Volume. XX, No. 23
Sunday, 04 December 2005

From the Pastors Heart: Study of charisma family words

The following example shows us the importance of our word study. Having talked about the gift of giving, Duffield and van Cleave said, “Then using the Macedonian churches (Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea) as an example, he urged the Corinthians (the gifted church) to manifest the same gift of giving for the poor. He [Paul] said further: ‘Therefore, as ye abound in everything, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge . . . see that ye abound in this grace [gift] also’ (2 Cor. 8:7). Paul uses the word ‘grace’ (charis) here in the same sense as the word ‘gift’ (charisma). He calls the gifts (charismata) which the Corinthian church possessed ‘graces.’ . . . This definition of ‘grace’ as a spiritual gift is borne out by Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 1:4, 5, 7” (Foundations of Pentecostal Theology, 345-46). There are a few points we need to consider.

  1. They suggest that charis (grace) and charisma (gift) mean the same thing by quoting 2 Corinthians 8:7. However, if we read verse 6, we may have a different view: “Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also.” Grace in verse 6 is not necessarily understood as gift as they have tried to convince us. Then, our natural question is how the same word is interpreted so differently in verses 6 and 7. Or, is it more natural to think that their interpretation is pre-fixed conclusion because of their theology?
  2. When we talk about spiritual gifts, we often talk about 1 Corinthians 12 and 14. Out of 156 occurrences of the word, charis, in the New Testament, there is no single occurrence found in those two particular chapters. However, charisma family words are occurred five times in 1 Corinthians 12 alone.
  3. Another point that attracts our attention is that charisma is not found even a single occurrence in the book of Acts, which has been the textbook of charismatism. Therefore, Duffield and van Cleave’s whole premises are in danger of losing their credulity. It is important for Bible students to study the use and meaning of every single word carefully.


Charismata, which is a nominative neuter plural form of charisma, occurs six times in the New Testament (Romans 11:29; 12:6; 1 Corinthians 12:9, 28, 30, 31). Romans 11:29 employs the word to denote the whole gift of salvation through God’s election (“For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance”). Gifts are differentiated from grace (charin, noun accusative feminine singular of charis) in Romans 12:6 (“Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith”). In this reference, gifts are disclosed as prophecy, ministry, teaching, exhortation, giving, ruling, being compassionate and cheerful. In 1 Corinthians 12:9, 28, 30, gifts are mentioned only in relation to healings. 1 Corinthians 12:31 says, “But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.” Basically, all Bible commentaries do agree that the best gifts in the verse refer to charity or love. It is worth noting that even though love is one of the gifts, it is being mentioned as gifts. In comparison to it, whenever gifts are related to healing, healing is found always in the plural form in Greek. The following chart is to make comparisons among three different translations.

1 Corinthians 12:9 Healing Healing Healing
12:28 Healing Healing Healing
12:30 Healing Healing Healing

In summary, charismata is so far related to healings, prophecy, charity, ministry, teaching, exhortation, giving, ruling, being compassionate and cheerful. Thus, in general, charismata “designates whatever gifts the Holy Sprit wishes to use for the upbuilding of the church” (A. A. Hoekema, Holy Spirit Baptism, 57). Therefore, it is a misleading to say that charismata refers only to unusual or spectacular gifts. Every member in the Body of Christ is important and has gifts to serve the Lord. It is also a matter of curiosity that charismata is not used in the book of Acts, which may be an indication that the charismatic movement (which came from the word, charismata) misuses the term, charismataand the book of Acts for its defense.


Spiritual gifts in Romans 1:11
Charisma occurs nine times in the New Testament. Romans 1:11 has a couple of unique points to study: “For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established.” The first point to be considered is the phrase, “spiritual gifts,” because of its frequent use among both charismatic and non-charismatic Christians. The second point is of the word, “impart.” The issue here is whether there are some people who can dispense spiritual gifts to others either by laying hands on them or by praying for them.

Spiritual gifts
In Romans 1:11, Paul says of “spiritual gift.” Though there are three more verses having both spiritual and gifts together, they are only in English translations, not in Greek New Testament (1 Corinthians 12:1; 14:1, 12). Thus, in our King James Bible, the word, gifts, is in italics. In all translations (KJV, NASV, NIV), three occurrences in 1 Corinthians are in plural forms, while in Romans 1:11, it is in singular form. It requires us to see whether there is anything we must consider before we interrelate Romans passage to 1 Corinthians’. It may be possible that “spiritual gift” in Romans 1 is not the same as the gifts in 1 Corinthians. Another point of interest is of the meaning of “spiritual.” What does “being spiritual” mean in the Bible? We will focus on the meaning of “spiritual” in the Bible. “Spiritual” or “spiritually” in our English Bible comes from a Greek word, pneumatikos. Pneumatikos occurs 4 times, 3 times as pneumatikois (adjective normal dative neuter plural), 7 times as pneumatikon (adjective accusative neuter singular), 4 times as pneumatika (adjective accusative neuter plural), once as pneumatikes (adjective genitive feminine singular), and spiritually from pneumatikos twice (adverb).

In order to understand the meaning of “spiritual gifts,” we ought to study the relationship between spiritual and gifts. Thus, we are going to begin with the meaning of being spiritual in the New Testament next week.

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 Edwin D’Mello’s mother & sister, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros Winston Selavanayagam, James Tan, Thomas Tan, John Tann, Kevin Tye; Sisters Kimmy Chong, Magdalen Chua, 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 Balnaves, and others afflicted with illness. "My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:2).

Please pray for – a) Cambodia Missions: Rev & Mrs David Koo (Sihanoukville); 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 - Bro John Wong (Adl) & Sis Min Yen Chia (M’sia); 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) Australian B-P Youth Camp, 6-10 Dec, at Rymill Conference Centre – God’s blessing and guidance for speaker, Rev Quek Suan Yew, organisers & campers; i) Sister B-P Churches in Australia - for unity .

Praise and Thank God for – a) 2005 Christmas Concert - for good attendance and the Gospel preached; b) AFG meeting; Ladies Fellowship & Neighbourhood Choir Practices; b) Journey mercies - Rev & Mrs Peter Chua (S’pore), Rev Quek Suan Yew (Adl); Dn Tony Law & family (Bangkok); Bros Eu Jzin Tan (S’pore), Jonathan Liao (Mel/NZ); Sisters Joyce Gong & Purdee Yeo, and all those who travelled for the Youth Camp (Adl).

Welcome to Rev Quek Suan Yew to our pulpit today.

Special Thanks to Dn David Yeo, Sis Sally Teng and Christmas Concert Committee for organising a wonderful and blessed concert to glorify God’s Name.

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

Please note: There is no fellowship lunch after the worship service. All are invited to come to the Christmas BBQ dinner this evening.

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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14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041