Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The TREE OF LIFE is a weekly teaching summary.
Tree of Life 08/02/98
The Doctrine of the Spiritual Gifts
Tree of Life for 08-02-98
The Doctrine of Spiritual Gifts. Point 1. The Source of Spiritual Gifts is a Fascinating Subject Because it Involves All Three Members of the Trinity.
God the Father as the source is documented in HEB 2:4. Secondly, there is also the ministry of God the Son in the distribution of spiritual gifts, EPH 4:7-8. God the Holy Spirit gives to each of us at salvation a spiritual gift as He wills, 1CO 12:11.
Point 2 dealt with Definition and Description. The word itself is derived from grace, charisma.Charis means grace.When you ad the suffix "ma" it means receivers of grace. And in the Church-age spiritual gifts are the sovereign decision of God the Holy Spirit given to every believer at the moment of salvation.
Point 3. There are two categories of spiritual gifts Found in the Bible. Temporary spiritual gifts were operational during the pre-canon period of the Church Age, i.e., from approximately AD 30, the day of Pentecost when the Church Age began, to AD 96, the pre-canon period of the Church Age. Permanent spiritual gifts function from the completion of the New Testament in 96 AD until the Rapture of the Church, whenever that occurs.
Point 4. The Spiritual Gifts Found in the New Testament. in ROM 12:6-8, we have the gifts of prophecy, serving or ministering, teaching, exhortation, giving, leading or ruling and mercy. In 1CO 12:8-10, we have the gifts of the word of wisdom, the gift of knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, distinguishing of spirits or discernment, tongues, and the interpretation of tongues. In 1CO 12:28, we have the gifts of apostles, prophets, pastor-teachers, miracles, healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. In 1CO 13:8, there are gifts of prophecy, the gift of tongues, and the word of knowledge.
In 1PE 4:11, we have the gift serving or ministering and the gift of speaking. And then of course in the most popular passage that we normally quote EPH 4:11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,
Point 5. Distinctions and Spiritual Gifts. The temporary gifts of the apostolic age became the source of abuse under two concepts.While operative, there were some abuses. Since they have been discontinued, people still claim to have them. Spectacular gifts are not spirituality, any more than less spectacular gifts. Every believer has a spiritual gift in his portfolio of invisible assets; this gift is given to him at salvation. No matter how insignificant a spiritual gift may appear to you or to others, it is essential for the function of the body of Christ; just as every position on a team is important for the function of that team.EPH 4:12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; The principle is that every part of the body is necessary for the proper function of that body. the gifts of the spirit are:
Divine in origin.
Miraculous in manifestation,
Supernatural in operation.
Spiritual gifts are divinely given abilities to perform useful functions for God, especially in the area of service.Point 6. Temporary Spiritual Gifts.The temporary gifts were operational only during the pre-canon period ofthe Church Age, AD 30-96.
A list of the temporary spiritual gifts follows.
a. The gift of apostleship, 1CO 12:28.
There are only twelve men who have ever had this spiritual gift in theChurch-age.The gift was designed for two purposes;
1. The formation of the canon of the New Testament.
2. The leadership in the pre-canon period.
b. Next is the gift of prophecy which was not a national leader likethat of the Old Testament prophets.
This gift was second in order of merit, and is so listed in 1CO 12:28.1CO 12:28 And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, secondprophets,Prophets were to serve with the apostles as the foundation of thechurch, EPH 2:20.
c. The third temporary gift is that of miracles, HEB 2:4 God alsobearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders and by variousmiracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.
This temporary spiritual gift was designed to validate and to accreditthe communicational gifts like apostles, prophets, evangelists and thepastor-teachers of the pre-canon period of the Church-age.You had to have a credit card since the Bible had not been completed.In the pre-canon period, you had to have some sign or proof that youwere from God because the Church-age brought in new doctrine, themystery doctrine of the Church-age.Paul performed miracles thereby receiving a hearing.Peter performed miracles thereby receiving a hearing or an audience.However, no believer today has the gift of miracles.The gift of miracles was the unique ability to accomplish super-naturalfeats.The purpose of the gift was to draw attention to the messagenot attention to the man or the miracle itself, 2CO 12:121Co 12:10,28.Turn to Acts 13.Now, miracles are performed today, but any miracles performed todayoriginate strictly from God Himself, not a miracle worker or somemedium.There is no intermediary or mediator involved.Any miracles today are performed by God Himself.It only requires God's volition or God's decision.It does not require a decision on the part of the object of the miracle.It is simply a decision of the sovereignty of God and the use of Hisomnipotence.Nothing is easier for God to do than to perform a miracle with Hisomnipotence.What is much more difficult for God to do is to get a believer to lineup with His will and to enjoy the spiritual freedom which exists inChrist. Now, the word translated miracles in 1CO 12:10,28,30 is from the Greekword dunamis.It is used of works of a supernatural origin and character which couldnot be produced by natural agents and means. Miracles were also called semeion or signs. So, let's note God's fourfold purpose in miracles:
a. To introduce the new era.
b. To validate the messengers of the new era.
c. To authenticate the message.
d. To instruct the observers.
Now, in no study is this more important than that of our study, i.e.,the gift of tongues. Tongues is a very sensitive subject with many believersOne of the reasons is that we just hate to admit that we have beendeceived and our experience may not have been godly.So before we begin let's note a few misconceptions concerning tongues.
