“Unit 22, Day 4: 1 Corinthians 12–14,” New Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2016)
“Unit 22, Day 4,” New Testament Study Guide
The Apostle Paul wrote about the many gifts of the Spirit. He compared the Church to a physical body and explained that just as the body needs each part in order to function properly, the Church needs each Church member to use his or her own gifts of the Spirit to contribute to and strengthen it. Paul counseled the Saints to seek charity and the spiritual gift of prophecy.
Read the following statements, and circle the one you think is more accurate:
A testimony is earned.
A testimony is a gift.
Explain your answer:
As you study 1 Corinthians 12, look for a principle that will help you know how to obtain a strong personal testimony of Jesus Christ and His gospel.
In 1 Corinthians 12:1–2 we read that the Apostle Paul wanted to teach the Church members in Corinth about spiritual gifts.
Read 1 Corinthians 12:3, looking for how we can know for ourselves that Jesus is the Lord and Savior. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that the word say in 1 Corinthians 12:3 should be understood as know (see History of the Church, 4:602–3).
Using what you have learned from 1 Corinthians 12:3, complete the following truth: Only through the can we obtain a personal testimony that Jesus Christ is our Savior.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency taught about our need to receive a personal testimony:
“A testimony is a most precious possession because it is not acquired by logic or reason alone, it cannot be purchased with earthly possessions, and it cannot be given as a present or inherited from our ancestors. We cannot depend on the testimonies of other people. We need to know for ourselves. President Gordon B. Hinckley said, ‘Every Latter-day Saint has the responsibility to know for himself or herself with a certainty beyond doubt that Jesus is the resurrected, living Son of the living God’ (‘Fear Not to Do Good,’ Ensign, May 1983, 80). …
“We receive this testimony when the Holy Spirit speaks to the spirit within us. We will receive a calm and unwavering certainty that will be the source of our testimony and conviction” (“The Power of a Personal Testimony,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2006, 38).
- Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
Why is it important to understand that a testimony of Jesus Christ comes only through the Holy Ghost?
What can we do to invite the Holy Ghost into our lives and receive that testimony?
As recorded in 1 Corinthians 12:4–31, Paul taught the Saints in Corinth that numerous spiritual gifts are given to benefit all of Heavenly Father’s children and to help Church members serve each other. Gifts of the Spirit are blessings or abilities given by the Holy Ghost, and God gives at least one gift to every member of the Church (see D&C 46:11). Paul compared the Church to a physical body. Just as each body part is needed for the body to function properly, each Church member can use his or her spiritual gifts to contribute to and strengthen the Church. For this intent, Paul counseled the Saints to “covet [or seek] earnestly the best gifts” (1 Corinthians 12:31).
Read the following scenarios, and consider what harmful effects can result from these attitudes and behaviors.
You frequently get annoyed and upset by a sibling’s behavior.
A classmate is rude to you, so you feel justified in being rude back.
You feel envious of a friend’s talents and accomplishments.
Sometimes you find it easy to gossip and speak badly about others in your priesthood quorum or Young Women class.
As you study 1 Corinthians 13, look for truths that can help you avoid attitudes and behaviors that can disrupt your personal happiness and positive relationships with others.
Read 1 Corinthians 13:1–3, looking for an attribute and gift of the Spirit that Paul praised highly.
Charity is “the highest, noblest, strongest kind of love, not merely affection” (Bible Dictionary, “Charity”).
Notice in these verses how the Apostle Paul described those who have other spiritual gifts but do not have charity (see also D&C 88:125).
The phrases “sounding brass” and “a tinkling cymbal” in verse 1 refer to instruments that make loud sounds. In the context of 1 Corinthians 13:1, these phrases can signify speaking words that are empty or meaningless when the speaker is not motivated by charity.
Paul described qualities and characteristics of charity to help the Corinthian Saints better understand this gift. Read 1 Corinthians 13:4–8, looking for Paul’s descriptions of charity. You might consider marking what you find.
Consider the following explanations of phrases that may be difficult to understand: The phrase “suffereth long” (verse 4) describes someone who endures trials patiently. “Envieth not” (verse 4) describes someone who is not jealous of others. “Vaunteth not itself” (verse 4) describes someone who is not boastful. “Not puffed up” (verse 4) describes the quality of being humble. “Doth not behave itself unseemly” (verse 5) describes someone who is not rude or inconsiderate. “Seeketh not her own” (verse 5) describes the quality of putting God and others before self. “Not easily provoked” (verse 5) describes someone who is not angered easily. “Believeth all things” (verse 7) describes someone who accepts all truth.
Whose life is an example of all of these attributes of charity Paul described?
- Choose two or three descriptions of charity from 1 Corinthians 13:4–8. In your scripture study journal, explain how they describe Jesus Christ, and provide an example from His life for each description you chose.
One truth we can learn from 1 Corinthians 13:4–8 is that as we seek to obtain the spiritual gift of charity, we become more like our Savior, Jesus Christ.
What do you think it means in verse 8 that “charity never faileth”?
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles described one way that charity never fails: “Life has its share of fears and failures. Sometimes things fall short. Sometimes people fail us, or economies or businesses or governments fail us. But one thing in time or eternity does not fail us—the pure love of Christ” (Christ and the New Covenant , 337).
In 1 Corinthians 13:9–12 we read what Paul taught about why the spiritual gifts of knowledge and prophecy would eventually vanish. Paul observed that the knowledge available in this life is incomplete and that we will gain a perfect knowledge in eternity.
Read 1 Corinthians 13:13, looking for three gifts of the Spirit that Paul taught would abide, meaning to endure or remain constant.
Based on 1 Corinthians 13:13, complete the following truth: ____________________ is the greatest gift of the Spirit.
Why do you think charity is the greatest gift of the Spirit?
How do we obtain this and other spiritual gifts? According to Mormon, upon whom does Heavenly Father bestow the gift of charity?
- Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
How can having charity improve our relationships with family, friends, and peers?
When have you witnessed charity in the way someone treated you or others?
Which of the attributes of charity listed in 1 Corinthians 13:4–7 do you feel are most difficult for you to have? Why? Write a goal regarding what you will do to follow after and obtain the gift of charity.
In 1 Corinthians 14:1–3 Paul counseled the Saints to seek the gift of prophesy. He said that the gift of prophesy edifies, or instructs, others more than the gift of tongues does.
“A prophecy consists of divinely inspired words or writings, which a person receives through revelation from the Holy Ghost. The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy (Rev. 19:10). … When a person prophesies, he speaks or writes that which God wants him to know, for his own good or the good of others” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Prophecy, Prophesy,” scriptures.lds.org).
Consider when someone’s teaching or testimony instructed, encouraged, or comforted you.
In 1 Corinthians 14:4–40, Paul cautioned the Corinthian Saints about the gift of speaking in tongues. He warned that if used improperly, the gift of tongues would fail to edify the Church and would distract members from seeking better spiritual gifts. Paul also taught that “God is not the author of confusion” (1 Corinthians 14:33) and that all things in the Church should be done with proper order.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied 1 Corinthians 12–14 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: