By Crawford D. Coon
I Corinthians 12: 1-11
Spiritual gifts or the gifts of the Spirit, as they are often referred to are an interesting and often misunderstood subject God’s Word is clear on their existence, use, and regulation. These gifts shouldn’t be ignored, neither should they create a sensation of fear for us. They should be studied carefully, sought after, and allowed to operate in our lives to the glory of God.
Not one of the gifts of the Spirit belong to the sinner. We must be born again of the water and
Spirit in order to be endowed with spiritual gifts. This is “Children’s Bread”, belonging to the church; therefore they are not bestowed upon the sinner or upon the person who may be seeking God. Weare in gross error to by-pass the teaching of the Gospels, the experience of
Acts 2: 1-4, 38, and skip over to I Corinthians 12-14, and seek after, or lay claim to one or all of the nine spiritual gifts. God’s Word must be rightly divided on this subject (II
THE GIFTS CATEGORIZED
Man has divided the nine spiritual gifts into three categories bringing clarification and understanding to the gifts of the Spirit They are outlined here as a point of reference.
- GIFTS OF REVELATION, OR POWER TO KNOW.
- Word of knowledge.
- Word of wisdom.
- Discerning of spirits.
- GIFTS OF POWER, OR POWER TO ACT.
- Gifts of healing.
- Working of miracles.
- GIFTS OF INSPIRATION, OR POWER TO SPEAK.
- Divers of kinds of tongues.
- Interpretation of tongues.
Below is a listing of the spiritual gifts with a brief definition of each, a few personal comments, and examples of each gift, in operation. From the examples of operation given with each gift it is apparent that one or more of the gifts was in operation. Each of these examples is open for discussion; other examples may be added to these. Each definition is taken from Dake’s Annoted Bible with personal additions or deletions being made in order to harmonize the definitions with the Scripture.
- WORD OF KNOWLEDGE – Is supernatural insight into the mind, will, and purpose of God and man that would not be ordinarily known to us. Examples of operation are:
- God gave Peter knowledge of Annias and Sapphira’s plot (Acts 5: 1-11).
- God gave Annias a vision before he went to Saul (Acts 9:10-18).
- God gave Agabus knowledge of what awaited Paul in Jerusalem (Acts 21: 10-13).
This was also a prophecy.
The gift of the word of knowledge is a supernatural endowment of knowledge and is not associated with natural knowledge that results from intellectual pursuits. God is making something known to us outside the realm of study, what someone reveals to us, or what the
We can, and should have knowledge without this spiritual gift. Gaining an understanding of the Bible is not dependent upon this gift. We obtain knowledge of the Word through study and prayer.
- WORD OF WISDOM – Is supernatural revelation or insight into the will or purpose of God accompanied by wisdom as to what to do or how to solve a problem.
Examples of operation are:
- God showed Paul how to solve the problem or meet the crisis of an impending ship wreck (Acts 27:1-44).
- God gave the Jerusalem Council needed wisdom for the problems at hand (Acts
- The twelve Apostles were shown what to do in the matter of equal distribution of goods among the people (Acts 6:1-8).
Wisdom can be received from God through prayer (James 1:5; 3:14-18). Human earthly wisdom can be acquired through experience, encounters, and time. Neither of these is in view when the word of wisdom is spoken of.
- DISCERNING OF SPIRITS – Is supernatural insight into the realm of spirits as to whether they are of God or Satan and the purpose involved. Examples of operation are:
- Elymas the sorcerer was exposed by Paul through this gift (Acts 13:4-13).
- A damsel possessed with the spirit of divination was discerned by Paul (Acts
- Simon the sorcerer was discerned for what he was by the Apostle Peter ( Acts 8: 14-25).
Many types and kinds of spirits are existing in our world today; therefore we need this gift in operation in our lives. We learn and are taught discernment through time and experience, yet there are times when our spiritual safety is dependent on this gift for a special need or occasion (Hebrews 5:14; Ecclesiastes 3:10).
Many things can be determined through the Scriptures and by the actions and conduct of men. Some things appearing to be right, sound, and of the truth are in reality works of Satan, or wolves in sheep’s clothing. God gives us a method for determining what is the spirit of error versus the spirit of truth (I John 4:1-6; I Timothy 4:1-5).
Our Lord knows what is in man and through this gift He is able to make it known to us. ( 1 )
He knew what was in man ( John 2: 23- 25). (2) He perceives the thoughts of the heart (Luke
9:47). (3) He searches the heart (Jeremiah 17:9-10). (4) He knew men’s thoughts (Luke
6:8). Many and varied are the spirits in our day; therefore we need to look to God for the spirit of discernment
- GIFTS OF HEALING – Is the supernatural work of healing being wrought in the lives of those we pray for without human aid or medicine. Examples of operation are:
- Healing of Publius (Acts 28:8-9).
- Healing of the lame man at the beautiful gate (Acts 3:1-16).
- Healing of the lame and palsied at Samaria (Acts 8:6-8).
Every living organism has an inherent healing force within it along with the ability to repair itself in the event of sickness, accident, and disease. Healing processes occur in the lives of everyone when they are sick, have surgery, or accidents. Although natural healing is provided every living organism; this is not the type of supernatural healing referred to in the Scriptures.
Healing is a constant and abiding promise of God that can be had outside this spiritual gift
(Mark 16:14-20; James 5:13-15). Healing also comes through this gift at specific times.
