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Research Paper – Spiritual Gifts

It continues in verse 1 1 to say, “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills. “2 It is very evident by these scriptures that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are not given n a lottery, but they are hand picked by the Spirit for each individual believer for a specific purpose. The illustration of the human body is used in the Bible to describe the gifts. Within the church, each member acts as a different body part. The body cannot be complete without each and every part. No part can perform another part’s functions.

This is the same for the spiritual gifts among the believers in the church. Each member is given a different gift that serves a different role. 3 So what are these gifts? We find a couple lists of what the gifts of the Holy Spirit are in the New Testament. We find these lists n 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12 and Ephesians 4. 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 lists wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, distinguishing between spirits, tongues, and interpretation of tongues. Later in that chapter in verse 28 we find more gifts: apostle, prophet, teacher, miracles, healing, helps, administration, and tongues.

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Romans 12:6-8 lists prophecy, serving, teaching exhortation, giving, leadership, and mercy. Ephesians 4:11 tell of the gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher. Each of these gifts has a unique trait about them. If they truly come from the Holy Spirit, here Will be no problem distinguishing the true gift in a person. Paul uses three words to describe the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The first is charismata, which is from the Greek root meaning “grace”. This word is used to designate something that was given by God’s favor with grace or freely given.

The second word is diakoniai, which means “services” or “ministries”. These gifts involve a responsibility for building up the believers. These gifts are ministry oriented, not for ones personal gratification. The third word used is energemata, which means “workings” or “energies”. This is found in hose gifts that require a divine power in order to be used. 4 One thing Paul makes very clear in 1 Corinthians 12 is that these gifts are to be used in conjunction with the gifts of other believers. These gifts are designed to create unity within the church. Each person has his or her contribution to the big picture.

He responds to the Corinthian church as they have gained a sense of some gifts being worth more than others and have turned to inferiority and arrogance. He emphasizes that each member needs the other members in order to function as a whole. Therefore, he rejects the idea of nferiority and arrogance within the church. He makes it very clear that we must appreciate one another and the gifts they have been given by the Holy Spirit, because without them, the body would be incompletes IN THE OLD TESTAMENT: When the gifts of the Holy Spirit are thought of, they are most commonly from the New Testament.

However, there are several instances when we can find the Holy Spirit empowering believers in the Old Testament. The Holy Spirit was a power being in the lives of the believers before Christ come to earth in human form. Judges 6:34 says, “But the Spirit of the Lord clothed Gideon… “6 This verse is n example of the Holy Spirit empowering a believer with a gift. The Holy Spirit, in this case, gave Gideon the gift of leadership to win the battle. We see another example of this in Judges 1 1:29-33 with Jephthah and the battle against the Ammonites.

In Judges 14:6 we find that Samson was given the gift of extraordinary strength from the Holy Spirit. In the case of Bezalel in Exodus 31, the Holy Spirit gave him a greater knowledge and craftsmanship. The Holy Spirit took a person who was already gifted and increased the gift to reach a higher purpose. Most of the Old Testament is made up of books written by prophets. These prophets were people who were inspired by the Holy Spirit to share information that came from God. These prophets were usually prophesying about a coming judgment from God, but always provided the people with a chance to turn to God in repentance.

They were referred to as “watchmen” by the prophet Isaiah because of the specific duties they were to perform. A watchman’s job was to warn the town about a danger. The prophets job was to warn God’s people about an upcoming punishment. The main purpose for the prophets is to leader God’s people to repentance. When the prophets would be performing the role of watchman it wasn’t ecause they didn’t deserve the punishment that was coming their way. It was because they were living in blatant sin.

The prophet would come to warn the people that God did not approve of the behavior and to give them a chance to repent and live an acceptable life that was pleasing to God. Of course, humans are stubborn creatures who do not like to admit their wrongdoings. So, most of the time the punishment came upon them. 7 Another example of the Holy Spirit giving gifts to believers can be found in 1 Samuel. This gift of administration becomes very clear when it comes to King Saul and King David. Both of these kings were very gifted. Samuel 16:13 tells of Samuel anointing David.

It says that the Holy Spirit “rushed upon David”. We see a common theme throughout the Old Testament that when the Holy Spirit gives a gift to the believer, the Spirit is coming upon that person or covering them. Those words are a literal rather than figurative. When a believer is given a gift of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit becomes a part of the person, living inside of them. In 1 Samuel 16:14 we see that the Holy Spirit “departed from Saul”. This shows that literal indwelling of the believers at the time the gifts are rendered. At this point in the narrative, the Holy

Spirit was done giving Saul that gift and the Spirit left him and took the gift with him. This is a strange thought, but it shows the importance of the Holy spirit in this whole thing. IN THE NEW TESTAMENT: The majority of the work of the Holy Spirit is found in the New Testament and mostly in the book of Acts. It is in the book of Acts that we find details about how the gifts are bestowed to believers. Acts 2:38 says, “And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy SpiritY This couldn’t be any clearer.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are given to those who repent of their sins and are baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. It is at that point that the Holy Spirit indwelt the believers at the time of the early church. Acts 1:8 says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses” This also makes it clear that the gifts are given through the Holy Spirit and not by any other means. Chapter two tells of the Holy Spirit giving the believers the gift of tongues on the day of Pentecost.

