Dynamics of Spiritual Gifts

(Paperback - Dec 1982)
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Our churches have hardly begun to tap the potential in the pews. Many Christians have settled for far less than God intends because many have never discovered or developed their spiritual gifts. "An understanding of Ephesians 4:11-16 has changed my entire perspective on my Christian service. I discovered that one of my highest priorities must be equipping the saints for their work of service. Pursuing this objective I have made a second discovery. Exceedingly few believers are conscious of possessing a spiritual gift, and even fewer know what their gift is or what to do about it. My third discovery is that few things can be of greater assistance to a Christian in setting his own priorities or discerning the will of God than knowing his own gift. These are the discoveries that have motivated me to prepare this book," says the author. Included are chapters on: - The Definition of a Gift - The Distribution of the Gifts - A Description of the Gifts - The Distinctions Within the Gifts.


  • SKU: 9780310290919
  • UPC: 025986290917
  • SKU10: 0310290910
  • Title: Dynamics of Spiritual Gifts
  • Qty Remaining Online: 5
  • Publisher: Zondervan Publishing Company
  • Release Date: Dec 19, 1982
  • Pages: 144
  • Illustrated: Yes
  • Weight lbs: 0.30
  • Dimensions: 7.98" L x 5.09" W x 0.42" H
  • Features: Table of Contents, Illustrated, Bibliography
  • Themes: Theometrics | Evangelical;
  • Category: SPIRITUALITY
  • Subject: Spirituality - General

Chapter Excerpt

Chapter One

The Definition of a Gift

After hearing a superb performance on the organ one Sunday morning, a church member remarked, "My John has a great gift." While discussing the subject of gifts at a recent seminar, a lady asserted, "My gift is baking cherry pies." To say the least, such statements indicate a total ignorance of our subject. Therefore, it will be helpful to discuss what a spiritual gift is not.

A. What It Is Not

An all too common error today is to speak of an aptitude for working with a special age group as a gift. Often we are told that a promising young man has "a real gift with college students," or an "unusual gift to reach children." Not for a moment would we doubt that his ability is to be traced to his gift, but his gift is not simply the aptitude for working with a distinct age group.

Then there are those who are said to have "a great gift with the people of the inner-city." Once again there is no doubt that their effectiveness flows from their gifts. But it is surely erroneous to think of a gift as a call to preach in a particular geographic area.

A sharp distinction must be made between the gifts, the graces of the Holy Spirit, and the offices of a local church. The "graces" refer to the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22, 23). These are the qualities of Christian character which the Holy Spirit desires to produce in each of our lives. However, they are not spiritual gifts. Nor should one confuse the offices with the gifts. According to the New Testament, there are four offices in a local church. Christ is the head (Eph. 1:22; Col. 1:18). There are elders (1 Tim. 3:1-7) and deacons (1 Tim. 3:8-13) who rule, guide, feed, guard, and administer. Last of all, there are the priests (1 Peter 2:5, 9). Every believer in the local body occupies such an office. Obviously, an office is distinct from a spiritual gift.

B. What It Is

What, then, is a spiritual gift? Simply stated: It is a divine endowment of a special ability for service upon a member of the body of Christ.

This is based upon two words translated "gifts" in our English Bible. The first is pneumatikos.

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware (1 Cor. 12:1).

Literally our text reads, "Now concerning spirituals" The translators have supplied the word gifts. As to its source, a spiritual gift is divine. This is the emphasis of our text. They are "spirituals," that is, divine in their source.

The second word translated "gifts" is charisma.

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit (1 Cor. 12:4).

As to its essence, a spiritual gift is an ability. It is an ability to function effectively and significantly in a particular service as a member of Christ's body, the church.

Don't pass over the definition of a spiritual gift too quickly. Look at it a second time. What is its source? What is its essence? What is its purpose? Who are the recipients? All these are essential elements in the definition. Memorize it carefully and you will begin to sharpen the focus on a subject that is vague to most of us.

C. What It Embodies

Every spiritual gift embodies four features:

Most apparent of all, a spiritual gift involves ability. One has the ability to pastor because he is gifted. Billy Graham is a great evangelist because evangelism is his gift. Ability in any sphere of the Lord's service, ability that enables one to do an effective piece of work that glorifies God and advances the cause of Christ, is to be traced to a spiritual gift.

The qualification to engage in this service is also embodied in the possession of a gift. One is qualified to preach not because he is a seminary graduate nor because he has the "gift of gab." How I remember the nightmare of listening to a dear brother speak who had been asked because it was his turn! Success in the business world, stardom on the athletic field, or influence on the church budget is not a qualification for speaking or serving in any other capacity. To be qualified in the work of God is initially and essentially a matter of gift. This is as true of teaching a Sunday school class as it is of running the nursery. It ought to be a major consideration in asking anyone to function in a particular way in the local body. It surely ought to be a primary factor in accepting responsibility in the work of the Lord. One is qualified by virtue of the gift God has given to him or her.

A third feature of any and every gift is strength. The Christian lady with the gift of mercy will have a divine supply of strength to minister to those in need of unmerited aid. The young man with the gift of helps will manifest a supernatural supply of strength to serve diligently and faithfully behind the scenes. The rest of us may look on bewildered. Their strength, in part at least, can be traced to their gift.

But there is a fourth. It naturally follows that if a gift is a divine endowment, then it surely involves responsibility. It is part of our stewardship. What a solemn fact. We stand responsible today for our use of the time, money, bodies, and opportunities that have been entrusted to us. But that is not all. We are also accountable for how we have invested the gift entrusted to us. Have you ever seen this as part of Paul's statement concerning the Day of Review?

For we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad (2 Cor. 5:10).

D. What About Talents?

In the light of our definition of a gift and what it embodies, it seems imperative to distinguish between a spiritual gift and a natural talent.



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