Lesson 9 The Gifts of the Spirit
Reading: Isaiah 61:1–4
1 Corinthians 12:4
there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
Corinthians 12:4–11, 28–31. 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. . . . 28And God hath set
some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers,
after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of
tongues. 29Are all
apostles? are all prophets? are
all teachers? are all workers of
miracles? 30Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues?
do all interpret? 31But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I unto you
a more excellent way.
ON THE LESSON TEXT
Corinthians 12:4. The various gifts are
attributed to the same Spirit. Hence, they are not antagonistic or competitive,
but cooperative. V5. Different gifts qualify for different offices though
all who use them are servants of the same Lord. V6. The Spirit operates
differently in different people. V7. GThe gifts are distributed among
God’s people but for the benefit of the whole work. Vv 8–10. The list
of gifts here given is not complete. Other lists add a number more. V11.
The will of the Spirit determines what gifts one may receive. V28. There
is a close relation between offices in the church and spiritual gifts. Vv
29–30. The questions here asked clearly imply the obvious truth that not
all fill the same offices in the church nor possess the same spiritual gifts. V31.
It is right to desire spiritual gifts for God’s glory.
TOPIC: THE GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT
THE NATURE OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS
Not natural talents.
Not inherited genius. Some men are born with wonderful talents that are very
useful to the betterment of their fellow men and can be of great service in the
kingdom of God. These are frequently called gifts but are not the gifts under
discussion. B) Not acquired abilities. Many poorly endowed persons have, through
diligent effort, acquired remarkable abilities. These once acquired may likewise
be of great service. These are not to take the place of spiritual gifts.
Not the Holy Spirit’s use of natural gifts.
The Holy Spirit uses such abilities. Such abilities, whether inherited or
acquired, are, doubtless, when fully consecrated to God and used of the Spirit
of great value, within their sphere, as though they had been supernaturally
acquired. B) But there are no such abilities corresponding to certain of the
gifts, hence this need can be supplied only by special, spiritual endowments.
They are supernatural endowments.
They are gifts given to men, hence are not naturally possessed. They impart
abilities not obtained through natural channels. B) They are given by the
Spirit, thus they show their divine source. No man can impart them, only the
Spirit. C) They are given for the services in the church, for the upbuilding of
the kingdom of God. D) They are given according to the capacity of the
recipient. It may be accepted as a general principle that gifts are given
according to the capacity of the individual to receive and use them.
THE RECEPTION OF GIFTS
Not given to all alike.
Not all need the same gifts. Different places in the body require different
qualifications. Not all are expected to do the same work but are given gifts
according to their needs. B) The Scriptures so teach. This is shown in Romans
When they are received.
At the time of the baptism. This is very evident in some of the cases on record
in Acts. The presence of gifts was counted a proof of the baptism with the
Spirit. B) Subsequent to the baptism. The exhortation to desire or covert
spiritual gifts indicates that they are obtainable. If obtainable only at the
baptism Paul should have urged receiving the baptism rather than seeking gifts
that might accompany it. It appears that Timothy received a gift or gifts at
some subsequent time (1 Timothy 4:14–2 Timothy 1:6).
How they are received.
Not through an agonizing struggle. They are gift given gladly by the Spirit. We
may desire certain gifts, but there is no Scriptural ground for the idea that
they are received through a determined demand for them. This is contrary to the
Christian spirit of submission. We may properly ask for such gifts as we believe
will glorify God for us to possess but must be submissive to his will. B)
Through the laying on of hands. Timothy received a gift in this way. In other
instances the baptism of the Holy Spirit, accompanied with gifts, was given
through laying on of hands. C) Unconsciously received. It is doubtless true that
some possess gifts of which they are unconscious. As these are manifested they
are discovered by the possessor or others. The time of their reception may never
be known, nor need to be.
THE EXTENT AND PURPOSE OF GIFTS
The number of gifts.
There is no complete list. The nine gifts named in the lesson are but a partial
list. B) There is no definite limit. It is conceivable that the Spirit should
give such gifts as are required to meet all the needs of the church.
The purpose of gifts.
For the benefit of the church. “To profit withal.” B) To qualify for
spiritual offices. Without such gifts men cannot properly serve as spiritual
officers of the church, nor qualify for the ministry. C) To glorify God, and
save souls. Not given for selfish honor or boasting. They are intended to
benefit, edify, and convince.
THE EXERCISE OF GIFTS
It is a divine operation.
The gifts are not possessed apart from the Spirit. Some contend that God gave
Christ, and that Christ gave the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit gives gifts,
and that we may lose the Spirit and retain his gifts. B) The gifts are operated
by the Spirit. The gift of tongues was exercised as the Spirit gave them
utterance. The gifts are in evidence when men are filled with the Holy Spirit.
It is under human control.
In human consciousness. One may be distinctly conscious of the operation of a
power within himself in the exercise of gifts. B) In constraint. Paul urged
Timothy to “stir up” the gift that was in him. Hence the exercise of gifts
depends somewhat on the earnestness and energy of the possessor. C) In
restraint. The directions given by Paul for the control of gifts (1 Corinthians
14) prove that they are subject to the will of the possessor. “The spirits of
the prophets are subject to the prophets.”
There must be human and divine cooperation.
The gifts do not operated by the Spirit alone without the will and consent of
the person. B) The possessor of gifts cannot exercise them at will independent
of the will of the Spirit. Doubtless Paul possessed gifts of miracles and
healing yet he left Trophimus sick. A minister may preach a message with real
power and on another occasion fail in trying to deliver the same message out of
The degree of operation varies at times.
variation may be due to human or divine reasons or both.