SPIRITUAL GIFTS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

THE SPIRITUAL GIFTS DEFINED

by Ven Dr I. U. Ibeme http://www.scribd.com/ifeogo ;

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PriscAquila Christian Resource Centre

THE AIM HERE IS TO BE AS BIBLICAL AS POSSIBLE IN DEFINING AND UNDERSTANDING THE SPIRITUAL GIFTS.

ALL SPIRITUAL GIFTS ARE SPIRITUAL ABILITIES GRATUITOUSLY GIVEN BY THE HOLY SPIRIT TO MEMBERS OF CHRIST’S BODY (THE CHURCH), TO FREELY MANIFEST GOD’S GRACE IN VARIOUS SPECIAL FORMS FOR THE GOOD OF OTHERS AND THE GROWTH OF THE CHURCH. (See Rom 12:3-6; 1Cor 12:1-7; Eph 4:12-13; 1Pet 4:10).

Every Christian believer should constantly be conscious of and confident about the source, the power and the purpose of these abilities which have been variously given to them for free service. The whole purpose of every spiritual gift is to empower the Church:

To understand God’s will and ways,

To please God through obedience and true worship,

To benefit and serve one another freely, and

To make Christ known as His witnesses.

As believers are stirred up, called upon or led to exercise and attempt these gifts in the church, they should go ahead and do so through their church’s activities, sub-groups and ministries. Experience confirmed by witness of the church will help you discover your gifts.

DEFINITIONS

1. WISDOM

The gift of word (discourse) of Wisdom (eloquence in biblical wisdom) is the special grace to discover and develop practical principles from God’s Word in order to give relevant counsel for tackling particular common or personal problems, in the way most beneficial to God’s people and most pleasing to God. (St Paul claimed to preach by this gift in 1Cor 2:4-7, 13-16). This is the gift of preaching wise counsels that convincingly apply God’s mind to real life situations as Christ promised in Lk 21:15. (Stephen preached by this gift in Act 6:8-10).

Spiritual Wisdom is about godly discretion to make the choice on WHAT IS RIGHT TO DO (in order to cooperate with and please God). The second half of most of St Paul’s epistles are wisdom discourses on Christian living (Eph 4:1-3; 5:1-5). The book of Proverbs was written through the gifts of word of Knowledge and word of Wisdom Pro 1:1-2; 2:2-7; 5:1-2; 19:27; 22:17; 23:12.

2. KNOWLEDGE

The gift of word (discourse) of Knowledge (eloquence in the knowledge of the Gospel mystery Eph 3:3) is the special grace for rational study and analytical scrutiny of the Scriptures for revelatory insight in order to clearly apprehend and comprehend the whole and true meaning of God’s Word and Christ’s Redemption, well enough to give informative discourse or interpretation from the abundance of such spiritual comprehension. (St Paul claimed to preach by this gift in 1Cor 2:8-12; Eph 3:1-9). This is the gift of preaching knowledgeable discourses that extensively expound the eternal purpose of God as Christ promised in Lk 8:10. (Apollos, with HELP form Priscilla and Aquila, preached by this gift in Act 18:24-28).

Spiritual Knowledge is about godly comprehension on the meaning of WHAT THE TRUTH IS (about God’s power and purpose Eph 1:17-23). The first half of most of St Paul’s epistles are knowledge discourses on the Person and purpose of Christ (Eph 3:1-9).

What some call “Word of Knowledge” these days is “intuitive awareness” which properly belongs to the gifts of DISCERNMENT, REVELATION and PROPHECY. The gifts of word of Knowledge and word of Wisdom involve word-comprehension ability (Pro 23:10) that could also enhance effectiveness in exercising the word-communication gifts of word of Exhortation (Preaching) and word of Instruction (Teaching).

3. FAITH

The gift of Faith is the special grace to gain certainty about God’s intensions for particular expectations of God’s people, and hold unshakably unto God with fervent prayer and extraordinary confidence till such unimaginable expectations, impossible tasks, difficult projects and programmes are accomplished; despite insurmountable hindrances. Mk 11:22-24; Heb 11:1, 13, 30-39.