The gift of tongues is described as the ability to speak in known, but unlearned languages. It describes this indwelling of the Holy Spirit as coming like a mighty rushing wind, filling the place. It says that the tongues of fire rested on them and they began speaking in tongues. Again, credit is given to the Holy Spirit for this work. 8 It is important to note the differences between apostles and prophets. When we see the list of gifts in 1 Corinthians 12, apostles are listed separate from prophets because the apostles had unusual authority and were channels of divine revelation. We find many instances in the New Testament where the apostles were given spiritual gifts such as prophecy and miracle. Jesus primarily performed miracles during his ministry on earth, but after Jesus ascended into heaven, the early church continued the miracles. 10 We find several examples of those gifted with prophecy in the book of Acts. Agabus predicted a famine in Acts 1 1:27-28 and also warned Paul of coming sufferings in Acts 21 : 10-11. Barnabas, Simeon, Lucius, Manaen, and Paul were listed as prophets in Acts 13. There were also women prophets, the daughters of Philip, whom we find in Acts 21:9.

The more evident prophet was the apostle Paul as we find many instances of prophecy throughout the book. Judas and Silas were also rophets-II A CESSATIONIST PERSPECTIVE: The gifts of the Holy Spirit are a hot topic for Christians today. In fact, the magazine Christianity Today did a survey showing that spiritual gifts are one of the top ten most significant issues among evangelicals. 1 2There are two main views on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The first one is cessationism. That is the belief that the gifts of the Holy Spirit died with the apostles after the New Testament.

A cessationist would argue that the modern church does not function like the apostolic church did. This is evident by the decline in several areas of spiritual giftedness. 3 It is very clear that there has been a decline in miracles, though God is still able to perform miracles as he pleases. There were three periods in time where miracles were used, the time of Moses, the time of Elijah and Elisha, and the time of Christ and the Apostles. Miracles were used to authenticate the message that God gave to his people. After that was completed, the accounts of miracles faded away. 4 Miracles were performed primarily when the gospel was being preached and it was used as proof that the message was from God. Miraculous evidence in support of the gospel stopped after the completion of the New Testament. God still erforms miracles, but His purpose is no longer to give a person the power to perform miracles as it was in the apostolic period. Cessationist have determined that healing was a divine method for communication and authenticating the truth, but that is not its divine purpose in this time. 1 5 Apostleship is another example of a gift that a cessationist would argue no longer exists today.

The title Of apostle came with very specific qualifications including being an eyewitness to the resurrection of Christ or seeing Christ after his resurrection, as was the case of Paul. They often also had the gift of working miracles and prophecy. There has been no evidence that such a gift exists today. 16 In the early church, revelation was needed from God about both the present and the future. That is where the gift of prophecy came into play. A prophet was one who would receive a message from God through special revelation.

This message contained guidance on giving the message and that message had the authority from God. No one today has the authority or experience to receive these message or truths making it highly questionable whether anyone has the gift of prophecy today. All truth that we have today is truth that is already contained in the Bible. 7 The gift of tongues is probably the most controversial gift of the Spirit. Like most of the other gifts, tongues were used to show the authority and truth in the apostle’s message. There are three instances in the book of Acts where tongues were used.

In all three of these instances, the men were empowered by the Holy Spirit to speak in languages that were unknown to them. It is interesting to note that these three instances are the only times the gift of tongues is mentioned in the New Testament other than being listed in 1 Corinthians as a gift. 18 There were several limitations placed on those who spoke in tongues ith one of the most forgotten one being the need for an interpreter. There are four main arguments that lead to the conclusion that the gift of tongues no long exists. The first is that the gift of tongues is not found before Pentecost.

Christ, the apostles, John the Baptist, none of the exercised the gift of tongues before Pentecost and we find no evidence of it in the Old Testament. Second, tongues were especially to be a sign to Israel. 19 Third, there is evidence that other spiritual gifts, such as apostleship, prophecy, and miracles, were temporary making it very possible that tongues were also a temporary gift. Fourth, 1 Corinthians 13:8 states that the gift of tongues will cease. 20 The gift of interpreting tongues is very susceptible seeing as if there is no gift of tongues it would make the need for an interpreter unnecessary. 1 Cessationists provide reasonable evidence to show that spiritual gifts have died off since the time of the apostles. Their claim is that there are still some gifts that are applicable to the modern church. They also claim that there are temporary gifts that no longer exist today. That is because the modern ch urch obviously functions differently than the early church during the time of the apostles. The purpose of those gifts was to provide hard evidence to the people that the message they were hearing was from God. That same kind of divine revelation is not a necessary component of preaching in the modern church.

