Ephesians 4:7-16: Spiritual gifts – summary of permanent gifts.

Class Outline:

Tuesday December 21, 2021


Summary of all the remaining spiritual gifts:


What we will do is look at brief descriptions of the spiritual gifts that are thought by most theologians and writers from our camp to be permanent for the church. We will not be delving into the gifts that we believe to be temporary.


This is meant as a help for you to identify your gift if you can. If you are in doubt after we are done, don’t worry about it. Do all that God puts in front of you to do, and your will find your niche eventually. Its exact label is not near as important as your accomplishing all of the work that God has foreordained for you is.


Our list of permanent gifts will be organized as follows:

PT, evangelist (completed)

Teaching, (serving, helps), (ruling, administration), exhortation, showing mercy, giving, (wisdom, knowledge), faith.


We must remember that our Lord Jesus Christ did all of these and we must mimic Him in all of these areas, including the one where you discover that you have a gift. We must remember to depend upon God the Holy Spirit in our service.


Mimic Christ and depend by faith on the Holy Spirit.


1CO 12:4-11

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. 6 And there are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. 7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.


The Holy Spirit is mentioned seven times; as the Giver of gifts and the power and guidance behind them.


1CO 12:28

And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.


Teaching: ability to explain biblical truth and its application by:


1) faithfully reproducing the text.


Teachers in the church are only to teach what is already in the text of the Bible.


These points on teaching are important to know for the listeners as well as the teachers. For teachers, there is a lot of work, but it is work in the form of time, prayer, and guidance by the Holy Spirit. The work does not demand super intellect.


It is easy to attempt to put the process in order, but, for me at least, it is impossible. All things must be done as they are needed. Some days are spent reading, others have a lot of meditative thinking, some more prayer, some a mixture of everything. The teacher of the Scripture is Indiana Jones searching for the treasure that is the truth. I would add that a teacher could copy the work of a good and trusted teacher and mimic that work, and that is something. The truth is the truth after all, but if you are going to be a truly affective teacher, you will have to learn the doctrines of the Bible for yourself. Much of it will match your trusted predecessors, but the difference is that you did the work to make it yours. It is a part of you, not something borrowed from someone else, and when that is true, your teaching of it will flow much more naturally and it will also contain an element of originality.


Generally, this can be accomplished with a good English translation and proper instruction from your own PT and some supplementary material on your topic or particular passages that sheds light on language translation, grammar, historical background, biblical background, and understanding of the genre used. The various ways in which a gift of teaching can be used in the church could not be counted. The first issue is for the teacher to have the correct text.


2) making cohesive sense within the body of scripture (grammar, all applicable scripture, historical context, biblical context).


The Bible as a whole should be known to some extent, and every believer needs to increase in that knowledge. There is a good deal of distance between our period and the periods of the biblical writers. We have to bridge that gap, and we can with proper study. The main problem is that it is a lot of work. I would think that anyone with the gift of teacher would come to love that work. Everyone with the gift will struggle at the start, for the brain must train itself in reading and endurance.


In his book, The Hermeneutical Spiral, Grant Osborne states, “The big problem with Bible study today is that we think it should be easier than other things we do. We study recipes for quality means, how-to books for all kinds of other things - carpentry, plumbing, automobile maintenance and so on - and read vociferously for our hobbies. Why do we think the Bible is the only subject we should not have to study?”


However, the understanding of the Bible is not reserved for the academic elite. There is a reason that God had it written in simple, and common Greek. The barrier between Koine Greek and English is substantial, but the good translations have already done almost all of that work. The work to understand it is substantial in commitment of time. It does not take a “big brain” so to speak to understand it, and sometime that big brain over complicates things and becomes more of a hindrance. Understanding the Bible takes time, and so God has made it so that those who commit to Him will understand, not those who are satisfied with the cliff notes.


The gift of teaching must be accompanied by interest and energy.


The point of each book should be understood. For example, why do Paul and James write about justification, but Paul from faith and James, seemingly, from works? Paul prefers to write about adoption while John seems to like the phrase, “new birth.”


A teacher must be careful not to build a doctrine out of one passage. One theologian wrote, “No single statement or obscure passage of one book can be allowed to set aside a doctrine which is clearly established by many passages.” (Milton Terry)


Doctrines should summarize all that the Scripture says on that topic. If there are not clarifying passages (for example, baptism of the dead in 1CO 15:29 or a compartmentalized Hades in LUK 16:22-26), we must be careful of making firm statements of dogma. Doctrines should be made on the basis of all the texts that speak to the issue rather than on favorite proof texts. The work it takes is time oriented, not elite mind oriented.


Sometimes favorite texts are preferred over others that reference the same doctrine because they fit a preferred system better, and this creates skewed doctrines. Systems must not be imposed on the Scripture, but drawn from it. One’s preconceived ideas are never more important than the text.