4. HEALINGS

The gifts of Healings are the special graces to lay hands on (or speak to) people with varieties of sicknesses to make them recover without natural means, in a way that gives God the glory. Act 9:34; 28:8-9.

5. MIRACLES

The gift of working of Miracles is the special grace to operate in the power of God to make things happen contrary to normal processes of nature, for the good of God’s people and to the glory of God. Acts 8:39-40; 20:9-12.

Miracles by sorcery/magic or satanic powers are called false/lying wonders because they are either illusions or used to deceive people into believing a lie (Exo 8:7; 2Thes 2:8-12; Rev 13:11-15).

6. PROPHECY

The gift of Prophecy is the complex special grace to prayerfully search (inquest) so as to gain conceptual, pictorial and/or verbal insight into the counsel and purpose of God concerning the past, present or future (revelation), and speak-forth or tell-forth (proclaim) or foretell (predict) revealed divine counsel which the whole Church or some members need to be aware of, in faithful words as moved by the Holy Spirit (inspired) at the given time. Joh 4:16-19; Act 21:9; 1Pe 1:10-12; 2Pe 1:19-21.

Prophets have the gift of Revelation combined with the gift of word of Exhortation for effective delivery of their prophetic messages Act 15:32; 1Cor 14:3. Prophets are vast in Scriptures and prayerfully eager to discover God’s purpose Dan 9:1-3; 12:8-9.

Prophecy is not same as soothsaying, divination, augury or prognostication of vain inquisitive secrets and every curious mundane future event we wish to know, Prophecy is rather, the timely proclamation of the counsel of God (what God intends to do and intends us to know and do) for the hour, which is according to His pleasure and predetermined purpose. Isa 47:12-14; Jer 23:16-18.

In general sense all spirit-filled believers in Christ are Prophets because the Holy Spirit of Christ which indwells all believers and testifies to Christ’s Lordship is the Prophetic Spirit (Act 2:17-18; 1Cor 12:3; Rev 19:10).

7. DISCERNMENT

The gift of Discerning of spirits is the special grace to perceive and clearly distinguish between attitudes, activities and events that are divine and true from those that are human, false and satanic, so that God’s people will not be deceived. Act 5:1-5; 8:18-23.

Today some refer to the gift of Discernment as “WORD OF KNOWLEDGE” though this is difficult to be maintained both grammatically and with the Scriptures: Job 15:2; 33:3; 34:35; 35:16; 38:2; 42:3; Prov 19:27; 22:17; 23:12; 1Cor 1:5; 2Cor 8:7.

8. TONGUES

The gift of speaking in diversities of Tongues is the special grace to speak mysteries, prayers and praises to God in languages strange to and unknown to the speaker for personal spiritual edification. Act 2:11; 10:46; 1Cor 14:2-4, 14-15.

9. INTERPRETATION

The gift of Interpretation of Tongues is the special grace to explain or translate what is spoken in Tongues strange to the interpreter for the general spiritual edification of the whole Church. 1Cor 14:13-14.

10. APOSTLE (MISSIONARY)

The gift of Apostle (not the Apostolic office but Missionary gift) is the special grace to work as Christ’s ambassadorial witness sent to the uttermost parts of the earth to bring the Gospel to and plant Churches amongst un-churched peoples. Mk 3:14-15; Lk 9:1-2; 10:1-12. (Note: APOSTOLOS=Apostle; APOSTELLO=sent on mission).

11. TEACHING

The gift of Teaching (word or discourse of Instruction) is the special grace to organise the whole counsel of God found in the Scripture, on issues concerning the doctrine of Christ and instruct the Church in a way they could understand, learn and practice. 2Tim  2:15; 3:16-17.

The Teacher of the Word, in addition to being apt to teach, needs both the incisive gifts of Wisdom and Knowledge to fully impact the doctrine of Christ.

12. HELPS (ASSISTANCE)

The gift of Helps is the special grace to offer various forms of assistance to members of the Church so as to potentiate their spiritual effectiveness in fulfilling their ministries. Act 18:2-3, 26; Rom 16:2; 2Tim 4:11; Phm 24.

