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THEOLOGY

A Theological Pilgrimage: Chapter 15

By Dr. J. Rodman Williams
Theologian

Chapters: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | Conclusion
Preface | Abbreviations | Bibliography



Chapter Fifteen

THE GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THEIR APPLICATION TO THE CONTEMPORARY CHURCH

I. Introduction - Divine Gifts

There are various gifts that God makes available to the church. Let us note three basic categories.

A. Domata- -Ephesians 4:8, 11-12- -gifts of the ascended Christ for the equipping of the church- -ministries.

B. Charismata- -Romans 12:4-8- -functional gifts of God's grace- -also broadly stewardship gifts- -1 Peter 4:10-11.

C. Pneumatic (spiritual) charismata- -dynamic, manifestational gifts of the Holy Spirit- -1 Corinthians 12:1-11. They are listed as: word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, miracles, prophecy, distinguishing of spirits, tongues, and interpretation of tongues (vv. 8-10).

Only the last category is designated as spiritual gifts- -"Now concerning spiritual gifts" (1 Cor. 12:1)- -although all are essential to the life of the church (also see 1 Cor. 12:27 for a mix of the various gifts [there labeled "appointments"]). The need is great for all the gifts in all categories to be operational.

The most New Testament information is to be found in regard to the pneumatic charismata. 1 Corinthians 12-14 are devoted to this subject. Despite the broad range of information, there are wide differences today of opinion, interpretation, and exercise. My concern corresponds to Paul's continuing words, "Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware"1 (or, perhaps better, "uninformed" RSV). So let us seek to follow some of Paul's teaching in 1 Corinthians 12-14.

II. Context

A. The Fullness of Gifts- -1 Corinthians 1:4-7- -"In everything you were enriched in Him...so that you are not lacking in any [spiritual] gift." The Corinthians were exercising the spiritual gifts. Hence Paul's teaching is not addressed to inexperienced people! It was a church laden with spiritual gifts.

The Corinthians had the gifts of the Spirit in abundance- -the opposite of what is found in many of our churches today. For the church in Corinth- -as Paul's letter later shows- -it was a matter of propriety and order. Because of the abundance of gifts, they could hardly restrain themselves- -all wanting to prophesy, all speak in tongues (see chap. 14)- -so much so that there was confusion. Paul felt constrained to write that "God is not a God of confusion but of peace" (14:33), and his final words were: "But let all things be done properly and in an orderly manner" (v. 40).

B. The Outpouring of the Holy Spirit- -1 Corinthians 12:13- -"For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body...and we were all made to drink of one Spirit" (or "one Holy Spirit poured out for us all to drink" NEB). According to one early Christian writer, the Corinthians had experienced "a full outpouring of the Holy Spirit."2

This language suggests a Pentecostal outpouring. Here we recall the Pentecostal fulfillment of the prophet Joel's words, quoted by Peter, "I will pour forth My Spirit upon all mankind; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy" (Acts 2:17; cf. Joel 2:28); also Peter's words, "He [Christ] has poured forth this which you both see and hear" (Acts 2:33). As a result of this outpouring, there was prophesying, also tongues (Acts 2:4)- -both gifts of the Holy Spirit as described by Paul in 1 Corinthians 12-14.

Here we need to begin with basics: Has any given church, or Christian community, and individual members experienced this outpouring? If no outpouring, there can be little understanding or activity in regard to the gifts. If the outpouring has occurred and continues to occur, the gifts may be present in abundance.

C. Pentecostal Experience

All of this leads to a stress on the importance of the Pentecostal experience of the gift of the Holy Spirit. In his message on the Day of Pentecost Peter not only proclaimed the way of salvation, "Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins," but he also added: "And you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38). Then Peter extends the promise of this outpoured gift to future generations: "For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God shall call to Himself" (v. 39). To all who are effectually called to God (hence, are saved), the promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit is extended.

In Acts the language often simply is that of receiving the Holy Spirit. See Acts 8:17- -"they [the Samaritans] were receiving the Holy Spirit"; 10:44- -"[they] [the Caesareans] received the Holy Spirit just a we did"; 19:12- -"Did you [Ephesians] receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" The question in 19:2 points to the importance of the matter- -and Paul later laid his hands upon the Ephesians for the reception to occur.

