Sometimes, I read the Bible and assume that I know what it is talking about because I know all the definitions of the words being used in the passage. I know what the list of words used to name the Spiritual Gifts in Romans 12:3-13 mean in the English language, but what do they mean from a biblical point of view? Good question.
Motivational Gifts of the Holy Spirit:
PROPHECY: The ability to proclaim a message from God or “tell forth” God’s Truth found in the Scriptures. (We read about Peter prophesying from the Book of Joel, on Pentecost, in Acts 2:16-21.)
SERVICE or HELPS: the ability and desire to help others and to do whatever it takes to accomplish the task given by God to do for those in need.
TEACHING or PREACHING: The ability to understand and clearly communicate the Scriptures and make their meaning known to others and give them practical ways to apply God’s Word to their lives.
ENCOURAGEMENT or EXHORTATION: The ability to help others grow in their Christian Faith with words of praise or warning, always expressed in a loving, caring and godly way.
GIVING: The ability to give generously of one’s money, possessions, time and whatever one has, joyfully, wisely, generously and sacrificially to others in need, with the assurance and faith that God will provide for one’s own needs.
LEADERSHIP: The ability to shepherd and care for people and help them to focus on goals and objectives and reach and accomplish these goals and objectives for the kingdom of God, while modeling Christ‘s servant-leader example.
MERCY: The ability to recognize the physical, financial, emotional and spiritual needs of others and having the compassion and desire to help others who have any kind of need. It is also the ability to forgive others, no matter the transgression or cost. It is having the Heart of Jesus for those in need of His healing touch.
The Apostle Paul encourages all who have the above Gifts of the Spirit to practice them with the Holy Spirit’s Fruit of Love, Joy, Patience and Faithfulness (See Romans 12:12).
So far, so good. Most Christians agree with the Spiritual Gifts found in Romans 12:3-13 and the above definitions. There are only a few radical Pentecostal/Charismatic Christian Denominations who believe that (non-apostolic) prophecies, outside of the Biblical Canon, are still being given by self-proclaimed prophets. Most Christian Denominations believe the Gift of Prophecy is the ability to “tell forth” and clearly explain what is already written in the Christian Bible. With the death last Apostle, John, the canon of the Bible closed, and so did prophecy dealing with future events.
The Gift of Prophecy is closely linked to the Gifts of Teaching/Preaching and Evangelism. As long as the prophecy agrees with the Scriptures and is not something radically different from the Bible’s teachings and “off the deep end”, the mainstream Christian Church agrees that there are modern-day prophets who are able to preach and explain the Holy Scriptures in a powerful way. I believe Billy Graham is an example of a modern-day prophet. Along with the Gift of Teaching/Preaching and Evangelism, Dr. Graham has been able to “tell forth” the Truth of the Gospel of Salvation in a powerful way. Thousands upon thousands of people have given their lives to Christ through his ministry of preaching and writing.
What is an example of a modern-day FALSE prophet who predicts the future; specifically, the exact date of the “End Times” or someone who predicts your future; specially, “If you give money to such-and-such ministry, you will be healed or become rich or God will answer your long-time prayer”? Jesus and the Apostle Paul warn us about these FALSE prophets. This is the topic for next time.
The Love of the Father and the Peace of the Lord Jesus and the Power of the Holy Spirit Be with Us All!