My church belongs to a denomination that is Bible-believing and analytical, not charismatic. Spiritual gifts, when they come up in our women’s Bible studies, tend to be discussed as things like encouraging, providing hospitality, and so on–things that most of us do. In contrast, Paul lists gifts that seem extraordinary, including gifts “to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kids of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.”(1 Cor 12:9-10) Are we missing something?
Let’s take a look at these extraordinary gifts.
In Chapter 14, Paul addresses the Corinthians’ pride in their gifts of tongues. Not good, he says. Those who have this gift should not flaunt it. Instead, he tells them to “try to excel in gifts that build up the church” (v. 12), for example prophecy. “Everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort.”
Prophecy, as Paul is using the term, seems to refer to what we normally hear coming from the pulpit: Godly teaching. What about healing, miraculous powers, and distinguishing between spirits? Do we see these manifested in our congregations?
According to 1 Corinthians 12, there should be people in each congregation with these gifts: “And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing….”( v 28)
Maybe the people who have these extraordinary gifts just don’t know it yet.
And here’s one more thought: what if the body of Christ is poorer because of that? For the body of Christ to be in good health, every gift needs to be used in the church. That’s what the second half of 1 Corinthians 12 seems to be saying.