To each person, the manifestation of the Spirit is given. A continuation of what I thought would be a short teaching/commentary on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:7-10(a.)
Let's break this down a bit. I am doing this because I was disturbed by what I heard the bible study leader recently say. I found it to be legalistic, limiting, confusing and difficult to understand. Several people had questions, just as I did, but for different reasons. People do not ask questions just because they need to exercise their tongues; they want answers, real answers, not religious prattle. I sincerely hope that is not what I am doing. A friend told me long ago to keep the length down; I had anticipated that happening here, but alas, I had to cut it in half when I realized it was eight pages long.
So, even though the scripture reference below indicates that we are covering up to verse 11, a portion of verse 10 and 11 will be following this post, and quickly.
1 Corinthians 12:7-11 NET. 7) "To each person the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the benefit of all. 8) For one person is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, and another the message of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9) to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10) to another performance of miracles, to another prophecy, and to another discernment of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. 11) It is one and the same Spirit, distributing as he decides to each person, who produces all these things."
Let's look at it verse by verse:
- "To each person, the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the benefit of all."Manifestation can easily be interchanged with the word expression, and it makes sense. Therefore, the expression of the Spirit can take on so many forms. No matter what the form, the expression of the Spirit is given for the benefit of all.
- "For one person is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, and another the message of knowledge according to the same Spirit,"The message is simply the Greek word logos and means something said. But, you need to get this settled in your mind; you cannot remove the humanity of the person from the word being given.As I mentioned in a previous post, I was met at the door as I entered the church the week following my last oration to the body of that church. The pastor told me, you will not be doing that here anymore. The reason, because of people, specifically one couple, said I made God sound angry. Since they had money and were major supporters of the church, they won, and my spirit was crushed for a long time. Strangely, the pastor said, I have analyzed every word you have given, and they were all Biblically sound. You see, that is the greatest aspect of the message we give anymore, it can be virtually taken from scripture. Now, there is no doubt that God may have you speak quietly to someone and have you reveal that He knows their secrets, but that is only meant to drive them to His arms, not condemn them to hell, and, may not be entirely from the Word of God.Wisdom is what we understand it to be, the right use or exercise of knowledge.Now the question is when the knowledge is from God and just a little beyond the mundane financial decisions you have to make every day, what do you do? An example of this might be the understanding you have of things to come. Delivered in full force, some people may just slip into a depression, not knowing what to do. So the obvious factor is how you deliver the message and to whom.Knowledge – this seems simple enough. Thayer's definition tells us: knowledge signifies in general intelligence, understanding. If you pursued this word through the KJ concordance, you would find it used 29 times, 28 of those are gnosis.What if the message implied by the word knowledge carries, in part, the idea that we are to use our brains, or to at least understand, not only the Word of God but the signs of the times taking place around us?I longed for years to comprehend the Revelation, besides that, it has a blessing promised for those who do understand it. Every attempt I made to understanding was quickly met with muddy water, as my momentary clarity faded. There was, however, a day when a man named Joel Richardson happened to be on the Glenn Beck television, and I happened to walk through the room while it was on. I bought the man's book and immediately began to consume it. What changed for me?
- Delivery – the man spoke in a non-theological manner that I could understand.
- I soon began to realize that the Bible is not a book set up for a Western/Gentile mentality, and therefore I had to start thinking like a Jew. Fortunately, that process had already begun in me.
- I had, in a sense, come off an extended period of spiritual drought. I suppose some of that came because of a pastor abusing his position, but I know that what was going on inside of me, had many sources – stemming all the way back to childhood.You might wonder what the drought looked like for me, as you may be going through it yourself. I knew the life of God and therefore, my life, was wrapped up in words I find in the Bible, but reading the Word felt as dry and lifeless as much of the desert. At least I was aware enough of a problem that I could plead for help. Having tried to get help from people I knew that was not the place to go (people are broken, just as you and I are, and they will let you down.) So, I prayed and asked the Lord to open my eyes, ears, and heart to what He was trying to say to me. I don't know where the burning desire came from, but I had to know what the nature and character of God was. Oh sure, having been raised in the church, I knew what tradition and opinion had to say, and I was sick of that. Tradition and opinion got me kicked out of a church. With desire and notepad, I began to read and write. I challenged and asked questions of everything I read. Simple words found new meaning as I looked up their definitions (By the way, I cannot stand to have a pastor stand in front of me and say, this one thing is what that word means in the Greek or Hebrew.) I get the fact that education could play a role in their understanding, but I have looked these words up also, and they can convey several meanings. Often, the other options carry much more weight when contrasted with the context of what is being said. An example of this can be found in Matthew's gospel where the disciples asked Jesus to tell them when these things would come to pass, and, what would be the sign of His coming. You have to go back up several chapters where, at His command, they put Him on the unridden colt (the ride of Kings in that day) and walked Him into the city where “everyone” called Him the Messiah and said, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Keep in mind that no one, as yet, got it. They had no real clue that He would not rule this earth at this time. He settled that question quickly when they came to the temple and Jesus, much like William Wallace in the movie “Braveheart,” goes to pick a fight. He made a whip of cords and chased them all out of the court of the Gentiles; then He cried out that it was His temple. Well, as far the disciples were concerned, He slammed that door shut. Two days later, walking away to the mount of Olives, they asked Him the two part question - a very Jewish question.
