Variety of Life-Styles

MEMORY SELECTION: “There are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.” —I Corinthians 12:6

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Matthew 19:16-30

IN CONSIDERATION of this subject we should note carefully the context from which our memory selection is taken. The Apostle Paul is speaking about the spiritual gifts that were given to the apostles at Pentecost. The importance of this is, of course, that until that time the members of the early church had not yet received of the merit of our Lord Jesus’ sacrifice. This occasion indicated their anointing.

Let us hear the apostle on the matter. He says: “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administration [ministries, margin], but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations [workings, Diaglott], but it is the same God which worketh all in all.” (I Cor. 12:4-6) The point is that although there were many manifestations of the Holy Spirit, it all came from one source. That one source is acknowledged as God, as Paul so carefully emphasizes.

The question arises as to the need of some special manifestation of the Spirit. Could not their anointing and acceptance have been shown in a less conspicuous manner? There is no doubt that God could have chosen some other method, but his wisdom indicated there was a special need at that time, and Paul explains it, saying, “The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.” (vs. 7) It was “profitable” then that they receive these varying gifts and manifestations of the Spirit in this manner because it caught the attention of both Jews and Gentiles. And to the ones who had received them, they became “signs” of the power of God working in them. It helped establish the early church and inspire it to greater faithfulness and zeal in the Master’s service. And to “profit withal” suggests that the whole body was encouraged and brought together in a very special way.

Paul then proceeds to enumerate the gifts of the Spirit: “For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues.”—vss. 8-10

For the sake of discussion we may, perhaps, place these gifts into certain categories. The first category would include those things that appeal to the intellect: wisdom for imparting the truth to others, and knowledge in rightly dividing the Word of truth along spiritual lines. The second group pertains to objects of faith. These include the gift of faith, or confidence in God; the gift of healing, which found a special place in the ministry of the early church; the working of miracles, which was the use of extraordinary power and included the raising of the dead on certain occasions, and the gift of prophecy concerning obscure matters relating to the plan of God. The gift of discerning spirits enabled one to discern between the operation of the divine spirit and that of the great deceiver of mankind, Satan. The third category pertains to matters of speech and includes the ability to speak different languages with no previous training; and the interpretation of tongues, which enabled them to understand what others were saying.

The next question which may arise concerns the matter of gifts of the Spirit at the present time. We must keep in mind the fact that when the Holy Spirit was poured upon the Early Church at Pentecost, it served to complete the miraculous revelation which our Lord Jesus received at Jordan. Therefore Jesus’ teachings, together with those of the apostles, completed the divine revelation; these have since been combined as the New Testament scriptures of the Word of God. As there was no further need for that kind of demonstration, it ended when the written record was completed. We, as members of the Lord’s body during the present period of the harvest of the Gospel Age, receive of the Spirit of God through a careful study of his Word—the Old and New Testament writings. As we study that Word, we learn to know and understand what his will is concerning our lives, as it is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit of God.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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