Gifts, Ministries and Operations in the body of Christ – DIVERSITIES OF GIFTS


[Please read the others sections of this study at these links:

The danger of the gifts of the spirit of God is that carnal babes in Christ apply all the gifts carnally and in a selfish puffed up way (highlighting the users rather than the purpose of the gift). This is one reason why the book of Corinthians was written for our admonition, as we all deal with these attitudes in our own spiritual growth. The Corinthians in Paul’s day focused on the carnal application of these gifts, and we read what this focus will always bring about:

1Co 1:7  So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:

1Co 1:10-13  Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.  11  For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.  12  Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.  13  Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?

Although God is the giver of all gifts, to Paul it is important throughout these words to emphasize their spiritual (non-carnal) purpose in the body (the church):

1Co 3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

Any gift is something that is undeserved, but given without “variableness” (no change) nor “shadow of turning” (recalling the gift):

Jas 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

God knows the end from the beginning, and He has planned every minute detail of our lives – nothing we do can change His mind about the gift He has given us.

Isa 46:10  Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.

God knows that the emphasis is not on the receiver’s abilities or lack thereof, but for the objectives the gift will achieve as determined by God alone. The end goal of everything is to reveal the glory of God. God does not change His mind.

Job 23:13-14  But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth.  14  For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him.

None of the gifts of the spirit of God work in isolation of the body of Christ. All gifts are given to the body to profit the whole body. Selfish ambitions are not tolerated in the body. The natural body will reject all foreign things and the spiritual body is no different. The Head is going to present His Church holy and without blemish:

Eph 5:25-27  …Christ also loves the church, and gave himself for it;  26  That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,  27  That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

The nine gifts that are used by Christ to sanctify and cleanse His Church are…

1Co 12:8-10 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To 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:

All these gifts are necessary in the one body and link with the ministries and operations to cause the body to function properly, ‘decently and in order’ according to the ‘one mind’. Let’s list the nine gifts and give a short explanation of each:

The gift of the Word of wisdom

1Co 12:8  For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom;

This is the first spiritual gift mentioned in the list, and we are reminded to “covet earnestly the best gifts” (1Co 12:31). There is good reason why this gift stands on top. This gift is primarily given to preach (or teach) the Word (the gospel in particular). Jesus never preached (or taught) anything “of Himself”, except the Words (works) of the Father:

Joh 14:10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

God’s words are His works – that is everything about Him we need to know. Jesus never got upset when people interrupted and stopped him. He allowed people to ask questions, want advice or help. The interaction of Jesus with people also included having to listen to them and to have discussions with them. Even at an early age people were astonished at His wisdom and His answers:

Luk 2:46-47 (DRB)  And it came to pass, that, after three days, they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them and asking them questions.  47  And all that heard him were astonished at his wisdom and his answers.

Preaching, however, does not only have a verbal side, but also has to do with our daily dealings with people (family, friends, colleagues, etc.). This links beautifully with the next point here under this gift of the Word of wisdom. The root for the word “wisdom” in the original Greek means to be clear, considerate, meek, discreet and thoughtful in the way we live in relation to what we preach and teach. James wrote these truths:

Jas 3:13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.

Jas 3:17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 

The Word (preached and taught with wisdom) affects our daily lives for others to witness – it is the “demonstration” of God’s Word (“of the spirit and of power”) when it is backed by our lifestyle:

1Co 2:4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:

The Word of wisdom displays a powerful spiritual witness to the testimony of Jesus Christ in the spiritually matured:

Col 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

The gift of the Word of knowledge

1Co 12:8  … to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

The root for “knowledge” in the Greek is “gnosis” and it has to do with “getting a clear view”, and it is more to do with understanding something. This refers to very intimate understanding – like a husband and wife ‘knowing’ each other in this sense:

Gen 4:1 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.

The Word (of knowledge) impregnates spiritual understanding, and new life comes from it. It is when two (or more) people share one mind, like the Father has with His Son and the body, in the way that they understand each other deeply. Knowledge of the only true God and Jesus Christ is the spiritual seed that impregnates the elect to produce the life eternal (spirit life). Without this incorruptible seed of the spirit word, no one can enter the spiritual kingdom of God.

