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Lesson 9 The Gifts of the Spirit


Devotional Reading:   Isaiah 61:1–4


Memory Verse:           1 Corinthians 12:4


Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.




1 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.




1 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.






1. Not natural talents.


A) 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.


2. Not the Holy Spirit’s use of natural gifts.


A) 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.


3. They are supernatural endowments.


A) 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.




1. Not given to all alike.


A) 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 12:6–7.


2. When they are received.


A) 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).


3. How they are received.


A) 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.




1. The number of gifts.


A) 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.


2. The purpose of gifts.


A) 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.




1. It is a divine operation.


A) 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.


2. It is under human control.


A) 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.”


3. There must be human and divine cooperation.


A) 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 God’s order.


4. The degree of operation varies at times.


This variation may be due to human or divine reasons or both.