Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Turning the Gem in the Light

How are we to understand the concept of spiritual giftedness? In a nutshell, gifts are resident abilities granted by God, which are different from person to person so that everyone is needed by everyone else in the body. They can be looked at from different angles, which is how the Apostles Peter and Paul presented them and how we'll examine them.

Peter saw the bottom line in its most fundamental nature. Spiritual gifts either result in someone speaking or someone providing some non-verbal service. That's a helpful division, because it means the preacher isn't the only one used by God in the church. He's not even the only one who speaks! Each one is included by Peter, EVERYONE in the church is gifted by God as either a server or a speaker.

Paul saw things a bit more layered. He saw the results of being "inspirited" by the Lord as producing "gifts" that could be seen through three different facets: one could look at them as expressions of grace [charismaton]; or one could see them for their utility, or service rendered [diakonon]; or one could view them through the lens of the influence, or energy, that motivated them [energematon]. Regardless, they were all inspired of God in EVERYONE, and each of them have the privilege of manifesting the Holy Spirit (vs. 7-11).

In his other writings, Paul gives lists of gifts three times. Some of the details in each occurrence are repeated or are similar, some are different. In each instance, he approaches the subject from a slightly different perspective. I'd like to think those perspectives correlate to what he wrote in 1 Corinthians 12:4-6. In other words, I see one of Paul's lists emphasizing the grace that is responsible for their expression, in another the utilitarian result of their existence, and in the third the motivating quality that compels them.

In my next post, we'll look at those lists and see what they tell us about how many gifts there actually are, at least we'll sketch it out. We'll also continue turning the gem under the lights, so its various colors and sparkle can be recognized and appreciated.

4 comments:

  1. different angles, reflecting the beauty of the light.

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  2. Another gift not mentioned: being able to discern biblical truths without watching sci-fi shows! Apparently you have this gift too! :-)

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  3. Nanc,
    You got it sis! That gem sure is purty.

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  4. Lincoln,
    That one's not on any of the lists, but I suppose it's helpful, particularly for all the brothers that love sci-fi! ;-)

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