To take from the previous point, the teacher must know who he is. What are his biases, preconceived ideas about what’s in the Bible but which he could never defend with Scripture? Not all preunderstandings are bad. The problem is when they become a prejudice considered on level with divine revelation. This skill is being able to interpret properly considering the place of the reader.


3) showing the purpose and goal of the passage (genre of literature, biblical context, simplicity and clarity, prayer and faith in the Holy Spirit).


Understanding the purpose of a particular passage might include all of these. It is even important to understand the identity of the primary audience, i.e., to whom in particular was the passage addressed? The genre of literature is either narrative, poetry, prophecy, or discourse. These mediums convey ideas in different ways. The goal is for the teacher to continue to improve on all of these skills. He does not have to wait for a full understanding of everything before he teaches, for he would never teach at all. But a certain foundation is important or else he or she will teach falsehood, and worse, become conceited.


1TI 3:6

not a new convert, lest he become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil.


The final goal of the study is first, personal understanding, and then second, the sermon or body of teaching.


The gift of the teacher is not finished when he or she has recreated in their own mind the original intended meaning of a passage. It is now for them to elucidate it to his or her audience, and as we’ll see in our final point, make it relevant to today.


4) revealing contemporary relevance (application).


Teaching should faithfully reproduce the text, have cohesion by making sense of the whole, movement and direction which notes the purpose and goal of the passage(s), and application which notes the contemporary relevance of the passage. Every sermon (body of teaching) should have all of these.


Sometimes the teacher will be in a position in which he or she has no time or opportunity to prepare all of this when he is called to teach. However, if the teacher does have the time and resources, to not prepare all of this to fail to make use of your gift of teaching.


A spiritual gift does not at all mean spontaneous flow of ability with no preparation. If that were true, learning the Bible would be superfluous.


Another line from Grant Osbourne, “Some have a false concept of exposition as a mere explanation of the meaning of a passage. Complex overhead transparencies and presentation of the Hebrew or Greek details highlight such sermons. Unfortunately, although the people go away impressed by the learning demonstrated, their lives often remain untouched, and they are convinced they can never study the Bible for themselves but just have to go back every Sunday to hear the expert. … The preacher must ask how the biblical writer would have applied the theological truths of the passage if he were addressing them to the modern congregation.” [The Hermeneutical Spiral]


The teaching gift does not claim any superiority in knowledge of the truth. It is related to illumination, where the gifted teacher is able to clearly relate biblical concepts and the grateful hearer gains understanding and illumination through the Holy Spirit within him.


Teaching is distinct from prophecy as the prophet is the direct mouthpiece of God, while the teacher is communicating what is already known in the scripture. The prophet is concerned with the method by which the truth is received, the teacher, on the other hand, is concerned with the explanation and application of the truth in the Scripture.


All who have the gift of teacher must spend some time in Spirit guided preparation.


The gift of ministering or helping: all Christians are called to minister and help. Either all believers have this gift or some are gifted to minister in different ways and capacities.


1CO 12:28

And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.


All we are going to do is to give an overview of gifts. Some teachers prefer to lump together similar gifts while others separate every one. Some attempt to include all the gifts as permanent and jump through scriptural hoops to try and make it work. I’m going to give a general overview of what would be considered by most conservative theologians to be the permanent gifts. Still, there remains some unknowns.


“helps” (antilempsis) is only used in 1CO 12:28. “Service” (diakonia; ROM 12:7) is a general word for ministry or ministering. Serving others in some capacity.


It is easy to confuse diakonia with the office of diakonos, which we call the office of deacon. It could be called the office of servant or minister. Not everyone with the gift of diakonia holds the office of deacon in the church.


ROM 12:6-7

And since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let each exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; 7 if service, in his serving


Either every believer has this gift to some extent, or some have distinctive capacities to help others. I had never before thought of the idea that gifts of help, giving, mercy, faith, and exhortation might be possessed by all believers. If it were true, God did not tell us. There is quite a bit of mystery surrounding this doctrine if we just take the biblical data.


Still, I remind all of us that we are to mimic Christ and by faith depend upon the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit.


Walvoord in his description of the gift of ministering says: “A gift possessed universally among Christians, though varying in its qualities, is the gift of ministering or helping. It is difficult to imagine any Christian who does not possess some ability to minister or help in spiritual things. While only to a few is committed the gifts of teaching and leadership, all Christians are able to minister and help. While this ability is universal, it remains a gift sovereignly bestowed according to each individual’s place in the body of Christ. The distinctions within the gift are many, different individuals being able to minister in different ways, thereby retaining a peculiar quality to the gift according to the purpose of God in its bestowal.” [Walvoord, The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit]


If gifts are not to be recognized by how much work is done, or little, for all are placed in the body of Christ as God willed, and not everyone has the same kind or amount of work they are called to. I make that point because one could not justifiably say that a person had a gift of help or any other simply from the amount of work they do.