Gifts of the Holy Spirit
How he wills to Work in
And in the lives of individuals who are
In one of his most informative Epistles as far as the Church
is concerned, Paul discussed at length how the Holy Spirit should be
regarded in the lives of believers. He gave special attention as to
what might be expected of the Spirit when believers come together for
worship and edification. In one significant passage of this EpistleI Corinthians
12he told of nine Gifts of the Holy
Spirit that could be expected in a local congregational meeting.
For many today, however, this is seldom known because most meetings
are relegated to no more than one hour. The Pastors sermon comes
as the climax of the hour. If we are to expect the Holy Spirits
Gifts to be operational, we must allow Him the honor and the time.
As the days in which we live become more threatening, we stand
in need of hearing from the Holy Spirit more than ever. We do
remember He comes to us from Gods Throne. So the Gifts that come
from Him come directly from the heart of Gods Kingdom.
In this article we consider the Gifts as they might work in the lives
of individual Spirit baptized believers. As one of these, Ive
walked with the Lord over half a century and have studied the Word of
God much. We can expect these operations of His Spiritor, I should
say we stand in need of seeing themin this hour more than ever.
So, we should expect them and yield to their coming both when we gather
for corporate worship and when we walk the highways of obedience to
Knowing these operations of the Spirit at work in our lives while we go
about our necessary duties is one of the greatest boons to living as
a Christian that one might know.
We are learning that He wants complete control of the reins
of our lives. This, no doubt, is what Paul had reference to in Romans
8:14 when He said, For as many as are led
by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. To be led
by the Spirit of God means to be under His governing hold and guidance
To discover what He may do in us and with us, let us find out what Paul said He would
do in a congregation of spirit led believers. I take some liberty in
interpreting this, but there are two bases for my doing so. One, it
is in line with what we observe the Holy Spirit doing in individuals
throughout the New Testament, particularly as recorded in the Book of
Acts. My other base is derived from the years Ive known
the intimacy of Gods Spirit. Nearly thirty of these have been
together with my wife Glenda in
the fields with the Lord. Together, we learned the value of His operations
in our lives as we ministered. I would never take what He has done in
us as a guide for what He will do in others, but it has served as an
encouragement toward my believing that what Paul listed as the Gifts
of the Spirit gives an indication of what He will do in any of us personally.
Paul named the Gifts
in a list of nine. I am of the conviction that the order in which he
placed them is significant. Before we look at them, however, we take
note that each Gift, after the first one, is preceded by the word another. In English, there is no indication that there is any difference
in the repeated use of this word. But this is not so in the Original.
Paul used two distinctly different Greek words, both correctly translated
another. There is, however,
a fine difference in their intention. One word is allos which means another of the same kind.
The other is heteros which means another
of a different kind. The way he used these words presents
the nine Gifts in three divisionsthe first two, the middle five
and the last two.
We will view the passage below as it comes from the King James Version of the Bible. The reference
is I Corinthians 12:8-10. I pray that
the notes I have placed throughout the passage do not make it too complicated.
It is a passage to be studied. Read it in your own Bible and try to
see the three divisions that are in it. They are each one significant.
See carefully that 1 and 2 go together. Then 3 through 7 are together.
Then we have 8 and 9.
If you were to place them in a pyramid, 1 and 2 would be the
foundation on one side. Then 8 and 9 would be the foundation on the
other side. Of the five in the middle, number 5 is at the pinnacle.
This is the working
of miracles. Wisdom on one side and tongues on other provide the main foundation on which all the others
rest. Of all the Gifts, there is but one that we may implement at our
own will. This is the Gift of tongues. This marvelous Gift edifies
usbuilds us up in the Spiritfor the other Gifts to come
Now, remember, as Paul gave them he was addressing how they
would operate in a local congregation of believers. In this article,
however, we are borrowing them to consider how they might work in an
individual spirit-filled believer. Please allow me this liberty and
please ask the Lord to help you understand what we are doing.
