Friday, January 17, 2014

Spiritual Gifts - Discover Spiritual Gifts - 1 Corinthians 12:1-11

Spiritual Gifts are not spoken of overly much in mainstream Christianity. You can discuss why, but suffice to say, the Church that Jesus established, needs spiritual gifts. We need to learn how to discover these gifts, how they operate/work, and what biblical basis we build an understanding of spiritual gifts from.
Any discussion on spiritual gifts is bound to be missing something. Over the next little while, I will focus in on the nine spiritual gifts listed by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 12. There has been much debate over the years over the number of spiritual gifts. Some say there are around 40 spiritual gifts, others just a handful and others say the Bible is too ambiguous to put a number on it. I’m not going to enter that debate here, but suffice to say that while we focus on these nine spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12, we inevitably skip over other important gifts, like leadership, administration, hospitality or serving, for example. That being said, there are many a conference out there or book to read about the gift of leadership or administration! And if you want tips on administration... I’m probably not your guy!
When we delve into spiritual gifts, we also must acknowledge that spiritual gifts must be seen within the whole work of God, that is, that spiritual gifts by themselves without any foundation in the Christian faith, is some shallow attempt to move in the power of God, without actually having been changed by the power of God. In my church (Salvos 3064), every Sunday morning we share the message about Jesus; about his life, death and resurrection. We speak about the foundations of the Christian faith. It is on that foundation that we pursue this teaching on spiritual gifts.
During small groups throughout the week, which we call Connect Groups, we have been speaking about fruits of the spirit, listed in Galatians 5:22 (Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control). I firmly believe that spiritual gifts, like the ones we will explore, need to be built upon the foundation of holiness, and thus this blog and Salvos 3064 is not just delving into spiritual gifts without focusing on other parts of the Christian life that are pertinent to believers.

Let’s have a look at the Scripture (1 Corinthians 12:1-11):
1 Corinthians 12:1-11

     1 Now about spiritual gifts, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be ignorant. 2 You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 3 Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus be cursed," and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit.
     4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.

     7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines. 

Stop and read that. If you are like me, you skim over biblical passages in order to read other portions. Stop and read the 1 Corinthian 12:1-11 passage. The Apostle Paul highlights a mini Spiritual gift survey, at least in this passage, 9 spiritual gifts (namely: wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment, tongues and the interpretation of tongues). We know Paul mentions spiritual gifts in other parts of his writings (e.g. Romans 12), but here he mentions 9 gifts here. 

We could say much about the context in which Paul is writing this passage. Paul is writing a letter to the church in Corinth (possibly the second letter he's written to the fledgling church in the area, despite the fact that it is known as 1 Corinthians), and he's writing to a church within a community that is known for it overt sexuality and promiscuity. The church itself, to use a clumsy 21st century comparison, would be like a charasmatic church today. Remember the outlines Paul gives to the Corinthian church about the use of spiritual gifts and speaking in tongues and the like? It is in this context, that the Apostle Paul writes his letter to the Corinthians.

In future blogs, I will look at in more depth the 9 spiritual gifts higlighted in 1 Cor 12:8-11. We need spiritual gifts. Even more so, we need followers of Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit and living out their relationship with God in a way that transforms their surrounding and bears fruit. 


  1. You should do a preaching series on this, record them, and then sell them to fund a mission project...


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