Paul said to young Pastor Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:14, “Do not neglect the Spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery.”
This small message carries much weight for all believers in the Church Age. We are all called to be disciples and servants of our Lord. In order to be the servant God has designed you to be, you must exercise the gift of the Holy Spirit. Good servants have a significant role in an evil world as they exercise their gift and carry out their calling. The question is; “are you a good servant?” If the answer is yes, you are paying attention to your gift. You are developing it, trying it out, testing it without worry of failure. In fact, failure is the greatest teacher. So, the good servant is applying their gift without fear, worry, or anxiety, trusting in the Lord and the ministry of God the Holy Spirit. Remember that you do not have all the gifts, but you have at least one as a Christian, and you should be centering your energy and your attention on the cultivation of your gift. We are good servants when we do that.
The doctrine of Spiritual Gifts is one of the more controversial topics in Christianity and has been the cause of schisms over the years. There is debate as to the meaning and application of each gift; are some gifts permanent while others temporary, can you have more than one gift, do some gifts signify salvation and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, are some gifts more important than others? etc.
Although I have, like all of you reading this book (the Bible), a framework of reference regarding the Spiritual gifts in accord with my foundational beliefs, this book is not intended to shape your opinion regarding the debate on gifts. It is rather to encourage you to learn and grow in your gift as a “good and faithful” servant of God. There may be aspects of this outline that you disagree with, given my foundational beliefs, but please push past the debates and continue to learn the importance of discovering and applying your personal Spiritual gift(s).
The Greek word for “Spiritual Gifts” is the noun CHARISMA – χάρισμα (khar’-is-mah) that comes from the root word CHARIS – χάρις (khar’-ece) meaning, “grace.” It also stems from the verb CHARIZOMAI – χαρίζομαι (khar-id’-zom-ahee) that means, “to show favor or give freely.”
Therefore, CHARISMA means, “a gift of grace, a free gift, or a Spiritual endowment.”
Thayer defines its usage as, “a favor with which one receives, without any merit of his own. Also as grace or gifts denoting extraordinary powers that distinguish certain Christians and enable them to serve the church of Christ, the reception of which is due to the power of divine grace operating on their souls by the Holy Spirit.”
This is contrasted to other Greek words for gifts like the noun DORON – δῶρον (do’-ron) or DOREA – δωρεά (do-reh-ah’) or DOMA – δόμα (dom’-ah) Eph 4:7-8, which means, “gift(s);” and many times in regards to, “an offering, sacrifice, or present.” Also, MERISMOS – μερισμός (mer-is-mos’) that means, “a dividing, distribution, or division;” and figuratively, means, “gifts” in Heb 2:4.
The Source of Spiritual Gifts:
All three members of the Trinity are the source of Spiritual gifts.
- God the Father is the source as documented in Heb 2:4.
Heb 2:4, “God (Father) also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders, and by various works of power, and by various distributions (MERISMOS – of Spiritual gifts) from the Holy Spirit in accordance with his will.”
God the Father uses the ministry of God the Holy Spirit for giving Spiritual gifts where the distributions are made as a witness to the strategic victory of our Lord Jesus Christ during His First Advent.
- God the Son is the source of Spiritual Gifts as documented in Eph 4:7-8.
Eph 4:7-8, “To each one of us, this grace has been given according to the measure of the Spiritual gift from Christ. Therefore, it (Old Testament Scriptures) says, `when He ascended into heaven, He led a host of captives in a triumphal procession from a state of captivity, and He gave Spiritual gifts to men.'”
He was involved in the initial distribution of Spiritual Gifts, which were communication gifts to begin building the Church / Body of Christ, Eph 4:11-13. Today, it is God the Holy Spirit who gives permanent Spiritual Gifts to us at salvation.
- God the Holy Spirit gives a Spiritual Gift to each of us at salvation as He wills, 1 Cor 12:11.
1 Cor 12:11, “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.”
The initial distribution of Spiritual gifts, from the day of Pentecost for about twenty years, came from the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Holy Spirit. He made the first distribution on the day of Pentecost, ten days after His ascension, according to Eph 4:7‑8.
But since that time, the Holy Spirit makes the distribution of all Spiritual gifts, according to Heb 2:4 and 1 Cor 12:11.
Heb 2:4, “God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.”
In addition, in several passages, Spiritual gifts are ascribed to God without distinguishing which member of the Holy Trinity is the giver, Rom 11:29; 12:6. But today the Holy Spirit is the giver.
There are Two Categories of Spiritual Gifts:
Temporary Spiritual Gifts were operational during the pre-canon period of the Church Age, i.e., from A. D. 30, the day of Pentecost when the Church Age began, to approximately A. D. 96. On the day the Church Age began, there was no New Testament. So, temporary Spiritual Gifts were designed to take up the slack in the Church Age, until the New Testament canon was completed and circulated, and the mystery doctrine of the Church Age was reduced to writing.
Permanent Spiritual Gifts also functioned from the day of Pentecost and will continue until the Rapture of the Church, whenever that occurs.
1 Cor 13:8‑10 explains the temporary function of certain Spiritual Gifts, “Virtue‑love is never phased out; but if the gift of prophecies, it will be cancelled out; if the gift of tongues, it will be discontinued; if the gift of knowledge, it will be cancelled. For we know in part (gift of knowledge), and we prophesy in part (gift of prophecy), but when the completed has come (New Testament canon), what is temporary (the temporary Spiritual Gifts) will be cancelled (KATARGEO – καταργέω (kä-tär-ge’-ō) rendered inoperative, abolished, phased out, withdrawn).”
The Function of Spiritual Gifts is Noted in Rom 12:1‑8.
The Team Concept of Spiritual Gifts is Noted in 1 Cor 12:1‑31:
Verses 4-6 tells us that the team concept includes variations of: Skills (gifts) that qualify us for a position on the team, Actual Positions (service/ministries) on the team, and responsibilities to be performed (operations/effects) by the person in a given position.
Each Variation has a Different Empowerment from the Godhead:
Gifts – the Holy Spirit the giver and enabler. He gave us our gift; the skills needed to play on the team. (Using American football as an example: a person having good hands to catch the ball.)
Ministries – the Lord Jesus Christ is the ultimate example of the humble servant in the prototype Spiritual life. He determines the position we will play on the team. (For example, a wide receiver.)
Effects – God the Father the planner and designer. He determines what the responsibilities of our position will be. (For example, will this receiver be a deep threat or run short patterns over the middle.)
In verse 7, overall, the indwelling Holy Spirit empowers each to perform to the fullest the task at hand in the position he has been given.
The Relationship Between Spiritual Gifts and Ministry / Service:
There exist three categories of gifts in every Christian’s life.
Natural abilities. God-given at birth, they include things like I.Q., a measure of health and strength, musical talents, linguistic abilities, mechanical aptitudes, etc.
Acquired abilities. These include things like cooking, sewing, driving a car, learning a language, learning to play an instrument, etc. While we may tend to take such skills for granted, remember that many people in the world have few opportunities to acquire skills in these areas.
Spiritual gifts. A believer should inform himself or herself of the total’ package of these various abilities which God has placed in his life. In other words, he should take inventory to know what stock he has available for the Lord’s use. Just going through the process of taking inventory periodically may help the believer ascertain what areas of service he ought to explore.
This principle applies to all three categories of abilities. Sharpen talents, acquire skills, and work on the development of Spiritual gifts. If one thinks he may have the gift of teaching, then it will be necessary to study. The ability to communicate may be more directly given (though even that skill can be sharpened by education), but certainly the content must be learned.
