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Exercising Our Spiritual Gift(s) - A Closer Look

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In previous articles we have looked extensively at Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 and what they teach us about spiritual gifts. In this article I want to make some comments regarding spiritual gifts and gifts given to the believers by the Lord in the number of other "gift" verses. I will list these verses and provide comments after each verse section. Note, not all of the verses refer specifically to spiritual gifts, but some of gifts of aid, finances, and salvation as well.
May God bless you all!
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Maranatha Emanuel!
References
[computer software] . Franklin, TN: Equipping Ministries Foundation. (Original work published 1890)
Strong's Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries.
Strong, J.
Meyers, R. (2005). e-Sword.
Remember whom you serve! God bless you!
The Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans.
Wordsearch. (2020).
Hodge, C.
Wordsearch Bible. [computer software] . Nashville, TN: LifeWay Christian Resources. (Original work published 1864)
The Holy Spirit Himself is a Gift
Acts 2:37-41:
Now when they heard
this
, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter
and to the rest of the apostles, Men
and
brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter
said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off,
even
as
many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added
unto them
about three thousand souls.
This section chronicles the gift of the Holy Spirit to all those who believe. I find it interesting that the Holy Spirit who is a gift to us at salvation is also the person of the Godhead that gives us spiritual gifts.
Acts 10:44-46:
Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved. And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as
he did
unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what
was I, that I could withstand God?
This section again chronicles the gift of the Holy Spirit to all those who believe. But also notice that Jesus declared that He baptizes us in the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost does not baptize us; Jesus does. This is an area many Pentecostals have misinterpreted.
Imparting a Gift to Establish the Saints
Romans 1:8-12:
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers; Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you. For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.
Here Paul wishes to see the believers in Rome so that he may do several things with them: fellowship, prayers, mutual faith, comfort, and imparting spiritual gifts. Do these verses teach that Paul or some apostle must be present for us to receive a spiritual gift? In this case, Paul wishes to bless them with additional gifts of which the Holy Spirit is the author.
charisma pneumatikos
[(gift spiritual)] in the sense here intended (Hodge, 2007,
p. 37).
God's Desire That We All Benefit with Spiritual Gifts
1 Corinthians 1:7:
"So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of
our Lord Jesus Christ:"
Paul expresses his desire to see all benefit (not come behind) in their spiritual gift, and even more so, as we all wait for the coming return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 7:7-9:
"For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every
man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn."
Paul indicates that he is at the time of this writing unmarried. This larger section of Scripture is a discussion about marriage, being single, etc. and that is why he says that if possible, he would wish all were like himself (single and, therefore, able to dedicate himself completely to serving the Lord). While in this discussion he says that EVERY man (all) has his proper (the one made for them - the one God gave to them) gift. Then he points out that those gifts are different when he says "one after this manner, and another after that." We all have gifts, and we should not expect them to be the same. Remember the discussions regarding different body parts, and we can't and shouldn't all be eyes, or hands, etc.
1 Corinthians 14:1-14 (bold added):
Follow after charity, and desire spiritual
gifts
, but rather that ye may
For he that speaketh in an
unknown
tongue speaketh not unto men,
but unto God: for no man understandeth
him
; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh
But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men
to
exhortation, and comfort.
He that speaketh in an
unknown
tongue edifieth
himself; be he that prophesieth edifieth the church. I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater
is
he that prophesieth than
he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying. Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaketh with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine? And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped? For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air. There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them
is
without signification. Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I
shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh
shall be
a
barbarian unto me. Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual
gifts
,
seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church. Wherefore let him that speaketh in an
unknown
tongue pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in an
unknown
tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.
A long discussion about the proper use of gifts even though it is chiefly centered on the speaking in tongues. Here prophecy can be understood as speaking God's truth to the people as opposed to foretelling, visions, or seer capabilities. Paul would clearly wish everyone spoke God's Word to each other because it edifies the church body, and speaking in tongues only edifies the individual. This warning and exhortation applies to all gifts. We should strive to edify the body with our gift, not just ourselves. And once again, all motivated by charity - love.
2 Corinthians 1:11:
"Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift
bestowed
upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by
Commentators believe that the "gift" mentioned here is not a "spiritual gift", but a more physical gift that saved in some way his life. An event in Ephesus may be referred to here since Asia is mentioned in verse 8 (Asia Minor).
Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to
their
power, I bear record, yea, and beyond
their
power
they were
willing of themselves;
Praying us with much entreaty they we would receive the gift, and
take upon us
the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And
this they did
, not as we hoped,
but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God. Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also.
Paul is discussing a financial gift here, not a spiritual gift, as it was used to meet "deep poverty" and for the ministry of the saints.
2 Corinthians 9:15:
"Thanks
be
unto God for his unspeakable gift."
A reference of the gift of salvation through Christ.
Ephesians 3:6-8:
That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is the grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
Paul thanks God for his "gift" of preaching the gospel, especially to the Gentiles.
Ephesians 4:4-16 (bold added):
There is
one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your
calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who
is
above all, and through all, and in you all.
But unto every one of us is given
grace the according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
Wherefore he saith,
When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive,
and gave gifts unto
. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the
lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
And he gave some, apostles;
and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the
knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: That we
henceforth
fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men,
and
cunning craftiness, whereby they lie and wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head,
even
whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
As with all of Paul's writings, the Holy Spirit packs a lot of information together in the section. Primarily a unified body discussion, we see several truths about slavation, for example. In verses 7 and 8, we see the word gift, but it is not
charisma
as one might
expect, but
dorea
(Strong's G1431), a word form of
doron
that means a sacrificial
gift (Strong's G1435). That would be a reference to the work Christ did on the cross for us. He led captivity captive - in other words, He freed us from the bondage of sin.
Then in verse 11, and back to the discussion of a unified body, he begins a discussion of the main "office" gifts within the body for the perfecting of the body and maturing of the saints within the body. The goal of these spiritual gifts and "office" positions? The unifying of the body, unity of faith, perfecting the saints, making them stable and no more children tossed to and fro with every wind of (false) doctrine.
1 Timothy 4:14:
"Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by
prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery."
2 Timothy 1:6:
"Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of
God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands."
Paul reminds and encourages Timothy to be a good steward of the spiritual gift that was imparted unto him by the laying on of hands by the brothers. He reminds him to use that gift and not to neglect it. The same is true for us. We don't need to neglect those gifts that have been given to us.
James 1:17:
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh
down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."
Not just spiritual gifts but all gifts - food, needs met, wisdom, salvation, jobs, etc. All good gifts of any kind come from God.
1 Peter 4:7-11 (bold added):
But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. Use hospitality one to another without grudging.
As every
man hath received the gift,
even
so minister the same one to another, as
good stewards of the manifold grace of God
. If any man speak,
let him speak
as the oracles of God; if any man minister,
let him do it
as of the ability which God
giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
In short, again that gift(s) that we have received is for the ministering to the saints and the Body of Christ, not to be hoarded for ourselves. We are to do so within God's enabling power (for He has given us the ability to minister with that gift) with the ultimate goal that God Himself will be glorified as we exercise our gifts within the body. Notice the use of the word
stewardships
. Remember last month's article? We are stewards,
managers, administrators of the gifts that God has given to us. They are not our gifts; they are on loan from God, and we are responsible for their increase while He yet tarries before He returns.
While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believe were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,
This section again chronicles the gift of the Holy Spirit to all those who believe.
Acts 11:14-17:
This includes not only those miraculous endowments of which such frequent mention is made in the Epistle to the Corinthians, and the . . . [main] gifts of teaching, exhortation, and prophesying, [etc., found in] 1 Corinthians 12, but also those graces which are the fruits of the Spirit. The extraordinary gifts were communicated by the imposition of the apostles' hands, Acts 8:17; 19:6 and therefore abounded in churches founded by the apostles, 1 Corinthians 1:7; Galatians 3:5. As the church at Rome was not of this number, it has been supposed that Paul was desirous of conferring on the Roman Christians some of those miraculous powers by which the gospel was in other places attended and confirmed. The following verses, however, are in favor of giving the phrase here a wider signification. And increase of knowledge, of grace, or of power, was a
1 Corinthians 13:2:
"And though I have
the gift of
prophecy, and understand all
mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing."
Not much commentary needed here. We need to exercise our gift humbly and in love.
prophesy.
mysteries.
edification, and
many on our behalf."
men
be no more children, tossed to and
Christ: From