The Corinthians had received the gift of the Holy Spirit. This is stated indirectly in 2 Corinthians 11:4- -"If you receive a spirit different from the Spirit already given to you" (REB). Their reception of the gift of the Holy Spirit was context for the occurrence of spiritual gifts.

So again the Pentecostal experience- -however described- -is basic to the full operation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

III. Background

A. The Lordship of Christ

Behind the operation of the spiritual gifts is the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Although the charismata are pneumatic, hence operations of the Holy Spirit, they are all derived from Jesus the exalted Lord. It is through His Lordship, recognized and affirmed, that the gifts of the Holy Spirit become a reality.

Paul states, in 1 Corinthians 12, that the community moving in the Spirit is one that declares "Jesus is Lord" (v. 3). Those who affirm and continue to affirm His Lordship are those to whom the Holy Spirit distributes His gifts. The focus of the Spirit-filled community is not the Spirit but the exalted Lord. For it is Christ the Lord who acts in the Spirit to multiply these gifts. Through the pneumatic gifts He makes known depths of wisdom and knowledge, performs mighty deeds of healing and deliverance, indeed works miracles of many kinds.

To say "Jesus is Lord" is far more than a verbal declaration. It is to be uttered, Paul adds, "by [or 'in'] the Spirit" (12:3). In other words, it is a profound expression of worship and praise3 that prepares the way for all the gifts to flow. Truly there is no place so full of anticipation and excitement as that in which the Lord Jesus is glorified.

The Lordship of Christ affirmed in the Spirit is the primary background for the operation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

B. The Triune God

This leads to the next important matter, namely, that of recognizing the activity of the Triune God. Paul writes: "There are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. And there are varieties of effects ['workings' NIV], but the same God who works all things in all persons" (1 Cor. 12:4-6).

This means, first, that whatever the variety of gifts, ministries, and workings, it is the same Holy Spirit, the same Lord Jesus, the same God at work in each. There is diversity but at the same time unity. Separation, division, factionalism- -any playing off of one activity against another- -cannot be of God. Second, although there is no simple identification of gifts, ministries, and workings,4 the Triune God is at work in and through all of them. There is no gift that is not a ministry, no ministry that is not an operation or working, and the same God- -Father, Son, and Holy Spirit- -is in them all. Third, this means that while the spiritual gifts are primarily expressions of the Holy Spirit, they have behind them the full weight of the Triune God.

Accordingly, a community moving in the gifts of the Holy Spirit is Trinitarian in its fundamental orientation and lifestyle. Just as the focus is not the Holy Spirit but Christ (as previously discussed), so the total operation is not that of the Holy Spirit but the Triune God. To be truly pneumatic is to be both Christocentric and Trinitarian.

C. The Manifestation of the Holy Spirit

The final and most immediate background for the spiritual gifts is "the manifestation of the Spirit" (1 Cor. 12:7). Through the pneumatic charismata the Holy Spirit shines forth and openly shows Himself. The Spirit who is invisible thereby manifest Himself visibly and audibly.

In his message on the Day of Pentecost, Peter declared about Jesus that "having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear" (Acts 2:33). What the crowd saw and heard was some 120 Spirit-filled people speaking in "other tongues." This, accordingly, was the manifestation, or showing forth, both visibly and audibly of the Holy Spirit.

However, all the spiritual charismata, not just glossolalia, are the Spirit's self­manifestation. The nine gifts listed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 thus are exhibitions, the showing forth, of the Holy Spirit. To use an analogy, the gifts may be thought of as lights that turn on from a hidden electrical current. The current cannot be seen, but when the lights come on, they are vivid evidence and demonstration of its presence and power. So it is that in and through the spiritual gifts the invisible Holy Spirit shines forth.

Before proceeding farther, a clear distinction should be made between the gifts of the Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit. Paul elsewhere writes, "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Gal. 5:22-23). Hence there is both a ninefold manifestation (beginning with "word of wisdom" and "word of knowledge") and a ninefold fruit. Although they are the same in number, the gifts and the fruit are totally different in nature. The gifts of the Spirit are the immediate self-expression of the Spirit occurring through instruments open to His presence and power. Very young and immature believers may manifest these (as did the Corinthians), but with the fruit there must be a lengthy process of growth and maturation. Both gifts and fruit are valuable for very different reasons, but they are by no means the same. Gifts are dynamic manifestations, gifts of power; fruits are expressions of character. How much we need them both!

