The Purpose of Spiritual Gifts and Their Use
Approaching the doctrine of Spiritual Gifts is at once a necessary and difficult task. In our time where these Gifts have been twisted and distorted and ultimately recolored in the view of most of the North American Church by modern novelties, it can be difficult to come away from the Scriptures without some taint from the present situation. Simultaneously, recognizing that the gifts were given to unify and edify the Church of Jesus Christ, it becomes very necessary to define the Gifts and their practical application as “biblically” as possible. However, we should take pains not to be guilty of what some “Brethren” on both sides of the issue are doing, drawing false distinctions that separate rather than unify the Body of Christ. Using our gifts in ways that are destructive to the Body of Christ rather than to their intended end must be avoided at all costs. True unity cannot be at the expense of truth, but as far as it is possible, we must be at peace with all men, especially with our brothers in Christ.
As with any movement within the Church, there are degrees to which the people in that movement embrace and practice its teaching. There are those who would divide the church on both sides of this issue; Charismatics, who claim that they are the only ones who are saved because of the exercise of certain Gifts like speaking in tongues. Others who embrace heretical sects with corrupt essential doctrines like that of Oneness Pentecostalism while distancing themselves from more conservative Brothers who hold to essential truths but reject present use of the Gifts. There are also Cessationists, who count the practicing such Gifts as, at the very least, an excuse not to love their Brethren or even worse, to reject their claim to belong to Christ at all. This must not be an issue that causes unnecessary division. It must not be an excuse to exalt self or to look upon those for whom Christ died with contempt.
The Apostle draws our attention to a very important truth, after his introduction of the subject of the Gifts in 1 Corinthians 12, he tells his audience, “…But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” (1 Co 12:24b-27) Though we begin with Paul’s call to unity, we must still admit that there is a right way and a wrong way to interpret and implement these Gifts. Likewise there is a time for reproof and even censure as the Apostle Paul himself demonstrates in the writing of the very text we are first lead to in order to examine and understand the Gifts. As we approach the first letter to the Corinthians we recognize that this section was written as a polemic of sorts, or at least a very strong correction of the abuse of the Gifts of the Spirit that are being discussed. So we see that it is important to get this right! But it is also imperative not to divide using the tools God has given us to unify and edify the Body of Christ. The unifying and edifying aspects of the Gifts are foremost in Paul’s discussion. This is plainly demonstrated in the thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians, where Paul places the emphasis on love over “giftedness.” He says, “And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” (1Co 13:2) No matter how well I communicate these truths, if I do it in an unloving way, according to the first three verses of 1 Corinthians 13, I am annoying, useless and I gain nothing! Serving in love is Paul’s overriding theme throughout the entire passage. The fact that the Gifts are at times abused and that this calls for authoritative correction is also demonstrated. This is always a delicate balance that is easy to disturb as we work to give clear, biblical definitions and establish proper practices based on those definitions.
Which Gifts, When?
First we need to discern whether some of the gifts have indeed ceased in their exercise and if so, we then need to discern which gifts fit into what category. It seems rather important to begin by identifying the purpose of the miraculous or extraordinary Gifts in order to understand their function and the length of their continuation. I believe that the clearest place in the Scriptures that this is communicated is in the second chapter of the Letter to the Hebrews. As the Apostle is communicating to them the nature of Revelation and contrasting the Old with the New he says to them, “how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” (Heb 2:3-4) The miraculous Gifts were given as the attestation of the authenticity of the revelation of Jesus and “those who heard,” i.e the Apostles. We see the Gift of Tongues used in this way in Acts 2 as the Apostles preach the Gospel for the first time to the Jews in Jerusalem. Peter calls attention to the phenomena and relates it directly to the Prophecy of Joel (Acts 2:16). In our day, Jesus and the Disciples are no longer speaking in a physical sense. They now speak through that which is already revealed and written down in the Canon of the New Testament. The ministry of the Word that they spoke was accompanied by the miraculous signs. Since they are not speaking now, there would be no need for the Gifts. The intended purpose is fulfilled. The need is removed. The exercise of the Gifts is now past tense.
John MacArthur says this in the assigned text, “God has designed miracles for a single purpose — to confirm His revelation. Once God has revealed Himself, then the miracles have no continuing purpose. For example, when God finished revealing Himself in the Old Testament, that period was closed. In the four-hundred-year period of history between the Old and New Testaments, God gave no revelation, and certainly nothing miraculous. Then, in the New Testament, miracles occurred again. Now the New Testament is finished, the Book is closed, and there are no more miracles.” (1856) This is sound reasoning and concurs for the most part with the record of history as we follow the chain of events that surround the establishing of the Church.
