Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Gift of the Spirit, Spiritual Gifts, Speaking in Tongues and Prophecy, Part 7

Romans 12:4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; 7 if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; 8 or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

1 Corinthians 12:4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. 6 There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. 7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit ; 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills. ... 28 And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. 29 All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? 30 All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? 31 But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I show you a still more excellent way.

Ephesians 4:11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;

In these four passages of Scripture – only two in 1 Corinthians 12 – Paul lists spiritual gifts (abilities and people who minister using those gifts). As can be seen from the four passages above, none of the lists is comprehensive. There are gifts common to more than one list, and there are gifts unique to a particular list. Giving and Serving are unique to Romans 12; healing and miracles are unique to 1 Corinthians 12. Teaching (Teacher) is mentioned in the Romans, Ephesians and one of the 1 Corinthians lists; Prophecy (Prophet) is on all four lists. Paul wasn't writing a Systematic Theology textbook chapter about spiritual gifts, but illustrating points he was making. One important thing worth noting is that obviously supernatural gifts – e.g. Prophecy, Speaking in Tongues, Healing – are, in all three passages, mixed with less obviously supernatural gifts (e.g. Teaching, Evangelism, Giving). Scripture does not segregate or differentiate between obviously and less obviously supernatural(or “revelatory” and “non-revelatory”) spiritual gifts; spiritual gifts are all supernatural, all are given by the Holy Spirit.

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