Paul writes the words in 1 Corinthians 12:2 to Christians who had formerly belonged to false religions.
At that time, they served images as their gods. Those images were just wood, stone or metal; they were not able to speak (Isaiah 44:9-11).
However, the people believed that they really did receive messages from their gods. They prayed and they gave gifts to the god. Then a strange spirit took control over the priest of that god. Often, the priest behaved in such a wild manner that the people were very afraid. Then with great authority, he declared a message that did not come from his own mind.
The people who followed such religions obeyed such messages completely. They served their gods as if they were slaves to those gods.
Everyone knows that a block of wood, metal or stone cannot speak (Isaiah 44:12-20). It cannot hear a prayer; it cannot rescue anyone from trouble. However, clearly something had power over the people who served the image. And something took control of their priests.
The Bible’s explanation is that evil spirits do these things (10:20-21). These evil spirits oppose Jesus (12:3). And they come from the devil.
On the other hand, the Holy Spirit comes from God. The Holy Spirit always gives honour to Jesus (12:3). And the Holy Spirit never does anything evil. His actions are completely good.
Next part: A test for evil spirits (1 Corinthians 12:3)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.