According to Dr. David Calhoun, Church History Professor at Covenant Seminary, St. Louis, MO; “By the time we come to the middle of the second century, prophecies had started to disappear in the church as well as the extraordinary miracles that we see in the New Testament, though some miracles and prophecies are reported in the early post-New Testament period. By the middle of the second century they seem to have gone. Now, there can be two responses to this. There could be the response that many Christians have come to, that the Lord discontinued these things. They had served their purpose, and as the canon was eventually created the extraordinary miracles that were there to help undergird the canon and establish the beginnings of the church dropped off as did prophecies. That is one way to look at it, but that is not the way Montanists looked at it. Montanists said, “These things have ceased because the church has lost sight of the Holy Spirit. The church has become worldly” (Vol. 5)
The Church Father, John Chrysostom says in his homily on 1 Corinthians 12, “This whole place is very obscure: but the obscurity is produced by our ignorance of the facts referred to and by their cessation, being such as then used to occur but now no longer take place. And why do they not happen now? Why look now, the cause too of the obscurity hath produced us again another question: namely, why did they then happen, and now do so no more?” (Vol. 5) This indicates that the Gifts mentioned in this text had not only ceased, but were in obscurity at the end of the 4th Century. This is only about 300 years from the time of the Apostles. Dr. MacArthur shows evidence of this within the New Testament Scriptures themselves. Note, “Now, four of these gifts are mentioned in the New Testament: miracles, healings, languages, and the interpretation of languages. They only appear in the list in 1 Corinthians 12. In the other lists, Romans 12, Ephesians 4, and 1 Peter 4, there is never a discussion of these miracle gifts. They only had a purpose in the infancy of the church.” (1856) As the evidence mounts, we seem to come safely to the conclusion that these Gifts were indeed temporary. History attests to the fact that they diminished in early second century, by the middle 100’s they disappeared and by the late 300’s they were in “obscurity.” Scripture mentions them in the earlier epistles and ignores them in the later, leading us to conclude that there was no reason to mention them by the closing of the Canon, for they had likely already begun to cease. The extraordinary ministry of the Apostles and prophets was giving way to the ordinary ministry of the Pastor and Teacher.
The question then comes, what is the proper division for temporary and permanent gifts? The assigned texts certainly diverge at this point. While Dr. MacArthur assumes the temporary nature of “miracles, healings, languages, and the interpretation of languages,” but allows for the continuance of others like prophecy, word of knowledge and word of wisdom, (1853) Brian Schwertly divides them differently, coming to the conclusion that there are fewer Gifts remaining active today. “When one examines “the word of knowledge” in the context of 1 Corinthians it becomes evident that the word of knowledge is tied to the preceding “word of wisdom” and should be understood as a parallel expression (i.e., It is almost synonymous). Both terms are dealing with Spirit-inspired teaching. This point comes into focus when one examines Paul’s discussion of the cessation of the revelatory gifts in his exaltation of Christian love.” (Part 8) This is where I part with Mr. Schwertly in my understanding of the Gifts. As I see it, his reasoning is circular on this point, assuming that 1 Corinthians 13:8 is declaring the cessation of the Gifts listed there in support of his definition of the Gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:8. As I see it, the “passing away” of knowledge does not relate to the Gifts particularly but to all incomplete knowledge. Love will never cease, now or in eternity. But limited knowledge will, and the revelation that is given by the Gifts will prove to be incomplete in eternity though it is complete for it purposes in time. The Geneva Notes on 1 Corinthians 13:12 read; “The applying of the similitude of our childhood to this present life, in which we darkly behold heavenly things, according to the small measure of light which is given to us, through the understanding of tongues, and hearing the teachers and ministers of the Church. And our man’s age and strength is compared to that heavenly and eternal life, in which when we behold God himself present, and are enlightened with his full and perfect light, to what purpose would we desire the voice of man, and those worldly things which are most imperfect? But yet then all the saints will be knit both with God, and between themselves with most fervent love. And therefore charity will not be abolished, but perfected,” (E-Sword edition). Before the controversy over the modern understanding of these Gifts arose, many within the Reformed tradition interpreted this passage in relation to eternity and not to the close of the Canon. Some, Like Matthew Henry, seem to combine the two ideas of a short term cessation of miraculous Gifts but ultimately relating it to the eternal state. He does not relate, “That which is perfect” to the close of the Canon. He says, “When the end is once attained, the means will of course be abolished. There will be no need of tongues, and prophecy, and inspired knowledge, in a future life, because then the church will be in a state of perfection, complete both in knowledge and holiness. God will be known then clearly, and in a manner by intuition, and as perfectly as the capacity of glorified minds will allow;” (E-Sword edition) Even this does not force us to conclude that all of the Gifts mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13:8 are to cease at a particular time in the history of the Church, only that they will cease before we enter the eternal state.
I believe that we should do our best not to allow current controversy to color our interpretation of these passages in one direction or the other. There is ample evidence for the discontinuation of the Gifts elsewhere in the Bible and in the History of the Church, as we have already seen. As often times happens in controversy, we tend to overemphasize and even distort certain truths in opposition to the view that is false. Like the Church Father and great apologist for the Faith Tertullian, who opposed what he considered a loose attitude toward sin in the Church and ultimately ended up embracing Montanism, an outright heresy, we can end up in error on the other side of the issue if we allow the discussion to be framed by the controversy rather than by the Scriptures. Applying 1 Corinthians 13:8 to the eternal state rather than to the cessation of certain Spiritual Gifts does not denigrate the Scriptures or leave too much room for those who oppose the cessation of the miraculous Gifts. John Calvin remarks on this section, “Thus this passage is not at all at variance with other passages, which speak of the clearness, at one time, of the law, at another time, of the entire Scripture, but more especially of the gospel. For we have in the word (in so far as is expedient for us) a naked and open revelation of God, and it has nothing intricate in it, to hold us in suspense, as wicked persons imagine; but how small a proportion does this bear to that vision, which we have in our eye! Hence it is only in a comparative sense, that it is termed obscure. The adverb then denotes the last day, rather than the time that is immediately subsequent to death. At the same time, although full vision will be deferred until the day of Christ, a nearer view of God will begin to be enjoyed immediately after death, when our souls, set free from the body, will have no more need of the outward ministry, or other inferior helps.” (Commentary on 1 Co 13:8-10)
Therefore, we have no need to force the Gifts such as Word of Knowledge or Word of Wisdom, or even that of Prophecy (rightly defined) into the category of those that have ceased. Brian Schwertly’s argument for the use of the words “wisdom” and “knowledge” necessarily referring to the revelatory gifts seems overstated. Paul’s context is larger than Corinth as he uses the terms with other Gentile churches such as Rome, Ephesus and Colosse. From the Letter to the Romans through the letter to the Colossians he uses the word wisdom (sophia) 29 times. As he prays for the Ephesian Believers he says, “I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,” (Eph 1:16-20) Paul prays similarly for the Colossian Christians in Colossians 1:9 In both places, wisdom and knowledge are certainly related to receiving an accurate understanding of the Gospel and its attendant benefits. While “revelation” is mentioned in the Ephesian prayer, it is in such a way as to say, “that you would accept that which is already revealed in the Gospel.” He then goes on to describe our bondage to sin and our need for God to “make us alive” (Ephesians 2:1-4). In Colossians, he speaks at length of the Divinity of Jesus. In both cases, they are certainly prayers that God’s wisdom and knowledge, concerning these important truths, would overcome their own understanding. A fallen understanding is incapable of grasping such truths. Only by the work of the Spirit can anyone, then or now, receive these great and profound truths! Paul says as much to the Corinthians in his first epistle (2 Corinthians 2:14). The use of the word wisdom does not signify a gift of speaking new revelation here. In Colossians 1:28 he says, “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.” Here, wisdom is the strength of his teaching. It is that which brings the results, the maturing of Believers.
