“Having gifts (faculties, talents, qualities) that differ according to the GRACE given us, LET US USE THEM” (Romans 12:6 AMP).
“LET US USE THEM” Is Operating at MAXIMUM Output:
NUMBER ONE GIFT – PROPHECY
There is a BIG DEBATE today in the churches on whether the GIFT of PROPHECY still exist. These are the people who want to say, “PROPHECY has PASSED AWAY.” They use 1 Corinthians 13:8 as their basis:
“As for PROPHESY (the GIFT of interpreting the divine will and purpose), it will be fulfilled and pass away” being done away with along with TONGUES AND KNOWLEDGE: “…as for TONGUES, they will be destroyed and cease; as for KNOWLEDGE, it will pass away [it will lose its value and be superseded by TRUTH].”
They then go on to say the “perfect thing” is the Bible. When the Bible was finished, PROPHECY passed away along with TONGUES and KNOWLEDGE. I do not agree with this idea and let me tell you why.
I agree with many of today’s evangelical commentators. When the apostle Paul refers to “the COMPLETE and PERFECT (total) THING COMES” (1 Corinthians 13:10}, its meaning is referring either to the Second Coming of Christ or the perfection of the human soul, occurring when the Christian is united with Christ Jesus in death:
“That you are not [consciously] falling behind or lacking any spiritual endowment or Christian grace [the reception of which is due to the power of divine GRACE operating in your souls by the Holy Spirit], while you WAIT and WATCH [constantly living in hope] for the COMING of our Lord Jesus Christ and [His] being made visible to ALL” (1 Corinthians 1:7).
The word PROPHECY, “prophatea”is from the verb “prophatuo” for you Greek students. Simply, really a base word from the concept of “prophamea”which is PRO, before, and “phaohea“, to speak. Means to “speak before’. It doesn’t mean to speak before in time but to speak before in terms of an audience. It is NOT to speak beforein terms of FORETELLING the future either. It is to speak before an audience; literally, to speak before SOMEONE; to speak in PUBLIC or publicly proclaiming. That is the GIFT of PROPHECY. It is NOT a reference to any content; doesn’t say whether it is REVELATORY; that is, a REVELATION from God directly; or non-revelatory, proclaiming something God already revealed in the past. It is simply a COMMUNICATIVE GIFT, not a CONTENT GIFT.
NOW WHAT IS THE GIFT OF PROPHECY THEN?
By definition, it is “the ABILITY given by the Spirit of God to a person; to PROCLAIM God’s TRUTH publicly.” That IS the GIFT! Look at Chapter 14:3, 1 Corinthians. This should help you understand:
“EAGERLY PURSUE and seek to acquire LOVE [make it your aim, your great quest]; and earnestly desire and cultivate the spiritual endowments (gifts), ESPECIALLY that you may PROPHESY (interpret the divine will and purpose in inspired preaching and teaching).”
Now God has always given this GIFT and still does in today’s Church. There has never been a time in history, God’s dealing with men and women, that somebody hasn’t had this GIFT. God had somebody SPEAKING His Word. See, that’s all the term means.
The Old Testament for example, abounds with uses of enablement to PROPHESY. What was the PRIMARY FUNCTION of the Old Testament prophet? PROCLAIMING God’s Word. Some of it was FUTURE; some of it was PRESENT; some of it was a reiteration of the PAST. Very often, the prophets would speak what God had already done (read Habakkuk); read ALL the minor prophets in the Bible. They would SPEAK about God–what God WAS DOING and what God WOULD do. But PROPHECY was NOT always PREDICTION; that was only one-third of its capacity and element.
And the New Testament is no different.
PROPHECY is just as vital today because God is not through with revealing Himself. So in the New Testament, God reveals Himself again; disclosing ALL the MYSTERIES. In fact, John says in The Book of Revelation:
“Blessed (happy, to be envied) is the man who reads aloud [in the assemblies] the word of this prophecy; and blessed are those who hear [it read] and who keep themselves true to the things which are written in it [heeding them and laying them to heart], for the time [for them to be fulfilled] is near” (Revelation 1:3 AMP).
