12:4 many members in one body. There are three enumerations of the individualized gifts of the Holy Spirit in Paul’s epistles. See also I Corinthians 12:4-11 and Ephesians 4:11.
12:5 one body in Christ. All three listings of the gifts of the Spirit use the analogy of the body with its many members, indicating that all together comprise, in a spiritual sense, the body of Christ.
12:6 given to us. It is significant that the three listings of the gifts all differ from each other. This means that no listing is complete; in fact, some gifts were needed only for a time (e.g., that of being an apostle), and others would be needed in later periods of history. The Spirit would bestow particular gifts as needed (I Corinthians 12:7,11), not according to personal preference.
12:6 proportion of faith. “Proportion” (Greek analogia) is essentially a mathematical term. One with a prophetic gift (that is, ability to transmit divinely inspired messages) was to be able to use such a gift effectively in direct proportion to the strength of his faith.
12:7 ministry. “Ministry” (Greek diakonia, from which we get our word “deacon”) refers to “service” in the form of mundane “helps.” In contrast, there is priestly service (Romans 12:1) and also slave service (Romans 12:11).
12:7 teacheth. The only gifts included in all three listings (see note on Romans 12:4) are the gifts of prophecy and teaching. The gift of prophecy would eventually “cease” (I Corinthians 13:8), evidently when the New Testament was completed, but the gift of teaching would continue to be needed in every church in every age.