As we approach the use of the words in his First Letter to the Corinthians we see that fifteen of the twenty-nine uses of the word wisdom are found in the first two chapters, so wisdom has a strong bearing on the argument here. I see Paul using the word wisdom here in the same way he used it with the Believers at Ephesus and Colosse. “For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1 Co 1:17-24) Here the word wisdom is used simply to contrast the natural understanding with God’s message of redemption. What seems here to be foolish to the natural intellect is truly the “wisdom of God.” In the second chapter, Paul follows this with these words, “and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.” (1 Co 2:4-7). Here the Apostle indicates that his imparting of wisdom is certainly a “demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” But he also tells us that through his preaching, he is imparting wisdom to his hearers and that that wisdom is in some way dependent upon their maturity. Again, in the larger flow of the passage I see it relating more to the message itself as it relates to what the world calls “wisdom.” It is not about his “gifting” to receive or communicate that message. His authority and ability to present this message have more to do with his Apostolic Office than the exercise of a Gift of Wisdom or Knowledge though he may and certainly does possess those Gifts. The “secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.” is the Gospel. Certainly it was at one point the content of the Revelatory Prophetic Office, but the established criteria of the Gospel is well established by the early 60’s of the first century when the Ephesian letter was written and even the mid 50’s when he wrote to the Corinthians.
The message that he is speaking is not the result of an instantaneous encounter with the Spirit, rather of a lengthy encounter with the risen Christ. “For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 1:11-12). Here, Paul discusses the time after his conversion with the Galatian Believers. He is defending his apostolic office and authority “Paul, an apostle–not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead-” (Gal 1:1) He does that by demonstrating the source of his Gospel message; “But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days.” (Gal 1:15-18) There is a very special encounter that the Apostle has had with the risen Christ. This is far more than even an extraordinary Gift from the Holy Spirit. The Apostolic Office was the source of his authority and his declaration of the Gospel. The origin of his heavenly wisdom was the certainly Spirit of God, but the message He preached was not in need of direct revelation by this time.
Having gone the long way around this issue, I believe that it is certain that it is at least reasonable not to accept the interpretation of 1 Corinthians 13:8 that declares it to be the conclusive end to all of the Gifts that are mentioned in it. On the other hand, not lacking in support from other places in Scripture and the record of the history of the early Church, we can be sure that some (i.e. the miraculous and revelatory Gifts) are no longer being exercised. From here we can proceed to defining the remaining Gifts so that we can begin to understand their exercise in the Church.
Speaking and Service Gifts
Having divided the gifts into the categories of continuing “ordinary” Gifts and discontinued “extraordinary” Gifts; we can again divide the Gifts into two more categories, Speaking Gifts, and Service Gifts. The Apostle Peter tells us, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies–” (1 Pe 4:10-11) These are really the two kinds of gifts that are necessary to build and maintain the Body of Christ. The Holy Spirit has provided these for this purpose. From a pastoral perspective, it seems that it is more expedient to focus on the positive use of the Gifts here than to spend a lot of time refuting contrary views. At times it may be expedient to mention those views, but it will be my intention to try and make this as practical as possible for the purpose of using those gifts for their intended purpose; the edification and unification of the Body of Christ, to His glory!
I believe that applying to the unifying and edifying aspects given in the 12th chapter of 1 Corinthians will help us define these Gifts the best.“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” (1 Co 12:4-7) Here, in these introductory verses, we see Paul’s goal stated for the proper understanding and use of the Gifts of the Spirit. There are diversities of gifts, differences of ministries and varieties of activities. But what does Paul tell us that there is in common in these verses? The same Spirit, the same Lord, the same God. God Himself is our Model of Diversity in Unity, existing and working eternally as the Three in One. From the creation of mans’ habitat, where we see the plural form of “God” in the Hebrew text of Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God” (ELOHIM); to the inter-Trinitarian discussion of the creation of man himself in Genesis 1:26 where He says, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness;” to the Covenant of Redemption where The Father and the Son agreed in eternity past to bring Jesus into the world to redeem us from our sin, “He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you;” (1 Pe 1:20) each Member of the Godhead works together for the benefit of God’s elect. Whatever gift, whatever office we have in the Church of Jesus Christ, whatever activity we are called to do, this is the standard of its exercise. This brings Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 14:4 into perspective as he says, “The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church.” This is certainly a criticism of the abuse of any gift that is exercised purely for self-edification. Selfishness is antithetical to the ministry of Jesus Christ as well as to the life of the one who calls on His name. It diminishes our unity and distorts our efforts to serve Him and our Brothers and Sisters. It destroys our witness as well. As Jesus prayed for His Church he petitioned, “that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (Joh 17:21) Paul’s Body metaphor is very focused on the need for Christ’s Body to function in absolute harmony. “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ ” (1Co 12:21) We are designed to function as a unit with singular focus and mutual love.
