and the meaning of each gift. As needed, explain that “the word of wisdom” (verse 8) refers to good judgment and the appropriate application of knowledge; the “word of knowledge” (verse 8) refers to a knowledge of God and His laws; “discerning of spirits” (verse 10) refers to recognizing truth and untruth and perceiving the good and evil in others; and “divers kinds of tongues” (verse 10) refers to the ability to speak in foreign or unknown languages.
How can these spiritual gifts benefit God’s children?
Point out that the spiritual gifts mentioned specifically in the scriptures are only a few of the numerous gifts we can receive through the Spirit.
What other gifts could come to us through the Holy Ghost?
What spiritual gifts have you noticed in your family members, friends, and classmates?
What can we do to discover our spiritual gifts? (Ask Heavenly Father about them in prayer and receive and study our patriarchal blessings.)
Invite students to ponder the spiritual gifts they have been given and how they can benefit from them and use them to benefit others.
Ask four students to come to the board. Without letting the rest of the class hear, assign each of these students one of the following words: foot, hand, ear, and eye. Instruct each student to draw a picture of his or her word on the board, and ask the class to guess what each student is drawing. After the class correctly identifies each drawing, invite the students to return to their seats. Ask the class to consider how the feet, hands, ears, and eyes contribute to the work the body does.
Have you ever injured a minor body part, such as a finger, tooth, or toe? How did this minor injury affect even simple daily tasks?
Invite a student to read 1 Corinthians 12:12–14 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Paul compared the body and its parts to.
What did Paul compare the body and its parts to? (The Church of Jesus Christ and its members.)
Write the following scripture reference and question on the board:
Divide students into groups of two or three. Ask each group to read 1 Corinthians 12:15–22, 25–31 together, looking for ways in which Paul compared members of the Church to parts of the body. You may want to suggest that students look for what Paul taught about the body and its parts before identifying how he likened parts of the body to Church members. After sufficient time, ask students to report what they found.
Why do you think Paul discussed the roles of individual Church members right after he wrote about spiritual gifts?
What concerns might Church members today have that could be resolved by Paul’s teachings about Church members being like parts of the body?
What principle can we learn from Paul’s comparison of Church members to parts of the body? (Students may identify a variety of principles, but make sure they identify the following principle: As we use our unique spiritual gifts to serve others, we can strengthen the Church. Write this principle on the board.)
Refer to the picture of the stone displayed at the beginning of the lesson.
How are we as members of the Church like the different shapes on this stone? (We are each unique, and we play an important role wherever the Lord calls us to serve. As we combine our gifts and abilities to serve the Lord, the entire Church is blessed. What we do matters, and it can help accomplish the work of the Church.)
How have you seen your family; a seminary, Sunday School, Young Women, or priesthood class; or a ward or branch strengthened by the spiritual gifts of its members?
Ask students to ponder how they can use their spiritual gifts to strengthen the Church and bless the lives of others. Point out Paul’s counsel recorded in 1 Corinthians 12:31 to “covet earnestly the best gifts.” (Explain that covet in this verse means to “seek earnestly” [1 Corinthians 12:31, footnote a].)
What can we do to earnestly seek “the best gifts” of the Spirit (see also D&C 46:8–9)?
Express your testimony and gratitude for spiritual gifts, and encourage students to earnestly seek for and use their spiritual gifts to serve others and strengthen the Church.
Ask students to consider the following questions as they study the next unit: Why did the Apostle Paul mention baptism for the dead? Who will be resurrected? What glory awaits a resurrected being? Will all resurrected beings have the same glory? Invite students to think about what gives them hope, especially when they experience sorrow, setbacks, or tragedies. Explain that in the next unit they will learn doctrines and principles from Paul’s teachings to the Corinthian Saints that can bring them peace and hope.