by Shawn Brasseaux
Do you ever wonder what your spiritual gift is? How do you discover it? Do we even have spiritual gifts? In this Bible study, we want to discover what God’s Word says about the issue. After all, God’s Word (the King James Bible) is the final authority.
The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 12:1 KJV: “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.” As Christians, God does not want us to be ignorant (unlearned, uninformed) concerning spiritual gifts. Yet how many professing Christians today know little to nothing about spiritual gifts? Just about all of them, and I speak from experience because I used to be one of those uninformed Christians. Years ago, I thought we did have spiritual gifts. Since coming to understand the Bible rightly divided, I understand that spiritual gifts ceased 2000 years ago. Now that we have the completed Word of God, spiritual gifts are totally unnecessary for us.
There was a plethora of problems in the Corinthian church, and one of the problems the Apostle Paul had to address was the abuse of spiritual gifts. The Corinthians were spiritually immature: they were saved, but they never placed their faith in the sound doctrine that Paul had taught them. Rather than seeking the edification (building up the faith) of their Christian brethren, these carnal (fleshly, worldly) believers in Corinth sought special emotional experiences to lift up themselves and stir up their flesh (especially the gift of tongues).
Unfortunately, most churchgoers today attend church services in hopes of having emotional experiences rather than seeking sound Bible doctrine and Bible study. Let us be honest a moment, shall we? “Church” today is mostly entertainment! Modern “worship” is nothing but jumping, shouting, clapping, running, and stomping. Whether it is the silent formalistic churches with their solemn ceremonies and rituals or the churches filled with the deafening sounds of “contemporary worship,” it all benefits the flesh and actually harms the inner man (the soul)!
We want to first understand spiritual gifts as the Bible speaks of them, so let us return to 1 Corinthians chapter 12:
“8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:”
Turn in your Bible to Romans 12:6-8 KJV:
“6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.”
At this point, it is important to note that in the early Gentile churches of the first century A.D., there was no completed Word of God. Paul’s 13 epistles of Romans through Philemon were written between A.D. 50 and A.D. 68. During that time, the saints would simply circulate and exchange copies of the epistles of Paul (Colossians 4:16, for instance)—no one person or local congregation had the complete Old and New Testaments like we have today (the completed Bible was not assembled until the latter 60s A.D. Christian men under the control of the Holy Spirit would speak God’s Word verbally before it was written down.
Spiritual gifts were only needed until God’s Word was completed and entirely written down, as 1 Corinthians 13:8-13 KJV teaches:
“8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”
According to the Bible, the gifts of prophecy, tongues, and knowledge would vanish away once “that which is perfect is come.” Spiritual gifts involved limited knowledge (partial knowledge/knowledge “in part”). But, when the completed Word of God came, and the revelations from God ceased, the spiritual gifts ceased too.
Also, think of what is taking place during the Apostle Paul’s ministry. The book of Acts documents the transition period between God dealing with Israel and God dealing with Gentiles. God’s program for Israel is being temporarily set aside, and during this transition period, God warns Israel that He is going to Gentiles without Israel’s cooperation (God finally sets Israel aside by A.D. 60). The spiritual gifts would validate Paul’s ministry. Until that time when God fully suspends Israel’s prophetic program, to be resumed after this Dispensation of Grace and the rapture, God provokes Israel to jealousy by giving the Gentiles believers Israel’s spiritual gifts and sign gifts (Romans 11:11,12; 1 Corinthians 14:21,22)!
Remember, 1 Corinthians 1:22 KJV: “For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:” God would speak to unbelieving Israel through Gentiles speaking in tongues (intelligent human languages). According to 1 Corinthians 14:22,23, Israel (“this people”) was in unbelief and they needed to be converted, so the gift of tongues was “a sign to them that believe not.” Today, 2000 years since the completion of the canon of the Bible, we have no need for these spiritual gifts.