If one suspects he has the gift of giving, then he will work on being a good steward in all areas of life (1 Corinthians 4:2). The ability to be generous is God-given, but to have the wherewithal with which to be generous requires discipline in financial affairs.
The gift of evangelism in the early church, not only involved the preaching of the Good News, but also itinerating with the message. To be able to do this may involve paying special attention to one’s health in order to have the stamina to travel in spreading the Gospel.
If one has the gift of exhortation, it certainly should be based on Biblical knowledge. The only valid and worthwhile exhortation must be rooted in Biblical truths. And, of course, to have Biblical knowledge requires study.
There are two reasons generally given for not having a ministry (for some, they are merely excuses): “That’s not my Spiritual gift” or “I don’t know what my Spiritual gift is.”
Each of these statements reflects a misconception of the relationship between your Spiritual gift and your service / ministry as a Christian. So, we begin by defining several terms.
Spiritual Gift: A supernatural endowment of the Holy Spirit; whereby, every Christian is empowered to perform a certain function, which edifies the Church and glorifies God. In short, it is the supernatural ability to serve God by a particular activity, 1 Cor 12; Rom 12:3-8.
General Service / Ministry: The obligations to minister to others which are common to all Christian, regardless of your Spiritual gift or calling, Rom 12:9-21; Gal 6:2-10.
Specific Service / Ministry: That unique service / ministry for which each Christian is gifted and to which he or she is individually called, Rom 12:6-8; Col 4:17; 2 Tim 4:5.
Col 4:17, “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.”
What is the relationship of these three aspects of Christian service to each other?
General Service / Ministry is every Christian’s duty, regardless of their Spiritual gift. Many Christians excuse themselves from a certain Christian ministry, because they tell us it is not their gift. That doesn’t really make much difference. Our obligation is to obey the commands of Scripture. Biblical imperatives must be followed, regardless of our Spiritual gift. Our Spiritual gift equips us for a particular service / ministry, but it does not excuse us from every other service / ministry.
The relationship between our responsibility toward general service / ministry and the exercise of our Spiritual gift can be illustrated by my college education. In college, I majored in Human Resources Management. I took many courses in this field, but not all of my courses were in my major field. The University I attended prescribed a course of study that included a considerable number of “general requirement” courses, such as English, Mathematics, History, Psychology, Sociology, etc. Many Christians want to minister only in the area of their gift, but God has general requirements as well. These requirements are labeled as “general service / ministry.”
General service / ministry is the key to discovering your Spiritual gift(s) and particular ministry. Many have erroneously concluded that the Christian cannot have a ministry until he or she has determined their Spiritual gift. This idea has been the result of emphasis on “discovering and developing your Spiritual gift.” Christians are waiting to discover their gifts before they begin to minister. They have succeeded in reversing God’s order.
Being obedient and faithful in general service / ministry will enable you to determine your Spiritual gift(s) and specific ministry. This is so obvious it has been overlooked by many believers.
The Spirit of God is at work in the life and (general) service / ministry of every believer. God is at work in you, “both to will and to work for His good pleasure,” Phil 2:13. It is only as you engage in service / ministry to one another that you will discover the God-given potential you have for service / ministry.
Unfortunately, believers are going to seminars, reading books, and trying all kinds of formulas to discover their gift or ministry, when the key to Christian living is to simply trust and obey God’s Word.
God’s Word tells us that every believer has a Spiritual gift, 1 Cor 12:7, 11; 1 Peter 4:10. If you are a born-again Christian, then you have at least one gift. In this, you must trust God and believe His Word.
Among the many commands to minister, God’s Word instructs every believer to admonish (Rom 15:14), to encourage or exhort (Heb 10:25), to witness (Col 4:5-6; 1 Pet 3:15), and to help (1 Thess 5:14) one another. We must either obey these instructions, and others like them as faithful servants of God, or become unfaithful servants.
For every vital function of the Church, there are some who are specially gifted to perform that function. The way for you to discover your gift is to obey the Scriptures, carry out those functions to the best of your ability, and determine which of them God most blesses you to do. How then do you discover your Spiritual gift? The answer: By obeying the imperatives of the Bible related to general service / ministry.
Gifts are both discovered and developed by activity. Practice brings perception of one’s total package of abilities, and practice develops those abilities. If you are seeking to discover your gift(s), then do not turn down opportunities to serve, even if you think they do not fall within the range of your abilities. God may be trying to tell you that you have abilities you do not recognize.
If you are active in doing what you can, then other opportunities may arise which will bring to light additional Spiritual gifts. For example, when we first meet Philip in the Book of Acts, we see him helping distribute the relief money to needy (and bickering) widows. (6:5). It is doubtful that before he undertook this ministry he sat down to decide whether or not he had that Spiritual gift! Here was an opportunity to serve, and he took it. He proved faithful in performing this menial task. The Lord then entrusted him with another ministry, that of evangelizing the Samaritans (8:5), and later, the Ethiopian eunuch. As he used that gift, he became known as Philip the evangelist (21:8). But first he was Philip the helper of widows.
The same principle was true in Stephen’s life. He first served along with Philip in ministering to the widows. But he also was full of faith (6:5), and was a great witness (7:1-53). Faithfulness in one opportunity leads to other opportunities.
GIFTS GIVEN TO SOME
COMMANDS GIVEN TO ALL
|1. Ministering||1. Serve one another (Gal 5:13)|
|2. Exhortation||2. Exhort one another (Heb 10:25)|
|3. Giving||3. All give (2 Cor 9:7)|
|4. Teaching||4. Great Commission (Matt 28:19)|
|5. Showing Mercy||5. Be kind (Eph 4:32)|
|6. Faith||6. Walk by faith (2 Cor 5:7)|
|7. Evangelism||7. All witness (Acts 1:8)|
Thus, all are commanded to do various ministries, whether or not they possess the corresponding Spiritual gift. If we faithfully obey these commands, we may discover our particular Spiritual gifts.
Determining Your Spiritual Gift on the Basis of Your Specific Ministry, and Not that of Other Believers:
If you have the correct motivation and are faithful to respond to the opportunities for service / ministry before you, it will soon be evident that you do not do all things equally well. This is no reason to excuse yourself from every form of ministry, but it certainly tells you the areas of service upon which you should concentrate. Out of your general service, a more particular ministry will most likely emerge. It will probably be a ministry that is unique and that others do not seem to desire to perform. Not only will your ministry become evident, but you should be more able to identify the Spiritual gift which equips you for your service.
It is by ministering to others that we find “our own ministry” and also come to recognize the Spiritual gift(s) with which the Spirit of God has empowered us.
Be careful not to attempt to discern your gift by comparing your service / ministry with those of others.
Often, we define Spiritual Gifts in terms of the ministry of well-known servants of God like Billy Graham who obviously has the gift of evangelism or Pastor Robert Thieme, Jr. who has the gift of Pastor Teacher.
Now these may well be the gifts of these great men, but we need to recognize that there are additional factors to consider. Each Christian possesses a Spiritual gift, but also, they have a specific ministry and a particular degree of effectiveness.
You might conclude that you do not have the gift of evangelism, simply because you do not preach to large audiences from a stadium and have thousands respond. In this case, you may be wrongly comparing your ministry and effectiveness with some of the giants of the Christian faith, 2 Cor 10:7-18.
For that reason, it is no wonder that most of you have not discovered your gift yet!