Joh 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

1Pe 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

Joh 6:63  It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

There is however, knowledge that puffs up (it inflates the natural ego only), but produces no spiritual understanding or new life in the person (it is a false spiritual pregnancy with no spirit life brought forward). No one benefits from that knowledge except the “puffed up” one’s pride and lusts (1John 2:16):

1Co 4:6 (YLT) And these things, brethren, I did transfer to myself and to Apollos because of you, that in us ye may learn not to think above that which hath been written, that ye may not be puffed up one for one against the other.

God’s spiritual knowledge brings forth an unveiling of the truth through the mind of Christ, which comes only from the Father:

Mat 16:17 Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood has not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 

Rev 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

1Co 2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

The gift of faith

1Co 12:9  To another faith by the same Spirit;

We know from the second witness in Ephesians 2:8-9 that faith is indeed an underserved gift coming from God.

Eph 2:8-9  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  9  Not of works, lest any man should boast.

There is also a measure of faith for each individual, and that should not be measured ‘among you’ (to make comparisons and compete with another’s level of faith is revealing an immature spiritual state and are spiritually fruitless exercises):

Rom 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

2Co 10:12-13  For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.  13  But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you.

Sober thinking is to have respect for others’ faith because there is only one Lord over each one’s faith:

2Co 1:24 (YLT) not that we are lords over your faith, but we are workers together with your joy, for by the faith ye stand.

If others are given less or more faith, the mature ones show respect to God who gives to each one according to His decision.

The gifts of healing

1Co 12:9  … to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;

As already alluded to, Paul is emphasizing the spiritual. The spiritual healing of the heart is God’s focus:

Luk 4:18-19 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

To the maturing elect this is clear to see: Jesus spoke about inward spiritual applications of “poor”, “broken hearted”, “captives”, “blind”, “bruised” – even “the acceptable year of the Lord” which is the spiritual age to come which is in down payment now in His maturing elect (ref. Eph 1:13-14; Rom 8:23-25). This is the “greater” (spiritual) works Jesus referred to when He said this:

Joh 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

We also know that God heals in physical terms, which is also recorded throughout Scripture. There is indeed a time for that:

Ecc 3:1  To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

Ecc 3:3  A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up.

The gift of workings of powers (this gift refers to miracles)

1Co 12:10 To another the working of miracles;

This spiritual gift gives the ability to go beyond our carnal or natural mind to believe the impossible:

Mat 19:26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, with men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

Naturally we are limited by our natural mind’s abilities as it processes input from the five senses and is influenced by our carnal thoughts and emotions. This gift of the spirit surpasses all these natural limitations as God gives us faith to see beyond our carnal mind.

Luk 17:5-6  And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.  6  And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.

Faith works beyond the natural realm. To believe in the resurrection from the dead, for example, is one of those gifts that resorts under “workings of powers”. It is beyond the carnal mind to believe God can actually resurrect dead people. That is why the carnal mind always wants to believe that something continues indefinitely after physical death occurs. The carnal mind needs a heretical ‘immortal soul’ to travel or continue after death. All carnal minds also believe certain things, but that faith is limited to earthly selfishness. The devils (Greek: “demons”) also believe that there is a God (as all religions do), and they tremble because that type of faith is based on fear and carnality:u

Jas 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

The gift of prophecy

1Co 12:10 …to another prophecy;

This is what prophecy means in a broad sense…

1Co 14:3 But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.

All prophecy in the Old Testament pointed to a coming Messiah which was fulfilled in Jesus and is being fulfilled in His body. From the Old Testament perspective prophecy looks forward (is futuristic). However, when Jesus is revealed in us, this gift of prophecy helps the church to see Jesus from more than one perspective:

Rev 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

The gift of prophecy for the body of Christ is this revelation of Jesus which brings “edification, and exhortation, and comfort” to the body. It helps each member of the body of Christ to understand that “the sum of the Word” shall never pass away, and that each one lives from every word from God’s mouth, applicable for that person:

Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Psa 119:160 ASV. The sum of thy word is truth; And every one of thy righteous ordinances endureth for ever.

