Spiritual Gifts
"The Gift of the Spirit" and "Spiritual Gifts"
  1. The phrase, "the gift of the Holy Spirit," relates to salvation and has to do with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the believer’s relationship in God’s family (Act 2:38–39).
  2. The phrase "the gifts of the Holy Spirit" relates to service and has to do with the energizing or enabling power of the Holy Spirit and fellowship with God (1Co 12:7, 1Co 12:11).
  3. There can be no spiritual gifts until one possesses the gift of salvation and indwelling of the Holy Spirit. No one has a spiritual gift before salvation.
Spiritual Gifts and Unity
  1. There is one Spirit who bestows all spiritual gifts (1Co 12:4; 1Co 12:7; 1Co 12:11).
  2. There is one Lord over all the gifts (1Co 12:5). Out of the gift bestowed on each believer should come service, ministry. Because believers are the Body of Christ, all service on the part of Christians is a continuation of the things that Jesus "began to do and to teach" when He was in the flesh on the earth (Act 1:1).
  3. There is one God who supplies the power and makes the gifts effective (1Co 12:6). Ministry will produce results, effects. The Greek energeo is the root of two words used in 1Co 12:6: "effects" and "works." God is the power behind both.
  4. All gifts have one goal: to edify or build up the Body of Christ (1Co 12:7; Eph 4:12–13).
  5. All gifts work by one power and motivation—love (1Co 13:1–3).
Description of the Gifts
  1. A spiritual gift is divine enablement or capacity given to each believer for accomplishing some area of service for the edification of the Body of Christ (Eph 4:7–16).
  2. Spiritual gifts are sovereignly bestowed at salvation by the Holy Spirit; in this way His ministry to each believer is personalized (1Co 12:7; 1Co 12:11).
  3. The believer can never lose his spiritual gift or have it taken away from him (Rom 11:29).
  4. Spiritual gifts are distinct from natural talents. Talents are related to physical birth; spiritual gifts are related to spiritual birth. Spiritual gifts are supernatural (1Co 1:26–29, 1Co 2:12–14).
  5. The gifts of the Spirit are different from the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22–23). The presence of a gift is evidence of the indwelling of the Spirit, but the presence of fruit is evidence of the filling of the Spirit. Spiritual gifts can be imitated; the fruit of the Spirit cannot. Unless the fruit is present, the exercise of the gifts is unacceptable to God (1Co 13:1–4). The Corinthians exhibited every spiritual gift (1Co 1:7) and placed great emphasis on the exercise of spiritual gifts (1Co 12–14), yet were totally carnal (1Co 3:1). It is far better to pursue the fruit than the gift. Where the fruit exists, the gift will surely function. Paul calls this "a still more excellent way" (1Co 12:31).
  6. Twenty different categories of spiritual gifts are mentioned in Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4. In 1Pe 4:11, Peter breaks all gifts into two types: communication and service. Scripture also distinguishes between temporary and permanent gifts (1Co 13:8–10; Heb 2:1–4). The three categories of temporary gifts were: prophecy, which was the means of completion of the Canon of Scripture; knowledge, which was the ability to know a truth before it was recorded in Scripture; and tongues, the ability to speak in languages not known to the speaker. Tongues was given specifically as a warning to the nation of Israel (Isa 28:11).
  7. Spiritual gifts must be developed or "stirred up" (2Ti 1:6). This implies preparation and practice. Rom 12:6–8 emphasizes that each believer is to minister in his own gift and should not attempt to intrude into work that he is not gifted for. The day will come when God will ask each of us: "What have you done with what I gave you?" (Eph 4:7–16; 1Co 12:7; 1Co 12:11; 1Co 12:18).


     This material was originally a highlighted topic in "The Basics".

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