Bible Reading: Ephesians 3:14-21
We need to carefully differentiate between Christ’s ministry gifts to the church [Ephesians 4:11] and the gifts/manifestations of the Holy Spirit in Corinthians.
With Christ’s ministry gifts, the person is the gift and the ministry is a life work. With the manifestations of the Spirit the person has a gift, but it only takes a few moments to give, even though its impact might last for a long time.
Paul says, “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all” [1 Cor. 12:7]. The Greek verb in this statement is the continuous present tense. It should read, “To one is regularly given by the Spirit, a word of wisdom,” and so on. When the Holy Spirit has given a person a gift it would be quite normal for that gift to be regularly manifested through them. Although that person might regularly exercise that one gift, the Holy Spirit can minister through that person other gifts as He sees necessary. We must never forget that the Holy Spirit, not the person he uses, is of the greatest importance.
It is difficult to separate the gifts of the Holy Spirit into distinct categories because they are so closely related to each other. Derek Prince likens them to the colours of the rainbow. It is easy to see the different colours in a rainbow, but there is not a single point where you can say, for example, where indigo ends and violet begins. They blend into one another. Miracles and healings are closely related. The discerning of spirits and the word of knowledge overlap each other. Although we will look at each of the gifts of the Holy Spirit individually, we must always remember that they do overlap each other.
Although the gifts of the Spirit overlap each other, it is nevertheless helpful to look at each one individually. The nine manifestations or gifts of the Spirit that are mentioned in Corinthians chapter twelve can be divided in to three separate groups. They are:
Gifts to REVELATION [to know] – These are the word of wisdom [verse 8],
the word of knowledge [verse 8], and the discerning of spirits [verse 10].
Gifts of POWER [to do] – These are the gift of faith [verse 9], the gifts of healings [verse 10] and the working of miracles [verse 10].
Gifts of UTTERANCE [to speak] – these are prophecy [verse 10], tongues [verse 10] and the interpretation of tongues [verse 10].
Finally, It should be emphasised that we should “Pursue love and earnestly desire spiritual gifts” [1 Corinthians 14:1]. The fact that these gifts are given sovereignly by the Holy Spirit, does not mean that we are to passively wait for them. God wants us to earnestly desire spiritual gifts! Tomorrow we will begin to look at the “word of wisdom.”
In what way do the ministry gifts of Christ differ from the gifts of the Holy Spirit as set forth in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10?
What are the key elements of Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians in our Bible reading today?