An important point is that God is still able to perform these miracles, but he does not give the authority and power to people anymore. Cessationism argues that there are still a few gifts that exist in the lives of believers today, but the major gifts, such as prophecy, apostleship, miracles, and tongues have ceased. 22 A NONCESSATIONIST PERSPECTIVE: While it is easy to agree with the cessationist view that there are some piritual gifts not available to believers today, others argue that these gifts do exist today. Those that were already listed, prophecy, apostleship, miracles, and tongues, are argued to still be around today.

There have been many cases of each of these claimed in the lives of believers today. Many churches claim to have members with the gift of tongues, specifically in the Pentecostal churches. It is normal and even expected that during a worship service someone would begin speaking in tongues. Bethel Church, a large Pentecostal church in Redding, California is well known for its experience with he gift of tongues as many charismatic Christians travel from all over to experience one of their worship services. The noncessationalists say that the spiritual gifts are important to allow the church to function and fulfill its purpose. 3 The gift of teaching is one of the major gifts that still exist today. It is also one of the most important gifts. All believers have the capacity to understand biblical truths, but only those gifted by the Holy Spirit are capable of communicating that truth to others. It does not require a lot of knowledge, but the Holy Spirit to help the believer convey the spiritual truths. We see this gift in churches today. Each church has a number of qualified individuals who teach Sunday school, Bible studies, and other classes. There is no question that this gift still exists in the lives of the believers. 4 Administration and ministering to others are examples of gifts that still exist in todays church. Both are very important to the health of the modern church. Without administrators, there would be no one to keep up with bills and make sure things get done around the church. Without people who can minister to others, there will be no ministry in the church. Both are vital gifts that very bviously exist in todays society. 25 Evangelism, the ability to preach salvation and win people for Christ, is a gift that provides people with being able to share the gospel more effectively than others.

Certainly teachers are able to share the gospel, but it takes a specially gifted person to do it effectively and with a perfect stranger off the street. Evangelism is a key part in the mission of the church. 26 The gift of pastoring is a very obvious example of a current spiritual gift. There are many gifted pastors in todays modern church. This is a gift that is very necessary to the health of the church because without it, here would be no one to preach and present the Bible in a way that caused believers to act. That is the primary function ofa pastor.

The pastor leads the people like a shepherd leads their flock, directing and guiding them through life. This gift is definitely one that exists today. 27 The noncessationist perspective seeks to prove that spiritual gifts are all still alive and well in the lives of believers today. There are many great examples of these gifts being used today, which is quite compelling for their argument. DO THE GIFTS EXIST FOR BELIEVERS TODAY? : There are two questions we sought to answer during this paper. The first was what are the gifts of the Holy Spirit? This question we have answered throughout the course of this paper.

The second was how do they apply to us today? This question is a little tougher and can be answered depending on which side of the spectrum you fall. If you hold to a cessationist perspective you may argue that spiritual gifts do not apply to use today, because they don’t exist. However, if you hold a noncessationist perspective, you would argue that they are completely applicable because they are all available to believers today. I personally tend to be more in the middle of the two views. believe that here are certain gifts that were temporary gifts that are no longer in use by believers today.

I also believe that there are many gifts of the Holy Spirit that the apostles had that we are using currently. Given the evidence, I believe that the gifts Of prophecy, apostleship, miracles, and tongues do not exist today. The gift of apostleship was quite simple. All of the apostles except for one witnessed the resurrection of Christ. The only one who did not witness the resurrection was Paul, but he saw the risen Christ after his resurrection. The apostles were all involved in Jesus’ earthly ministry and spoke with the uthority given to them by Jesus. This is not something that Christian’s today can accomplish.

Therefore, there is no way that this gift can exist today. The gifts of miracles served a purpose to provide the audience with tangible proof that the message they were hearing was from God. When an apostle or disciple of Christ was speaking, they would perform miracles to add authority to their words. This was done through the work of the Holy Spirit. Nowadays, that kind of divine revelation is not necessary in our teachings. Prophecy was used to warn God’s people of a judgment that was to come and to get them to repent. This is just not something that is seen today.

God has a different way of dealing with judgment than he did during the apostolic church. While some can claim to have the gift of prophecy, they have no way of proving that it was from God. Take for example Harold Camping. Mr. Camping has on numerous occasions tried to predict the end of the world and claimed to be a prophet. His attempts failed because the message he was sharing was not from God. The Bible states, “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. “28 This gift of tongues is one that I especially do not believe xists today.

Many charismatic Christians claim to have this gift, however they are missing some key features of this gift. The Bible gives guidelines to the use of the gift of tongues. One of the major components is that it must have an interpreter. Without someone interpreting the words, there is no way to tell if the message is from God. Second, the message is to be a sign from God, not simply an encouraging message or a message of guidance. Third, should not dominate a public gathering. This one is especially broken in charismatic churches because when someone claim to be speaking in ongues, the service tends to halt to “receive that message”.


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