Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Gifts of the Spirit

I have put on my website a short paper which I recently wrote on The Gifts of the Spirit. This was intended for the house group (home study and prayer group) which I help to lead. We spent three evenings studying and praying through this material. I hope it may be of interest to some readers of this blog. I welcome any comments or questions about this.

3 Comments:

At Thursday, June 22, 2006 9:50:00 pm, Blogger Ruud Vermeij said...

Hi Peter,

A nice and balanced study.
On one point I have a different opinion. I don't think Paul expected every Corinthian (or every believer) to speak in tonges. See 1 Cor. 12:30.
I personally don't and I defenitely asked for it in the past.
However, sometimes when I play the piano, I play in 'fingers'... A gift that is not in the NT gift lists; but the Spirit can give as He pleases!

 
At Thursday, June 22, 2006 10:25:00 pm, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Thank you, Ruud. I base my point that all are encouraged to speak in tongues, and to prophesy, on 1 Corinthians 14:5. I accept that 12:29-31 seems to say something different. Gordon Fee has a helpful explanation of this, in his NICOT commentary on 1 Corinthians, p.623 on 12:29-30:

The tension that some feel between this rhetoric and the question as to whether anyone is therefore excluded from any of these gifts is again related to our own concerns for precision. The "wish" in 14:5 that all speak in tongues (apparently "privately" is intended) and the imperative of 14:1, "eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy," plus the statement in 14:31 that "all may prophesy," suggest that such gifts are potentially available to all. But that is not Paul's point or concern here. His rhetoric does not mean, "May all do this?" to which the answer would probably be, "Of course." Rather it means, "Are all, Do all?" to which the answer is, "Of course not." The singular concern of this argument has led to this rhetoric, which concludes in a resounding fashion as a plea for diversity.

So, all are encouraged to seek these gifts, and all have permission to use them, but not all actually receive them. The Holy Spirit knows better than we do why this might be. So, I stand by what I wrote: "Paul did expect every believer to speak in tongues ... So this is a good gift and it is right to ask the Holy Spirit to give it to any believer." I did not mean to imply that every believer will receive it, and I clearly rejected the idea that it should be understood as a test of spirituality. But those who don't receive it can trust God to give them something just as good instead, such as the gift of prophetic piano playing - wonderful!

 
At Friday, June 23, 2006 12:06:00 pm, Blogger Ruud Vermeij said...

I think our positions are very near to eachother.

When Pauls says "I would like every one of you to speak in tongues" I personally see that more as "I speak in tongues, it is a very nice gift. I wish you all did have that same experience."

If Paul had another gift he probably would have said "I wish you were all prophetic piano players" :-)

My interpretation of verse 31 is: "For you can all [that is all that are prophets] prophesy in turn"

 

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