Dr. MacArthur says that when the Gifts are exercised biblically that four results occur, 1) People will receive a blessing, (that is the people exercising the Gifts) 2) The witness will be dynamic, 3) Leaders will be made apparent, and, 4) Unity will develop. (1853) Certainly, these goals should be the intention of all Believers and of every Body of them. With this said, we will take a look at the gifts as listed in 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12, and try to use Paul’s criteria to help us define them.
The Speaking Gifts:
Prophecy: Found in Romans 12:6 and 1 Corinthians 12:10, it has to do more with declaring God’s will than foretelling future events. However, in the New Testament, both ideas are in view at times. Dr. MacArthur tells us, “The Greek word for prophecy is propheteia, from the verb propheteuo. It is a basic word coming from pro = “before,” and phemi = “to speak.” It means “to speak before.” It does not mean “to speak before” in terms of time, but “to speak before” in terms of an audience (i.e., “to speak in public, to publicly proclaim”). That is the gift of prophecy. It is not necessarily revelatory (i.e., revelation direct from God), or non-revelatory (i.e., proclaiming something God already revealed in the past). It is simply a communicative gift. ” (Spiritual Gifts – MacArthur, 1853) Again, he says that prophecy, “is the ability given by the Spirit of God to a person to proclaim God’s truth to others.” Citing 1 Corinthians 14:3 as his proof, “ the one who prophesies speaks to people.” The main point of this Gift, as the Apostle explains it, is to strengthen the Church. Paul tells them, “On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church.” (1Co 14:3-4) Using his own criterion here, he defines this Gift for us. As he continues contrasting the use of tongues and prophecy in chapter 14, the theme continues. Prophecy is superior due to its ability to instruct and strengthen the Body. He says, “Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.” (1Co 14:19) Instruction trumps everything else in importance. Instruction does not need to come from New Revelation. Knowing the will of God is the primary source of edification and unity in the Church. Not only that, but it is the means of unbelievers hearing and being convicted and converted. “If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds? But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.” (1Co 14:23-25) Clear and authoritative communication of the will of God is the best definition of this Gift.
The contrast here of speaking a foreign language in the midst of the Church, resulting in no one being instructed, or edified is important. That Gift was more likely to be used as it had been in Acts 2, outside the church meetings, on the mission field, so to speak. To illustrate this Paul uses another metaphor, “Now, brothers, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? If even lifeless instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will anyone know what is played?” (1Co 14:6-7)
Prophecy certainly included the communication of new revelation in the Apostolic Era, but as we have seen above, no longer necessarily does so. Proclaiming the revealed will of God is being done in churches every day. It is the basis of our edification as the Body of Christ. Dr. MacArthur tells us that this prophesying is subject to verification. Looking at 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21, he tells us, “This is very interesting. He says, “Don’t hate prophesyings.” Why? If you do, you will quench the Spirit (v. 19). Why? The Spirit has given prophecy. Don’t just throw it out, but test it and hold on to what is good (v. 21). The Spirit has given people to the church who proclaim. Don’t quench the Spirit by despising the gift; just examine the prophecy and hold on to what is good.” He continues, “You say, ‘But, how do we examine them?’ 1 Corinthians 14:37 — “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.” What are the things that Paul has written? The commandments of the Lord — the New Testament Epistles. So he says, “If anybody claims to be a prophet, and he prophesies, judge him by the written Word.” Don’t despise prophesying, that would quench the Spirit. Simply test it, find out what is good. And what is the test? How do you know if a prophet is right or wrong? If he agrees with the Bible, he is right; if he doesn’t, he is wrong. That is the test.” (1853) This is certainly what we need to do. No one is above this test. There is no other standard by which our preaching must be judged. The Apostle Paul gives the same charge in an even stronger manner to the Galatians who are plagued with false teaching. He says to them, “As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.” (Gal 1:9) That is serious. Not just, “don’t listen,” but “let him be accursed!” Oh, how we need to heed this instruction in our day. Praise God for the leaders in the Church who are calling men like Rob Bell to the carpet for his heretical preaching.
And so we conclude that although there is no longer any new revelation, the Prophetic Gift continues as the Body of Christ is strengthened and unified by the proclaiming of God’s will. Good doctrine does more to strengthen the Church than any man made device that we can muster. It must be proclaimed with authority and as long as it concurs with what has already been revealed, it should be heard. It must be examined according to the Scriptures and that which is good should be held on to. Even Paul praised the Berean Christians for searching the Scriptures to see if what he said was so (Acts 17:11). How can any of us deny the testing of our own preaching or that of a preacher whom we like?
On the negative side of this there is something that was not mentioned in the assigned texts. Many in our day confuse prophecy with teaching on the end times. There are entire ministries built around trying to give us their perspective on what the last days scenario looks like. While there certainly is an advantage to studying these portions of Scripture, it is unhealthy to focus on them to the neglect of the other doctrines of the Bible. And to be honest, if we subject the teaching of these ministries to the standard we have just derived from the Scriptures concerning proper exercise of the Gift of Prophecy, we will find most of them sorely deficient.