In 1 Cor 12:4-6, Paul tells us that there are not only diversities of gifts, verse 4, but also of ministries, verse 5, and of levels of effectiveness, verse 6.
Out of 100 men who are gifted as evangelists, only 10 may have a public ministry, and only 1 may have a ministry of national or international prominence. It is wrong for the 99 to conclude that they do not possess the gift of evangelism, because another believer has a prominent public ministry in which many come to Christ. We must be very careful to define Spiritual Gifts from Scripture and not from the experiences of others.
Only a few others in our local assembly may possess your particular Spiritual gift. Among those who possess the same gift, each will have a unique ministry. Your gift will be expressed in a certain environment, deployed through your personality and individuality. With all things being equal, even those whose gifts are identical with yours and whose ministry is similar will have differing degrees of effectiveness. Remember effectiveness does not translate directly into successfulness in God’s eyes. It is not a measure of servant-hood. Effectiveness is merely God’s will for the faithful servant.
The point is this. You cannot determine your gift(s) merely by studying this subject in the Bible. You must find your gift(s) and specific service by ministering, by obeying the commands of Scripture to serve one another. You cannot identify your gift(s) by comparing yourself with others, because the ministry of every Christian is unique. While some may have the same gift, their ministries and relative effectiveness will differ.
Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of the varied grace of God, 1 Peter 4:10-11.
Peter tells us that every Christian has received a Spiritual gift and that we are stewards of this “grace” of God. How can you be a steward of your Spiritual gift without knowing what that gift is? It is like being in charge of a man’s investments without knowing what he has in the bank. You must know the gift that God has bestowed upon you to be a faithful steward, and it is discovered by ministering to one another.
Some specific action to discover your Spiritual Gift:
- Pray, ask God to make your ministry and your gift(s) evident. (1 Cor 14:13, an example of prayer regarding a temporary gift.); Phil 4:6; 1 Pet 4:4-10
- Study the Scriptures, note the commands of the Bible, and ask God to give you insight into specific ways you may put the imperatives of the Bible into practice. 2 Tim 2:15 (KJV), “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
- Look for needs about you, and consider how you may meet those needs. 1 Cor 10:24; 14:12
- Always be sure you are filled with the Spirit when entering into service. You cannot exercise your Spiritual Gift without the filling of God the Holy Spirit. Eph 5:18-21
Take the initiative to get to know others and their needs, and quit waiting for people to have you over. Begin to seek ways of serving others. Before you begin each day, consider a particular place that you are going to and serve as the moment presents itself.
The Light That Never Fails
“We all, with unveiled face, beholding … the glory of the Lord …” (2 Cor 3:18), by Oswald Chambers.
“A servant of God must stand so very much alone that he never realizes he is alone. In the early stages of the Christian life, disappointments will come—people who used to be lights will flicker out, and those who used to stand with us will turn away. We have to get so used to it that we will not even realize we are standing alone. Paul said, “… no one stood with me, but all forsook me …. But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me …” (2 Timothy 4:16–17). We must build our faith not on fading lights but on the Light that never fails. When “important” individuals go away, we are sad, until we see that they are meant to go, so that only one thing is left for us to do—to look into the face of God for ourselves.
Allow nothing to keep you from looking with strong determination into the face of God regarding yourself and your doctrine. And every time you preach, make sure you look God in the face about the message first, then the glory will remain through all of it. A Christian servant is one who perpetually looks into the face of God and then goes forth to talk to others. The ministry of Christ is characterized by an abiding glory of which the servant is totally unaware—“… Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone while he talked with Him” (Exodus 34:29).
We are never called on to display our doubts openly or to express the hidden joys and delights of our life with God. The secret of the servant’s life is that he stays in tune with God all the time.”
The Warning Against Desiring Spiritual Success
(“Do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you …” (Luke 10:20), by Oswald Chambers.)
“Worldliness is not the trap that most endangers us as Christian workers; nor is it sin. The trap we fall into is extravagantly desiring Spiritual success; that is, success measured by, and patterned after, the form set by this religious age in which we now live. Never seek after anything other than the approval of God, and always be willing to go “outside the camp, bearing His reproach” (Hebrews 13:13). In Luke 10:20, Jesus told the disciples not to rejoice in successful service, and yet this seems to be the one thing in which most of us do rejoice. We have a commercialized view—we count how many souls have been saved and sanctified, we thank God, and then we think everything is all right. Yet our work only begins where God’s grace has laid the foundation. Our work is not to save souls, but to disciple them. Salvation and sanctification are the work of God’s sovereign grace, and our work as His disciples is to disciple others’ lives until they are totally yielded to God. One life totally devoted to God is of more value to Him than one hundred lives which have been simply awakened by His Spirit. As workers for God, we must reproduce our own kind Spiritually, and those lives will be God’s testimony to us as His workers. God brings us up to a standard of life through His grace, and we are responsible for reproducing that same standard in others.
Unless the worker lives a life that “is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3), he is apt to become an irritating dictator to others, instead of an active, living disciple. Many of us are dictators, dictating our desires to individuals and to groups. But Jesus never dictates to us in that way. Whenever our Lord talked about discipleship, He always prefaced His words with an “if,” never with the forceful or dogmatic statement—“You must.” Discipleship carries with it an option.”
Ministry as a Family:
We begin by noting that, unfortunately, “ministry” has often been a destructive force to family life and the family unit. Part of the reason for this is that individuals are overzealous to discover and serve in their own specific gift and ministry that they neglect the more voluminous commands in Scripture regarding general service, especially those related to their family. Husbands and wives go their separate ways seeking personal fulfillment in “their ministry” and forget that they need to generally serve each other within their marriage and family, (Eph 5:21-6:4; Col 3:12-20), and work together to serve others.
Since the family unit is one of the four divine institutions of God, I know that the destruction of the family unit was not one of God’s purposes in giving Spiritual gifts. When God commands us to love less our family (Luke 14:26), He was not saying that we should neglect our family, only that He should be the number one priority in our family’s lives. This is true especially in light of God giving Eve to Adam as his helpmate, (Gen 2:18). She was to be a helper to him. This is one means of service that wives could seek to complement their husband’s ministry, rather than competing with their husband for ministry.
1 Cor 16:15, “Now I urge you, brethren (you know the household of Stephanas, that they were the first fruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves for ministry to the saints).”
Paul did not speak of the ministry of Stephanas in isolation, but that it was the ministry of his entire household, of his family! Have you considered your ministry as a family yet? This is the kind of ministry your children can be a part of and not resent it. Each of you should seriously discuss in your family the kind of ministry and / or general service in which you can all be involved. I believe this is the ideal ministry for any family.
All Spiritual Gifts Function in Maximum Effectiveness Under Spiritual Adulthood, Beginning at Spiritual Self-Esteem:
Regardless of Spiritual growth, no Spiritual gift can function apart from the filling of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we have the mandates of Eph 5:18 and Gal 5:16.
Spiritual gifts have their highest function in Spiritual adulthood. When a person has mastered the functions of virtue‑love, then his gift will function to the maximum. Virtue-love includes Personal Love for God the Father, Impersonal and Unconditional Love for All Mankind, and Occupation with the Person of Jesus Christ. Your Spiritual gift will not function to the maximum before you reach Spiritual maturity.
You will know your Spiritual gift by the time you reach Spiritual adulthood, because by that time, it should be functioning and operational. Without Spiritual growth, your gift will not function; you’re just a dead battery.
