On Spiritual Gifts

Peter said that Paul wrote some things that were hard to understand and that there were people who twisted these things to their own detriment. See 2 Peter 3:15-16. Personal opinion here: Spiritual gifts might well be one of the things he is in reference to. In 1 Cor. 12:4-11 Paul lists certain gifts. He doesn’t say the list is exhaustive and as God is infinite and omnipotent I’m sure His list could go on forever. Given this list I think it’s fairly obvious that these gifts are given for the betterment of His Body, the Church. The Church is a body of individuals. See 1 Cor. 12:13-26 for info concerning the individual noses and ears and such. So for a gift to better the Church it would help either the Church as a whole or the Church in part. The “whole” is obvious, “in part” might be a diocese, parish, individual, and so forth. My point here is short and sweet, and, I think, might put an end to controversy concerning these gifts, at least in part, if folks would only think about it a little. Two examples will suffice. The gift of knowledge and the gift of tongues. A gift af knowledge might mean and could be that a person just suddenly “knows” certain things that they didn’t know before. This would be out of the ordinary and away from the norm which makes it a miraculous gift. A gift of knowledge could just as easily mean that a person has a God-given ability to study, understand, retain, and pass along acquired knowledge. (A note here: Paul calls it the “utterance of knowledge” which necessitates the ability to pass it along, while the attempt to pass it along in no way guarantees the reception of it by others.) This isn’t miraculous in the normal sense of the word but it’s still a gift. Now tongues, and all the rest of these gifts, could easily work the same way. In reading the Book of Acts its obvious that many people were suddenly able to speak in foreign languages without having been taught them. But a “gift of tongues” could very well be the God-given ability of, lets say, a missionary to learn a foreign tongue quickly and easily in order to minister effectively to others. Viewed in this way spiritual gifts ought never be considered odd or unnecessary or out dated or weird or necessarily miraculous although they can be. They come in different ways to different people for different reasons. Which brings me to my last quick and easy point: In 1 Cor. 12:31 Paul makes it clear that there are greater gifts (remember that the first list we read was not said to be exhaustive)  and that these are the ones we should strive for the most. Read 1 Cor. 13. This in no way diminishes the importance of the others, it just puts them in proper perspective. These greater gifts are Faith, Hope, and Love. And the greatest of these is Love.

Published in: on March 30, 2012 at 5:43 pm  Comments Off on On Spiritual Gifts