In first couple of decades of the Church the Body of Christ, God had in place five major offices. Ephesians 4:11 KJV says: “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;” Paul, Silas, Timothy, and Barnabas were apostles and prophets, but these two offices were no longer needed by the end of the first century A.D. Today, we still need evangelists, pastors, and teachers to preach and teach the completed Word of God. Apostles and prophets, on the other hand, were only needed to ESTABLISH the Word of God until the permanent written Word was completed.
Today, God is not interested in the spiritual gifts such as healing, tongues, wisdom, or prophecy. Paul’s latter epistles make no references to spiritual gifts as found in Romans chapter 12 or 1 Corinthians chapter 12. I want you to notice what 2 Timothy 2:2 KJV says: “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” This is the last epistle Paul wrote, so this is where things stand today in the plans of God. The doctrine for the Church the Body of Christ is now permanent, eternally written in the Pauline epistles. We have the completed revelation of God, and as Paul says, we “know even as also [we are] known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).
According to 2 Timothy 2:2, God wants His written, completed, and preserved Word (the King James Bible) being taught and preached. Now that the canon of Scripture is complete, we do not receive extra-Biblical revelations from God in the form of prophets, visions, angels, and so on. God wants sound Pauline doctrine taught in local churches because this is what holds the Body of Christ together and sustains their spiritual maturity (Ephesians 4:11-16). Sadly, most pastors and teachers are not teaching and preaching God’s Word rightly divided today—in fact, they first need to be taught God’s Word rightly divided before they can teach others!
We need teachers, pastors, and evangelists who teach the Bible, shepherd the saints, and preach the Gospel. We can utilize our talents, abilities, and resources to serve the Church the Body of Christ in the local church. As Christians, we should be “striving together for the faith of the Gospel” (Philippians 1:27). No matter how “small” your role in the Body of Christ may seem, you are serving the same God and Lord as every other member of the Body of Christ. All Holy Spirit-indwelt believers are functioning as one body (1 Corinthians 12:13-27): “[we] are the body of Christ, and members in particular.”
We can utilize our talents, abilities, and resources to serve the Church the Body of Christ in the local church. As Christians, we should be “striving together for the faith of the Gospel” (Philippians 1:27). No matter how “small” your role in the Body of Christ may seem, you are serving the same God and Lord as every other member of the Body of Christ. All Holy Spirit-indwelt believers are functioning as one body (1 Corinthians 12:13-27): “[we] are the body of Christ, and members in particular.”
We need to be edifying the brethren, building up their faith. We should be praying for their spiritual growth and encouraging them to study the Holy Scriptures on their own. Pastors and teachers should be teaching God’s Word from the Pauline perspective, and should not be promoting religious tradition and denominationalism. We need to bring praise, glory, and honor to the Lord by functioning as one Body, the Body of Christ. As a result, Christians will share the Gospel of Grace of 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 with the unbelievers, and Christians will be spiritually matured and edified.
The prayer warriors who are “behind closed doors” are no less important than the soul winners who are preaching the Gospel of Grace to millions. A Holy Spirit-indwelt preacher is just as much a servant of the Lord as a Christian laboring in the workplace, or the Holy Spirit-indwelt Sunday school student is just as much a servant of the Lord as the Holy Spirit-indwelt Sunday school teacher. With the imparting of the Holy Spirit’s power, the Body of Christ is a very powerful entity. The exciting thing about it is that God is working right alongside us (1 Corinthians 3:9), doing the will of God by allowing Him to do His will in and through us!
According to 1 Corinthians 13:8-13, the spiritual gifts spoken of in Romans chapter 12 and 1 Corinthians chapter 12 have ceased. God is not seeking to provoke Israel to jealousy today because Israel is spiritually blinded. We now have the completed and preserved revelation of God, the Word of God (for us as English-speaking people, that is the King James Bible!).
This is why Paul writes 2 Timothy 3:16,17 KJV: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” God’s completed, preserved Word is the issue today, not spiritual gifts!