To conclude: in regard to the gifts as dynamic manifestation there must be the background of the gift of the Holy Spirit. By that gift there is entrance into the dynamic dimension; by the occurrence of the gifts there is dynamic manifestation. Hence, when we are dealing with spiritual gifts, their importance is neither little nor secondary. For through the gifts, the Holy Spirit is on the scene in dynamic self­expression.

IV. Ministry

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are all ministry gifts. Paul writes next: "To each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good" (1 Cor. 12:7). Let us carefully examine Paul's statement.

A. The Common Good

The orientation of the gifts is the good of the community. Thus each of the spiritual gifts named, from word of wisdom to interpretation of tongues, is for the profit of all. Accordingly, when the Holy Spirit manifests Himself in a gift to an individual, it is not for the sake of the individual but for the good or profit of others. The gifts have a horizontal reference. The ministry may be to one person, to several, or to the whole body- -whatever the need may be.

The gifts of the Spirit are for the upbuilding of the community. Paul further on writes, "When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation" (1 Cor. 14:26). He adds immediately, "Let all things be done for edification." Whatever the manifestation of the Holy Spirit, its one purpose is the edification, the building up, of the body of believers. It is the purpose of the Lord that His people be strengthened as a community.

It is apparent that concern for the spiritual gifts is by no means a self-centered preoccupation. They are not for private benefit but wholly for the edification of others. Moreover, it is not a matter of upbuilding in the natural realm by human words and acts of kindness but "in the Spirit" by persons open to His ministrations.

B. Each Person

Each person has a distinctive role to fulfill. Not only are the spiritual gifts for the sake of the community, but also each member is a participant: "to each one...." The common good is the orientation of the community, and to that end each person is involved.

Note carefully: each and every person in the community is given a manifestation of the Spirit. It is not a matter of certain individuals, perhaps leaders or officeholders, who are so gifted. No one is left out. Even as the spiritual gifts are for the whole body, so everyone in the body is equally involved in the ministry of edification.

Accordingly, in a truly Spirit-gifted community people do not look to one person or a few to minister to the assembly. Rather they look to the Lord, expecting Him to minister by the Spirit through each one present. In this sense, pulpit and altar become secondary, for the spiritual ministry is not through preacher or priest, but through each and every individual. Every person in the assembly is to be actively involved, for the Holy Spirit wishes to manifest Himself not through a few but through all.

This total involvement is neglected in most church traditions. Especially is this true in liturgical churches where worship is largely ritualistic and the congregation is little more than spectators. However, even where the assembly is expected to join in prayers, singing, and responses, there is rarely the expectation that any individual, much less all, will be the channel for the manifestation of the Holy Spirit.

But, practically speaking, how can this happen? Many church gatherings are quite large, so that even if everyone wanted to participate, it could scarcely occur. Going back to Paul's instructions about "to each," I believe that he is viewing a gathering of believers of such size that this participation can more readily happen. A large assembly may surely be in order for a time of preaching, teaching, and public worship, but it is scarcely suitable for a full ministry in the spiritual gifts. Clearly, something like the "house church" is needed, not to replace the "temple church" but to supplement it. In such a smaller gathering there is better opportunity and often more freedom for the spiritual gifts to operate.

All of this calls for individual responsibility of a high order. For however true it is that the Holy Spirit gives to each and distributes as He wills (1 Cor. 12:11), it happens through individuals who, in turn, are responsible for the expression of the gift. This means, for one thing, to follow closely the leading and prompting of the Holy Spirit and whenever He imparts a gift not to hold back.

So it is that all members in the body function. Paul presses on with the analogy of the physical body by saying that "the body is not one member, but many" (1 Cor. 12:14). Even as the human body has many members- -hands, eyes, ears, nose, and so on- -and each is essential to full functioning, and none is to be neglected or despised, so must each person in the Christian body fulfill his or her own activity.

Incidentally, there are some today, outside the Spirit-filled community, who seek to divide the gifts into temporary and permanent. It is as if to say "hands, yes," "feet, no," "ears, yes," "eyes no," "word of wisdom, yes," "miracles, no," "faith, yes," "prophecy, no," and so on. It is hard to imagine a more devastating dismemberment of the body if or when such an attitude prevails.

But back to the main point: each person as a member of the body has a role to fulfill. Now we may know this theologically and historically, and still not take it to heart personally. You mean I have a gift, and it is up to me to exercise it? Yes, it is a fearful and wonderful responsibility. This leads to the next point.

