This is the opening post for a new series about spiritual gifts. I don’t plan to describe each spiritual gift and how to exercise each spiritual gift, because I don’t think Scripture primarily approaches spiritual gifts in this way. While scholars write chapters and books and multi-volume works describing how to be an apostle, or how to speak in tongues, or what it means to prophesy, the authors of Scripture did not spend much time explaining these things.
So, what does Scripture tell us about spiritual gifts? That’s what I hope to determine through this series. I plan to examine each passage of Scripture that lists spiritual gifts, gifted persons, or even the result of exercising spiritual gifts. I plan to study those lists in context to determine what the author was saying about spiritual gifts in general. As I see it, that would include the following passages of Scripture: Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, 1 Corinthians 12:28-30, 1 Corinthians 14:26, Ephesians 4:11 and 1 Peter 4:10-11.
I’ve decided to examine these texts in canonical order – that is, the order that we find them in the Bible. However, it would also be interesting to examine these passages in chronological order – that is, in the order they were written – to determine if there is any development in the understanding of spiritual gifts.
For the most part, though, I think we can learn about spiritual gifts by examining what each author says about them in context. There are similarities between each passage, but there are also differences. By comparing the similarities and the differences within the context of each section and letter, we can try to determine why the author chose to write about spiritual gifts at that particular point in his letter, and what he was trying to accomplish: that is, what did he want his readers to know or do based on his teaching about spiritual gifts.
It would be interesting to try to determine the scriptural definition of each spiritual gift, such as teaching, or service, or giving, or words of knowledge. But, remember, that will not be my purpose in this series. Perhaps someone else will choose to do that study. For now, I hope you will take the time to follow this series, and add your comments so that we can help each other learn what Scripture tells us about spiritual gifts.