Volume. XX, No. 22
Sunday, 27 November 2005

From the Pastors Heart: Word Study for Spiritual Gift(s)

Charismatic / spiritual gifts have been a subject that has been under careful scrutiny over a century by now. So many books have been written for or against them. Churches have been divided over this issue, and some denominations have named them after their conviction on this issue. There are lots of other issues related to the spiritual gifts. They are:
(1) Whether we have apostles today,
(2) Whether there are continuing revelations today, and
(3) Whether we have signs and wonders today as they were present in early church, and many more.

One of the most controversial issues is about tongue speaking. We are familiar with controversies over healing or prophetic gifts today. In order to examine these involved issues, I am going to begin with a word study of gift(s). Then, I will be able to deal with the issue of tongue speaking. Hopefully, then I will focus on the office of apostles in the biblical days and today.

In the Greek New Testament, there are a few words translated as “gift(s)” in our English Bible. They are:
doma (Matthew 7:11; Luke 11:13; Ephesians 4:8; Philippians 4:17),
dosis (James 1:17),
dorea (John 4:10; Acts 2:38; 8:20; 10:45; 11:17; Romans 5:15, 17; 2 Corinthians 9:15; Ephesians 3:7, 4:7; Hebrews 6:4),
dorema (Romans 5:16; James 1:17),
doron (Matthew 2:11; 5:23, 24; 8:4; 15:5; 23:18, 19; Mark 7:11; Luke 21:1; Ephesians 2:8; Hebrews 5:1; 8:3, 4; 9:9; 11:4; Revelation 11:10),
merismos (Hebrews 2:4),
charis (2 Corinthians 8:4),
charisma / charismata (Romans 1:11; 5:15, 16; 6:23; 11:29; 12:6; 1 Corinthians 1:7; 7:7; 12:4, 9, 28, 30, 31; 2 Corinthians 1:11; 1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6; 1 Peter 4:10).

Among these words, probably three words should receive our attention - dorea, charisma, and charismata. We pay attention to spiritual gifts in the book of Acts and 1 Corinthians where these three words are mainly used.

Preliminary study on Charisma
1 Corinthians 12:1 and 14:1

Charisma (or charismata) from which the name charismatic movement was coined occurs 17 times in the New Testament. If we analyze it more closely, charisma occurs nine times, charismata (nominative neuter plural form of charisma) six times, charismaton (genitive neuter plural of charisma), and charismati (dative neuter singular of charisma) once respectively. I intend to study the word, charisma, by observing all of these different forms of the word in the New Testament. Before we go further, it is important for us to be reminded that there is no form of charisma found in 1 Corinthians 12:1 and 14:1 as many people have assumed.
1 Corinthians 12:1, “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you
1 Corinthians 14:1, “Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye
may prophesy.”
In both references, the word, gifts, is in italics, which indicates that the Greek New Testament does not have it. In these two verses, the issue is not of the meaning of gifts, but of “spiritual.” The Greek word for “spiritual” in both places is pneumatikon which can be both masculine and neutral genitive plural case. If we take the former meaning, it is translated as “spiritual people,” and with the latter it becomes “spiritual things,” which may mean “spiritual gifts.” Both interpretations have strong defenders. However, we’ll set it aside from our current discussions because these two verses are lack of the word, charisma.

1 Corinthians 12:4-7
We see certain patterns in verses 4-7 as following:
4 Now there are diversities of gifts (charismaton, noun genitive
neuter plural) but the same Spirit.
5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh
all in all.
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

There is a contrast between verses 4-6 and verse 7: “Diversity of gifts”, “differences of administrations” and “diversities of operations” are in contrast to “manifestation of the Spirit”. Probably those three expressions (diversity of gifts, differences of administrations, and diversities of operations) are employed to “describe the full range of what we might call spiritual-gift phenomena” (D. A. Carson, Showing the Spirit, 34). They are put together under the expression, “the manifestation of the Spirit” in verse 7.