C. Is Given

"To each one is given...."

Notice that Paul's words do not say "may be given." No, the words are "is given." It is not a matter of "maybe" the Holy Spirit will gift me, and if so, I will surely act. Paul's words are blunt and inescapable: no one is kept out and all have a role to play whatever the particular gift.

"Is given" also suggests the non-possessive character of the gift. One does not own a gift, rather it is freely given as an act of grace: they are grace- -gifts. Also they ordinarily are given at the occasion of assembling together. Thus the community and each individual becomes a place of lively expectation. What will be the gifts that the Holy Spirit will manifest as we come together?

Moreover, the gifts vary with individuals from time to time. "Is given" suggests that at a particular meeting a particular gift may be given. It may be a word of knowledge, the next time a prophecy, one time a gift of healing, the next time a distinguishing of spirits. There is nothing fixed or rigid about the spiritual gifts. This fact when realized can make of any assembly of Spirit-filled believers a place of keen expectation and excitement.

Again, the "is given" rules out any idea that the gifts belong only to past history. Outside charismatic circles there are those who hold that the charismata were only for the early church. The argument for non-contemporaneity is sometimes drawn from 1 Corinthians 13:8- -"If there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease." But clearly this does not refer to a cessation in our present history, since Paul declares that this refers to the coming of the "perfect" (v. 10, the final day when we see Christ "face to face," v. 12). The various gifts will surely no longer be needed then (what, for example, would one need to prophesy about?- -the future will be complete!), but for now we may be grateful for their gracious availability and operation.

To each one is given- -what a challenge, what a joyous responsibility!

V. Description

Because of time and space limitations it will not be possible to go very far into Paul's description of the spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10.5 The gifts may be viewed under three headings: mental, extra-mental, and supra-mental. Here I follow a two-five-two grouping in sequence.6

A. Mental- -gifts operating through the mind: word of wisdom and word of knowledge. In Christ "are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Col. 2:3). These gifts are those of utterance, speaking forth out of the treasures in Christ, as the Holy Spirit illuminates the mind and is manifest through them.

B. Extra-mental- -gifts operating outside the mind: faith, gifts of healing, working of miracles, prophecy, and distinguishing of spirits. They may be called active ministry gifts. The gift of faith heads the list and makes operational the gifts that follow.

C. Supra-mental- -gifts operating above the mind: various kinds of tongues and interpretation of tongues. The final two gifts function together in a group setting because the expression of tongues must be followed by interpretation for the body to be edified.

I will add three general comments.

(1) The gifts are not listed in order of importance. If so, word of wisdom would be of first importance and tongues and interpretation of tongues the least. However, Paul later says, "Earnestly desire spiritual gifts...especially that you may prophesy" (1 Cor. 14.1). Yet in Paul's enumeration of the ninefold gifts prophecy is sixth in the list! This means also that tongues and interpretation are not the least. There is no hierarchy of gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10.

(2) All the gifts are equally supernatural. For example, a word of wisdom is just as much a supernatural manifestation as working of miracles, distinguishing of spirits as speaking in tongues. It is a mistake to identify the supernatural with the sensational; if so a miracle might be viewed as more supernatural than a prophecy. All are supernatural, not natural, workings. They are not enhancements of what is already there, as if to say a word of wisdom is only increased wisdom. The gifts rather are endowments, coming from beyond the human, even as they operate through human channels.

(3) The Holy Spirit is not dependent on our understanding of the gifts to operate in them. While understanding is valuable- -surely we need all we can attain- -the Spirit may move, for example, in a word of knowledge, a gift of faith, or a distinguishing of spirits without the one who is a channel being able exactly to identify it. Also, there may even be other manifestations of the Spirit beyond the nine specified. The critical thing is to be open so that the Holy Spirit is not blocked and at the same time not to be too concerned about the precise identification of the gift. Come, Holy Spirit, move as You will!

VI. The Spiritual Gifts and Love

A. Earnest Desire

As we have noted, Paul writes, "Desire earnestly [or 'eagerly'] spiritual gifts" (1 Cor. 14:1). Such an admonition may on first reflection seem contrary to an earlier statement of Paul's: "One and the same Spirit works all these things [the gifts], distributing to each one individually just as He wills" (1 Cor. 12:11). If the spiritual gifts are His sovereign action, His distributions, what difference does anyone's desire make? To answer: although the gifts are the Spirit's sovereign bestowal, it is the Lord's way often to give to those who earnestly desire and ask. Jesus declared: "If you...know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good [or 'good gifts'] to those who ask Him!" (Matt. 7:11). God, the Lord, the Holy Spirit, delights to respond to our sincere asking, and multiply His gifts as we earnestly and eagerly desire them.

