The Gifts of The Spirit
I Corinthians 12:1-14 (KJV)
1 Now concerning spiritual gifts Brethren, I would not have you ignorant.
2 Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.
3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord but by the Holy Ghost.
4 Now there are diversities of gifts but the same spirit.
5 And there are different administrations, but the same Lord.
6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophesy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
12 For as the body is one and hath many members, and all the members of that body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
13 For by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
14 For the body is not one member, but many.
This is one of the most interesting teachings in the Word of God. Paul is writing to a group of Christians that have converted from paganism to following the teachings of Jesus, and practicing a form of Judaism. He is helping them explore the greater depths of Christianity by making them aware of the manifested operations of the Holy Spirit.
In the first seven verses, he is making them aware of the reality of spiritual activity and that it really does connect to our material lives. He is also making them aware that there are a variety of ways that the Holy Spirit operates in this realm.
In verse eight, he begins to describe the various gifts of the Holy Spirit that are available to us for our benefit in our Christian growth and walk with the Lord.
The first of which is the word of wisdom. There are a number of interpretations for what this gift is and how it operates. Essentially, it is the insight into a particular situation or event in the life of the person receiving this gift or that of another person's life. It is intended for prayer and not necessarily spoken. Let's call it a "what to do, or not do" in a given situation.
The next gift mentioned is the word of knowledge, again a gift of insight, This is the knowledge of something that is taking place presently in a person's life usually elsewhere from the person's particular locale. Also, being a gift of insight, it is intended for prayer, not necessarily spoken. Here, as I say "necessarily"; I mean that it may be spoken but, only by the absolute direction of the Holy Spirit. It is actually dangerous to speak some things on one's own accord. Always go to the prayer closet (War Room) first.
The gift of faith is one that is just that. It gives the person with this gift an extra measure of faith. A calm assurance that the Lord has a situation well at hand. A certain ability to rely on God to take care of things.
Gifts of healing: self explanatory, I would think. Just the ability of the healing power of God to flow through and actually heal someone of a particular infirmity. The difference here from the other gifts is that it is not one single gift, but many. One who operates this gift will usually have it as an operation to heal any particular infirmity. For instance one may have the gift to heal eyes, or a back problem, possibly the ability to see a specific disease healed, etc.. However it is manifested, it is Important to remember that it is not the one praying for a person that does the healing, but the Lord, Himself.
The working of miracles: again, self explanatory. It is the ability to allow the Holy Spirit's power to flow through and cause the miraculous to take place. Also, again, not the the person operating the gift, but the Lord, Himself.
The gift of prophesy: this is not necessarily the office of a prophet as mentioned in the five fold ministry. This is a gift used for something to be spoken out by the Spirit. One allows the Holy Spirit to literally take control of their speech. Often a person operating this gift won't even remember what was said by the Spirit through them. They didn't say it, the Holy Spirit did. It is an amazing experience.
The gift of discerning of spirits is intended for spiritual warfare. It is the ability to recognize a specific spirit's presence and infiltration. The person who operates this gift will even know the name of the spirit in question. I'm referring to , of course, unholy spirits (as there are many). This will give one a great advantage in the War Room, but the spirit can also be called out publicly. Again, as the Holy Spirit directs, not on one's own accord.
Now tongues. This one seems to cause Much controversy in Christiandom, in general. In fact, there was the same controversy even in Paul's day. Paul devotes quite a bit of time on the subject in chapter fourteen of I Corinthians. So, what is it? And why all the controversy? The gift of tongues is, like prophesy, the Spirit taking control of one's speech. This has been done with known foreign languages that the speaker has no previous knowledge of, as well as, what Paul refers to in chapter fourteen, as unknown tongues. These unknown tongues are actually Heavenly languages. As Paul notes in the beginning of the thirteenth chapter of I Corinthians; though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels. Yes, angels have their own languages which are not known in the Earth. But, do these tongues really exist? Are they real? Again, Why all the controversy? Quite frankly, Satan is actually scared by it. He doesn't know what you're saying, so he cannot cause a defeat in your faith if he cannot counter against what you're praying. It's the Spirit praying through you. He has no defense against it. Therefore, Satan , himself will get in the minds of the unknowing and rail against those who speak in tongues. Even through other Bible believing Christians. I have even heard it taught by a Christian teacher that (exact words) "tongues is of the devil".
On the other side of the coin, there are those who go a bit too far with it. Saying, that it is the only evidence of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Another Christian teacher once said that (exact words) "if you don't speak in tongues, you don't have the Baptism of the Holy Ghost; and if you don't have the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, you're not saved." Well personally, I disagree. That's not Biblical. It is a wonderful gift, and it gives me great peace of mind, and even a sense of power in the spiritual realm.
Of course, hand in hand with the gift of tongues is the interpretation of tongues. as Paul says, if an unknown tongue is spoken publicly, there should be an interpretation; otherwise, (paraphrased) keep it between you and God alone.
Farther into this passage, Paul admonishes his followers that though there are many gifts, they are all of the same Spirit and no one gift is greater than any other. We all need each other, working together for growth and edification. If, as Christians, we can all appreciate each others strengths; we then can truly impact the world with the love and grace of our Lord. Quite possibly, bring about a spiritual revival, the likes of which has never been seen before. A revival that could shake the kingdom of hell to its core and save many lives!