Moving on to the SECOND GIFT found in 1 Corinthians 12:8 is THE WORD OF KNOWLEDGE:
“To one is given in and through the [Holy] Spirit [the power to SPEAK] a message of wisdom, and to another a word of KNOWLEDGE and understanding.”
Now the word KNOWLEDGE is a ‘speaking gift’, the utterance of KNOWLEDGE. The Greek word LOGOS can mean “written on a page; spoken to a crowd, spoken privately to individuals. WHAT IS IT? It’s speaking KNOWLEDGE and it is a SPECIAL GIFT I might add. Here is one definition I uncovered: “It’s the Spirit-given ability to observe-listen now-to observe biblical facts and make conclusions.” The spiritual GIFT of observing biblical FACTS and MAKING CONCLUSIONS is the ability to UNDERSTAND the Bible.
There are all different ways this is manifested in the Church. It can belong to people of your Church that never have been to Bible School or never been to seminary. BUT…they have the ability to study the Bible, draw out facts and make conclusions by observing.
This GIFT comes in all different energizing s. There could be a hundred people with it, always working differently in the body. It might be in combination with WISDOM a little bit, and a little bit of KNOWLEDGE sort of splattered around.
In my own studying and discovery, and writing The WORD Detective blogs, I think maybe I’ve got one-tenth of the GIFT of KNOWLEDGE and nine-tenths of the GIFT of WISDOM. Sort of mixed and matched. That is the beauty of how it all works!
I think the BEST BIBLE DEFINITION of the GIFT of KNOWLEDGE is found in 1 Corinthians 13:2:
“And if I have prophetic powers (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), and understand all the secret truths and mysteries and posses ALL KNOWLEDGE, and if I have [sufficient] faith so I can remove mountains, but have not love (God’s love in me) I am nothing (a useless nobody).”
Paul is saying, “If I have the gift of proclamation (prophecy), and I understand everything that’s proclaimed, then ALL KNOWLEDGE is mine.” He goes on to make a point on LOVE. But all I’m really saying and drawing out here is simply, ‘ it is the ability to understand the TRUTH of God.’
The THIRD GIFTING Mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:8 Is The WORD of WISDOM.
The WORD of WISDOM, WHAT IS IT? The GIFT differs from KNOWLEDGE in this way. The EMPHASIS is on the skill of application rather than the KNOWLEDGE of FACTS.
WISDOM is the ABILITY to take the FACTS that the gift of KNOWLEDGE has brought out, then makes a skillful application of them through the POWER of the Holy Spirit.
1. This GIFT could belong to a Christian Counselor; sees a problem and by his Spirit given KNOWLEDGE of the Word of God, draws out the principles that can be practically applied solving the problem.
2. This is the GIFT of the expositor who takes the Word of God, studies the commentators as I do, then reads from all those who have the GIFT of KNOWLEDGE. Then can draw the applicable principle of living.
3. This can be something that a BELIEVER ministers to another BELIEVER in the area of assisting in practical life.
You already know the GIFTS of KNOWLEDGE and WISDOM are so different. You know people who have so much Bible KNOWLEDGE but not enough WISDOM and are ridiculous when it comes to application; the absent-minded professor. There is all this ‘STUFF’ in their minds, but can’t make any of it work for them.
The Greek word for WISDOM is Sophia. 12 of the 27 books in the New Testament use this word. It is seen in FIVE categories with which I’ve listed below:
1. An attribute of God.
2. Intellectual ability.
3. It is seen as the person of Jesus Christ, who is — “the WISDOM of God.
4. Proud human wisdom OPPOSED to God (James 3).
5. Its DOMINANT use is “the ability to understand God’s will for our lives and application to obedience.
I’m not going to take time to give you 20 illustrations I’ve uncovered in different Scripture passages, but here are a few you can jot down:
Matthew 11:19; 13:54.
Luke 7:35; 21:15.
James 1:5, 3:13, 17.
2 Peter 3:15.
The DOMINANT USE of WISDOM is mentioned in the above passages. So after reading the verses listed, what then is the GIFT of WISDOM? It IS the Holy Spirit-given ability to show us the principles we need to know and obey to fulfill God’s will; operating at MAXIMUM output!
