As I share this series, it is my prayer that you will be moved to discover and stir up the gifts that God has placed within you.
Our theme scripture for the series is 2 Timothy 1:6-7. I want us to focus on verse 6 for the moment.
Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. (2 Tim. 1:6, KJV)
The Greek word for “gift” is “charisma” and occurs in the Bible 17 times. The majority of these scriptural references to the “charismas” can be found in 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12. Our knowledge about spiritual gifts is obviously important as we see Paul, in his first letter to the believers in Corinth, telling them that he would be negligent in his duty to them if he did not remove any ignorance they still had concerning spiritual gifts.
Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. (1 Cor. 12:1)
He continues further in that same chapter to outline some of the spiritual gifts.
4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 6And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. 7But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. 8For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: 11But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. (1 Cor 12:4-11, emphasis mine)
These verses answer several questions. Today, we will answer the first 4 questions.
1. What are these gifts (charismas)?
I have highlighted the gifts in red in the scripture passage above. These are not all of the spiritual gifts. We see others mentioned further down in 1 Corinthians 28b and Romans 12:6-8, which I have again highlighted in red below.
………. then gifts of healings, helps, governments (administrations), diversities of tongues. (1 Cor. 12:28b, emphasis mine)
6Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; (7) Or ministry, let us use it in our ministering: he who teaches, in teaching; (8) he who exhorts, in exhortation: he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. (Rom. 12:6-8)
I just want to highlight further three of the gifts mentioned in Romans 12 above for better understanding. Ministry is the same as service e.g., ushering, hospitality and other acts of service. Mercy is compassion. So, compassion is a gift rather than a natural inclination. Exhortation refers to the gift of encouragement. Yes, there is such a gift. I first heard of it shortly after I became a believer, I was giving a young man from the church I was attending a lift in my car and in the midst of us having a conversation he said to me, “You have the gift of encouragement. Don’t lose it.” Of course, as soon as I reached home I went straight to my Bible concordance (no online Bible in those days :)) to find out if such a gift really exists. In my searching and cross referencing, I was led to Romans 12:8. I was functioning in a gift I didn’t even know existed! We will see how this was possible right now. Let’s go back to 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 to find the answer to our second question.
2. Where do the gifts come from?
In other words, how do we get these gifts? We are told 5 times in 1 Corinthians 12 verses 8, 9 & 11 that these gifts are given by Holy Spirit according to His will. That is, He chooses who gets what gift(s). Which solves the mystery of how I could have been operating in the gift of encouragement without knowing it existed. It was a gift given to me by Holy Spirit and was now a part of who I was and how I was as a person. It had nothing to do with how good or bad I was but it was based on God’s purpose for my life.
3. Who are gifts given to?
Verse 7 of 1 Corinthians 12 tells us the gifts are given to “every man”. Here “man” is synonymous with humans so includes both men and women. Also, Paul was not writing to the public at large but to a group of believers, so we can conclude that “every man” means “every believer”. This verse actually says “the manifestation of the Spirit”, in making reference to the gifts that are listed subsequently, which is very insightful. A manifestation is “the action or fact of showing something”. Other words for “manifestation” are “indication”, “evidence” and “proof”. This brings us to question #4.
4. Why are the gifts given?
Based on what I just shared from verse 7, the gifts are physical evidence or proof of the existence of Holy Spirit and by extension of God the Father and Jesus the Son. As believers, we are expected to make these gifts evident so unbelievers can know that God is indeed real and very much alive. A case in point is Jesus’ interaction with the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:16-30). Through the “manifestation” of the spiritual gift of the word of knowledge the woman was convicted and believed in the deity of Jesus Christ and began immediately to spread the good news (witnessed about what she had experienced) so others could also share in that same experience. This is the power of the spiritual gifts we have been given.
Be sure to join me next week as we continue to explore the spiritual gifts and the importance of stirring them up!