8For  to one is given by
the Spirit the Word (Gr, logos) of wisdom;  to another (allos, to another of the same
kind) the Word (logos) of (supernatural)
knowledge by the same Spirit;
9 To another (heteros, to another of a different kind) faith by the same Spirit;  to another (allos, to another, the same
as the preceding) the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10 To another (allos, to another of the same
kind) the working of miracles (the energetic release of power that brings possibility out
of impossibility);  to another (allos, to another of the same kind) prophecy (propheeteia, words sent from God
through a human vessel);  to another (allos, to another of the same
of spirits;  to another (heteros, to another differing from the preceding)
divers kinds (different sorts) of tongues;  to another (allos, to another the same
as the preceding) the interpretation of tongues: 11But all these worketh (energeo, are energized by) that one and the selfsame
Spirit, dividing (distributing) to every man severally as He will.
Let me repeat: At the center of the Gifts is number 5, the working
of miracles. If they were arranged
in a pyramid, this one would be at the pinnacle. The four on each side
would be supporting it. The word of wisdom would support one side, while divers
kinds of tongues would support the other.
When the Holy Spirit was poured on the believers on Pentecost
as told in Acts 2, the first manifestation
in those gathered was that they spoke with
other tongues (Acts 2:4). The word
other is from the Greek
heteros. They began speaking
with other kinds of tongues. When the Spirit fell upon the Gentile believers,
the evidence that they had received the Holy Spirit was the samethey
tongues (Acts 10:46).
Those who speak in tongues given by the Holy Spirit edify themselves, as Paul explained
in I Corinthians 14:4. This prepares
the believers for the operation of the other Gifts. Thus tongues, like
wisdom, support all the other Gifts.
As tongues is on one side of the pyramid, so wisdom is on the other. Following it is the word
of knowledge. It must rest upon wisdom, or it could become a cause for trouble. Our best example
of knowledge resting upon wisdom is in that of the Lord Jesus conversing
with the woman at the well, as recorded in John 4:4-42. Read this passage in your Bible and take note how through
the supernatural gift of knowledge Jesus knew all about this woman.
He dealt with this knowledge on the foundation of wisdom .
We have no record that Jesus ever prayed in tongues, but all
the other Gifts were operative in Him. Some have said in their ignorance
that He spoke in tongues while on the cross: ...about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying,
Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast
thou forsaken me?Matthew 27:46. This is a
near quotation of Psalm 42:9 as it occurred
in the Hebrew language which He knew naturally. He was not making use
of the Gift of the Spirit called divers kinds of tongues because He never stood
in need of being edified by them as we do who are natural born
About fifty years ago,
the direction for my own life was set as a group of elders gathered
around me to pray one afternoon in a camp meeting. What happened was
in line with what Paul told Timothy: Neglect not the gift that is
in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the
hands of the presbyteryI Timothy
As they started praying for me, I could hear the elders gathered
round me speaking quietly in tongues. I learned later that they were edifying themselves. Eventually,
one spoke clearly, You are a teacher for the Body of Christ... Much more was said that has
remained with me. Nothing was so settling in my life as that of learning
what the Holy Spirit would do in me and through me. Hearing that word,
however, did not instantly make me into a teaching teacher.
That would come after much study of the Bible, with the help of the
Holy Spirit. I had my educational degrees, but from that day when those
elders ministered to me, I came under the schooling of the Holy Spirit.
The pains of living, coupled with Gods Word, as it became anointed
by His Spirit, helped me on in the ministry that was laid upon me by
that camp meeting presbytery.
On another occasion I happened to pass a brother on some stairs
as I was coming down and he was going up. We had a brief conversation
in which he said the Lord had been speaking to him that I had the calling
of a Prophet on my life. I have seldom given what might be considered
a prophecy. Since that conversation, however, I have been
aware of a prophetic anointing as Ive written or as Ive
taught. Often, when Ive been aware of this particular movement
of the Spirit within me, Ive not felt it necessary to say Thus
saith the Lord, nor to change the tone of my voice.
Never have I
given life-direction for a person without there being another one with
a prophetic anointing nearby to confirm what was said.