Spectacular Spiritual gifts do not imply Spiritual growth, superior Christian experience, or Christian greatness. Greatness comes by advancing to Spiritual maturity and becoming an invisible hero. You can be an invisible hero with a relatively unknown or apparently insignificant gift and be just as great as a mature believer with a more visible gift.
When the believer has momentum inside the Plan of God, their gift starts to excel and maximum function occurs in Spiritual adulthood. The maximum application of your gift requires the Filling of the Spirit and Spiritual growth from the perception of Bible Doctrine under your right Pastor-Teacher.
The Permanent Spiritual Gifts in Comparison to General Service:
The following is a list of Permanent Spiritual Gifts for the Church Age. All others have ceased with the completion of the Canon of Scripture, 1 Cor 13:8‑10.
The Permanent Gifts include: 1) The gift of Pastor and Teacher, 2) Evangelism, 3) Administration, government, or ruling, 4) Ministering or Service, 5) Helps, 6) Exhortation, 7) Giving, 8) Showing Mercy, and 9) Faith.
The Temporary Gifts include the following: 1) The gift of Apostleship, 2) Prophecy, 3) Miracles, 4) Healing, 5) Tongues (languages), 6) Interpreting Tongues, and 7) Discerning Spirits
It is an interesting fact of the Bible that, along with each specific permanent gift, there are Scriptures indicating that the function is also part of the General Service for those who do not have the gift.
Below is a list of the permanent gifts, along with Scriptures indicating that same function as a General Service, in application for all believers.
PASTOR-TEACHER (P.T.) [POIMEN – DIDASKALOS / ποιμήν – διδάσκαλος / (poy-mane’ – did-as’-kal-os)] = Shepherd and Teacher
Permanent Gift: Rom 12:7; 1 Cor 12:28; Eph 4:11‑16 (“joint” is the P.T.); 1 Tim 3:1-7; 1 Peter 5:1-3; John 21:15-17; Acts 18:24-28.
The Pastor-Teacher is one gift, (Granville-Sharp rule), having the supernatural ability to teach and to individually apply the truths of the Scriptures. This is the highest rank of authority for the communication gifts remaining in the Church Age today. There is no higher authority Spiritual gift. It is given to male believers only and is designed to function primarily inside the local church. The pastor is not an administrator; he is a policy maker. One of his titles, as found in Eph 4:11, says he has the responsibility of seeing that the policy of administration lines up with the Word of God, and that it is a policy that fulfills the concepts of the New Testament. But he himself does not involve himself in administration. A Pastor should have nothing to do with the “handling” of money in the church, nor with the building and how it functions. He makes policy for the funds to be applied to and the building to adhere to, but the Pastor is not administratively responsible for the inter-workings. Every pastor is the dean of a Bible training school, which school is composed of those members in the Church of Christ committed unto him.
Mat 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” This was the great commission to the eleven disciples before they even had the gift of Apostleship, which included Pastor-Teacher and Evangelism plus others, albeit our Lord knew they would soon receive their gifts and apply them in that manner. See Paul’s example in Eph 3:7‑13.
General Service: Rom 15:4-6, 14; Eph 5:25-27; 6:4; Col 3:16; Titus 2:3-4; 2 Thes 3:15; Prov 31:26. Everyone has the responsibility to teach / witness the word of God, especially parents within the family unit.
EVANGELISM – EUAGGELISTES – εὐαγγελιστής (yoo-ang-ghel-is-tace’) = an evangelist, a bringer of good news. From EU – εὖ (yoo) = good, well done, and AGGELOS – ἄγγελος (ang’-el-os) = a messenger.
Permanent Gift: Eph 4:11; Acts 8:5-6; 26-40; 24:8 (Philip the Evangelist).
It is the supernatural ability to effectively communicate the gospel and win the lost to Christ. While the gift of Pastor-Teacher communicates the whole realm of doctrine to the saved inside the local church, the gift of Evangelism is designed to communicate the gospel to the unsaved outside the local church. The male believer with the gift of Evangelism has the God-given ability to communicate the gospel in a manner that holds the unbeliever’s attention. This is the Spiritual gift by which people will gather or assemble to listen to the presentation of the gospel. These unbelievers will give attention and listen to the evangelist, where they would not listen to anyone else.
While listening to something “religious,” the unbeliever has a tendency to be on his guard and resentful. But all of this is overcome by the Spiritual gift of evangelism while communicating the gospel. His gift is designed to reach the unreachable with the gospel message. The gift of evangelism has the ability to teach and express the gospel so that unbelievers will listen and have a clear understanding of the issue of salvation; i.e., that faith in Christ means eternal life, and that rejection of Christ means eternal condemnation. Every evangelist must learn doctrine from his right Pastor-Teacher.
Often an evangelist will have a speaking talent that goes with his gift, but it is actually the gift that provides hearing from the unbeliever. When this Spiritual gift functions, the unbeliever will listen to the gospel almost by compulsion. The man with this gift is sensational in his communication of the gospel to the unbeliever. He is a sensational speaker with a sensational personality; this is necessary in order to get a hearing from unbelievers. Such a person can hold the attention of unbelievers.
Jesus gave the “Great Commission” to the Apostles in order to evangelize the world, Acts 1:8, “And you shall be my witnesses;” Mat 28:19-20; Eph 6:20. This work continues through all believers today.
Pastors do not have this gift, but they are mandated to do the work of an evangelist in 2 Tim 4:5.
General Service: 2 Cor 5:19-20; Col. 4:5-6; 1 Peter 3:15.
All believers are mandated to evangelize. This is because, as Royal Ambassadors, every believer represents God before the human race. Therefore, it is necessary to personally witness for Christ and give the message of reconciliation as the opportunity presents itself.
Three categories of believers are mandated to communicate the gospel:
- The function of the Spiritual gift of evangelism.
- The function of the Spiritual gift of Pastor-Teacher.
- The function of every believer in General Service.
ADMINISTRATION (a.k.a. LEADER, RULER)
Permanent Gift: Rom 12:8; 1 Cor 12:28.
In Rom 12:8, the Greek word is PROISTEMI – προΐστημι (pro-is’-tay-mee), from PRO – πρό (pro) meaning, “before,” and HISTEMI – ἵστημι (his’-tay-mee) meaning, “to make to stand.” Combined it means, “to put before, to stand before, to set over, to rule, to preside.”
“He who leads must do so with diligence,” [SPOUDE – σπουδή (spoo-day’) = haste, eagerness, earnestness].”
In 1 Cor 12:28, the Greek word is KUBERNESIS – κυβέρνησις (koo-ber’-nay-sis), which means, “to steer, guide, or govern.” It is used for “governments” or “administrations.”
The two Greek words describe the two parts of this gift. It entails both authority and leadership and the function of administration.
Therefore, the gift of Administration is the supernatural ability to lead others. This is the gift of administrative leadership. Those who serve in the local church who have this gift have delegated authority from the Pastor. Those with the gift of Administration will clearly understand the immediate and long-range goals of the local assembly, and devise and execute effective plans for the accomplishment of those goals.
This Spiritual gift is typically held by deacons and those on the Board of Directors. Likewise, those who fulfill administrative responsibilities on missionary boards; leaders of Christian service organizations; those who lead and administer the training of children in the local church; church officers and chairmen of standing committees, or other organizations within the local church may have this gift.
Apparently, this gift is given to men only. Men with this administrative leadership Spiritual gift must chair the various committees in the local church; such as the church office committee, finance committee, membership committee, missionary committee, nursery committee, prep school committee, property committee, and ushers committee. (Those who serve on committees must have the gift of ministry or service.)