The Word of Wisdom and the Word of Knowledge: Found in 1 Corinthians 12:8, these are the next speaking Gifts. Again, having begun with the probability of being a revelatory Gift, they are no longer necessarily so. The idea that they are “words” means that they are communicative Gifts. Communicating wisdom and knowledge would be in line with the idea that they are given to unify and edify the Body of Christ.
The Word of Knowledge is defined by Dr. MacArthur this way, “It is the Spirit-given ability to observe biblical facts and make conclusions. In other words, it is the ability to understand the Bible.” (1853) Certainly this is a gift that is associated with teaching. It would be very necessary for some in the Church to have a gift for studying the Revelation that it has been given. The Word of Wisdom similarly, “… is the ability to take the facts that the gift of knowledge has brought out and make a skillful application of it. It could belong to a Christian counselor, who identifies a problem, and then by his knowledge of the Word of God, draws out the principles that can be practically applied to solve the problem. It is the gift of the expositor, who can take the Word of God, study the commentaries, read from all those who have the gift of knowledge, and out of that, draw the applicable principle to living. It can also be a gift that a believer ministers to another believer, by assisting him in his practical life.” (MacArthur – 1853) These definitions fit the Apostle’s criteria for the proper use of the gifts. There is no motive for personal gain or self-exaltation, only the desire to use our Gifts for the benefit of the Church. In digging out the meaning of the text and making application of it to the individual and corporate Body of Believers, unity, strength and maturity must certainly be the result.
Teaching and Exhortation: With the last two gifts, which are found in Romans 12:7-8, we can round out the Speaking Gifts. While we may have the Word of Knowledge and be able to dig out the truths of the Bible, we may yet lack the ability to communicate them and help others implement them. Dr. MacArthur’s definition of the Teaching Gift is this, “Teaching is passing on truth to someone else so that they receive it and implement it.” (1853) This is exactly what Paul commanded Timothy to do as the pastor of the church at Ephesus. “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (2Ti 2:1-2) Contrasted with Teaching is Exhortation. Not just the ability to communicate it so that it can be implemented, but, “It is the ability to get alongside someone who has a problem, and build them, encourage them, strengthen them, and bear their load.” (MacArthur – 1853) Again we see the knowledge of God’s will as given in the Scriptures applied to Believers. Truths are passed on to, and implemented in the lives of those Believers. Personal guidance and encouragement to obey and trust in the Word, rightly divided. Unification and edification must surely be the result.
All of these Gifts proceed from the primary Gift of Prophecy. They are all related to the revealed will of God. All of them are subject to the same test for accuracy. All of them are useful to unify and edify the Body of Christ. With God’s Word at the center of it all we are able to preach, study, counsel, teach and encourage. This single focus on unifying and edifying through the ministry of accurately communicating God’s Truth is the answer to the prayer of Jesus as He prayed for all Believers in John chapter 17. He prayed, “And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (Joh 17:19-21) Christ’s prayer, just before He went to the Cross, was for unity and for sanctification through God’s Truth. In His great love for the Church he prayed for Her and then He provided what was needed to accomplish His request to the Father. He supplied the Word. He supplied the Spirit and the Gifts to make the Word effective.
Beginning with this central focus however, we need to proceed from here to what is taught, to what the other Gifts are, and to the purpose for which they were given. Speaking Gifts by themselves are not enough! Though we have all of our doctrinal ducks in a row, we can still miss the mark. In addition to the necessity of communicating God’s will through proclamation, study, council, teaching and encouragement, we also have the necessity of a ministry of Service to one another. This is what is at issue in the Church at Ephesus as Jesus, at the same time commends them and rebukes them. “I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.” (Rev 2:2-4) That love is not just a love for Christ, but also, a love for His Body. Alexander Strauch informs us on the meaning of “first love” in his book, Love or Die. He says, “The object of their lost love is not stated. The text does not say love for Christ or love for fellow believers. It is best, then, to understand Jesus to mean Christian love in general, which would include love for God, love for one another in the church, and love for the lost. According to our Lord, love for God and neighbor are inseparable companions (Mark 12:29-31; Luke 10:27). It is impossible to love God and not love his people or to love his people and not love God (1 John 4:7-5:3).” (pg. 9) Not only has God, by His Spirit, given the church the necessary Gifts to instruct His Body, but also the necessary Gifts to care for them. The proper compliment to the Speaking Gifts are the Serving Gifts. This combination meets both the spiritual needs as well as the physical needs of the Body, strengthening them in unity and producing growth.
The Service Gifts:
Administrations: Found in Romans 12:8 and 1 Corinthians 12:28, those who exercise this Gift are literally, the ones who steer the ship. Some must be gifted in leadership, helping the Body function well. Again, Dr, MacArthur is helpful in defining this gift, “…it is not necessarily sitting in an administrative seat of responsibility because that person could also have the gift of serving or helps. But it is the ability to make decisions and determine direction — mobilizing people to reach an objective.” (1854) Every body needs someone to direct and make important decisions. All are needed and though all things are equal at the foot of the Cross, there is a necessary authority structure for the Church to function well. God gives those Gifts according to His will. The New King James Version translates the opening phrase of 1 Corinthians 12:28 this way, “And God has appointed these in the church” and then goes on to list the Gifts. It is God’s structure and so those on both sides of it have a responsibility to see that it is properly exercised. “not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.” (1Pe 5:3) There is a temptation to be domineering or as the New King James Version translates it, “being lords over those entrusted to you.” This is so contrary to the unifying and edifying principles that Paul has given, and so it must be guarded against at all cost!
