Spiritual Gifts

Studies in the Use of Tongues

Speaking in tongues is not in itself a phenomenon peculiar to Christianity or even to God, but rather it actually has been practiced by pagans with most likely no exposure to Christianity. There has been evidence of many different people groups and faith traditions having outbursts as the result of either hypnosis or hysterics directly from Satan. This observation helps us see that tongues’ speaking has existed in the past and present apart from the God of the Bible. Therefore, we can conclude that the mere fact of speaking in tongues proves nothing as to its source and origin, and that non-biblical tongues’ speaking has its source in man or Satan. However, biblical tongues’ speaking was from God. Let us look at the use of tongues in the Bible and what we know of it.


Tongues in the Bible

1 Corinthians 14

This chapter concludes the subject of spiritual gifts. As to Spiritual Gifts:

- Prophecy is shown to be greater or superior to that of tongues (1 Cor. 14:1-25).

- There are certain regulations governing the exercise of each (1 Cor. 14:26-33).

- Women members of the assembly are to refrain from speaking at its gatherings (1 Cor. 14:34-36).

- The instructions given are the commandment of the Lord (1 Cor. 14:37-39).

- The exercise of spiritual gifts is to be decent and in order (1 Cor. 14:40).

Chapter 12 describes the gifts and the Body. Chapter 13 describes the love that alone gives the use of gifts any value. And chapter 14 regulates the ministry of gifts in the primitive, apostolic assembly of believers.


The Practical Section

The Practical Section

This part of the epistle contains practical instructions and exhortations for the believer. The practical issues discussed should flow from the lives of believers who comprehend the magnificent doctrinal truths expounded in the first half of the epistle.

Ephesians 4:1-3 - Paul begins this section in verse one with an exhortation to walk worthy of our vocation; that is, our calling or summons from God, being chosen by God. We have to walk before God and men with all lowliness, humility, meekness, gentleness, longsuffering, and patience - making allowances for one another (verse two). These attributes are to characterize our walk. [In the first three chapters we are living in the “heavenlies.” In the last three we are in the Church and in the world.]

Verse 3 says, “Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” This suggests giving diligence and earnestly striving. We are to keep this unity, not make it. See Eph. 2 – Oneness - The Holy Spirit indwelling and empowering each believer is the true source of unity.

Ephesians 4:4-6 - Three spheres are suggested in the next three verses: the inward sphere, the outward sphere, and the sphere of creation. Let us look at each more closely (for our own purposes here, let’s omit the words “there is”):

    - The Inwards Sphere (Eph. 4:4) - One body- one spirit. This would be the inner most circle. They represent that which is inward and not seen. In the earlier chapters, the body is the great theme. However, men on earth never see it. What men see instead is a baffling array of bodies, each claming to be the body. This one body is vitalized by one Spirit and looks forward to one hope. The unseen Holy Spirit is the prominent one here.

Step 8: Developments in Effective Use of Spiritual Gifts

A spiritual gift, as distinguished from natural talent (e.g., musical ability) is a special empowerment in the ability to bless and build up God’s people (others-directed, not self-exalting).  Every believer is given at least one, sometimes more (I Cor. 12:7-11).  Gifts are assigned by God as He desires, not according to what we crave (v. 11).  Every gifted person has a proper function in the Body of Christ (the Church) and none is superior to another, only different in functio...

Expansion of the Church



It was mentioned earlier that originally there were five gifts - apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. It was suggested that the first two were concerned primarily with the foundation of the Church, and that, in general, the need for them passed when the complete Word of God was given in written form.

That means that we have three gifts today - evangelists, pastors, and teachers. However, the probability is that the “pastor-teacher” gift is just one gift, in which case only two of the gifts would be operative today. We turn now to the purpose of the gifts and how they function.



The purpose of the gifts is set forth in Ephesians 4:12, 13. “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.”

Now upon first reading this verse in our King James Version of the Bible, one would think that these are three separate reasons why the gifts were given: namely (1) for the perfecting of the saints, (2) for the work of the ministry, (3) for the edifying of the body of Christ. However, is this what the passage teaches? A study of other versions reveals that it is not.

The Danger of Being Gifted

It is a wonderful thing to be enabled of the Holy Spirit to serve the Lord. (I Cor. 12:4-11) However, there are dangers associated with being gifted, as the flesh would always seek to glorify itself. The more public one's gift is, and the greater the sphere in which he operates, the greater the danger of pride (Rom. 12:3; 1 Cor. 12:21) The more his name is in print, the more conferences he speaks at, the more the Lord blesses his ministry, the greater the danger of his falling into the snare of ...
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