There are two kinds of Deacons: 1) Those with the administrative leadership gift, and 2) those with the service administrative gift, called the gift of ministry or the gift of service, as we will see below.
It is the responsibility of the Pastor to identify men who have this gift and appoint them into the appropriate slot. The pastor who fails to do this eventually becomes the loser himself. The very existence of this gift emphasizes the fact that the primary responsibility of the Pastor is not administration. The gift of administration, then, is linked to the function of the local church.
One important distinction must be made. A person can be great in administrating some business or organization, but that does not necessarily mean he has this Spiritual gift. The gift of administration calls for more than simply effective administrative function. It is a Spiritual gift, which is sensitive to the needs of the local church and how they are best administered, coupled with the supernatural ability to lead others towards the accomplishment of those needs.
As a side note, in 1 Tim 3:4-5, 12; the Pastor and Deacons are to rule their household well as a qualification for their offices. In addition, those Pastors who rule their congregations well are to be honored (supported financially) by their local assembly, 1 Tim 5:17; 1 Thes 5:12, Heb 13:7.
General Service: “All things must be done properly and in an orderly manner,” 1 Cor 14:40. See also Rom 16:1-2 (helper = PROSTATIS – προστάτις (pros-tat’-is) feminine of PROISTEMI); Eph 5:23-6:9; 1 Tim 1:4; also in Titus 3:8, 14 (i.e., maintain or engage)
MINISTRY / SERVICE – DIAKONIA – διακονία (dee-ak-on-ee’-ah), service, or ministry. It is from DIAKONOS – διάκονος (dee-ak’-on-os) meaning, “a servant or minister.”
Permanent Gift: Rom 12:7. The Greek noun DIAKONIA is translated, “ministry” in the KJV, or “service” in better modern translations.
DIAKONIA is a Spiritual gift of Service given to both men and women.
Some confusion arises because DIAKONIA resembles DIAKONOS (1 Tim 3:8-10, 12-13), which is transliterated, “deacon,” but DIAKONIA actually refers to the gift of service or ministering, where the person possessing it may or may not serve as a Deacon of the church.
DIAKONOS is the office in the local church, held by a man serving on the Board of Deacons, and the PROISTEMI and KUBERNESIS or the male DIAKONIA are the ones with Spiritual gifts of Administrative Leadership or Service who serve on the Board of Deacons or Directors.
The Deacon, who is the chairman of a committee, has the gift of Administration. Those who serve on the committee (male or female) have the gift of ministry or service. This makes for effective, administrative function in the local church.
Therefore, this gift (DIAKONIA) functions in the administration of the local church. It means, “ministry or service;” it does not refer to the office of Deacon in the local church. Those who have this Spiritual gift should serve on committees and in specific administrative functions in the local church, on mission boards, or in Christian service organizations. This Spiritual gift is strictly administrative without the leadership function provided by the Holy Spirit.
Although women cannot have the first three Spiritual gifts, they can have this Spiritual gift. This explains the feminine form, “deaconess,” (DIAKONON) in Romans 16:1. No woman has the gift of Pastor-Teacher, the gift of Evangelism, or the gift of Administration. But this shouldn’t keep ladies from teaching children, from personal witnessing, or from functioning in the administration of the church, if they have the gift of service.
General Service: 1 Cor 12:5; 2 Cor 6:4; 9:12; Eph 4:12; Rev 2:19. Also in Mark 15:40-41 and Luke 8:2-3 (DIAKONEO = to serve or minister, contribute or support)
Gal 5:13, “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve (DOULEUO) one another.”
HELPS – ANTILEMPSIS – ἀντίληψις (an-til’-ape-sis), which means, “a laying hold of, the ability to help, a helper, to aid.” It also can mean, “perception with the sense of knowing what others need.” This is an Hapaxlegomena which means it is used only once in the New Testament. So, we need to look further to help with the definition.
It comes from ANTILAMBANO(MAI) – ἀντιλαμβάνο(μαι) [an-tee-lam-ban’-om-ahee] meaning, “to take instead of, take hold of, given help or help.” It is a compound word from ANTI – ἀντί (an-tee’) here meaning, “instead of,” and LAMBANO – λαμβάνω (lam-ban’-o) meaning, “to take.” So, it is the opposite of taking; it is giving or helping.
Thayer defines it as: 1) To lay hold of, hold fast to anything; 2) to take a person or thing in order as it were to be held, to take to, embrace, 3) to help, to be a partaker of, partake of (the benefits of the services rendered by the slaves). It is used in Luke 1:54; Acts 20:35; 1 Tim 6:2.
Permanent Gift: 1 Cor 12:28
This Spiritual gift functions by helping and ministering to others including the sick, the afflicted, the handicapped, and the helpless. It is the supernatural ability to invest in the life and ministry of others; thereby, enabling them in their ministry and effectiveness while increasing their success.
It is held by men and women. This gift is possessed by thousands of believers and is very important. It is this gift that makes the Royal Family tick. It is the most sustaining gift, and it provides the real stability in a local church.
This gift is a marvelous thing to behold. It is this gift which functions by visiting the sick and those in hospitals. It is not the Pastor’s responsibility to call on the sick. But for those who have the Spiritual gift of Helps. This is their great and magnificent function. This is the Spiritual gift that really undergirds all the other Spiritual gifts. It can be extended inside or outside the church; it can function to both believers and unbelievers. Possibly one difference between the gift of ministry or service and the gift of helps is that ministry or service functions within the church; whereas, the gift of helps functions both inside and outside the local church.
General Service: Acts 20:35, “In every thing I showed you that by working hard in this matter you must help (ANTILAMBANO) the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
1 Thes 5:14 “We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help [ANTECHO – ἀντέχω (an-tekh’-o) = help, be loyal to.] the weak, be patient with everyone.”
EXHORTATION – PARAKALEO – παρακαλέω (par-ak-al-eh’-o) or PARAKLESIS – παράκλησις (par-ak’-lay-sis)
Romans 12:8, “or he who exhorts (PARKALEO), in his exhortation (PARAKLESIS)…”
PARAKALEO is the root verb meaning, “to call to or for, to exhort, to encourage that is appeal, beg, or to call near.” It also can mean, “to invite, invoke (by imploration or consolation), beseech, call for, be of good comfort, desire, give exhortation, entreat or pray.” It is a compound word from PARA – παρά (par-ah’) meaning, “from beside, by the side of, by, or beside,” and KALEO – καλέω (kal-eh’-o) meaning, “to call.”
The noun PARAKLESIS comes from the root verb and means, “a calling to one’s aid, i.e. encouragement, comfort, appeal, consolation, exhortation, urging, imploration, solace in the sense of comfort, and entreaty.”
Permanent Gift: Rom. 12:8
Exhortation is the supernatural ability to encourage, counsel, comfort, admonish, warn, and advise others. This gift is also described as anyone who is honest with you as a friend. It is the special ability to minister words of comfort, consolation, encouragement, and counsel to other members of the Body of Christ, so that they feel helped and healed. Being different from plain teaching, it is an appeal for action. It is the practical aspect of a preaching ministry. It leads people into the active realization of the will of God.
Gal 4:16, “So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?”, balanced with; 2 Tim 4:2, “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.”
General Service: Acts 15:36 f; 2 Cor 1:4; Phil 2:1-8; Heb 3:13; 10:25; 1 Thess 4:18; 5:11, 14; 1 Tim 4:13.
