Who’s ready to learn about some gifts? I know I am! Today, we’re going to be diving deeper into three of the eight gifts we mentioned yesterday: words of knowledge, increased faith, the gifts of healing, the gift of miracles, prophecy, the discernment of spirits, diverse kinds of tongues, interpretation of tongues. We find these in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14, and all throughout the Bible. If you had a nickel for every time one of these gifts were used, you’d be a very rich person.
Typically, I find it easier to separate these eight gifts into like-groups. I usually group them as follows:
The Revelatory Gifts:
- Words of Knowledge
- Words of Wisdom
- Discerning of Spirits
- General Discernment
- Gift (Diverse Kinds) of Tongues
- Interpretation of Tongues
- Gift of (Increased) Faith
- The Gift of Miracles
- The Gift of Healing
Now, without going too granular here, today, my goal is to help aid your reading with a simple description of each kind of gift. With this explanation, my hope is that you are able to read the Bible with a greater level of understanding, as well as peak your interest as to which gifts you feel like you might have, or want to develop. Yes, develop.
For the sake of not writing you a 5,000 word essay, in short, it is important to keep in mind that some of these gifts are developed over time, and that some, for example tongue and interpretation, don’t typically happen without growth and maturity of said gift. All this to say, I’m 99.9% sure you’re not going to burst out in tongues on a random Saturday at Walmart. God has given us the fruit of the spirit of self control, keep in mind.
I’m also keen on the fact that some people, often known as cessationists, don’t believe that these gifts “are for today.” If you find yourself in this camp, I ask that you keep an open mind! If you can’t, then you can move on to another day’s devotion, no problem.
Okay, so here we go! First, the Revelatory Gifts:
In an essay from Sam Storms, I think he sums it up really well:
“The last and least helpful thing that God wants in us as his church is a bunch of naïve, gullible airheads who swallow everything that anyone claims is a “word from the Lord.” But neither does God want us to be critical, skeptical cynics who refuse to acknowledge that the Lord may well be ministering through such gifts for the building up of the body of Christ.
There has to be a solid, sane, biblical middle ground between gullibility on the one hand and cynicism on the other. That is what I hope this series in 1 Corinthians will help us find.
And today, we look at our first set of spiritual gifts, three of them in fact: word of knowledge, word of wisdom, and discerning of spirits. As I said a moment ago, I’ve combined these three because they share one important thing in common: they are revelatory in nature; they are based upon and flow out of something that God reveals to us.”
Well put, Sam.
Words of Knowledge
- The ability to “just know” something about someone.
- Wisdom or knowledge from Heaven that someone would have no other way of knowing other than by supernatural revelation.
- To build up the church, and its members in their faith.
- To realign people with the identity in Christ, their passions, and their calling.
- To exhort, edify, and encourage, never to condemn, guilt, or shame.
- Should be in alignment with something that someone has already felt a tug or nudge about in their heart, or at minimum, resonates with.
- Should not give someone a “scratchy heart” feeling like something is totally off-base.
For More Biblical Examples:
- Matthew 9:1-8 – Here Jesus is described as “knowing” the “thoughts” of the scribes (v. 4), in response to which he speaks a powerful rebuke.
- Matthew 12:22-37 – Again, Jesus, “knowing their thoughts” (v. 25), began to speak a word of rebuke and instruction.
- Luke 6:6-11 – Here it is said of Jesus that “he knew their thoughts” (v. 8).
- Luke 9:46-48 – Again, Jesus is described as “knowing the reasoning of their [his disciples] hearts” (v. 47).
- John 1:43-51 – Jesus having “seen” Nathanael under a fig tree.
- John 4 – Here is the most frequently cited example, where Jesus tells the Samaritan woman the secret sins of her life.
- But it wasn’t just Jesus! Here are some other examples of “regular” people hearing a Word of Knowledge or Wisdom.
Each of these instances is undoubtedly revelatory in nature, which is to say that God disclosed information otherwise unattainable.
What is prophecy? Simply put, it’s one of two things. First, a simple definition would be that prophecy is the human report of a divine revelation. Second, when a person is given Divine Revelation of what will happen in the future.
“But I could never do that!”
Lots of people may feel this way, but truth be told, we prophesy all the time. Some people refer to it as the Holy Spirit, while others describe it as their “gut.” Either way, we speak from revelation a lot more than we think we do.
Second, God wants us to pursue hearing and speaking prophetically. And while we may not all operate in the office/gift of The Prophet (more on that in a few days,) we are all called to prophesy. (1 Corinthians 14:31)
“Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.” – 1 Corinthians 14:1.
Just like words of wisdom, we should have our discernment when it comes to people speaking into our lives. Here are a few litmus tests:
- Does it line up with God’s Word?
- Does it resonate with you?
- Does it encourage, exhort, and edify? Or tear down?
- Does it confirm things you’ve already felt led to?
- Does it confirm other things people have seen or spoken over you?
- Did it warm your heart and bring you closer to the love of God?
If so, there’s a good chance this prophetic word is something to hold onto. As a note, it’s important to remember that people will never be perfect, speak perfectly, or even hear God perfectly. Unfortunately, sometimes we’re going to get prophetic words that just don’t resonate at all. If and when that happens, just mentally press “delete” in your mind, and don’t feel like you have to accept it. While you may feel bad because someone’s heart was in the right place, a wrong prophecy can steer you in a direction that isn’t the will of God, and we don’t want that! But don’t be afraid. All real prophecy will make you feel amazing, and realign you with your true identity in Christ.
Discerning of Spirits:
Did you know that Jesus spent ⅓ of His ministry casting out demons? Yep. Often something we gloss-over or want to pretend didn’t happen, but Jesus was a boss when it came to kicking those suckers out.
- This is the ability to distinguish between what the Holy Spirit does and what another “spirit” (demonic), or perhaps even the human spirit, does.
- Not all miracles or supernatural displays are produced by the Holy Spirit.
- Whereas all Christians are responsible to “test the spirits to see whether they be of God” (1 John 4:1), Paul has in mind here a special ability that is fundamentally intuitive or subjective in nature.
- The spiritual gift of distinguishing of spirits or discerning between spirits is probably a supernaturally enabled “sense” or “feeling” concerning the nature and source of the “spirit”.
- This gift is also in operation when a person is able to discern whether or not a problem in someone’s life is demonic or merely the consequence of other emotional and psychological factors, or perhaps a complex combination of both.
Want more scriptural proof? Here are some extra verses for your liking:
- Acts 16:16-18, Acts 13:8-11, Acts 8:20-24, John 1:47, John 2:25
Do you think you operate in the revelatory gifts? Share below!!!
See ya tomorrow!