This is to stay in line with what Paul said in I Corinthians
14:29, that when prophets speak there
should always be another standing near to confirm. On the other hand,
to a person who is alone a prophetic word or understanding might come,
for instance, regarding some danger nearby. One might never see a bear
just around the bend of a path, but walking alone, the Gift of prophecy,
strengthened by the Gift of knowledge could well mean the saving of
We find the Gifts as Paul named them to be a wonderful list
of what the Holy Spirit will do in any believers who will give themselves to the lordship of Jesus
Christ, and who will invite His Spirit to move throughout the days of
When we observe the Gifts at work in the early believers, we find
they were practical operations of the Holy Spirit not only when they
gathered with other believers, but also as they walked through the day-by-day
affairs of their livessome of which required the operation of
Many of us are learning that life has frequent occasions when
our natural wisdom and knowledge fail. We also face frequent occasions
that call for healings. Andwere also learning that the only
reliable guidance that can carry us safely through the narrow straits
of life must often have within it the element of prophecy and the discerning
I believe if we could have asked Paul, Are
these gifts you have listed only supposed to be in operation
when we meet together as a congregation?He may have answered,
I have listed what the Holy Spirit will do in anyone in whom He
has full rein. They may work at any time when His supernatural work
is called for.
are laying aside the argument that says the Gifts are not for today.
The hour is too urgent for us to even consider this. I am asking you
to join with me in becoming ready to believe that the Holy Spirits
abiding presence and the energetic release of His power will work in
us and through us at any time, in any place. This can be so if we know
Christ Jesus as Lord and are in communion with Him and the Spirit He
sent from His Fathers Throne.
The most practical operation of these Gifts is set in motion
through the Gift of tongues. A person who matures in relationship with
the Holy Spirit might never have a time when he is not engaged in speaking
in tongues. This need never be an obnoxious spiritual movement, nor
must it always be known to others who may be with us. Speaking in tongues
may be an entirely private working of the Holy Spirit, constantly edifying
the person in whom it is in operation. Believe me, coupled with Gods
Word and spending time alone with Him, nothing may be more practical
or life-giving to a believer than the practical use of this Gift. Yielding
to the presence of Gods Spirit and to His work in us will make
our lives useful and meaningful in His Kingdom. As we learn to speak
in tongues very quietly and privately, He will work through us without
making us overly religious or annoying to those around us.
I am intrigued with what Paul said in II Corinthians
3:17, an amazing confession that should
abide in our hearts at all times. See it: Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord
is, there is liberty. The latter part of
this verse could as well be interpreted as there is freedom,
or there is emancipation. We can know this out in the highways
and byways of life, in sick rooms, in jail cells, in stores, in factories,
in schools. On we could go with the confession that there is no place
where we do not need the energy and enabling power of the Holy Spirit.
There is never a moment when we do not need what He can and will do
in us. And there is never a moment when the work of His spirit cannot
come into effect with us.
As a minister of the Gospelor, I should
say, as a believer in the Lord Jesus ChristIve come
to know that He wants constant access to my heart and mind. The longer
I know Him, the greater becomes the conviction that He will energize
His Gifts within us whenever there is need for their operation.
Before daylight one recent morning, someone I did not personally
know called me to ask for prayer. His need was deep and the conviction
in his heart was strong that he must have deliverance as soon as possible.
With over a thousand miles separating us, we prayed. A miracle happened.
He called again in the afternoon to tell, with a rejoicing heart, what
the Lord had done in him when we prayed. If I did not know that the
Holy Spirit would come to our rescue at anytime, I may have told him
to go to some Gospel service nearby and wait for the movement of the
Holy Spirit. I could have told him to go find some body of believers
and there hope for his emancipation from the stronghold
that he felt so urgently must be broken in him.
Daily, hourly, moment by moment, Gods Spirit is ready
for us to acknowledge Him and allow Him to bring His work to pass in
us, or through us. This is the reason I advocate the frequentif
not continualuse of the Gift of tongues. The frequent use of this
Gift will keep us edified so that the otheroften necessaryGifts
may come into operation at any time along lifes way.
Thats where we found Gods Spirit at work in Jesusby
the side of a road, on a stormy sea, in a sick room, in a place where
there were little children. It was the case also with the disciples
He left when He went back to His Father in Heaven. They let Gods
Spirit use them outside the temple, in the jailsyes, especially
in the jailsby the riverside, in private homes, in public gatherings.
Wherever there were people. Wherever there were needs.
Please remember that the first
operation of the Holy Spirit to come upon the believers gathered in
Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost was that they began to speak in other
tongues. Most clearly, the New Testament Greek of this passage meant
that they started speaking in a different kind of tongues, a language
never before known. The same was the case when the Holy Spirit began
to move among the Gentile believers. It was the case when the Holy Spirit
came upon the believers in Ephesus when Paul laid his hands on them.
On we could go.
take a month with us and review the Prayer Starter:
The Gifts of Gods Spirit
at Work in Believers