Q. I have a Question about 1st Cor. 12:3. I have a lot of associates who believe that because certain pastors say that Jesus is Lord, that they must be genuine because this verse says only by His spirit are you able to say that. Yet it is clear that some of these pastors, namely prosperity types, have nothing to do with the Lord at all. Can you explain this please, and other verses like it, so people won’t be deceived?
A. As the first verse of the chapter explains, 1 Cor. 12 is about spiritual gifts. By using the phrase “speaking by the Spirit of God” in verse 3, Paul was referring to speaking in tongues.
Apparently some Corinthian believers who didn’t have the gift of tongues were accusing those who did have the gift of pronouncing curses on Jesus. In effect Paul wrote that it’s impossible for someone speaking in tongues to be cursing Jesus because speaking in tongues is a gift of the Holy Spirit. He also said neither could anyone say Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit.
Obviously, any one can speak the words, “Jesus is Lord” in plain language whether they mean it or not, so Paul had to still be referring to those who were speaking in tongues. Your associates are basing their opinion on a misunderstanding of 1 Cor. 12:3.