Concern for the spiritual gifts- -as earlier emphasized- -is in no sense a self-concern; hence to desire them earnestly is not a self-centered desire. Zeal for the gifts is anything but a preoccupation with "my needs," "my wishes," "my pleasures." The concern is essentially altruistic, for other persons. The intention of each and every gift is not one's own blessing but ministry to the body of fellow believers.

How much do we desire the gifts- -even, for example, such a seemingly small one as "interpretation of tongues"? Of course, the Holy Spirit knows far more than any of us what the needs are, so He may want to use us in another gift. Still, to repeat, eager desire is important. The Holy Spirit is not likely to waste His gifts on those who do not want them. God's sovereign will and our earnest desire make a beautiful combination!

B. The Way of Love

Love is the way of the gifts. "Pursue love" (1 Cor. 14:1) actually precedes "desire earnestly spiritual gifts"- -for love is the way, the path, along which the gifts should operate. Let us turn back to 1 Corinthians 12:31, end of verse, ""And I show you a still more excellent way" (just following "Earnestly desire the greater gifts," beginning of verse). The usual translation, I quickly add, is misleading, for it suggests a way better- -a "still more excellent way"- -than the gifts. If such is the case, why not forget the gifts; why go the inferior route when there is a far better one available; namely, the way of love? Since what follows in chapter 13 focuses on love, why not disregard all these confusing gifts! There is surely need for a better and more literal translation, e.g., "I now show you a way beyond measure"7 (NIV is close: "I will show the most excellent way"). So Paul is not setting forth an alternative to desiring the gifts; he does not intend to show something better. Rather is he showing a super-excellent way wherein the gifts, including "the greater," are to be exercised.

The spiritual gifts must be exercised in love if there is to be genuine edification. The Corinthians much needed Paul's admonition. They had no lack of spiritual gifts, but much lack of love. Early in his letter Paul faults the church at Corinth for its divisiveness. Indeed, immediately after his praise for the Corinthians not lacking in any gift (1:4-9), he criticizes them for divisions and quarrels (vv. 10-15). And on throughout the letter Paul feels constrained to speak about many other lack of love problems: e.g., gross immorality (chap. 5), lawsuits against one another (chap. 6), thoughtless actions (chaps. 8 and 10), and selfishness at the Lord's Supper (chap. 11). Likewise, in regard to the gifts there was much unloving practice: some boasted of their gifts (see chap. 4:7), some looked down upon those who manifested presumably lesser gifts (implied in 12:14-27), some were disorderly in their gift expression (14:40).

Incidentally, love should not be viewed as a spiritual gift. Since Paul says, "Desire earnestly the greater gifts (1 Cor. 12:31), just before "I show you a way beyond measure," and later writes, "Now abide faith, hope, and love, these three; but the greatest [literally, 'greater'] of these is love" (1 Cor. 13:13), the conclusion is sometimes drawn that love is the greatest (or greater) of the spiritual gifts. Clearly the answer is that love is the greatest in comparison not with the gifts, but with faith and hope. The gifts are for edification in this world; faith, hope, and love "abide"- -go on forever.

A final word: where there is genuine love there should be a strong desire for the gifts, for theirs is a ministry of love and compassion. The more there is love for one's brother, one's sister in Christ, the more there will be an earnest and eager desire to receive spiritual gifts and pass on blessings to others.

Pursue love- -and let the gifts flow!

VII. Application for Today

I will close with a statement of mine in Renewal Theology, volume 2:

"Let it be firmly said that the church cannot be fully and freely the church without the presence and operation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. What is depicted therefore in 1 Corinthians- -and recurring in our day- -is in no sense a peripheral matter but is crucial to the life of the church. For the recurrence of the charismata of the Holy Spirit signals the church's recovery of its spiritual roots and its emergence in the twentieth century with fresh power and vitality."8


Appendix A: The Community Moving in the Spiritual Gifts- -a Practical Guide

Preparation: Be thoroughly informed about the nature and operation of spiritual gifts- -"Concerning spiritual gifts...I do not want you to be uninformed" (1 Cor. 12:1). Study and ponder all of chapters 12 through 14.

