Spiritual Gifts

From a question about Speaking in Tongues presented on January 26, 2006.

Continuing Answer
The good news is that you already have the Gift of the Holy Spirit if you have come to believe in Jesus and have accepted him into your life. From that point to the time you leave this world, you will be in the process of being saved according to Paul in 1 Corinthians 1.18. As that process continues you will be actualizing the blessings that God gave you once-for-all in Jesus at conversion. Some of those blessings are the gracelets (gifts) that we receive to give to others. So be ready at any moment for God to send you one of the gifts, within the gift, to open and share with another member of the body.

I believe that the term “praying in the spirit” in Paul’s books is a technical term that includes praying in tongues (what today has often been called “prayer language”). Praying in the Spirit would be open to any believer. I do not believe that this is the gift of tongues that Paul refers to in the Corinthian letters. I believe that it is possible for a person to be used by God with the gift of tongues in a worship service who has never spoken in tongues as a prayer language (praying in the spirit) before and may never speak in tongues again. The text is clear that one who speaks in tongues is speaking to God not to men and women. He or she is not required to interpret only to pray for the interpretation if there is not another who gives the interpretation. I believe that the interpretation of tongues is a Godward message, not a manward message. Tongues and interpretation are not equal to prophecy except in edification value. We must remember that Paul is not teaching the church at Corinth about tongues, he is correcting them in their abuse of this gift “when the church was gathered together.” I would resist talking about “office” gifts. The two lists in 1 Corinthians 12 (as well as other places like Ephesians and 1 Peter) are just lists. There are no more important or less important gifts. Lists in the New Testament are representative not complete. That is to say that the gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12 (and elsewhere) are only representative of the “gifts” of the Holy Spirit, not a complete list of all the “gifts” that the Holy Spirit will ever or could ever give.

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