13. LEADERSHIP (RULING and ADMINISTRATION)

The gift of Leadership is the special grace to diligently set goals in accordance with God’s will and purpose, for the various parts of the Church and mobilise God’s people in such a way that they willingly work together through effective  administrative or management plan to accomplish those goals to God’s glory. Act 6:1-7; Tit 1:5.

14. GIVING

The gift of Giving is the special grace to willingly contribute and distribute one’s substance generously (even up to voluntary poverty) so as to meet the material needs of the Church and the needy. Act 4:36-37; 2Cor 8:1-5.

15. MARTYRDOM

The gift of Martyrdom is the special grace to boldly bear witness to Christ in defiance to severe persecution, even unto death, in such a way that the Gospel is preached to God’s glory. Act 7:54-60; 2Tim 4:6-8; 2Pet 1:14.

16. REVELATION (MYSTERIES)

The gift of Revelation is the special grace to gain direct conceptual, pictorial, and/or verbal insight into the mysteries of Christ and/or into the hidden realities concerning the past, present and future of the Church or some of her members so as to enable God’s people understand the existing state of affairs. Act 10:9-20; 16:9; 2Cor 12:1-4; Eph 3:3-8.

In a general sense Revelation is available to all spirit-filled believers to understand the mystery of Christ’s Gospel (1Cor 2:14; Eph 1:15-23), but in this special sense Revelations is an aspect of the Prophetic gift (1Pet 1:10-12).

Today some refer to the gift of Revelation as “WORD OF KNOWLEDGE”, mistaking GINOSKO/GNOSIS=intelligent knowledge to be same as EIDO/OIDA=intuitive knowing.

17. PSALMS (SONGS)

The gift of Psalms is the special grace to arrange and sing inspired melodies and lyrics for edification and doxological purposes amongst God’s people. Eph 5:18-19; 2Sam 23:1-2.

18. SERVICE

The gift of Service is the special grace to work and labour to meet the various needs of the Church, so that the Church will work the works of God and accomplish desired goals. Act 6:1-4; 9:36-39.

19. EXHORTATION (PREACHING)

The gift of word (discourse) of Exhortation is the special grace to expound God’s Word and Will in a way that stirs up, persuades and motivate God’s people unto conviction, correction, consolation and commitment to seek to please God for their own good and God’s glory. Act 2:40; 11:23; 14:22; 1Thes 2:11.

The Exhorter (i.e. Preacher or Homilist) as with the Teacher also needs both the incisive gifts of Wisdom and Knowledge to stir God’s people aright. Mere motivational oratory may exhort unto vanity rather than sanctity.

20. MERCY (BENEVOLENCE)

The gift of showing Mercy is the special grace to be greatly moved by compassionate concern for the miserable and work charitably to alleviate their distress and bring comfort. Act 9:36, 39;

21. EVANGELIST

The gift of Evangelist is the special grace to preach the Gospel message with convincing power to unbelievers in such a way that they believe and become followers of Christ. Act 8:5, 12, 35, 40; 21:8.

22. PASTOR

The gift of Pastor is the special grace to shepherd and nourish the flock of Christ (the Church), spiritually and emotionally, so that they may grow safe and sound unto maturity and unity of faith in Christ. John 21:15-17; Act 20:27-28.

23. EXORCISM

The gift of Exorcism is the special grace to cast out evil spirits by the power of the spoken Word of God, so as to deliver people and things from demonic influences. Acts 16:18.

24. IMMUNITY

The gift of Immunity is the special grace to be unhurt by deadly or injurious things in the course of serving God, such that the Church is comforted and God is glorified. Act 28:3-6.

25. CELIBACY

The gift of Celibacy is the special grace to stay unmarried without losing continency over sexual passion, so that God’s work would be done maximally without the encumbrances of marriage and family or the scandal of sexual misdemeanour. Matt 19:10-12.

26. CRAFTSMANSHIP (OT)

Other key gift found specifically in the Old Testament is the Gift of Craftsmanship or Technology (Exo 35:30-36:2) which is the special grace to use creative mind and hands to build structures and fabricate gadgets for use in the worship of God.                          

Last Updated February 18, 2012

By Venerable Dr I. U. Ibeme

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About CHAPLAIN

Ordained Gospel Minister and practicing Physician
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