God is our comforter in 2 Cor 1:3-4; 7:6; 2 Thess 2:16-17, nevertheless, we are instructed to comfort one another. You can also do these things for yourself in Spiritual adulthood. We have the permanent Indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the Filling of the Spirit, the ministry of the Spirit in teaching, metabolizing, and applying doctrine. Beginning with Spiritual Self-Esteem, you counsel yourself; you comfort yourself; you warn yourself; you advise yourself through application of the Word of God, Rom 15:4. In addition, there is a place for these things in the ministry of the Pastor‑Teacher and all believers. Finally, the Holy Spirit is our PARAKLETOS – παράκλητος (par-ak’-lay-tos), “Helper” in John 14:26 who is always standing at the ready.
Heb 10:25, “Not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”
GIVING – METADIDOMI – μεταδίδωμι (met-ad-id’-o-mee)
METADIDOMI is a compound word from the preposition META – μετά (met-ah’) meaning, “with or among,” and DIDOMI – δίδωμι (did’-o-mee) meaning, “to give.” So, METADIDOMI comes to mean, “to give a share of, gives, impart, share, or to give over.”
Permanent Gift: Rom 12:8, “or he who gives, with liberality;”
This gift is the supernatural ability to contribute material resources to the work of the Lord with liberality and cheerfulness to meet the physical (mainly financial) needs of others. It’s the ability to be very generous with the means you have. Committing earthly possessions to the Lord for His use. It is primarily in the form of materialism, but can be of time or talent as well, ergo the phrase, “time, talent, or treasure”.
In Romans 12:8, this gift is to be exercised “with liberality.” Liberality is the Greek noun HAPLOTES – ἁπλότης (hap-lot’-ace), which comes to mean, “singleness, simplicity, liberality, sincerity, mental honesty, and the virtue of one that is free from pretence and hypocrisy.” It means, “not self-seeking, openness of heart manifesting itself by generosity, copious bestowal, and bountifulness.”
This means that giving should be exercised with simplicity, which means with no thought of return or self-gain and with no strings attached.
It comes from the adjective HAPLOUS – ἁπλοῦς (hap-looce’) meaning, “simple, single, or clear.” This is a compound word from the Greek negative “A” and “PLOOS” – πλόος (plo’-os) meaning, “voyage,” which is from “PLEO” – πλέω (pleh’-o) meaning, “to sail.” So, it comes to mean, “not to sail away.” In other words, to not take the materialistic blessings God has given to you singularly for your own adventure or voyage, but to share those blessings with others.
This is a special Spiritual gift given to both rich and poor for the extravagant use of their earthly possessions, in providing for the needs of both believers and Christian institutions. This would include their local church, missions, Christian service organizations, the destitute and needy, and those who are financially helpless.
A falsehood regarding giving is that you must give all your money through or to the local church. That is, if you were to give to any people in need, but not by means of the local church, it really isn’t true giving. You have a right to give your money directly to any number of organizations or people in need, and it is legitimate Christian giving. Keep in mind also that before you give to the local church, you have a responsibility to provide for your family, 1 Tim 5:4, 8.
1 Tim 5:8, “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
A person with the Spiritual gift of giving will give sacrificially. There are two types of believers who have this gift: rich and poor. If they have this gift, they will give sacrificially. For the gift will function when they reach a certain stage of Spiritual growth, even though they may not know they have the gift. But remember, as with most of the Spiritual gifts, you don’t have to identify the gift; you simply have to grow in grace and it will function automatically, albeit you can better exercise your gift with knowledge of it. If you have the gift, God will provide for the poor and for the rich to give sacrificially. If you do not have this gift, then God requires that you have the mental attitude desire to give, whether you are able to give or not, and to do so without compulsion or obligation.
General Service: Mark 12:41-44, (the widow’s mite); 1 Cor 9:9 f; 1 Cor 9:14; 2 Cor 8:1-9; 9:1-15; Gal 6:6; 1 Thess 5:12-13; 1 Tim 5:17-18; 6:18-19.
Wrong motivation for giving is found in Acts 5:1-11 (Ananias and Sapphira); 2 Cor 9:7.
The Holy Spirit is called the Helper in John 14:26 but uses a different Greek word PARAKLETOS – παράκλητος (par-ak’-lay-tos).
2 Cor 9:7, “Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver [DOTES – δότης (dot’-ace)].”
1 Cor 9:14, “So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel.”
MERCY– ELEEO – ἐλεέω (el-eh-eh’-o)
Permanent Gift: Rom 12:8,
Rom 12:8, “…he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.”
ELEEO is a Greek verb that means, “to have pity or mercy on, or to show mercy.” It means, “to help someone afflicted or seeking aid, and to bring help to the wretched.”
It comes from the Greek noun ELEOS – ἔλεος (el’-eh-os), which means, “mercy, pity, compassion, kindness, or good will towards the miserable and the afflicted, joined with a desire to help them.” It also means, “to exercise the virtue of mercy, and to show yourself merciful.”
Showing Mercy is the supernatural ability to visibly demonstrate love and compassion to the unlovely. This person will feel genuine empathy and compassion for individuals, both Christian and non-Christian, who suffer distressing physical, mental, or emotional problems, those who may be suffering persecutions, and for those who are victims of tyranny. They translate their compassion into cheerfully done deeds, which reflect Christ’s love, in order to alleviate the suffering. It is similar to the gift of Helps, which also focuses on the weak, sick, needy, and poor; whereas, Showing Mercy is directed toward those who are sick, afflicted, or persecuted. Therefore, it is perhaps more dramatic than the gift of helps.
Romans 12:8 carries with the gift an implication that the person with this gift may not like what they are challenged with or face. That is why we have the addition of the phrase, “with cheerfulness.” Cheerfulness is the Greek noun HILAROTES – ἱλαρότης (hil-ar-ot’-ace) used only here in the New Testament. Thayer adds to the definition, “readiness of mind,” which is why we say virtue is necessary for the application of this gift.
HILAROTES comes from the adjective HILAROS – ἱλαρός (hil-ar-os’), used in 2 Cor 9:7 to describe, “the mental attitude of the giver.” It means, “cheerful, joyous, prompt to do anything, propitious, and merry.” It is where we get our English word hilarious from, and the Latin HILARITAS, but the meaning is quite different. The root word for both of these is the adjective HILEOS – ἵλεως (hil’-eh-oce) meaning, “propitious, gracious, kindly, gentle, or merciful,” as in Heb 8:12. Adverbially, it was a Hebraism used to say, “God be gracious!” or “far be it!” or “God forbid!” as in Mat 16:22, with the sense of averting some calamity.
This “cheerfulness” or virtue is necessary because when we are faced with the unlovely of this world, it can be depressing and discouraging on many levels. But we are not to look at the condition for our happiness or as motivation for service. We are to apply God’s Word, resting in Him and relying on the inner peace and happiness we have gained through His Spirit and Word, in order to serve generally or in this gift. We are to operate with the virtue of God in us. That is why Romans 12:8 commands that “cheerfulness” accompanies the function of this Spiritual gift using the Dative of Manner. Therefore, showing mercy is a virtue that all believers can possess under grace, but the gift of Showing Mercy is the supernatural ability to deliver mercy to those who otherwise may not receive it from man, yet it still calls for a cheerful mental attitude. When Romans 12:8 was written, it was dangerous to help Christians who were imprisoned or under persecution because of their belief. Hence, this Spiritual gift is always related to courageous acts of mercy.
