4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone (1 Cor. 12:4-6).
I’d like to note what Paul is not teaching here. First, Paul is not talking about three kinds of works of the Spirit—gifts, service, and activities. The context deals with the gifts of the Spirit. The “gifts,” “service,” and “activities” are synonymous. The words refer to one kind of work of the Spirit—the empowering of spiritual abilities in the body of Christ.
Second, Paul is not saying that the job of the Spirit is only with the gifts; that the job of the Lord is only with service; and that the job of God is only with the activities. Rather, he is saying that the different gifts come from one single source—God. Earlier, he wrote, “There is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist” (1 Cor. 8:6).
Paul used the word “same” for “the same Spirit” in v. 4, “the same Lord” in v. 5, and “the same God” in v. 6. The emphasis is on the different gifts coming from the same God. The Corinthian Christians used to be “pagans.” “You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led” (v. 2). They believed in different kinds of gods. They served different idols. Paul had to tell them that these gifts come from one and the same God.