Gifts of healing referred to in this context is an extraordinary display of God’s healing power operating through a saint or minister as he prays for one in need of healing.
Apparently all supernatural healings are referred to as miracles; yet all miracles are not necessarily healings. A miracle may include calming a storm, raising the dead, opening of a prison door, or such like. In the healing of the lame man in Acts 3: 1-16, it is called a NOT-
ABLE MIRACLE, and a MIRACLE OF HEALING (Acts 4:16,22).
Medical science and Christian doctors, although they do a great work, are not an extension of Christ’s healing ministry; nor is their work associated with the Bible record and method of healing. Keep the work of men and the work of God in their proper perspective lest we take glory from God and give it to men .
- WORKING OF MIRACLES – Is a supernatural work performed through a child of God contrary to nature and the course of humanity. Examples of operation are:
- Peter is delivered from prison (Acts 12: 1-19).
- Eutychus is restored to life (Acts 20:7-12).
- References in Acts 8:6-13; Hebrews 2:4; and Galatians 3:5, could be miracles of healings or notable miracles outside the realm of healing.
Miracle is a word used lightly in our society as people express amazement over new inventions, medical science, architectural marvels, etc. Although these things may be great and outstanding, they still remain the works of men. It would give more glory to God and keep this word in better context if we used it scripturally in reference to the supernatural work of the Spirit. Surely a supernatural healing or event contrary to the course of nature should be described as a miracle, with all glory being given to God. doubt, unbelief, or reasoning. Examples of operation are:
- FAITH – Is the supernatural ability to believe God for a special need without human doubt, unbelief, or reasoning. Examples of operation are:
- Paul speaks of faith to remove mountains (I Corinthians 13:2).
- Note the faith of Peter and John for the lame man (Acts 3:1-16).
- The prayer of faith in James 5: 15, could at times include the gift of faith, although in the general sense it may not.
- The gift of faith could have been in operation in the following instances, along with many others not mentioned here.
- Peter’s deliverance from prison (Acts 12:1-19).
- Eutychus’ resurrection (Acts 20:7-12).
- Miracles at Samaria (Acts 8:6-13).
Faith is an absolute essential in obtaining, and allowing to operate in our life, any and all of the spiritual gifts. No doubt the gift of faith is often coupled with another spiritual gift; such as, gifts of heaIing or the working of miracles, to bring them to fruition. In context, as a gift of the Spirit, we are given a special extraordinary measure of faith from God for a special occasion. After the special need has been met we then walk by faith and; (1) Add to our faith (II Peter 1 :5-10). (2) Use the shield of faith as a part of our armor (Ephesians 6: 16)’.
(3) Let the Spirit produce the fruit of faith in our lives (Galatians 5:22).
Faith, outside the spiritual gift of faith, is an abiding entity in the heart of the believer and
produces great results in our lives and in the lives of others. Study lesson two in this manual
in conjunction with this lesson.
- PROPHECY – Is a supernaturally inspired utterance in the native language and is confined to edification, exhortation, and comfort. Examples of operation are:
- Agabus prophesied of a drought (Acts 11:27-30).
- Philip’s four daughters prophesied (Acts 21 :8-11).
- Paul told of some future things awaiting the church (Acts 20:28-38).
Study I Corinthians 14 carefully in relation to this gift. All three gifts that involve speaking are regulated in their number of uses in anyone service. No more than three prophecies should be given in anyone public service. God’s purpose for this is to preserve the order of the service, and that all things may be done decently and in order (I Corinthians 14:40).
When God uses us with the gift of prophecy, we are not a prophet in the sense of a prophet spoken of in Ephesians 4: 11. See lesson six in this manual.
- DIVERS KINGS OF TONGUES – Is a supernaturally inspired utterance in another language or unknown tongue not known by the speaker. Examples of operation are:
- I Corinthians 12:10.
- I Corinthians 13: 1.
- I Corinthians 14:1-40.
- INTERPRETATION OF TONGUES – Is the supernatural ability to interpret into the native language a message given in tongues not known or understood by the one who interprets.
The gifts of the Spirit are not given to us as the continuing evidence of the Holy Ghost. Gifts of the Spirit are a Divine gratuity, a spiritual endowment, and a miraculous operation in our lives that cannot be ‘acquired through human ingenuity. Gifts are given to us while fruit grows.
Three distinct types, forms, or categories of important gifts are mentioned in the Bible.
Study each of them fully and you will be blessed.
- The Holy Ghost is a gift from God (Acts 2:38; 11:17; Romans 6:23).
- The ministry is a gift from God (Ephesians 4:11-12).
- The nine spiritual gifts are gifts from God (I Corinthians 12:1-13).
Existing and abiding in the life of the Christian on a daily basis is the power of, and use of, wisdom, knowledge, faith, and healing. These spiritual acquisitions and promises are ours to claim continually. Additional strength in each of these areas is available through the spiritual gift of each or all of them. Earnestly desire and pray for spiritual gifts in your life and in your local congregation. They are available to minister and saint alike, and through their use the body of Christ will be exhorted, edified, and comforted.
The above article, “Concerning Spiritual Gifts” was written by Crawford D. Coon. The article was excerpted from Coon’s book, Christian Development Course “A Reason Of The Hope”
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.