“I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 1:4-8)

In some churches today what is valued are things such as leaders who possess personal charisma, flashy media presentations, elaborate programs and music, and emotional and eloquent preaching. Paul wrote this epistle to correct similar errors and problems which had arisen among the Christians in Corinth. Because these brethren were primarily Greeks converted from paganism their cultural background and upbringing still had a perverse influence on them. This resulted in an overemphasis on the showy spiritual gifts of words of utterance or knowledge and speaking in tongues as well as a predilection for wisdom, demonstrated by dynamic and eloquent preaching. These were considered marks of super spirituality, indications that they had already achieved perfection. But the Corinthian brethren were far from perfect.

Nevertheless Paul opened his epistle not with words of reproof but with words of praise. He commended the saints at Corinth for their faith and zeal manifested especially in their passionate exercise of spiritual gifts. Such zeal in the cause of the Kingdom of God is necessary when witnessing for the gospel of salvation in Christ Jesus. If we are convinced of the truth of the gospel, if we are thankful for the grace of God in our lives, if we passionately love the Lord Jesus who died for us, if we eagerly await His return, we too, as imperfect as we are, will have such zeal in the exercise of our spiritual gifts and talents. For it is the Lord who works in and through us.