Service, Mercy and Giving: Found in Romans 12:7-8 and 1 Corinthians 12:28, is certainly the broadest Gift (or set of Gifts) that is given. Whatever way there is to assist others, in their service to the Body, in their personal lives, in facilitating the functioning of the Body, in assisting the leadership, this encompasses that work. Dr. MacArthur describes it this way, “The word helps [service] literally means “to take a burden off of someone else and place it on yourself.” It is the gift that comes alongside leadership.” (1854) He applies it to the church secretary which is not invalid, but is certainly not the intention of the Apostle Paul. In his commentary, Calvin applies it directly to the office of Deacon. Brian Schwertly helps expand our understanding of it, defining the Gift of Mercy as he says, “The gift of showing mercy is a broad gift which includes visiting and attending the sick; caring for the poor; showing love and compassion toward orphans and widows; and, showing kindness to believers who are suffering emotionally, who may be going through a personal crisis. Although this gift applies to the deaconate and the order of widows… ” (Part 6) Giving, Mercy and Service are kind of mixed together in varying degrees and given for the physical care of the body. These are all Gifts that should be a part of every Christian’s ministry, but some are specially gifted in one or more of these areas. These are Gifts that are just as necessary as the Speaking Gifts though often deemed less important. The balance of the ministries of the Word and of Service are essential to a healthy Body. We see that these are exercised to the physical benefit of the members of the Body as the Speaking Gifts are exercised to their spiritual benefit. The balance of instructing and caring for is vital to creating the unity that we are speaking of. It did not take long in the history of the Church to see this need become very apparent. By the time the Church had begun, there were already complaints of those who are not properly or fairly cared for. The problem and solution are recorded in Acts 6, “Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” (Act 6:1-4) From very early on, there was a special place given to the ministry of service. It was a necessary aid to the ministry of the Word, making it all the more effective.
Faith and Discernment: There are yet other Gifts found in 1 Corinthians 12:9-10 that are there for the encouragement of the Body. Faith is believing the promises of God. Not just saving faith,as important as that is, but faith to face adversity and persevere. Again, Dr, MacArthur tells us, “ By the gift of faith I don’t mean saving faith — all believers have received that. I don’t mean the general faith by which we live — all believers manifest that. This is a special gift, limited to certain Christians, that involves an intensive ability to trust God — an unusual capacity to believe God in the face of a storm, in the face of enormous obstacles.” (1855) This can certainly be an wonderful encouragement to the one who is struggling and doubting. To have someone come alongside them and bolster their faith by a strong example certainly fits the Apostle’s criteria. Discernment is also important. False teachers have been in the Church almost since its inception. Discernment is needed now, even as it was when the Canon was not complete and men spoke Spirit-given utterances. Paul command the Corinthian church, “Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said.” (1Co 14:29) They were to discern the origin of the message, whether it is truly from the Spirit of God or from a demonic spirit. Discernment certainly seems to be lacking in large segments of the Church today. Though many are as Ahab, when he whined at Jehoshaphat’s request to hear from a prophet of God, “And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the LORD, Micaiah the son of Imlah, but I hate him, for he never prophesies good concerning me, but evil.’ ” (1Ki 22:8) They simply would rather hear what they want. With the proliferation of false teaching, this one is certainly important in our day. Many today claim that “doctrine divides!” But as I said at the beginning, “True unity cannot be at the expense of truth.” This is a necessary and helpful gift. At times removing diseased flesh is what is best for a body. John tells his audience in his first epistle, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth.” (1Jn 2:19-21) And so, although it may sometimes be with pain, this Gift too, ultimately unifies and edifies the Body.
And so we conclude that, “God has appointed these in the Church.” He has equipped each one with something to contribute to the benefit of the whole. “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” (1Co 12:7) Every member of the Body is there for a reason and we should be striving to help them to become effective. We are to use our Gifts in love or they become a disservice. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3) Their purpose is unification and edification and there is no room for self-serving or prideful co-opting of the Gifts. There is no way we can use them to denigrate or disparage our Brothers or to prove our superiority over them. Love must be the guiding rule of every exercise of them if they are to be used to the Glory of Christ and the benefit of His Body. That is why Paul moves away from their description in chapter 12 of 1 Corinthians and gives the most thorough treatise on love in the whole of Scripture before he moves back into their exercise in chapter 14. To discuss at length what the Bible says about Spiritual Gifts and not to relate the use of them back to love would be a woefully incomplete discussion. It is, the “more excellent way” that Paul spoke of in 1 Corinthians 12:31. The Gifts in a vacuum are of no use. To take a personality profile test and then try to implement the results by taking certain responsibilities in the local church would be of little or no use. It might even be destructive. To love the members of that church and to serve them with the whole heart would be the best way to discern what Gifts the Spirit of God has bestowed upon us. As we begin to serve one another in love, we will find the areas that coincide with our Gifting. Whatever Gifting it is, it will be in one or more of these areas.
