Gifts 3

1 Corinthians 12:4-11 lists five gifts that are not miraculous in nature: the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, faith, prophecy and distinguishing of spirits.  With the exception of the last one, the list is included in an expanded group found in Romans 12:6-8: prophecy, service, teaching (word of knowledge), exhortation (faith), giving, leading (word of wisdom), showing mercy.  (Distinguishing of spirits is referred to in 1 John 4:1.  It has to do with recognizing false teachers.)  These gifts are given for the well-being of the church.

Old Testament prophets often foretold the future, but that does not involve the complete scope of prophecy.   It actually means to speak forth of the mind and counsel of God.  It involves a declaration which cannot be known by natural means.  So prophecy does not imply a miraculous ability.  A prophet simply reveals God’s will.

When God’s will is shared with believers they are edified (1 Corinthians 14:5,12,17,26), exhorted (Acts 4:36) and consoled (Philippians 2:1).  For unbelievers God’s will convicts (John 16:8-11), calls to account (1 John 1:8-10) and discloses the secrets of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).  Hopefully it will cause them to fall on their faces and worship God (Philippians 2:10).

We must be warned that there are many false prophets (2 Peter 2:1).  This is where the ability to distinguish spirits becomes important.

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