Sunday, September 2, 2012

Scriptural Perspective on Spiritual Gifts (Part 3)

Continued from
Part 3 – New Testament Summary

So I entitled this series “The Scriptural Perspective on Spiritual Gifts”, but I feel like I’m barely scratching the surface of all that the Bible has to say about this important subject. I had intended to write about "Applied Love", but I thought it important to actually outline my conclusions. I could probably write a mini-chapter on most of these, so I offer them simply as a starting point for others to explore. It’s my desire and encouragement that anyone reading this go straight to the Bible. Don’t just take someone else’s understanding as the final authority on the subject. Rather, ask the Holy Spirit to instruct you further about this topic.

  1. (1 Corinthians 12:1) It’s important for believers to know about spiritual gifts.
  2. (Matthew 7:14-16, 21-23, 2 Peter 2:1-3, 1 John 4:1-3) The manifestation of spiritual gifts through a person is not evidence of God working in that person’s life, even if the results seem to line up with God’s will (e.g. – prophesies in God’s Name, casting out demons, etc.).
  3. (Mark 16:20, Hebrews 2:3-4) The gifts bear witness to both God and His salvation plan
  4. (1 Corinthians 12:3) The gifts submit to the authority of Jesus, proclaiming by the way they are administered that “Jesus is Lord!”
  5. (1 Corinthians 12:4-5,8-11) There’s a different mix of giftings and services in both individuals and church bodies
  6. (1 Corinthians 12:7) The gifts are given more for the common good, building up a group of people rather than edifying an individual.
  7. (1 Corinthians 12:12-27) There’s one Body, many parts, each part being dependent upon the gifts and abilities of others.
  8. (1 Corinthians 12:27-30) There are different roles through which the members of the Body minister to each other.
  9. (1 Corinthians 12:31-14:1) There is a priority to the gifts, measured by usefulness in loving and building up others.
  10. (1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13, Galatians 5:5, Ephesians 2:8, 2 Thessalonians 2:16,1 John 4:19) faith, hope and love are the greatest spiritual gifts.
  11. (1 Corinthians 13:12) Even with these spiritual gifts, we still see but a poor reflection of spiritual reality.
  12. (John 15:5) God’s model with respect to our lives and fruitfulness is one of total dependence upon Him.
  13. (1 Corinthians 14:1-12) We should eagerly desire the greater gifts (see #8 above), especially prophecy as a way to strengthen, encourage, comfort and build up the church as demonstration of love.
  14. (1 Corinthians 14:39) We should be eager to prophesy.
  15. (1 Corinthians 14:39) We should not forbid a believer from speaking in tongues.
  16. (1 Corinthians 14:22) The gift of tongues is a sign to unbelievers and prophecy is reserved for building up of believers. Prophecy should not be used for evangelization.
  17. (1 Corinthians 14:13-28) If the gift of tongues is used as a public sign or proclamation, it should have an interpretation.
  18. (1 Corinthians 14:39) The administration of all spiritual gifts should be performed in an orderly way. A public display of the gift should be done in submission to the God-ordained authority appointed to lead that congregation.
  19. (Romans 11:29, Ephesians 4:7-11) A spiritual gift can be associated with a calling that reflects one or more leadership roles: Apostle (meaning “a person who has been sent” such as a missionary), prophet, evangelist, pastor (shepherd / mentor / coach), and educator. Jonah, although resistant to his calling, played the role of Apostle, Prophet and Evangelist, bringing the entire city of Nineveh to repentance.
  20. (Romans 11:29) Once God has imparted a spiritual gift either constitutionally or as part of a vocational calling, it belongs to the recipient; however, the Holy Spirit is still free to work supernaturally in any situation without having to a spiritual gift.
  21. (Romans 12:3-8) Whatever set of gifts that God puts into us, we should use them humbly, generously and joyfully.
  22. (Ephesians 4:11-12, 16) The gifts given to leaders are intended to build up the Body of believers, equipping each member for ministry and every member of the Body is called to minister to other members of the Body.
  23. (1 Thessalonians 5:19-21, Acts 21:10-14, 1 John 4:1-3) Leadership is called to walk the delicate balance of testing prophetic words without discouraging prophesy. They need to learn to hold onto what is known to be good and discern when a prophetic word is only part of the truth (e.g. – Paul refusing to be dissuaded from going to Jerusalem despite the fact that it would result in his suffering).
  24. (1 Timothy 1:17-19, 4:13-15) Prophecy encourages us to persevere in our calling.
  25. (Revelation 11:2-6) The supernatural manifestation of spiritual gifts continues through this very day and will continue through the last days as described clearly in the Book of Revelation.
It is also interesting what Scripture does not talk to:
  1. Scripture does not categorize the gifts into ordinary / extraordinary or prophetic / administrative. This is something done by man, and as I’ve already written (, it’s my belief that the gifts of knowledge, wisdom and leadership should govern and empower the other gifts.
  2. Finally, I am not aware of any frequency for manifestation. Everything is in God’s timing. His power does not need to be evidenced supernaturally at every gathering of believers to somehow legitimize a church service. It’s enough that He loves us and that we reflect His love through obedience and by loving each other. Ultimately, love is the center purpose of every spiritual gift.

copyright ©2012 Mitchell Malloy (