Diversity and Sameness
1 Corinthians 12:4-6
Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.…

Although conversion is identical in every case, yet afterwards there are spiritual gifts which vary according to individual capacity and character, but they all come from the one Spirit. There are varieties of ministration in which those spiritual gifts are employed, and the same Lord is served by these various ministries. Nature shows us the diversified forms and expressions of the common life. Science admits the diversity, and seeks to recognize the one great principle, the life, that lies within them all. The diversity lies in the expression in our human spheres. The sameness lies in the source, for all things are of God.


1. Diversities in endowments, or "gifts." Meyer's division of the early Christian gifts is suggestive.

(1) Gifts which have reference to intellectual power: divided into

(a) the word of wisdom;

(b) the word of knowledge.

(2) Gifts which depend upon special energy of faith: divided into

(a) the faith itself;

(b) operating in deeds, healings, miracles;

(c) operating in words, as in prophetic utterances;

(d) operating in distinguishing true and false spirits.

(3) Gifts which relate to tongues: divided into

(a) speaking with tongues;

(b) interpreting tongues.

2. Diversities in the service required, or in "ministrations" (margin, ministeries), that is, forms in which service may be rendered to Christ and his members by his disciples.

3. Diversities in the modes of fulfilling the service, or in the ways in which individual character and ability may find expression in carrying out various Christian duties. If many Christian men are engaged in the same form of service, each one will impress his individuality upon his method of doing it. No two workmen work exactly alike. In Christ's Church there is full, free room for all kinds of diversity and variety. No man's personal peculiarities need be crushed; all may be of use; only each man must see to it that the expression of his individuality, and the use of his gift, do not become in any way a hindrance or an offence to his fellow workers. Diversity is fully compatible with harmony and unity.

II. SAMENESS IN THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH. There is one source of all Christian gifts; one president over the using of all Christian gifts; and one end to be served by the employment of all Christian gifts. "The unity of the source is strongly insisted upon, to put an end to the mutual jealousy of the Corinthians. And it is remarkable that each person in the blessed Trinity is introduced to emphasize the argument, and in contrary order (as Estius remarks), in order to lead us step by step to the one Source of all. First, the Spirit, who bestows the 'gifts' on the believer. Next, the Lord, to whom men render service in his Church. Lastly, God the Father, from whom all proceeds, whose are all the works which are done to him and in his name." The following, points may be illustrated - There is sameness

(1) in the distributer of gifts;

(2) in the purpose contemplated by the distribution;

(3) in the grace ready for those who are using the gifts;

(4) and in the dependence of every one who has a gift upon the aid and leading of the Divine Spirit.

Impress that the whole attention of the Christian should be occupied with the one motive and the one source of inspiration. All other motives and inspirations can but fulfil - can but be modes of operation for the one great motive and inspiration, which is that the Spirit of God dwelleth in us sealing us as Christ's, teaching us all truth, and leading us in all duty. - R.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

WEB: Now there are various kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.

Diversities of Gifts in the Church
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