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A Biblical Explanation of Spiritual Gifting
In 1 Corinthians 12:7, Paul says, 'that to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.' This statement of Paul is given in the context of his speaking about spiritual gifts. This giving of the Spirit and the manifestation of spiritual gifts can sometimes be confusing to and among believers. Often, many believe they need to take a personality test to determine their gift. Others believe they know where they’re gifted, but in reality, they may not be gifted in that area at all. Others may say they aren’t gifted, have no talent, and don’t even know what this gifting would entail. On the Straight Truth Podcast today, Dr. Josh Philpot asks Dr. Richard Caldwell if he would share about this manifestation of the Spirit and the gifting that is given for the common good. How are we to understand this? Does every believer have a gift? Are we to seek out the gifting? Is this gifting part of our natural composition, our personalities, or how we are already naturally wired? Once we know what our gift is, what do we do with it?
Dr. Caldwell says that one answer has already been given in the verse shared from 1 Corinthians 12:7. In the New Testament, each believer is assumed to have a spiritual gift, as the verse referenced says, to each has been given. There is not a single believer who has not been gifted by the Spirit of God. This is something we receive by virtue of salvation. This is what we received through regeneration, new life in Christ Jesus by the Spirit of God. We don’t get to sign up for or choose our gift. Dr. Caldwell shares that there is nowhere, not a single exhortation, in the New Testament for us to seek out and discover what our gift is. So, while we don’t have to go find out what it is and don’t have to ask for it, we do have to know that we have one and are to use it. There are times when a spiritual gift we've been given will coincide in some way with a sort of natural gift that God has put in us, just by virtue of creation, our personalities. The gift may even coincide with our makeup and strengths, but still, it is distinct from them.
Dr. Caldwell shares that he sees two types of gifts spoken of in the New Testament. There are some that are temporary sign gifts and others that are permanent edifying gifts. Comparing what he sees and understands from other New Testament Scriptures like 1 Peter 4:10, he believes the gifting we receive is singular. It's a single gift but varied. He further explains this understanding using an example that compares it to a painter’s palette. The singular gift has been made up of various aspects of the palette’s colors so that each believer is uniquely gifted to serve. We might compare this to a spiritual snowflake where no two are identical. Which makes identification very hard. Yet multiple colors are mixed together in a singular gift that each of us receives and is to be used for serving and edifying others, not for self-edification or self-exaltation.
How do we use our gift if we don’t know what it is? The answer is that as we mature in the Christian faith and are faithful to serve in whatever capacity our desires lean and are then granted the opportunity towards those in the Lord’s Church, it will begin to come out. Whatever God has made you for will become evident through your desires and usefulness. As we walk by the Spirit, empowered by the Spirit, our gift will shine and be able to function as it’s meant to.
There may be times when we need to re-evaluate what we believe we are gifted for. As already shared, the gifts aren’t for self-edification and self-exaltation. They’re given to us to serve and edify others. If this isn’t happening in our serving, we may need to remove ourselves and re-evaluate what we believe our gifting is. But we don’t need to take a personality or gifts test attempting to discover our gift that way. If we can take ourselves out of it and say, Lord, all I want to do is serve other people, and if that means just being a doorman in your house, that’s enough for me. Then what comes, what emerges over time, is what God made you to do.
Dr. Caldwell says that personality has nothing to do with our spiritual gift. But it would not be surprising if our gifting, in some way, merges with who we were already made to be from a natural point of view. But that will not always be the case. He shares an example of Dr. Philpot and himself. One is extroverted, and the other is introverted. One gains energy from certain situations and the other is drained by those same situations. Yet they are both called to be pastors. Their individual gifts and callings do not excuse them from overcoming difficulties associated with their natural wirings. They both have to grow spiritually in a way that takes them beyond their gifting, even where it sort of matches their natural wiring, as we also must do. And this is where the gifts actually also serve in the life of the congregation. We are called to help each other be better and grow into Christ in all respects. Giftedness is just one part of this
About The Straight Truth Podcast
The Straight Truth Podcast: Christian Opinions in an Increasingly Secular World. Join Dr. Richard Caldwell, Dr. Josh Philpot, and their guests as they discuss news events, current affairs, and cultural issues from a Biblical point of view. Find the truth at www.straighttruth.net
The Straight Truth Podcast is a weekly opinion show hosted by Dr. Richard Caldwell and Dr. Josh Philpot. Straight Truth is available as an audio podcast on iTunes or as a video podcast through YouTube or Vimeo. The duration of the podcast is approximately 10 minutes. We release new episodes every Thursday.
The topics discussed in the Straight Truth Podcast are current events, matters that challenge traditional Christian values, and questions submitted by audience members. Dr. Caldwell, Dr. Philpot, and their guests seek to answer these questions with Biblical truths and from a Christian conservative point of view. The Holy Bible is the inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word of God; it alone is and will be the basis and authority of
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