Mat 24:34-35  Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.  35  Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

Mat 4:4  But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Psa 139:16 ASV  Thine eyes did see mine unformed substance; And in thy book they were all written, Even the days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was none of them.

“Prophesy serves not them that believe not, but for them which believe” – it truly brings edification, and exhortation, and comfort to the body of Christ:

1Co 14:22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.

The gift of prophecy teaches us to see that God has an order, and we should respect the decorum (decency) of the house of God:

1Co 14:39-40  Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.  40  Let all things be done decently and in order.

Ecc 5:1-3  Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.  2  Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.  3  For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words.

The gift of discerning of spirits

1Co 12:10 …to another discerning of spirits;

There is no other way which God ordained that we can be able to discern spirits, except through the one absolute spirit of truth – ‘the words that I speak’ (written down in the Bible).

1Jn 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

Joh 6:63 It is the Spirit that makes alive, the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit and are life.

This spiritual gift is very important if the body wants to function properly. There are many spirits (words and thoughts) to which we are exposed from an early age naturally, but they all must be weighed against the one true spirit – the Word of God. That is why it is extremely important to see whether what people say (if they claim spiritual insight) is found in “the sum” of the Word of God (two or three witnesses at least [Mat 18:16]) – then we are like the Bereans “more noble”:

Act 17:10-11 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

The gift of kinds of tongues (languages)

1Co 12:10 …to another divers kinds [Greek: “genos”] of tongues [Greek: “glōssa”];

In the phrase“divers kinds of tongues”…the word “kinds” is translated from the Greek word “genos”, which means “a family” or “group” or “a race” or “a nation”. The Greek word from which the word “tongue” was translated is “glōssa”, which is better translated as “languages”. Here are a few translations which says it clearer:

1Co 12:10  (GW)  Another can work miracles. Another can speak what God has revealed. Another can tell the difference between spirits. Another can speak in different kinds of languages [Greek: “glōssa”]. Another can interpret languages [Greek: “glōssa”].

1Co 12:10 (ISV)  to another miraculous results; to another prophecy; to another the ability to distinguish between spirits; to another various kinds of languages [Greek: “glōssa”]; and to another the interpretation of languages [Greek: “glōssa”].

1Co 12:10 (LITV)  and to another, workings of powers, and to another, prophecy, and to another, discerning of spirits, and to another, kinds of languages [Greek: “glōssa”], and to another, interpretation of languages [Greek: “glōssa”].

The “genos” of “glōssa” is better termed “language families”. God is using different languages in which His truth is brought to everyone whom He wants to reach in this age to be part of His elected few, no matter where on earth that person may find himself or herself!

Mat 24:31  And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Rev 5:8-9  And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.  9  And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.

The first time the gift of languages operated was in Acts 2 on the day of Pentecost. The languages spoken on that occasion were known languages – not unknown. On this occasion the 120 disciples who were filled with the spirit were all Galileans, and they were caused (by the one spirit of God) to speak in other known languages they never learned naturally. These languages were familiar to the other unbelieving Jews (‘multitude’) from “every nation under heaven” who heard the noise:u

Act 2:5-6 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.

From the account in Acts 2 we can count sixteen known languages mentioned there and people who spoke those languages were present. The Scriptures actually give us the names of the places from where these other Jews originated:

Act 2:7-12 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue [language], wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues [language] the wonderful works of God. And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?

This was done for one purpose: to speak “the wonderful works of God” to those who can receive the truth. This new language is the language of the spirit which follow them that believe:

Mar 16:17  And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

Any other motivation for speaking in other languages/symbols when no one understands the language/symbol is not profitable to anyone because nobody can hear the wonderful works of God. When we meet together (our love-feasts), we should prophecy, which means we should make the scriptures clear in order that everyone can be edified, exhorted and comforted.

