All divine gifts in context
3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.
4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord.
6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.
–1 Corinthians 12:3–6 NKJV
What are we to look for when we consider spiritual gifts? Verse 3 tells us we’re to expect the exaltation of Jesus Christ as Lord.
In verses 4–6, each member of the Trinity is mentioned:
|Lord Jesus Christ||Ministries—diakonia||Administrations|
|God the Father||Activities—energema||Operations|
There are three categories of gifts:
- Some gifts are credited to Holy Spirit.
- Some ministries are attributed to Jesus.
- Some operations are credited to the Father.
There are three lists of gifts in the Bible—each attributed to one person of the Trinity.
Gifts of the Father
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function,
5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;
7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;
8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
–Romans 12:3–8 NIV
These are the natural gifts—the motivational or working gifts.
God as Creator has graced every human made in God’s image with a capacity to serve humankind. These gifts are given to everyone, whether Christians or not, although they are sanctified through union with Christ. You could also consider them natural personality types:
- Prophecy—visionary pioneers
- Serving others practically
- Teachers, educators
- Encouraging, exhorting
- Giving, philanthropy
- Leading, organizing, administration
- Mercy and compassion
Gifts of Christ Jesus
7 But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
8 Therefore it is said,
“When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive;
he gave gifts to his people.” …
11 The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers,
12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,
13 until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.
–Ephesians 4:7–8,11–13 NRSV
Christ Jesus gave gifts to the Church in the form of ministries:
|Apostles||Establish new territory for Christ|
|Prophets||Hear and see what God is doing and where He’s leading|
|Evangelists||Reach out to the lost to present Christ crucified|
|Pastors||Care for the sheep of God’s pasture|
|Teachers||Ground us in the Scriptures and doctrine of God|
We have these ministry gifts until the Church attains unity and maturity. Since we have not attained the full stature of Christ, we still need all of these ministers.
- These are gifts of Christ—the Head building the Body.
- Fivefold ministers equip the saints for the work of the ministry. They have a training capacity, a call to reproduce themselves and their ministries in believers.
Gifts of Holy Spirit
1 Corinthians 12:7–11 list the nine manifestations of the Holy Spirit:
- Word of wisdom
- Word of knowledge
- Gifts of healings
- Working of miracles
- Discerning of spirits
- Gift of tongues
- Interpretation of tongues
In this series, we will focus on using these manifestations of the Holy Spirit in corporate worship meetings.
Three Types of Gifts
Churches can be built on the Father’s natural gifts, but these organizations will be primarily social institutions.
We need Jesus’ ministry gifts to turn the institution into a body.
We need to be filled with Holy Spirit and manifest the Spirit’s gifts to build up that Body to maturity.
The Father’s gifts are irrevocable—they are intrinsic to who you are.
Jesus’ gifts are also irrevocable, but they are given to only a few. These individuals can grow in them and add more as they prove faithful. Paul was a prophet or teacher in Acts 13:1, but later in his letters he said he was “called to be an apostle.”
The Holy Spirit’s gifts are manifestations distributed to anyone when the Spirit wills. The Spirit can give or withhold them. Yet, if you are faithful in exercising a gift that the Holy Spirit manifests through you, you can develop a gift into a ministry.
Next issue, we’ll learn about God’s command concerning spiritual gifts.