These three chapters are the most critical chapters in the Bible in reference to spiritual gifts, and they are not actually primarily intended to teach about them. We tend to read the three chapters separately, especially because 1 Corinthians 13 is such a wonderful composition by itself. Chapter 12 is often treated as an essay on gifts, 13 on love, and 14 on order in the church service. But the three are intended to go together as a unit, and that unit fits into the overall theme of the book of 1 Corinthians.
Paul is dealing with the problems in the church at Corinth. They have become divided, and the main cause is spiritual pride based on various distinctions in the church. In these three chapters Paul talks first about unity, illustrated by the fact that all the gifts are needed, yet they are divided amongst the member of the church. The church needs to work together in order to make all the gifts available. Spirituality is determined not by which gift a member has, but rather by the fact that they work under the control of one spirit, the Holy Spirit.
The test for the Spirit at work is then covered in 1 Corinthians 13, which tells us about love. The one Spirit works in accordance with love. (I discussed this same test from another perspective in my post Complementarian Translation.) Chapter 14 continues this thought by showing how the gifts would display themselves in public worship in accordance with the principles already described.
In several posts following this one I’m going to present some notes on 1 Corinthians 12-14 and also on other passages related to the gifts of the Spirit. I won’t provide a directory here. To find all the posts look at category 1 Corinthians.
(Added May 17, 2018)