1Co 14:1-4  Follow after charity [love], and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.  2  For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.  3  But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.  4  He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.

All scripture is written in another language (the spiritual behind the letter) that few are given to understand. By interpreting the “language” or symbols in Scripture, we speak clarity and declare the wonderful works of God as a sign for the unbelievers (and the immature in spiritual understanding). In the mature the Word causes edification, admonition and comfort, and that is exactly what the gift of prophecy achieves. That is why Paul in 1 Corinthians 14 encourages prophecy when the church meets. Without prophecy (or interpretation) the speaker of another language is just interested in self-edification:

1Co 14:4 (ISV)  The person who speaks in another language builds himself up, but the person who prophesies builds up the church.

Paul (and all in the Christ) promotes prophesy above self-edification/-glorification when we meet:

1Co 14:5 (ISV)  Now I wish that all of you could speak in other languages, but especially that you could prophesy. The person who prophesies is more important than the person who speaks in another language, unless he interprets it so that the church may be built up.

Should we be zealous to speak the spiritual language of Scripture? Yes! Listen to what Paul says…

1Co 14:21  In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.

1Co 14:18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all.

When the body assembles, the priority is to edify the body, not ourselves only:

1Co 14:19 (Darby) but in the assembly I desire to speak five words with my understanding, that I may instruct others also, rather than ten thousand words in a tongue.

The gift of the interpretation of tongues (languages)

1Co 12:10 … to another the interpretation [G2058] of tongues [Greek: “glōssa” = languages];

[G2058 = hermēneia (her-may-ni’-ah) From the same as G2059; translation: – interpretation – James Strong’s Dictionary of Greek words]

The word “interpretation is translated from the Greek word “hermeneia, which means “translation“. We know that to translate means to take something in one language and put it into its equivalent in another known language. We also learned through the years that translating languages is not a perfect science. There is much confusion at times in terms of translations, especially when we look at Bible translations. When it comes to the truth though, God has established ways and means by which He ensured His Word will not be perverted:

Psa 12:6  The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

God’s ecclesia in Christ, the called out ones, have been built on the truth throughout this age, and were given “keys” to translate the truth. Those who want to corrupt the Word were never successful:

Mat 16:17-19 CLV  Now, answering, Jesus said to him, “Happy are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood does not reveal it to you, but My Father Who is in the heavens.  18  Now I, also, am saying to you that you are Peter, and on this rock will I be building My ecclesia, and the gates of the unseen shall not be prevailing against it.  19  I will be giving you the keys of the kingdom of the heavens, and whatsoever you should be binding on the earth shall be those things having been bound in the heavens, and whatsoever you should be loosing on the earth, shall be those having been loosed in the heavens.

There is only one way to interpret truth because God is not a God of confusion. If a spiritual truth is not understood, then the Scripture dictates that two or three other witnesses must be added to explain the one interpretation or meaning:

1Co 14:27-28 (MKJV) If one speaks in a language, let it be by two, or at the most three, and in succession. And let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him be silent in a church; and let him speak to himself and to God.

2Co 13:1 This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.

The spirit of the Father always leads us into the truth and then confirms it through two or three witnesses. The spirit of God indeed teaches to compare spiritual with spiritual (Scripture with Scripture), if we can receive that the words He speaks are spirit and truth:

Joh 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

1Co 2:13  Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

If the person is not clear after this, then the mature should accept the measure of faith that God has given to that person for that specific time, and show patience (“think soberly”).

Rom 12:3  For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.



About 4windkoinonia

Want let op julle roeping, broeders: julle is nie baie wyse na die vlees nie, nie baie magtiges, nie baie edeles nie; maar wat dwaas is by die wêreld, het God uitverkies om die wyse te beskaam; en wat swak is by die wêreld, het God uitverkies om wat sterk is, te beskaam; en wat onedel is by die wêreld en wat verag is, het God uitverkies, en wat niks is nie, om wat iets is, tot niet te maak, sodat geen vlees voor Hom sou roem nie. (1Kor 1:26-29)
This entry was posted in Lees eers hier. Bookmark the permalink.