This article was written by Frank Viola Author.
Beyond the gifts mentioned in Ephesians 4 (which are gifted people), Paul gave us another list of gifts in 1 Corinthians 12. These gifts are called “the manifestation of the Spirit.”
These gifts aren’t people, but supernatural manifestations of the Holy Spirit whereby Jesus reveals Himself through the members of His body.
In order for us to understand the fullness of Christ’s present-day ministry, we need to learn something about the manifestation of His Spirit in the church today.
I believe the “manifestation of the Spirit” can be divided into three categories: the revelatory gifts, the inspirational gifts, and the power gifts.
Note that these manifestations are different from other “gifts lists” in the New Testament (such as Romans 12) in that they are all supernatural in nature.
Note also that Jesus is the One who manifests Himself through these gifts by the operation of the Holy Spirit.
- The Revelatory Gifts: Spiritual Manifestations of Disclosure
The Word of Knowledge. The word of knowledge is a word from the Lord to the believer, revealing past or present facts in the mind of God.
The Word of Wisdom. The word of wisdom is a word revealing God’s purpose for the future (Luke 11:49).
The Discerning of Spirits. The discerning—or distinguishing—of spirits enables one to perceive the spirit world.
- The Inspirational Gifts: Spiritual Manifestations of Utterance
Prophecy. To prophesy is to speak forth the present mind of the Lord.
Different Kinds of Tongues. Different (various) kinds of tongues are supernatural utterances in unknown languages.
The Interpretation of Tongues. The interpretation of tongues is the supernatural gift that enables one to interpret (not translate) an utterance given in other tongues.
- The Power Gifts: Spiritual Manifestations of the Miraculous
The Working of Miracles. The working of miracles is the supernatural ability to manifest a divine intervention in the normal order of things.
Gifts of Healing. This gift manifests divine healing in a person’s body.
The Gift of Faith. The gift of faith is a special kind of faith that produces and receives the working of miracles.
Answering the Call
The burden of my heart is to see God’s people far less concerned with a fivefold ministry and supernatural gifts that are supposed to be recovered someday, and instead to see them focus their attention on discovering what the church is supposed to be according to the mind of God.
Upon making this discovery, the Lord’s dear people will be faced with a decision: to answer the call of meeting around Jesus Christ alone in the way that He has prescribed, or to remain chained to the unmovable traditions of men.
If the former path is taken, it will involve considerable cost. But all the giftings in Christ will eventually come forth in the way that He has designed organically. And those gifts will never usurp or dilute the ministry of the entire body.
Would to God that all men and women who feel called to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, and shepherds/teachers would soberly reexamine what these ministries were in the first century and in the thought of God. I believe that when this happens, many of those people will be led in brand-new directions. And those directions will undoubtedly lead them to break with cherished traditions and popular concepts. Yet only by these elements will the house of God begin to be restored on a broad scale.
As the builder of the ekklesia, the Lord Jesus Christ desires nothing less.