The Gifts of the Holy Spirit
“Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant”
There is widespread ignorance today on any aspect of the topic concerning the Holy Spirit. I Corinthians 12 lists the spiritual gifts. I Corinthians 13 shows their duration. I Corinthians 14 shows the regulation of some of these gifts. The apostles did many signs and wonders. “And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people” (Acts 5:12). “Wherefore he saith, when he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men” (Ephesians 4:8). “God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will” (Hebrews 2:4). These confirmed they were from God. Other than the isolated event of Acts 10 with Cornelius, these miraculous gifts were given by the laying on of the apostles’ hands. “Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: For as he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands he may receive the Holy Ghost” (Acts 8:14-19). “He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them: and they spake with tongues, and prophesied” (Acts 19:2-3, 5-6).
Steve Flatt, president of David Lipscomb University 1997-2005, made some interesting statements concerning spiritual gifts. For Flatt’s full lesson, the reader is invited to read Amazing Grace Bible Class, program #1037, The Holy Spirit, December 15, 1991, and the transcript from program #1038 on December 22, 1991. Brother Flatt says there are 16 spiritual gifts listed in the New Testament. He further said, “spiritual gifts you are not born with, but you receive when you are re-born.” In defining spiritual gifts Steve Flatt said, “someone has written that a spiritual gift is an ability or skill that enables the recipient to perform a function in the body of Christ with ease and success. Now listen to that again. I think that’s right on target.” In The Plumbline, March 1996, brother Wayne Coats in an article entitled “Don’t Rock the Sycamore Boat” lists the following quotes from Steve Flatt. “The Holy Spirit literally offers us things we can’t hear, we can’t understand, but makes sure that God the Father knows every need we have.” “He leads us but not exclusively through the Word.” “We are led by the Word but He goes beyond that.” Evidently there is widespread ignorance even in the church concerning spiritual gifts.
The nine spiritual gifts of I Corinthians 12 were miraculous gifts and they were temporary. “Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away” (I Corinthians 13:8).
The first two of these gifts were wisdom and knowledge. The apostles were told in Matthew 10:19-20 that when they were delivered up to “take no thought how or what you shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.” Faith was also listed as a gift. Jesus spoke of miraculous faith. “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you” (Matthew 17:20). This miraculous faith is also seen in I Corinthians 13:2 “. . . and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.”
Next, gifts of healing are mentioned. Passages showing this gift can be seen in Acts 3:1-9, Acts 14:8-10, Acts 28:8-9 and in I Corinthians 12:28. Working of miracles is mentioned next. Many miracles are recorded in the New Testament: Acts 8:13; Acts 8:36-42; [bible Acts 14:3; Acts 15:12; Acts 19:11-12. Not all miracles were constructive; in Acts 13:11 Paul struck Elymas blind.
The gift of prophecy is discussed next. From Romans 12:6, I Corinthians 14:1, and Ephesians 3:5 one can see the value of this gift. Discerning of spirits would come in very handy in determining false brethren. In Acts 5 Peter knew Ananias and Sapphira had lied about the money they gave.
The last two gifts mentioned in I Corinthians 12 were tongues and the interpretation of tongues. On the Day of Pentecost the apostles spoke with tongues (Acts 2:4-8). In I Corinthians 14 Paul gave regulations for speaking in tongues. In I Corinthians 14:28 he declared, “If there be no interpreter let him keep silence in the church.”
The spiritual gifts of Icorinthians 12 were miraculous. They were a part of the miraculous age. They are not available for men today.