I think Dr. MacArthur is helpful here as well. He speaks of having his portrait painted by a famous artist and how she took her palate of primary colors and mixed them together to make all of the colors for the portrait. He goes on to make an analogy, “This is exactly how spiritual gifts function. The Holy Spirit has a palette. On it are some primary gifts. They are the gifts that are listed in Scripture. But by the time they are spread around, there is a mixture. Each one of you becomes a very stylized, individual, particular, peculiar, unique portrait. When we study the five speaking gifts and the six serving gifts that make up the permanent edifying gifts, we are simply studying the primary colors. And the Holy Spirit will mix them and put them on you like He has on no one else. The combination is unique. That is why you will have trouble finding definitions.” (1854) Working too hard at defining a gift before it is exercised is putting the cart before the horse. Our unique gifting comes with our service, not before it. It also comes with our desires to serve in particular ways as opportunities arise. I remember a few years after I was saved when I began to feel the desire to teach. An opportunity arose within my local church and I could not shake the feeling that I was supposed to teach that class. I went to my pastor at the time, hoping he would tell me that I was not ready yet. With some hind-sight now, and as a pastor myself, I would have made me more accountable. However, As I began to teach, I noticed as I studied the qualifications for a pastor in 1 Timothy 3 that Paul began his instruction with these words; “This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work.” (1Ti 3:1 NKJV) And so as I followed that desire, I prepared myself for he work. The Holy Spirit had given me a great thirst for a knowledge of the Bible and an equally great desire to communicate it to others. I began to read, a lot. I had not finished a book, nor hardly read one in several years. Now, I was reading and studying every spare moment. More opportunities came to teach and preach and I continued to craft and use my Gift. I am still exercising it several times a week, more than fifteen years later. The Holy Spirit has a way of making us aware of certain needs in the local church and drawing us into the work. Often times, he does this through its leadership. This is a big part of what they [we] are called to do.
Practical Outworking of the Gifts: OFFICES
In the final section of this paper In want to deal with this part of the equation. It is the backbone of the local church and it is also a Gift given to the Church by our Lord. It completes our understanding of how the Gifts work themselves out in the setting of the local church. The Apostle Paul said it this way to the church at Ephesus, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,” (Eph 4:11-13)
The office of Apostle, has ceased with the ministry of those who saw the risen Christ. In defense of his apostleship, Paul asks, “Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?” (1 Cor 9:1) The office of Prophet has ceased as well. Though we see that the Gift of Prophecy continues, the office, in its usage here is a reference to those who gave us Scripture. The Church is “built on the Apostles and Prophets” (Eph 2:20). Evangelist is as Brian Schwertly describes it, “A special assistant to the Apostles who is able to work miracles.” such as Barnabas, Timothy, Titus, etc. (Part 3) Though I would certainly not specify modern “evangelists” as the biblical office, I would not really have a problem with associating the term with the modern ordinary work of the missionary (miracles excluded). This leaves us with Pastors and Teachers to carry on this work in the local church. This is the office for equipping the saints. Again, Brian Schwertly gives us a good overview of this office, “Although the terms pastor and teacher are to be taken together as one office, the fact that Paul uses two words is significant. The minister of the word is a shepherd of God’s flock. “Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as oversees” (1 Pet. 5:2; cf. Ac. 20:28). The term shepherd refers to a number of activities: instruction, discipline, protection. Pastoral work involves a comprehensive oversight. The complete care of the congregation will involve personal counseling, disciplinary action (when needed), fervent prayer, protection from false teachers, dispensing the sacraments, etc… “It implies careful, tender, vigilant superintendence and government, being the function of an overseer or elder.” (Part 4)
As we continue on in the New Testament we discover that just as there is a two-fold division in the kinds of gifts, Speaking and Service, so there is the same two-fold division in the offices of the local church. As the Apostle Paul begins the letter to the Philippians, he greets them in this way. “Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons:” (Php 1:1) These are the offices in the Church that oversee the respective areas of Speaking and Serving. As Paul writes to Timothy as he is setting the Ephesian church in order, he lists the qualifications for both offices in very specific terms. (1 Tim 3)
Calvin sees this distinction between Gifts and Offices in 1 Corinthians 12:28 where he says in his commentary, “He has in the beginning of the chapter spoken of gifts: now he begins to treat of offices, and this order it is proper that we should carefully observe, For the Lord did not appoint ministers, without first endowing them with the requisite gifts, and qualifying them for discharging their duty. Hence we must infer, that those are fanatics, and actuated by an evil spirit, who intrude themselves into the Church, while destitute of the necessary qualifications, as many boast that they are under the influence of the Spirit, and glory in a secret call from God, while in the meantime they are unlearned and utterly ignorant. The natural order, on the other hand, is this — that gifts come before the office to be discharged. As, then, he has taught above, that everything that an individual has received from God, should be made subservient to the common good, so now he declares that offices are distributed in such a manner, that all may together, by united efforts, edify the Church, and each individual according to his measure.” (On 1 Cor. 12:28-30) For the most, part I can see what Calvin is referring to in the text, though this would mean that Miracles, Healings and Tongues would be among the offices in the early Church. There needs to be a transition from the bare Gifts to the structured exercise of them. No body functions without order. For the Gifts to function properly that order must also exist in the Body of Christ and each local Body individually. Here, in his commentary, Calvin refers to the Gift of Administrations as that of the Elder and the Gift of Service as that of Deacons.
I believe it is essential that we keep the Offices in their proper relationships to the Gifts in order for both the Office and the Gift to be used correctly. Brian Schwertly looks pretty extensively at the office pastor in Part 4 of his work and His definitions and descriptions are good and accurate. He also mentions the plurality of elders that is shown in the Scriptures. Some of the “pastoral” duties are the duties of elders. “So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight,” (1Pe 5:1-2) The New King James Version says, “Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers.” Albert Barnes tells us in his commentary, “The fair translation of this word is, “discharging the episcopal office”; and the word implies all that is always implied by the word “bishop” in the New Testament. ” This being a “Bishop” and this “shepherding” are critical parts of the ministry of the local church. As Pastors or Shepherds, it is their teaching and oversight that bring the doctrines on the pages of Scripture into practice among the body of Believers. That teaching must be made effective by the Spirit. As the pastor preaches with the authority of the Savior and exhorts the people to take up their crosses and follow Christ, this will include taking their responsibilities within the local body. As the Elders /Shepherds govern and steer the ship that is the local church, the Gifts of individuals should be recognized. As Dr. MacArthur was quoted as saying, “Leaders become apparent.” The Body grows from within and functions in a healthy manner. Those with the Speaking Gifts are complimented by those with the Serving Gifts and each is able to function as the Lord intended.