At this point, we must be able to see at least two important lessons about spiritual gifts.
One is that there is no more presence of the Spirit of God in one gift than another. Whatever the gift is, there is equal presence of the Spirit of God. Therefore, it may not be appropriate to say that only certain gifts are charismatic gifts, which means spectacular in their manifestations. The other is that there is a definite purpose for the distribution of spiritual gifts. The last part of verse 7 says of, “to profit withal.” It is worth studying its meaning. Its Greek word sumpheron, (verb participle present active accusative neuter singular) is from a verb, sumphero. This Greek word is a confutation of two words, “with or together” and “to bring, to carry, or to bear.” The NASV and the NIV translated it as “for the common good.” The overall meaning of the word carries an idea of being profitable. However, the underscoring feature of this word is in its implication of togetherness. In other words, spiritual gifts are distributed to different individuals for the benefits of all. It excludes any form of pride or spirit of superiority from believers’ attitude and their exercise of spiritual gifts. What we ought to remember is that all gifts are sovereignly dispensed by the Holy Spirit, and He does neither contradict nor fight against Himself.

Arthur T. Pierson aptly said, “Everyone has some gift, therefore all should be encouraged. No one has all gifts, therefore all should be humble. All gifts are for the one Body, therefore all should be harmonious. All gifts are from the Lord, therefore all should be contented. All gifts are mutually helpful and needful, therefore all should be studiously faithful. All gifts promote the health and strength of the whole Body, therefore none can be safely dispensed with.”

Lovingly, Your pastor

More Lively Hope



Shorter Catechism Question No. 22: How did Christ, being the Son of God, become man? Christ, the Son of God, became man, by taking to himself a true body, and a reasonable soul, being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, and born of her, yet without sin.

Please pray for health & God’s healing: Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren, Rev Peter Clements, Rev Edward Paauwe, Rev Timothy Tow, Dr S H Tow, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros Winston Selavanayagam, James Tan (Chemo), Thomas Tan (Chemo), John Tann, Kevin Tye (Chemo); Sisters Kimmy Chong, Myung Ki, Alice Lee’s father, Gillian Ong’s grandfather, Aranka Rejtoe, Susan Veradi, Giok Yeo’s sister-in-law, Bee Giok Khut & her mother; Auntie Oei, Auntie Sheila George, & Charles Belnaves, and others afflicted with illness. "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?” (Psalm 27:1).

Please pray for – a) Cambodia Missions: Rev & Mrs Moses Hahn (Sihanoukville); Rev & Mrs Stephen Choi (Phnom Penh); FEBC graduates serving in Paillin, Battambang, & Sihanoukville; Bro Vana Rith serving in Pailin: b) Laos Missions - Bro Surish Dharmalingam - for health & God’s provision; c) Journey mercies - Rev & Mrs Peter Chua (S’pore), Rev Quek Suan Yew (Adl), Dn Tony Law & family (Bangkok), & Bro Eu Jzin Tan (S’pore), Jonathan Liao (Mel/NZ), Sisters Joyce Gong & Purdee Yeo and all those travelling for the Youth Camp (Adl); d) Sketch N’ Tell ministry of Bro Hai Seng Lim; e) PR Visa applications: the George family; f) Exams - high school, Year 12 and University students; g) Strength & encouragement - Sis Lydia Tan & family; h) Christmas Concert & Australian B-P Youth Camp– speaker (Rev Quek Suan Yew) & organisers; i) Believers under persecution in Communist & Islamic countries; j) Sister B-P Churches in Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, and USA - for unity .

Praise and Thank God for – a) YAF/Teens’ Quiz/Skits Night, Wed Bible Study & AFG meeting; Ladies Fellowship & Neighbourhood Choir Practices; b) Journey mercies - Bro Danny Chu, Sisters Peng Ha Yeo (Melb/Adel), Jasmin Chua, Amanda Fu, Gillian Ong, Serene’s parents (Mr & Mrs Mong Guan Wong) (S’pore) & Miss Agnes Ho (Kuching); c) Working Bees yesterday; c) Ministry of Rev Peter Chua at Hope BPC.

Special Item of Prayer: Provision of a car for Ps Ki.

Christmas Concert at Concordia College Chapel next week, Sat, 7:30 pm. Invites available on the literature table in the foyer. Please invite your family & friends.
Please Note: No Fellowship lunch after The Lord’s Day Worship Service next week.

Looking Ahead: Australian B-P Youth Camp. Topic: “Growing in Love”. Guest Speaker: Rev Quek Suan Yew. Dates: 6 - 10 December. Camp forms on literature table.

Looking Ahead: Christmas Worship Service on 25 Dec at 10.00 am.

Looking Ahead: Watch Night Service on Sat 31 Dec, at 7:30 pm. Please prepare your testimonies for sharing.



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