1. Definition: A spiritual gift is a grace provided ability
to fulfill a specific function of promoting Divine truth in the Devil's
2. Origin of the term:
A. Two words in 1 Cor. 12
v. 1 -- pneumatikos: a spiritual thing (neuter adjective)
Emphasis is on the one who gives and administrates the gift. (also in 1
v. 4 -- charisma: a freely bestowed gift (neuter noun)
Emphasis is on God's grace as the basis for the possession and function
of the gift. The believer does not earn it or work for it. (also in Rm.
12:6; 1 Pet. 4:10
B. Two words in Eph. 4:7-8
v. 7, dorea; v. 8, doma (Both indicate simply that which is given).
3. Origin of the gifts:
A. From the Father: James 1:17; 1 Cor. 8:6
B. Provided by the Son: Eph. 4:7-8, 11
C. Given and administered by the Spirit: 1 Cor. 12.11
4. There are two classification of gifts:
A. Temporary: gifts designed for function in the church
before the completed canon of scripture.
1. Revelation gifts: These are for the purpose of providing
Divine truth specifically pertinent to the church age.
2. sign gifts: These functioned in connection with the
revelation gifts for the purpose of drawing attention to the message of
the communicator and at the same time giving a verification that the message
was from God. Heb. 2.4
3. Quote from: Systematic Theology, Lewis Sperry Chafer,
Vol. V, page 170
"The cessation of signs and wonders after the first
generation of the church has given occasion to counterfeit manifestations.
This cessation is not due to lack of faith or faithfulness. The greatest
of all saints, though like Abraham and Daniel, have not done mighty works
in this age. The usual belief that all supernatural manifestations arise
with God gives Satan the opportunity to confirm in the minds of many his
misrepresentation of doctrine. Without exception, those manifestations
of supernatural power which are acclaimed as Divine today, appear in support
of false or incomplete doctrine. As an example of this, such manifestations
as have been published are found among people who receive not enough of
the truth respecting saving grace to believe that once saved is always
saved, and such limitation of doctrine devitalizes the gospel that it becomes
another gospel. Yet these misunderstandings are sealed in the minds of
many by what is supposed to be manifestations from God, though serving
really as a sanction to the perversion of doctrine."
B. Permanent gifts: these are designed for function in
the church age after the completed canon of scripture. There are two categories
of these gifts. 1 Peter 4:10-11
1. communication gifts:
2. serving gifts:
5. Every believer receives only one permanent gift. 1
1 Cor. 12.4-11; 1 Tim. 4:14
A. You do not seek a gift.
B. You do not earn or work for a gift.
C. You do not get one on the basis of any human ability.
D. Your gift has nothing to do with your talents and abilities prior to
E. Whatever gift you have is the sovereign decision of the Holy Spirit.
F. The language at 1 Cor. 12:31 and 14:1 is talking about the local church
as a collective unit, seeking for the function of the gifts within the
local assembly. This is not telling people to desire or seek for a gift
6. The church of Christ is called a body. And as a body
has individual parts which are all necessary for the efficient function
of that body, so the church has individual members each with a spiritual
gift. And to operate efficiently, the church needs the operation of each
member and of each gift. 1 Cor. 12:27-31
7. Because all believers are in one body and each local
church is a picture of that body, the attitude of each believer toward
his own spiritual gift and the spiritual gift of others should be respect,
honor and equality.
Rom. 12.3-4, 10, 16; 1 Cor. 12.12-27
Remember, the gift was a grace provision freely given
from God. And God knows what he is doing. No inferiority or superiority
complexes are bona fide in God's plan.
8. The purpose of spiritual gifts:
A. In general, the gifts are the Father's organized witness
to the plan of salvation, and the Christian way of life. Heb. 2.4; Eph.
B. Eph. 4.12
1. Equipping: pros katartismos - military word for training
and equipping for combat.
2. Of the saints: all believers are in the conflict. all
must be trained. cf. Eph. 6.10-18
3. service: eis ergon diakonia - for the work of service
eis: Indicates that the purpose of the equipping is function; spiritual
4. edification: eis oikodomā, for the building
up. The ultimate purpose is equipping which then results in service and
a. new members added
b. present members edified.
c. Eph. 4.16
5. 1 Pet. 4.10, serving one another
6. 1 Cor. 12.20-31, order and stability in each local
(doctrine is the issue between local bodies) (1 Cor. 14.26-40)
9. How the spiritual gifts operate.
A. Given at the point of salvation.
The words, "each" and "all" at Rm. 12.3-6; 1 Cor. 12.7;
B. Proper function of the gift is based on spiritual growth.
Rom. 12.2, renewing the mind
Rom. 12.6, agreement with the faith
C. The gift may or may not coincide with natural human
talent and ability, but the gift is never human ability. It is administered
through God the Holy Spirit. 1 Cor. 12.4-6
1. Requires the Filling of the Spirit. Rom. 8.8
2. Requires Divine viewpoint knowledge. Rom. 12.6
D. The effect of the gift may be counterfeited by the
believer under his old sin nature. It then becomes human ability and does
not have the support of God.
1. The commands in Rom. 12.6 and 1 Pet. 4.10 indicate
possibility of failing to properly use your gift.
2. Also, the misuse revealed in the Corinthian church
indicates this possibility. 1 Cor. 14.1-40
3. Neglect is possible: 1 Tim. 4.14
E. Identification of the gift:
1. It is logical to conclude that with the ability comes
also a desire in the area of one's gift.
2. On that basis, the desire will begin to express itself
as the believer makes spiritual growth progress.
3. It is this desire and the emerging ability that helps
identify one's gift.
4. The other source of identification is the church leadership.
They will recognize the presence of a gift and enlist its function in the
local body. Acts 6.1-6; 1 Tim. 4.14, 1.18
10. Temporary gifts survey:
A. List at 1 Cor. 12.8-10 - all temporary
1. word of wisdom
2. word of knowledge
7. discerning of spirits
9. interpretation of tongues
B. List at 1 Cor. 12.28 (3 permanent)
11. Permanent gifts survey:
A. List in 1 Cor. 12:28
1. teacher - (pastor-teacher)
2. helps (service)
B. list at Rom.12.6-8
1. prophet (temporary)
2. service (helps)
3. teaching - Pastor-teacher
5. giving (finances)
6. leading (administration)
C. List at Eph. 4.11
12. Human abilities and talents are NOT spiritual gifts.
The Bible does not teach that there is a "gift of music" or "singing"
or "art" or anything else that someone may want to classify as
a spiritual gift. The lists seen in the above points are complete. Human
talents and abilities are inherited and/or learned and do not qualify as