“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all” (1 Corinthians 12:7).
Paul calls the spiritual gifts he’s about to list, manifestations of the Spirit. They are manifestations of the Spirit of God and not man made or educational “gifts.” And if one gift (manifestation) is supernatural, they’re all supernatural.
Here’s where we’re going to do something a little different. We’ll not take each manifestation in the order it was written, but according to its division. Let’s read what the gifts are, and then I’ll explain.
“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues” (1 Corinthians 12:7–10).
Three Sets of Three
There are nine gifts of the Spirit listed, and we can break down these into three sets of three groupings. They can be arranged like this:
The revelation gifts (gifts that reveal something): (1) The Word of Wisdom, (2) The Word of Knowledge, and (3) The Discerning of Spirits.
The power gifts (gifts that do something): (1) Faith, (2) Working of Miracles, (3) and Gifts of Healings.
And the vocal gifts (gifts that say something): (1) Prophecy, (2) Tongues, (3) and Interpretation of Tongues.
We’ll study each gift within its set before going to the next set. Often times gifts work together, and I believe this will become clearer as we look at Biblical examples.
As The Spirit Wills
It is of the utmost importance that we understand that all these manifestations are given when the Spirit decides, and not when we want them too. We are just the vessels that He uses to manifest himself through. We don’t decide when these gifts are to manifest, as is revealed in this scripture:
“But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills” (1 Corinthians 12:11).
“As HE wills,” not when we will! All we can do is be available, and the first way to be available is to have an understanding of what the gifts are. Having this understanding will also help us to distinguish between the moving of God’s Spirit and satanic forces. It’s not surprising that the Devil gets involved “with all power, signs, and lying wonders” (1 Thessalonians 2:6) when we feel a need to perform to justify our “ministry.” Instead, we should just be available and let the Spirit do things His way.
The Gift of Participation
When the Spirit manifests, it’s to bless people. These manifestation are not to place the minister on a spiritual pedestal. In fact, reading First Corinthians we find that the Corinthians were far from a mature group of Christians: “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men” (1 Corinthians 3:1–3).
You should read the letters to the Corinthians. You’ll find many negative issues were happening in the church. Yet they were “short in no gift” (1 Corinthians 1:7). The gifts of the Spirit were operating in this carnal church. Why? Because they knew about the gifts and believed that God would work in their midst. And God did, not because of their spirituality, but because of their faith. But because of their lack of spiritual maturity, they were slipping into sin and in danger of backsliding. Hence, the reason for Paul’s letters.
The word “gifts” can be a little misleading, and that’s why I also use “manifestations.” This isn’t a gift such as a birthday or Christmas gift that, once given, belongs to the recipient to do with as he pleases. Paul uses the word “gift” in the sense that God allows us to become a partaker of His Spirit’s abilities. It’s a gift of His Spirit working mighty deeds through us. It’s not a gift where mighty deeds originate with us. It’s not a gift that belongs to us to use anytime that we want. If that were the case, we would never turn it off, unless, of course, we happen to not like someone.
The manifestations of the Spirit are bestowed upon the believer as the Spirit wills. The gifts originate with Him. and we become partakers of His divine abilities to bless humanity.
Stay Strong and Prepared!