Yes, it had a REVELATORY aspect surely in the early ages. All of these SPEAKING as the first three SPEAKING GIFTS did so. But that wasn’t its EXCLUSIVE use. It is much broader than that, Scripture says, “knowledge makes the teacher; Wisdom the preacher and pastor.” But let’s go even further than that. I say, as others do, KNOWLEDGE is collecting the facts; WISDOM is the application.
Now I’ve spent some time on that GIFT for a purpose. I wanted you to see how important it is that we understand it. And the people who want to come along to eliminate all those GIFTS: KNOWLEDGE, WISDOM, AND PROPHECY have a problem. Because if, you eliminate PROPHECY, then what are you going to call those who are PROCLAIMING the Word of God? If you eliminate KNOWLEDGE, then what are you going to call the theologians; the people who dig out deep truth with their skill? If you eliminate WISDOM, what are you going to call the GIFT of being able to take TRUTH and apply it to life? You have to come up with new names because God is still doing it through believers today.
Two Other Speaking Gifts–Four and Five:
Number four, the GIFT of TEACHING.
In Romans 12:7, and this is very important, again it says, “For ministry, let us wait on our ministry, or he that teacheth” (King James Version). This is really good! “He that teacheth on teaching.” Again, it’s using the definite article.
Here is the GIFT of TEACHING and whatever you teach, let it be consistent with the teaching. And what is TEACHING? It’s THIS, isn’t it? So if you TEACH, be consistent with teaching. What IS the gift of teaching?; distinguished between the GIFT and the OFFICE? You can be a teacher in Church as an official position. And if you were a teacher, you should have the gift of teaching. But not all who have the GIFT of TEACHING are recognized as OFFICIAL TEACHERS because the gift could be exercised in so many ways.
Let me tell you what the GIFT is: It is the ABILITY, in the Holy Spirit to pass on TRUTH to somebody else. That’s simply enough, isn’t it? PROPHECY is proclaiming Christ to an audience and TEACHING is passing on TRUTH to somebody else so they receive it and implement it. It is a communicative ability.
FIFTH, The Last Gift is EXHORTATION – Romans 12:8:
“He who EXHORTS, to his exhortation.”
What is the word EXHORTATION? In the Greek, the words Paracalan; Paraclete; Paracletas.
We know that word as The Comforter; Holy Spirit. It means to comfort or help or advise or strengthen. God has given some people in the body not to necessarily PROCLAIM; dig out the facts, not figure out the principles and apply them in WISDOM, not even to systematically TEACH. They just go around and sort of STRENGTHEN people; they encourage you; they help you; they advise you. If you want a simple definition: It is the ABILITY to provide comfort and courage; help and strength to somebody who needs it.”
When I first started The WORD Detective blog, I became discouraged in the beginning because it seemed no one was viewing the words. And then two people, who definitely have the GIFT of EXHORTATION encouraged me, comforted me, and gave me strength in their words to diligently pursue ideas through God’s Word at MAXIMUM Output! Thank you fellow bloggers, JoAnn and Florence.
It also could come through a PROCLAIM ER; could come through the PULPIT. PROPHECY is EXHORTATION. It could come through TEACHING; it could come through counseling. It can come in many ways. It is the ability to get by somebody who has a problem and build them up; encourage them, bear their load. People say, “Oh yes. It’s the GIFT of Counseling.” WRONG! Counseling isn’t a GIFT, it’s a PROCESS. I like Martin Luther’s definition: “Teaching is directed to the ignorant; exhortation to those who know better.”
Let me finish in PRAYER,
Lord, I thank You for the GIFT that You have given each one of us as believers in Your Son Jesus. And we pray that we might minister these gifts for those who have the gift of PROPHECY or PROCLAIMING. The gift of KNOWLEDGE or WISDOM or TEACHING or STRENGTHENING; we pray, Lord, that they might minister the gift as good stewards of the manifold Grace of God. As you have poured out these abilities, may we in obedience and thankfulness minister the same to one another. May we exercise; operate in our gifting s with MAXIMUM output for Your Name’s sake. On FIRE for Jesus!
In Jesus Name, AMEN.