The Office of Elder needs to function, exercising the Gifts of Teaching, Preaching, Counseling, Exhorting and Administration as it shepherds the Flock of God and feeds them. As the individual members of the Body are strengthened and mature, and come to the “unity of the faith,” they can begin to take on the responsibilities as they too exercise their Gifts. In their love for one another and as they (as well as the Elders) exercise their Gifts of Serving, Giving, Mercy, etc., men will become apparent who excel in these areas, Deacons must be put into place in order to allow the Elders to serve in the areas of the Word and Prayer (this would also include administering the sacraments, a visible signs of the Word). As the Deacons take on their responsibilities, the unity is able to increase as people within the Body experience the compassion of the Savior through their care. The body becomes complete and the natural result is growth.
True Diaconal ministry is essential and I believe that it has been a long time since much of the Church has seen it. Neglect of many of the Gifts of the Spirit has brought about a false understanding of how the local church should function. In many churches, leadership has become fragmented, self-serving and ineffective. Complementary ministries that focus on the Body must replace a “professional” ministry model. A unified board of elders must replace a board that simply runs the business of the Church. A servant-hearted board of Deacons must step up to assist the Elders as they shepherd the Flock. Unity and edification must become the focus of the leaders in the church and the gifted members need to use their Gifts as the One who gave them intended.
I believe that it is imperative that we seek to understand the Gifts from the perspective that the New Testament displays them in. To seek to know what my Gift so that I can simply know what it is, is not what that Gift is for. To hold an office because I have some natural ability or am thought well of in the community is a farce. To seek to exercise a Gift to enlarge my ego or to impress others is contrary to their intended purpose. The Gifts were given as the Lord determined that they are needed, “All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.” (1Co 12:11) They are given for the purpose of building His Church; of strengthening and uniting it. We cannot treat these Gifts, either like the ugly tie we got for Christmas, or like to latest gismo that was cool when we got it but is now out of date or we have become board with it. We also must not exercise them with some kind of pride as though they were not gifts, but have their source within ourselves. This is not an experiment that we can take lightly. It is the perfect Gift given by the omniscient, omnipotent God of the universe who has determined in His ultimate wisdom will benefit his Body. To abuse or to neglect it will result in His displeasure. The whole reason we have the lengthy treatment of them in 1 Corinthians was because of their abuse in that church. What would the Apostle say to a church that largely neglects those very Gifts? What would he say to a church that feels there is a certain class of Gifted individuals in the church that removes the responsibility of the “average” Christian to serve Christ’s Body?
Just because there is a segment of the Church that overemphasizes them, it is no excuse for the rest of the Church to shy away from them. A strong, loving, biblical emphasis on them is far better than a sharp, critical dismissive one. None of the people being corrected in chapters 12-14 of 1 Corinthians were excommunicated like the immoral man in chapter 5. The best we can do is to take the time to learn about and implement the proper, biblical use of the Gifts within our churches. As leadership, we need to spend enough time with our people to see who is exercising which Gifts and help them to develop them; to structure our churches so that as the people mature and feel the desire which the Spirit gives them to help in the work of unifying and edifying the Body, we have a place to let them serve; to chase away with fierceness, the attitude of clerical superiority or board member elitism that would hinder the average member or make them shy away from their responsibility to the larger Body. When we begin to see the power of God in our own congregations, we may be more persuasive with those who would disagree.
Again, Dr. MacArthur says that when the Gifts are exercised biblically that four results occur, 1) People receive a blessing, (that is the people exercising the Gifts) 2) The witness is dynamic, 3) Leaders are made apparent, and, 4) Unity develops. (1853) It is my goal to see this result in my church. By the grace of God, I will.
Calhoun, Dr. David. Ancient & Medieval Church History Lectures. Summer 2006 ed. Vol. 5. St. Louis, MO: Covenant Seminary, 2006. 5. 35 vols. Ancient & Medieval Church History, Covenant Seminary, St. Louis, MO. Web. 8 Apr. 2011.
Calvin, John. Calvin: Commentaries – Complete. Calvin Translation Society ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1996. N. pag. Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI. Web. 9 Apr. 2011.
Chrysostom, John. Homilies on 1 Corinthians. Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers ed. Vol. 12. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, N/A. N. pag. 15 vols. Web. 4 Apr. 2011.
English Standard Version of the Bible. E-Sword ed. Vol. 1. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Publishing, 2001. N. pag. 1 vols. Download.
Geneva Notes. E-Sword Edition
Henry, Matthew. Complete Commentaries– E-Sword edition
MacArthur, John. Spiritual Gifts. Online ed. 14 vols. Panorama City, CA: Grace To You, N/A. N. pag. Web. 29 Apr. 2011.
New King James Version of the Bible. E-Sword ed. Vol. 1. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing, 2001. N. pag. 1 vols. Download.
Schwertly, Brian. Spiritual Gifts. Online ed. 8 vols. Manawa, WI: Reformed Online Library, 2004. N. pag. Web. 29 Apr. 2011
Strauch, Alexander, Love or Die. Lewis & Roth Publishers. Littleton, CO. page, 9