Acts + Letters Lesson 23 Day 4

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1 Corinthians 12–14

Holy Spirit, spiritual gifts and love.

Before I get started, I felt I should share a snippet I wrote in my prayer journal this morning.

Your infinite wisdom is available to write so much clearer and with amazing transformational revelation. I want that, Lord. What in me is clogging the pipeline between us? Cleanse my impure heart and cleanse it. Do it now so I don’t spend another day frustrated with people, places or things. And especially frustration with me. That’s why it spills out onto others.

You created me in your image, and I’m thankful for every cell. Forgive me. I repent for dwelling on the past and longing for the future. I love this moment and want to live each moment to the fullest.

I focus on you, your love, your mercy, your wisdom, your revelation, your knowledge, your truth. You are the source of all the love I could ever handle. Increase my capacity to contain and share more of your love.

What a weighty responsibility to write about spiritual gifts and love! I feel so inadequate. So, so inadequate. But if you called me to study and write and share, then YOU, Lord, are my source. I rely on your strength. I repent for all the moments I rely on my own puny strength. I am your child. Take me by the hand and lead me into the depths of your infinite wisdom, knowledge and revelation. So be it.

11. Spiritual gifts—unity in diversity

“As this verse [1 Cor 12:1] clearly states, Paul was speaking about spiritual gifts. But the context of this whole chapter also clearly shows that Paul was using the gifts to illustrate the unity of the body. I believe that is the overall emphasis of this entire book.” (AWLC emphasis added)

“Brothers, I couldn’t speak to you as to spiritual [beings], but as to fleshly [nonspiritual], as to babies in Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:1)

The Greek word used here for “spiritual” is “PNEUMATIKOS,” and it was used twenty-six times in the New Testament. It is the adjective of the Greek word “PNEUMA” (spirit) and is a word that is not used in the Septuagint (a pre-Christian Greek translation of the Old Testament) or the Gospels, but only in the post-Pentecost era. It is an antonym of the words “carnal” and “natural” (1 Corinthians 3:1 and 15:44), and it applies to the spiritual realm of either God or Satan. It “always connotes the ideas of invisibility and of power” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary).

As you notice below, the lists aren’t the same. It’s assumed an exhaustive list of spiritual gifts does not exist.

Gifts also operate uniquely from one person to the next because God created us differently.

If a believer manifests one of the spiritual gifts, it’s likely they will function in more as the need arrises. Paul, an apostle, taught, worked miracles, spoke in other languages more than all of them, and more.

Spiritual Gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11

  • Word of wisdom
  • Word of revelation knowledge
  • Gift of faith
  • Gift of healing
  • Power to work miracles
  • Gift of prophecy—”divinely inspired speech, not preaching” (Enduringword.com)
    “for edification, exhortation, and comfort”
  • Gift to discern what the Spirit is speaking
  • Gift of speaking different kinds of tongues—human languages the speaker did not learn and tongues of angels (praying from our spirit and not our limited wisdom and knowledge) (1 Corinthians 14:14)
    Advances and improves his spiritual growth (1 Corinthians 14:4)
    The ability to praise God beyond the limitations of our minds through a limitless heavenly language. (1 Corinthians 14:17)
  • Gift of interpretation of tongues

Spiritual Gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:28

  • healings
  • helps
  • governments
  • diversities of tongues

Spiritual Gifts in Romans 12:6-8

  • prophesying
  • serving
  • teaching
  • encouraging
  • giving
  • protector, guardian, parent
  • mercy

Spiritual Roles

  • Apostles—messengers, missionaries
  • Prophets—proclaim
  • Teachers
  • Miracle workers

The same Spirit—Holy Spirit—gives various kinds of gifts.

Just as a physical body has eyes, ears, arms, legs, and many other parts needed for the whole body to function, in Christ the members function together like individual parts of a body. Each person expresses their gift in a way no one else ever has or ever will.

No one speaking by the Spirit of God will curse God.

Each gift provides visible evidence of the Spirit in operation through a believer.

My mentor taught on spiritual gifts, and I was privileged to see this function in a small group setting. It is a living, breathing, life-giving, bonding, and unifying time. Several of my BSF small groups have come close to operating this way.

12. Agape love activates spiritual gifts

You’ve probably heard that the Greek language has four words for love—

Four words were used for “love”, of which Agape referred to an unemotional love, the ability to love the unlovable. It was related to principle, to do what is right because it was right, regardless of emotion.

Other words for love related to emotional love, family love, and to sexual love, but that it not encompassed with Agape. (Doug Mason)

Spiritual gifts are worthless if they aren’t exercised in love.

Gifts are temporary; Love is eternal.

Love is not—

  • not envious
  • not proud (doesn’t need recognition)
  • not arrogant
  • not rude
  • not cliquish
  • not touchy
  • not suspicious
  • not happy about evil things (like when something bad happens to someone)

Love is—

  • Longsuffering
  • Kind
  • Strong
  • Believing
  • Hopeful
  • Enduring

13. The measure of maturity is the display of love.

There is a reason why Paul put this chapter in the midst of his discussion of spiritual gifts. Paul wants the Corinthian Christians to remember that giftedness is not the measure of maturity, the display of love is. (EnduringWord.com)


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Resources

Unless noted, all Scripture from public domain WEB translation.
My answers, research, and notes for BSF Bible Study Fellowship questions Acts and Letters of the Apostles Lesson 23 Day 4