God calls us to share each others suffering and rejoicing. Are all prophets?
Are all teachers? Are all miracle workers?
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Do all speak with various languages? Do all interpret? See the comments on verses 12b and 14 above. In verses , Paul was speaking about our physical bodies.
Throughout that passage, we understood that Paul was using the metaphor of our physical bodies to point to something even more important. Now, in this verse, he makes the connection explicit. We, the church, are the body of Christ, and the things he said in verses apply to the church as well as to our physical bodies. In verses , Paul pointed out that each member of the body is important—and that the loss of any member brings loss to the whole body.
We knew that this was true with regard to our physical bodies, but it is sometimes difficult to persuade ourselves that it is also true with the church. We can usually think of two or three people whom the church could lose without suffering real loss. Some scholars would categorize these three—apostles, prophets, and teachers—as offices rather than gifts. However, that distinction is less than absolute.
Some scholars see the inclusion of apostles in this verse as evidence that Paul considers it a gift Donaldson. Paul obviously considers these three—apostles, prophets, and teachers—as the most significant of the offices or gifts. Some would also rank-order the rest of the gifts mentioned in verse 28—deeds of power, gifts of healing, etc.
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However, we should tread lightly. Paul has been emphasizing the variety of gifts and the value of each of the gifts, and it seems unlikely that he would rank order them here. In many cases, that involved giving people a glimpse of the future, but the foretelling of the future was only in support of the larger prophetic message. The apostles were also known for teaching Acts Jesus worked many miracles, which served two purposes. First, they alleviated suffering. Perhaps that means that there is one gift for one kind of healing and another gift for another kind of healing.
We certainly recognize that kind of specificity in the medical community today. Perhaps we need to think of that kind of specificity in the faith community. It is also possible that the Spirit might give one person the gift of healing for this situation and another person the gift of healing for a different situation. Gifts of healing accomplish two things.
First, they relieve the suffering of the person who is healed. Second, they equip the church to witness to the power of God in its midst. Not everyone has the gift of healing, but Jesus did. Paul did. Other apostles did. We have no reason to believe that the gift of healing is not still alive today. What kinds of assistance? They are limited only by the kinds of needs that people have. Through the centuries, the church has ministered to vulnerable people—children, the poor, the sick, prisoners, people with various kinds of disabilities, alcoholics, drug addicts, urban gang members, homeless people, victims of disasters—the list is endless.
But antilempsis need not be limited to those with special needs. Teachers need aides. Physicians need nurses, administrators, lab technicians, and cleaning people. The church needs people to assume a broad range of volunteer offices. The only limit on possibilities for antilempsis is the limit of our imagination. The word kybernesis has to do with piloting or directing or managing. It is used in Acts to speak of the captain of a ship. Kybernesis is the gift of taking charge and steering a ship or a person or an organization wisely.
To do this well, a person needs vision, courage, respect for people, self-discipline, and a bit of maturity. Not everyone has this combination of gifts. The church needs pastors and other key leaders to be good leaders, but not all are. When they are not, they will do the church a great service by encouraging people within the congregation who have the gift of kybernesis to take a leadership role.
What are these various kinds of tongues? We have two very different examples of speaking in tongues in Acts and in this letter to the Corinthians. In this letter to the Corinthians, Paul is concerned about speaking in tongues without an interpreter—which means that the speech was not immediately intelligible. In this letter to the Corinthian church, Paul repeatedly addresses issues related to the gift of tongues , 28, 30; ; , , giving us reason to believe that those issues are especially serious in Corinth.
Apparently, some Corinthian Christians count speaking in tongues as the most significant of gifts, and have become prideful about their ability to speak in tongues. In chapter 14, Paul goes to great lengths to put that gift in perspective.
Prophecy, not speaking in tongues, is the superior gift Speaking in unintelligible tongues does not benefit the church In his lists of gifts , 28 , he places the gift of tongues and their interpretation last. He devotes the first half of chapter 14 to counsel concerning the gift of tongues—much more space than he devotes to problems with other spiritual gifts. In that chapter, he makes it clear that the gift of prophecy is superior to the gift of tongues , Elsewhere, he lists gifts without mentioning the gift of tongues Romans ; Ephesians Do all have gifts of healings?
In chapters , Paul dealt with issues of wisdom and knowledge. For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are dying, but to us who are saved it is the power of God. For it is written,. Given his earlier assessment of wisdom and knowledge, it seems odd that Paul would put these gifts at the head of this list. However, the wisdom and knowledge that Paul lifts up here are different from the wisdom and knowledge that he was talking about earlier. Those were human wisdom and knowledge.
These are Godly wisdom and knowledge—gifts given by the Holy Spirit.
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Which of these seven things from verses is not like the other? The answer is faith. The other six involve some sort of specific action—healing, working miracles, prophesying, discerning spirits, speaking in tongues, and interpreting tongues. Not all Christians have even one of those particular gifts, and almost no one has all of them.
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Faith is different. While true faith will manifest itself in some sort of action, the possibilities for its manifestations are endless—not like healing, which is very specific. Faith is also different in that all Christians possess faith. Therefore, we might think of it as the umbrella gift under which all the other gifts are gathered—healing, working miracles, etc. There is in the church a great deal of variety, but only one Holy Spirit. Perhaps that means that there is one gift for one kind of healing and another gift for another kind of healing.
We certainly recognize that kind of specificity in the medical community today. Perhaps we need to think of that kind of specificity in the faith community. It is also possible that the Spirit might give one person the gift of healing for this situation and another person the gift of healing for a different situation. Gifts of healing accomplish two things. First, they relieve the suffering of the person who is healed. Second, they equip the church to witness to the power of God in its midst.
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Not everyone has the gift of healing, but Jesus did. Paul did. Other apostles did. We have no reason to believe that the gift of healing is not still alive today.
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The first recipients of the gift of miracles are found in the Old Testament:.