1. Confess the Lordship of Jesus- -"Jesus is Lord!" (1 Cor. 12:3). As the community gathers, focus on Jesus in worship and obedience.

2. Pray for all the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:8-10) to be operational. The Corinthian community was "not lacking in any spiritual gift" (1 Cor. 1:7)- -nor should we be in our day.

3. Expect each person in the community to be a channel for some manifestation of the Spirit- -"To each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit" (1 Cor. 12:7).

4. Be concerned wholly for "the common good" (1 Cor. 12:7). Spiritual gifts are not for personal blessing but for the benefit of others.

5. Remain aware that the Holy Spirit will distribute gifts to each person as He wills- -"distributing to each one individually just as He wills" (1 Cor. 12:11).

6. Be zealous for all the spiritual gifts- -"Desire earnestly the spiritual gifts" (1 Cor. 14:8)- -especially prophecy- -"especially that you may prophesy" (1 Cor. 14:11). Move boldly as the Spirit manifests Himself.

7. Let love be the controlling force in every operation of the spiritual gifts- -"Pursue love" (1 Cor. 14:1, also all of 1 Cor. 13).

8. Exercise all the spiritual gifts in an orderly manner- -"Let all things be done properly and in an orderly manner" (1 Cor. 14:40).

9. Do everything to the glory of God- -"Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Cor. 10:31).


Appendix B: Theses on Spiritual Gifts

1. Spiritual gifts are the manifestation of the Holy Spirit; by the gifts the Holy Spirit openly expresses Himself.

2. Spiritual gifts include: word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, miracles, prophecy, distinguishing of spirits, tongues, and interpretation of tongues.

3. Spiritual gifts stand in the line of Old Testament special anointings by the Spirit of God.

4. Jesus Himself was a channel of spiritual manifestations.

5. Spiritual gifts are multiplied with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

6. Spiritual gifts while similar to other gifts are peculiarly the operation of the Holy Spirit.

7. Spiritual gifts are all spiritual, or supernatural, endowments; thus they are all extraordinary.

8. Spiritual gifts are given for the upbuilding of the body of believers; they are "power tools."

9. The Holy Spirit distributes gifts to each believer as He wills; accordingly, there is diversity in the exercise of the gifts, some thereby prophesy, some heal, etc.

10. Though individuals in the body have differing apportionments of gifts, this does not preclude all from prophesying, speaking in tongues, etc.

11. Each person in the body is to be a channel for some spiritual expression.

12. The spiritual gifts are essential for the functioning of the body; none is unimportant or unnecessary.

13. Spiritual gifts are earnestly to be desired and expected. Especially is this true of the "greater gifts" (1 Cor. 12:31).

14. Spiritual gifts are to be expressed in love, else they profit nothing.

15. Spiritual gifts pass away when we shall see the Lord "face to face."

16. Spiritual gifts may be apprehended only by spiritual discernment.

17. Exercise of the spiritual gifts needs to be properly ordered.

18. Spiritual gifts belong to the continuing life of the church.


Footnotes

1New American Standard Bible (NASB). Unless otherwise noted, this translation is used throughout.

2See 1 Clement 2:2.

3James D. G. Dunn writes that "the confession of Jesus' Lordship...is a charismatic conviction born of inspiration and expressed in words given from beyond" (Jesus and the Spirit, 319). F. W. Grosheide goes even further to say: "This confession nobody can make except he be in the Spirit of God....In this context these words are not to be taken of the ordinary confession of the believer but of the confession in glossolalia" (First Epistle to the Corinthians, NICNT, 281).

4The earlier distinction between domata, charismata, and pneumatic charismata may be relevant here: "ministries" relating to the domata of the ascended Christ, "workings" to the functional charismata of God's grace, and the pneumatic charismata to the Holy Spirit.

5See, for example, my more comprehensive presentation in Renewal Theology, volume 2, chapter 14, "The Ninefold Manifestation."

6Rather than a three-three-three arrangement not fully in sequence which is sometimes done.

7The Greek phrase is kath hyperbolén-"beyond measure [or 'comparison'] a way." The Greek phrase is not comparative but superlative.

8Page 327.




Chapters: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | Conclusion
Preface | Abbreviations | Bibliography

Content Copyright 2003 by J. Rodman Williams, Ph.D.

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