- "to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,"Faith is the Greek word pistis and can also mean persuasion and assurance. There was an attempt to explain the gift of faith in Bible study that day by saying something like this; faith is “moral conviction (of religious truth).” I am not even sure what that means, but it sounds like something that we create. How could that be when all we humans seem to know how to create is havoc? Well, that is not entirely true, for all people.In my life I had this happen: Home alone, the phone rings (back then there were no cell phones) and I answered it. It was one of my brothers, and he proceeds to tell my that his wife had blood clots that could travel to her heart or brain. I don't know how to explain it any other way except to say, that instantly I had an assurance, and I spoke out as a prophet and said, You listen to me, she will live and not die. I decreed life over her in the Name of Jesus and commanded the blood clots to dissolve. Well, she lived, and they got divorced. The point is that my assurance, or faith at that moment, got my brother through the situation with confidence, and God did the rest.“gifts of healing” - I can use that same brother for example again. After playing tennis one day, he beat me, as usual, and jumped the net just to rub it in my face. Sadly, he caught his toe on the net and came smashing to the ground. Yes, there is justice in the world. Later that night he comes walking toward me, grimacing in pain, and says, Look at this. At that point, the tendon apparently snapped, and I watched it travel up his arm, just under his skin. Feeling that assurance once again, I grabbed his arm and said, Tendon, you get back down there and reattach yourself. We both stood there in awe as immediately the tendon traveled back down the arm and never gave him any grief after that. My assumption is that it reattached.Healing is the Greek word iama, pronounced ee'-am-ah and means: a cure. Think about the ministry of Jesus while here on earth – He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed of the devil. He went about curing people, presumably in an instant.Something else to note: iama is a derivative of the word iaomai / ee-ah'-om-ahee and carries additional meanings of heal, make whole. If there was a gap in time where even with Jesus it did not happen instantly, we saw that when the man said, I now see men as trees. Why it worked like that I do not know, but Jesus touched him a second time, and he was completely healed. Others were told to pick up their beds and walk, while another had to go to the pool of Siloam to wash the mud off his face.What is my take away from this? That healing has nothing to do with a religious level of activity and is what we claim to desire, real action, and life.
- (a.) "to another performance of miracles, to another prophecy, and to another discernment of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues."Let's start this one with a different translation. The NASB says, “to another the effecting of miracles.” Effecting is a much better word than performance, as we are not actors putting on a stage show. I realize many have given that impression, but that is not real life. Effecting implies producing or accomplishing. Since we cannot create miracles, they can only be one thing, a response from God to our prayers for help.
Miracles are the Greek word dunamis (we derive the English word dynamite from this word.)
The King James Concordance shows us that the word has been translated as many things, things which we see in the definition of the word: (miraculous) power, might, strength: - ability (4), mighty (1), miracle (2), miracles (17), power (83), powers (6), strength (2), wealth (1).
Why would someone need the gifting of power? Maybe it is because we, on our own, have none. Oh sure, there are those that think their vast intelligence and muscles give them power. However, the problem with that kind of thinking is that they have no control over people, places, and things.
An example of this was the "Breaking News" on the television at the gym this morning, as an oil refinery had a large scale, flaming blowout in the early morning hours and left 26 thousand people without power. The wealthy could easily respond to this with, I would never live that close to a refinery, and besides, I have backup generators. The point is, life and things are completely random (it seems), and you have no control over random incidents.
Then there was the pastor I met, who used to work alongside the now departed pastor Jack Hayford. Together they piloted a large church in an affluent community. One night his wife flashed her lights at another driver to let them know they needed to turn their lights on. She did not know that the driver was driving this way intentionally and that the plan was that the first person to flash their lights would be the target for murder. Within a few seconds, on her way to pick up a family member, and, as a young child rode in the car with her, she was murdered as a right of passage into the gang. Once again, a random act that you have no control over.
In the darkest of times, you need it, and it is the promised gift from – the comforter who sustains and guides us until the Son returns and reigns permanently as king.
Allow me to use Peter as an example as well:
Without any idea of what the result would be, Peter waited along with the others in the upper room, until they were endued with dunamis, power. They did not know what to expect, and no one told them tongues of fire would be dancing on the head of every one of you. The results were dramatic. Only a few days prior Peter had vehemently denied Christ and the impact of his realization devastated him. None of the disciples grasped who Jesus was, and they anticipated Him rising as the conquering king they had longed. That was not why Jesus was here this time, and He allowed himself to be brutally murdered. I have told people, that Peter quit and went back to fishing; others followed, and that is where Jesus found them, fishing. Peter, a spiritually broken man, is the first to hit the beach, and what does Jesus do? He reaffirms him through a process of loving challenges. Endued with power from the Holy Spirit from God, Peter hits the streets and preaches to the crowd who berated the disciples, including Mary, because of the unusual nature of the noises coming out their mouths. Peter's sermon, if I can call it that, brings over three thousand to into the kingdom that day. This story is an example of why we need power.
I might conclude it was a miracle that by the mouth of one man, without a microphone, he was able to reach and turn the hearts of over 3000 people. That is a miracle.