General Service: Mat 5:7; 18:21-33; 25:34-40, Luke 10:33-37; Acts 16:33-34; 2 Cor 4:1; Gal 6:16; 1 Tim 1:16; 2 Tim 1:16; Heb 4:16; James 1:27; 2:13; 3:17; 1 Peter 2:10-12; Jude 1:2, 17-23.
Mat 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”
James 1:27, “Pure and undefiled worship in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”
FAITH – PISTIS – πίστις (pis’-tis)
Permanent Gift: 1 Cor 12:9; 13:2
PISITS is the Greek noun that means, “faith or faithful, and sometimes doctrine.”
It can also mean, “conviction of the truth of anything, with the idea of trust and holy fervor born of faith and joined with it.” So, it is belief with the predominate idea of trust or confidence, whether in God or in Christ, or in His Word springing from faith in the same. Finally, it can mean, “the character of one who can be relied on.” Its root word is the verb PEITHO – πείθω (pi’-tho) meaning, “to persuade, to have confidence, or to be assured.”
The Gift of Faith is the supernatural ability to trust God and to believe in Him for the supply of specific needs. This gift has been debated as to being a permanent versus temporary gift, but here we are treating it as a permanent gift.
The person with this gift discerns with extraordinary confidence and conviction the will and purpose of God for his service or ministry. It manifests itself not so much in the trust of Jesus Christ as Savior, but more so by having unalterable confidence in God in respect to His power and love working in the details of their lives, supplying their every need, and guiding their steps. Having this confidence in their own affairs, they are able to share that confidence with those around them.
This must be distinguished from the Faith‑Rest Drill. This is a special Spiritual gift; whereby, a believer demonstrates faith while being in a group that is being persecuted or under some special pressure. While others are fearful and without faith, this believer exercises great conviction in deliverance by God or in confidence that God’s will, will be done. In the process, they encourage the group to do the same.
This person exercises his gift of Faith on behalf of the group to comfort them with promises and doctrine. If a group of believers is about to go to the lions, the one with the gift of Faith stands up and demonstrates great courage, confidence, and peace. This in turn positively affects the courage and faith in God of the others.
It is more than claiming promises from the Word to apply. It is complementary to the promises and doctrines of the Bible, so that others will learn how to apply the Faith‑Rest Drill. This is noted by extension in 1 Corinthian 13:2, “If I have all faith so as to remove mountains.” One definition of the moving of mountains is the removal of fear, worry, and anxiety from the soul caused by giving over to the temptations of the sin nature during times of adversity, disaster, trials, and tribulations. Those with the gift of Faith will greatly encourage others by demonstrating great courage and exhorting them to walk in faith too while under pressure.
Also, the person with this gift may be a “prayer warrior.” Someone who is faithful in offering up prayers for those around them who are in need. By demonstrating confidence in prayer, they will lead others to have confidence in prayer too, and to wait patiently on the timing of the Lord for the answers to their prayers.
General Service: Acts 27:21-25; Rom 4:18-21; 2 Cor 5:7; Eph 4:13; 6:16; Phil 1:21-30; Titus 2:10; Heb 11: all; James 1:5-7.
2 Cor 5:7, “For we walk by faith and not by sight.”
Titus 2:10, “…showing all good faith so that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.”
In 1 Cor 12:8, we have two more debatable gifts that some include as permanent, while others say they are only skills that any believer may possess through Spiritual growth, or that they are in fact temporary gifts. In this discussion, we will treat them as being applicable today.
WORD OF WISDOM – LOGOS SOPHIA – λόγος (log’-os) — σοφία (sof-ee’-ah)
LOGOS means, “a word (as embodying an idea), a statement, a speech, an account, or an accounting.”
It’s root word LEGO – λέγω (leg’-o) meaning, “to lay forth, that is relate to others with word usually in a systematic way or set discourse.” It is also translated as, “to teach, to exhort, advise, to command, direct, to point out with words, intend, mean, mean to say, to call by name, to call, name, to speak out, speak of, or mention.”
SOPHIA means, “skill, wisdom, or cleverness.” — “It is used of the knowledge of very diverse matters and the varied knowledge of things human and divine, acquired by acuteness and experience, and summed up in maxims and proverbs,” according to Thayer.
As a temporary gift, it is said that the gift of Wisdom (notice “word of” is not included) accompanied the gift of Knowledge, as the ability to explain and apply the Mystery Doctrine of the Church Age as taught by the gift of Knowledge. So, some taught the Mystery Doctrine (those with the gift of Knowledge); others taught the application of that doctrine (those with the gift of Wisdom).
The Word of Wisdom as a continuing gift today is the supernatural ability to apply Bible doctrine to circumstances in life and to give that insight to others, as in counseling. It is understanding the Word of God in such a way as to give insight and enlightenment that best applies to specific needs within the Body of Christ, as led by the Holy Spirit.
It is similar to Exhortation. The difference between the two gifts maybe in the relationship of application. The Exhorter will be like a close friend, personally exhorting others; whereas, the Word of Wisdom will be exercised on a more impersonal basis like that of the Pastor-Teacher. The one holding the office of Deacon may have this gift as noted in Acts 6:3, 8-10, where Stephen is an example.
General Service: Rom 11:33; 1 Cor 2:1-13 (of Paul); Eph 1:8, 17; 3:10; Col 1:9-12; 3:16; James 1:5-6; 3:13-17; 2 Peter 3:15-18.
James 1:5-6, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.”
2 Peter 3:15-18, “And regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, 16as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. 17You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, 18but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”
WORD OF KNOWLEDGE – LOGOS GNOSIS – λόγος (log’-os) — γνῶσις (gno’-sis):
This is the other debatable gift that may actually be the same as the temporary gift of Knowledge in 1 Cor 13:2 and 8. Here we will be treating it as an extant gift, different from the gift of Knowledge.
Again, we have LOGOS as a title for this gift that means, “a word (as embodying an idea), a statement, a speech, an account, or an accounting.” So, we understand that both gifts are based on the Word of God being utilized in regards to others.
In addition, we have the noun GNOSIS, which means, “a knowing, knowledge, or an understanding way.”
Thayer says, “GNOSIS is used in the New Testament to mean, “knowledge signified in general intelligence and understanding. It is the general knowledge of the Christian religion. The deeper more perfect and enlarged knowledge of this religion, such as belongs to the more advanced, especially of things lawful and unlawful for Christians or moral wisdom, such as is seen in right living”. Extra Biblically it was also used to mean judicial inquiry or recognizing.
Its root word is GINOSKO – γινώσκω (ghin-oce’-ko), which means, “to come to know, recognize, perceive, or ascertain.”
The gift of Word of Knowledge appears to be different than the temporary gift of Knowledge listed in 1 Cor 13:2, 8. With the temporary gift, one had instant cognition of the Mystery Doctrine of the Church Age without studying and learning it. This knowledge was provided directly by God the Holy Spirit, who inserted previously unknown doctrinal information into a person’s right lobe as EPIGNOSIS – ἐπίγνωσις (ep-ig’-no-sis). It was a communication gift of pre-canon Scriptures and doctrines.
The gift of the Word of Knowledge is the supernatural ability to categorize doctrine for application. It is the ability to accumulate, analyze, and clarify information and ideas, which are pertinent to the well-being of the body of Christ. This gift can be used to assist a Pastor in his writing and teaching materials, and be applied in academic settings by preparing systematic theologies or other academic books, resources, and courses for the edification of the body of Christ.
