Questions about Spiritual Gifts: What do we know about spiritual gifts?By
There is much that can be (and has been) said concerning spiritual gifts, but are there certain clear points with which both continuationists and cessationists may agree?
I think so, and I will attempt to list some of the things I think 1 Corinthians 12, allows us to say about spiritual gifts:
1. The lists of gifts are not exhaustive; they are representative!
- For, no list is the same: 1 Cor. 12:4-6, 8-10, 28; Rom. 12:3-8; Eph. 4:11; 1 Pet. 4:10-11.
- For, not all the gifts are included in the various lists: for example, marriage and celibacy (1 Cor. 7:7).
- For, there is a great variety of gifts, ministries and workings which manifest the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:4-7).
- Therefore, it is not helpful to try to discern spiritual gifts from inventories of lists.
2. The order of the lists varies, so we cannot conclude anything as to importance of one gift over another.
- Except that Paul is deliberately downplaying the more spectacular gifts in 1 Corinthians 12-14.
3. The purpose of spiritual gifts is the common good – building up the body (1 Cor. 12:7, 14:12, 26).
- Gifts, ministries, workings of the Spirit are NOT for self-promoting, self-profiting.
4. Some gifts may be temporary (1 Cor. 12:7, 11).
- Because the Spirit gifts individuals as He wills, we have to be open to the reality that He may gift individuals for particular needs of the body (i.e., Exodus 31:1-11).
5. No one person possesses all the gifts; we all have differing gifts (1 Cor. 12:8-11, 30)!
- It is not wrong to desire a gift, but we should long for those that build up the body most (12:30; 14:1).
- BUT, the Spirit gives gift(s), ministries, activities as He desires, not as we want (12:11b)!
6. Paul has broadened the understanding of gifts to include the ordinary with extra-ordinary.
- Paul has demolished the idea that the Spirit is manifested only in the spectacular gifts (12:4-6).
- All the gifts (ordinary and extra-ordinary) are given and empowered by the Spirit (12:11).