The Gifts Of The Holy Spirit
The Word Of God - Lesson IV C
The Gifts Of The Holy Spirit
Every believer has been given one of more gifts of the Holy Spirit.
These gifts are not to be confused with natural talents, natural abilities. Even though these gifts have been given by God too they have been given to every person so people can function in the world. But spiritual gifts are given only to believers and are for the benefit of others.
A number of passages in Scripture deal with this subject, for instance:
I Corinthians 12:1-11
Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. Therefore I tell you that no-one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no-one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of workings, but the same God works all of them in all men.
Now to each one is the manifestation given for the common good.
To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.
All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and He gives them to each one, just as He determines.
And I Corinthians 12:27-30
Now you are the Body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
And in the Church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets/ Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But eagerly desire the greater gifts.
We will have closer look at the various gifts mentioned in these passages so we have a greater understanding how these gifts function. As I have already said, every believer has been given one or more gifts by the Holy Spirit and is to function in their gift for the benefit of others.
Word of Wisdom
The believer who has received this gift usually functions in the Gift of Knowledge as well and is able to apply their spiritual knowledge at the right time and in the right way.
Word of Knowledge
This gift is not about intellectual ability or learning but is an inner knowing, a supernatural revelation of facts given by the Holy Spirit about a situation, people or things which otherwise could not have been known.
Example: Acts 5:1-4
Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge, he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet. Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.”
Gift of Faith
This gift is a special Spirit-given ability to know with certainty that God wants to do something and is certain to do it.
Example: Acts 27:21-26
After the men had gone for a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said, “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me and said, “Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.” So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. Nevertheless we must run aground on some island.”
Gifts of Healing
These gifts are special abilities to bring physical, emotional or spiritual healing in a supernatural way.
Example: Acts 8:4-8
“Those who had been scattered preached the Word wherever they went. Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there. When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said. With shrieks, evil spirits came out of many, and many paralytics and cripples were healed. So there was great joy in the city.”
Gift of Miracles
This gift is a display of supernatural extraordinary power, overturning the law of nature to show forth the power and presence of God in the affairs of men.
Examples: Acts 3:6-8
Then Peter said, “Silver of gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.
And Acts 9:36-41
In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated is Dorcas), who was always doing good and helping the poor. About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, “Please, come at once!” Peter went with him, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them. Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning towards the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called the believers and the widows and presented her to them alive.
And Acts 13:9-11
Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind, and for a time you will be unable to see the light of the sun.” Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand.
Gift of Prophecy
This gift is a special Spirit-given ability to receive and communicate a message from God so that believers may be strengthened, encouraged and comforted. The Greek word for prophecy literally means “to speak forth”. It includes “forth telling” which means “instruction” and “fore telling” which means “giving details of future events” as we can read in:
I Corinthians 14:3-5
But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.
And in I Corinthians 14:29-31
Two or three prophets should speak and the others should weigh carefully what is said. And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged.
Examples of foretelling are: Acts 11:27-28
During this time some prophets came to down from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. (This happened during the reign of Claudius.)
After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. Coming over to us, he took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, “The Holy Spirit says, “In this way the Jews of Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.”
Discerning of Spirits
This is a special Spirit-given ability to distinguish between spirits, or to know whether a particular word, action or motive has its source in God, sinful flesh or satan.
Example: Acts 16:16-18
Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal for her owners by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned round and said to the spirit, “In the Name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her.” At that moment the spirit left her.
Speaking in Different Kinds of Tongues
This gift is a Spirit-given ability to speak words in a language unknown or not learned by the speaker. This gift may be given specifically for use in public settings and in that case not every one has that particular gift as we can see from:
I Corinthians 12:30
....Do all speak in tongues?
The answer is, of course, “No”. However, believers are to receive a gift of speaking in tongues at the time of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. That particular gift is a gift for private use and is available to every believer.
Examples: Acts 2:4
All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
And Acts 10:44-46
While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles, for they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.
And Acts 19:6
When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.
Interpretation of Tongues
This gift is a special Spirit-given ability to interpret into a known language a message that has been spoken in tongues. The interpretation may be given by the person who initially spoke in tongues or by another person. The interpretation may not be a word for word translation but rather give the sense of the message. Paul taught on this gift in:
I Corinthians 14:5
I would like every one of you to speak in tongues but I would rather have you prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may be edified.
And in I Corinthians 14:27
If anyone speaks in a tongue, two - or at the most three - should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret.
And in I Corinthians 14:39
Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues.
Another passage which deals with spiritual gifts is:
Just as each one has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts according to the grace given us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith. If it is serving, then serve. If it is teaching, then teach. If it is to encourage, then give encouragement. If it is giving, then give generously. If it is to lead, do it diligently. If it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
In this list we find some gifts not mentioned in I Corinthians 12 such as:
This is the Spirit-given ability to effectively encourage, comfort, challenge or rebuke others to help them live lives worthy of God.
Examples: Acts 14:21-22
They (Paul and Barnabas) preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God,” they said.
And II Timothy 4:1-2
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of His appearing and His Kingdom, I (Paul) give you this charge: “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season, correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.”
Gift of Giving
This is contributing personal and material resources to the Lord’s work. The Greek word used in Romans 12:8 places emphasis on “giving or sharing of ourselves” as we give.
Examples: Luke 21:1-3
As He looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “I tell you the truth,” He said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the other. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
And Acts 9:36
In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas), who was always doing good and helping the poor.
Gift of Administration or Leadership
This gift enables the person who is gifted with leadership to steer the flock of God into channels of effective service.
Examples: I Thessalonians 5:12
Now we ask you brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you.
And I Timothy 5:17
The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honour, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.
Ability to feel genuine empathy and compassion for hurting people and turning that feeling into cheerful acts of service.
Example: Acts 9:36
In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas) who was always doing good and helping the poor.
Furthermore, a list of gifts is mentioned in:
It was He (Christ) who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.
In the Ephesian passage Paul shows us that the gifts of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers function differently from any other gift for he did not write that Christ gave gifts to certain people so that they can function as apostles, prophets, evangelist, pastors and teachers but Paul wrote that it is Christ who gave people as apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to the Body of Christ. Therefore, these people themselves are the gifts given to the Body.
I would like to conclude with the following statement:
We must remember too that the foundation of any gift is to be love. This love is in fact the “agape” love, which is the God-kind of love. We can read this in:
I Corinthians 13:1-3 where Paul wrote:
And now I will show you the most excellent way. If I speak in tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Therefore, as I have already said, every believer has been given one or more gifts by the Holy Spirit. These gifts have been given for the benefit of others and are to be exercised in love.