General Service: 1 Cor 2:14 (in the sense of being the opposite of unbelievers); Eph 3:18-19; Phil 3:8; Col 2:2-3; 1 Tim 6:20-21; 1 Peter 3:7; 2 Peter 1:5-8; 3:18.
Col 2:1-3, “For I want you to know [OIDA – οἶδα (oi’-dä)] how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face, 2that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding [SUNESIS – σύνεσις (soon’-es-is)], resulting in a true knowledge (EPIGNOSIS) of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, 3in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom (SOPHIA) and knowledge (GNOSIS).”
Principles Regarding Spiritual Gifts:
A Spiritual gift is not a place of service:
The gift is the ability, not where that ability is used. Teaching can be done in or out of a formal classroom situation, and in any country of the world. Helping can be done in the church or in the neighborhood.
A Spiritual gift is not an office:
The gift is the ability and can be exercised whether one holds an office in a local church or not. For example, there is confusion about the gift of Pastor. The gift is the ability to shepherd people. This can be done by the person who occupies pulpit or by a Dean of men and / or women in a school. Likewise, under general service, it can also be done by the wife and mother in a home even though they do not have the gift.
A Spiritual gift is not a particular age group ministry:
There is no gift of youth work, or children’s work. All ages need to be served by Pastor-Teachers, administrators, helpers, etc. That would be the ministry or effect.
A Spiritual gift is not a special technique:
There is no Spiritual gift of writing or Christian education or music. These are techniques through which Spiritual gifts may be channeled for ministry or effect.
A Spiritual gift is different from a natural talent:
We have already noted that a talent may or may not serve the body of Christ, while a Spiritual gift does.
We are all commanded to use our gift, 1 Peter 4:10; therefore, learning what your gift is will equip you to serve in your gift.
1 Peter 4:10, “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”
The Abuse of Spiritual Gifts:
Reversionism and apostasy seek to perpetuate temporary Spiritual gifts, like tongues and healing, beyond the closing of the canon in 96 AD. When anyone claims the gifts of apostleship, tongues, miracles, healing, they are apostate and reversionistic, and you should separate yourselves from them. The fact that tongues was removed earlier is found in the Greek of 1 Cor 13:8-10. The fact that healing was removed, even in Paul’s day half way through his ministry, is found by comparing, Acts 19:11-12 with 2 Cor 12:8; Phil 2:27, 1 Tim 5:23 and 2 Tim 4:20. Also in James 5:14, the church leaders are instructed to pray for the sick so that God may bring about healing, which would be somewhat unnecessary if the gift were extant in the church today.
The Corinthians were taking the Spiritual gift of tongues and magnifying it out of proportion and calling it Spirituality. That is why Paul wrote 1 Cor 12-14, especially chapters 13 and 14. These Scriptures tell us that there is nothing in the Christian life apart from the filling of the Holy Spirit producing Divine love in the life of the believer. In 1 Cor 13, Paul takes three temporary gifts and sets up the principle of the discontinuance of temporary gifts.
Demon possession is a source of the present tongues movement:
1.) Tongues was a sign to warn the Jews of the coming of the fifth cycle of discipline. They were warned by being evangelized in foreign languages for forty years. Isa 28:9‑13 is said to be fulfilled in 1 Cor 14:21‑22.
1 Corinthians 1:22-24, “For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”
2.) The first historical reference in Acts 2:1‑11 states that the purpose is to turn cursing into blessing.
3.) Tongues was given to the Gentiles in the early church at or just after salvation as part of the sign to Israel. To show that the Gentiles were also partakers of the gifts of the Holy Spirit entering them into the Royal Family of God for the Church Age, Acts 10:27-48. It also demonstrated the beginning of the change over of client nation status from Jews to Gentiles, Rom 12:11-25, 30.
4.) After the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. and the completion of the canon of Scriptures, the gift was removed, 1 Cor 13:8‑10.
5.) Tongues continues to be perpetuated by Satan for his use in the Tribulation, 2 Thess 2:7‑12.
6.) The mechanics of tongues is related to the Engastramuthos (ventriloquist) demons, Isa 8:19; 29:4; Rev 16:13‑14.
7.) Tongues is a satanic cheap substitute for doctrine, 2 Cor 6:11‑16; Rom 16:17‑20.
8.) Tongues becomes an authorized Spiritual function again only in the millennium, Joel 2:28‑29.
Also in Heb 1:1-2 and 2:1-4, we have a discussion about the completion of the canon as being the final Word of God for the Church Age, and that gifts were used in the communication and proof of that Word prior to being written down. Therefore, once written, the need for the early communication gifts in particular was no longer necessary.
Jesus also spoke of the finality of the revelation found in Himself in John 17:4, 8, “I glorified You (God the Father) on the earth, having accomplished the work which You gave Me to do… for the words which You gave to Me, I have given unto them.” In other words, He came as the revealer of God, and that work is now accomplished. Jesus says this very clearly in John 15:15b, “All things that I heard from my Father I have made known unto you.” Just as his cry from the Cross, “It is finished,” signified that nothing more needed to be done as a Priest to secure redemption for His flock, so these comments proclaim the conclusion of His perfect prophetic ministry.
And finally, as we previously have noted, the ending of the temporary Spiritual gifts is found in 1 Cor 13:8-10. Verse 10 tells us that when the canon of Scripture is completed, some gifts will no longer be necessary, and therefore cease.
“When the perfect”— TELEIOS – τέλειος (tel’-i-os) “perfect,” is in the Neuter gender in the Greek, it refers to the Bible.
Compare with James 1:25, “But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.”
Then in verse 10, we have “comes” which is ERCHOMAI – ἔρχομαι (er’-khom-ahee) that means, “the part moving to the whole or that which is completed.”
Then we have “the partial,” which is MEROS – μέρος (mer’-os) meaning, “a part, a portion, or share,” and refers to the temporary Spiritual gifts.
Finally, we have “will be done away,” which is KATARGEO – καταργέω (kat-arg-eh’-o) meaning, “removed, abolish, or render inoperative.” Therefore, given all that we have noted above, the temporary gifts were discontinued between 70 -100 AD.
Spiritual Gift: A supernatural endowment of the Holy Spirit; whereby, every Christian is empowered to perform a certain function, which edifies the Church and glorifies God, Rom 12:3-8; 1 Cor 12:4 ff.
Specific Service: That unique service / ministry for which each Christian has been gifted and to which he or she is called, Rom 12:6-8; Col 4:17; 2 Tim 4:5.
General Service: The commands regarding the obligations to serve for which all Christians are responsible, regardless of gift or calling, Rom 12:9-15; Gal 6:2, 6, 10.
Romans chapter 8 gives great encouragement to the servant of God by reminding us of what God has accomplished on our behalf, and the freedom we have. Therefore, the servant should be bold in his discipleship to exercise his Spiritual gift, not being held under slavery to sin, but living in the freedom of the Royal Family of God.
God’s Coffee, Unknown
A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life. Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups – porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite – telling them to help themselves to the coffee.
When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: ‘If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In most cases, it is just more expensive, and in some cases, even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups… and then you began eyeing each other’s cups.
Now consider this: Your Spiritual life is the coffee and your Spiritual Gifts are the cups. They are just tools to function in your Spiritual Life, and the type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of Spiritual Life we live. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee God has provided us. ‘God brews the coffee, and has given you a cup. Don’t look for better cups; utilize the one you have been given and enjoy your coffee!’