Many Gifts From One Holy Spirit
The gifts which come from God's Holy Spirit are tools for the growth of His kingdom. They are the ability to share the light and power of God's grace with other people. In these verses, seven gifts are mentioned: the list is not exhaustive and is complemented by others in Romans 12:4-8, Ephesians 4:11-13, 1 Peter 4:7-11. All the gifts enable God's people to be built up so that they can worship and serve Him. These abilities are distributed throughout the church so that nobody has all and no believer has none. The gifts are best understood through their biblical examples.
The 'message of wisdom' explains the truths of God's kingdom (1 Corinthians 2:6). The 'message of knowledge' explains how to apply those truths to everyday life (1 Corinthians 6:2-3). The 'gift of faith' is an unshakable trust in the Lord - motivating prayer, perseverance and action (Matthew 17:20-21). The 'gift of healing' applies God's power to restore health (Acts 19:11-12). 'Miraculous powers' apply God's power in discipline and deliverance (Acts 5:1-11; 19:13-20).
‘Prophecy’ is speaking out God’s Word, either about the future (foretelling: Acts 11:27-30) or forth telling (proclaiming) (Acts 2:36-37). 'Distinguishing between spirits' is the ability to identify false teaching even though it may seem to come with 'spiritual' power (1 John 4:1-6). 'Speaking in tongues' is either the ability to speak other languages (Acts 2:7-11) or personal prayer and praise in an unknown language (1 Corinthians 14:2-5): and the ‘interpretation of tongues’ is the explanation of those sounds (1 Corinthians 14:5-12).
Although spiritual gifts have sometimes been misused (Acts 8:18-23), God is still the same God who has the ability to do whatever He wants through whoever He chooses. When a gift is used frequently we call that a 'ministry' as the believer practises what God has given to build up His kingdom. But even the word 'minister' means 'to serve'. If we use His gifts to serve ourselves then He will not be able to trust us with them. So the proper response to wrong use of the gifts is not to abandon what God has given, but to seek His help in using them rightly.
© Dr Paul Adams