Understanding Spiritual Gifts

24 06 2010

Let’s look at the role that praying in other tongues plays in God’s government. To do that, we’ll have to go to First Corinthians chapter 12, where Paul outlines the operation of the Holy Spirit in the gifts, offices, and callings of the entire Body of Christ. He begins by saying in verse 1:

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.

Now, I do know this about the Holy Spirit: He would not inspire Paul to make a statement like that and then leave us ignorant! In the discussion following that statement, Paul by the Holy Ghost supplies all the information necessary to eradicate any spiritual ignorance, misconceptions, or religious error we may have concerning the operation of spiritual gifts.

Personally, if there is one subject I don’t want to be ignorant about, it is the operation of the gifts of the Spirit. But, to be frank with you, this is one of the areas in which this generation of believers is most lacking. We who are Full Gospel faith people often pride ourselves in knowing a great deal about the gifts of the Spirit. It’s too bad we haven’t prided ourselves more in knowing how to operate in those nine gifts!

Satan, the great deceiver, has successfully spread confusion and division regarding this passage of Scripture in First Corinthians 12 — so much so that entire denominations have split over different interpretations of the operation of spiritual gifts and the offices they empower. So it would profit us to make a careful examination of what Paul is teaching the Corinthian church in these verses.

In First Corinthians 12:4-6, Paul says this:

Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit,

And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.

And there are diversities of operation, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.

What is Paul saying? Well, we know that the “gifts” he is talking about in verse 4 are the nine gifts of the Spirit listed in First Corinthians 12:8-10

1) the word of wisdom;

2) the word of knowledge;

3) the gift of faith;

4) gifts of healings;

5) working of miracles;

6) prophecy;

7) discerning of spirits;

8) divers (or different supernatural manifestations of tongues; and

9) interpretation of tongues.

But what does verse 5 mean when it says, And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord? To understand what Paul is talking about in this verse, we have to go to Ephesians 4:8 and 11, where it says this: Wherefore he saith, When he [Jesus] ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men…. And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers.

In other words, there are different administrations or offices in the Body of Christ, such as apostle, prophet, teacher, pastor, and evangelist. But it is the same Lord Jesus Christ who ascended on high and gave those gifts or offices to men.

Then in First Corinthians 12:6, it says, And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. So Paul is simply saying this: It is the Holy Spirit who determines how the nine gifts of the Spirit and the ministry offices operate. It is Jesus Christ who sets each person into his or her respective office or calling.

And it is God the Father who supplied the original plan.





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