RD 101 - The Gifts

By Jack Eberle

There is much to know about “the gifts” and they are widely misunderstood. We begin our look in I Cor. 1:5-7. God refers to them as “enrichment”. There are two categories: “utterance” and “knowledge”. Moving on to Mark 16:17-20 we note that they are for “confirming The Word”. Cf. I Cor. 1:6. The signs followed their preaching of The Word (vs.20). The eleven went forth after He appeared unto them as “they sat at meat” after He rose from the dead. The gifts were practiced and the signs followed up into Acts 28 where Paul was on the isle of Melita (Malta). Here he shook the viper into the fire (vs. 3-6). Then many were healed (8-9). Paul was still practicing the gifts of Mark 16. Paul, in Greece, passes through two cities and them comes to the synagogue in Thessalonica. He teaches that Jesus is The Christ, i.e. “the anointed One”, the Messiah. This is the one they have been looking for who has been prophesied throughout the Hebrew books (Acts 17:1-3). As you see, the practicing of these gifts accompanied the proclaiming of Jesus as The Christ. Read Acts 17:3. Paul and the others practiced these gifts up to the boundary line of Acts 28:28 when the Jews were set aside. The Jews rejected their Messiah and chose to believe “the lie”(John 1:11). God had mercy on them and extended their opportunity until the time of Acts 28:28 where they were finally “dismissed” “divorced”, set aside.

Back to the gifts. We notice in Hebrews 2:3-4 that the gifts were of 3 types: “signs, wonders, and miracles”. Looking unto I Cor. 14:21-22 we see the Jews referred to as “this people” and finally “them that believe not”. It is stated that “tongues” are for a sign “to them that believe not”. Isaiah 28:11 speaks of the sign of “tongues”. The tongues are from them that “are no people” (Rom. 10:19). However, the Jews refused to be provoked to emulation (Rom. 11:14). Their attitude is exemplified in the stoning of Stephen (Acts7:51). Paul speaks of their radical hatred in I Thess. 2:15-16.

Looking on to I Cor. 12, 13, 14, we find Paul teaching in the Acts period. In 12 we see the diversity in a veritable catalog of the gifts. They are the gifts of The Spirit without question. The injunction is to “covet the best gifts”. In the famous “love” chapter (13), we notice a change is signaled (vs.10). The greatest gift is advocated. In 14 Paul is trying to restore order in preparation for the change which is to come within His Body, the “edifying of the Body of Christ”.

Some say “back to Pentecost”. Meditate on Hebrews 6:1-2. We can or should not go back. I Cor. 13:10,”…when that which is perfect is come than that which is in part shall be done away.”