1. First of all, tongues are not necessarily for salvation, 1CO 12:3;ACT 16:31.
2. Tongues are not a sign of spirituality, 1CO 12:11. In fact, many of the cults speak in tongues.
3. Tongues must not be confused with the baptism of the Spirit,1CO 12:13, 28-30.
4. Tongues do not indicate superiority, 1CO 12:21.
Having the gift of tongues did not mean that one was closer to God.5. Nor were those believers without the gift ever made to feelinferior, as the tongue crowd promotes, 1CO 12:15-16.
6. It was the least of all spiritual gifts, 1CO 12:28.
7. It was only effective when the believer exercised the gift under thefilling of the Spirit, 1Co 13.
8. It was the one gift which needed regulation because of its abuse andthe way carnal Christians at Corinth magnified it. However, there would come a time when all Jews and the Jewish nationwould be destroyed as a nation before God.
And this time it would be Judah in the year 70 AD.ISA 28:11 Indeed, He will speak to this people Through stammering lipsand a foreign tongue,However, the word, stammering is laeg and it means alien articulation.Alien articulation is the enunciation of a foreign languageProper accents, proper vocabulary, fluent speech...without knowing thatforeign language. In other words, it is just as if you did not know french and the HolySpirit came upon you and you said "famay la bouch" or in Italian,stat-da-zite.Now, that is the true meaning of tongues, and exactly what it means herewhen it says, alien articulation.ISA 28:11 Indeed, He will speak to this people Through stammering lipsand a foreign tongue,Or a foreign language, will he speak to this peopleSo tongues are not unknown.They are to be known to those who are present who the tongues are to bemeant for.The word unknown found in some of the translations is italicized meaningit is not found in the original Greek text.And furthermore, the word glosa, in those two great chapters, 1Co13,14, does not refer to an unknown language but a foreign language. Foreign to whom?
Foreign to the one who speaks it.
Foreign also to the Jew, it was a Gentile language.
And the fact that God was now giving the gospel in foreign languagesmeant, the message would be given to all.As Isaiah prophecies in verse 11.ISA 28:11 Indeed, He will speak to this people Through stammering lipsand a foreign tongue,The final time when the Jewish people would go out and a nation would beunder this warning sign.Actually a warning sign that would occur over a period of 40 years,from 30 AD to 70 AD. It was as we will see and if you will note in the prophecy, a warning tothe Jewish client nation.It was to be a warning that they were about to be destroyed under divinediscipline.And for over 40 years God used the gift of tongues to warn the lastJewish generation that he was rejecting them as a client nation.And the true biblical gift of tongues was used during these 40 years towarn the Jews in a known language.The true biblical gift of tongues was not gibberish.It was not unintelligible or meaningless language.The true biblical gift of tongues was a temporary gift whereby the HolySpirit giving the gift would suddenly cause a person with a Jewishaudience to start speaking in a Genetic language so that the Jewsunderstood from their own native tongue. The message behind tongues to the Jews was the fact that TLJC was judged for their sins on the cross. And that TLJC is the God of Israel and the Messiah has come.So the principle, the gift of tongues had content.There are actually 3 biblical words for tongues.The first of these is "glossa"It is used of "tongues as fire" in ACT 2:3. It refers to that which is used in common conversation.It is therefore, known or knowable language and very human.
A second biblical word for tongues is dialektos, meaning dialect.The Expository Dictionary of the New Testament words volume 2, page 309says, "It denotes the language or dialect of a country or district." The third word is heteroglossa, it denotes a tongue of a different sortor another language. The word is used in 1CO 14:21. Here Paul quotes from ISA 28:11-12, where God warns that He would speakto the Jewish people through men of another language.The point to be made here is that whichever of these terms istranslated "tongues" in the New Testament, it refers to a knownlanguage.
In Act 2, it was in a known language.In ACT 10:46, the word is glossa i.e., a known human language.ACT 10:46 For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exaltingGod. Then Peter answered,It was a supernatural communication of the Holy Spirit usingunderstandable language.In fact, Paul uses glossa 21 times to speak to the Corinthians.Not of some ecstatic utterance or unintelligent gibberish, but of aknown language. Paul was calling them back to the fact that true biblical tonguesinvolved speaking in a definite translatable language of earth.So, we will see by way of definition that the true biblical gift oftongues represents a temporary spiritual gift.
So, temporary that it was the first one to be discontinued which it wasin August of 70 AD, when it reached its final purpose. For in 1CO 14:21-22 the real purpose of tongues is defined.Unfortunately not many people are willing to study the scriptures todiscover such an important matter as the purpose for which the gift oftongues was given.For some the subject is of no interest to them, to them its irrelevant,for others they have a built in defense system which denies them of thetruth. In 70 AD the Jews were overrun and they no longer existed as a clientnation to God. Tongues were used to warn Israel of the approach of this destruction andthe end of Jewish client nations until the Second advent of Christ.The Jews had failed to communicate the scripture.They had failed as a client nation to God both in evangelism anddoctrinal teaching. In fact, one of the great weaknesses of Israel as a client nation to Godis they became very prosperous financially but failed as believers goingout as missionaries.They failed miserably, and all the temporary spiritual gifts including,apostleship, prophecy, miracles, healings, and tongues were not onlydesigned to take up the slack for New Testament doctrine until the canonof scripture was completed.....But also were given because the Jews had failed to communicate the OldTestament doctrines as well.The Jews had been the custodians of the scripture and they failed.Prophets were the writers of scripture and they failed to teach what theprophets had taught. Now, Isaiah warned the Jews in a very definite way that they would notbe a client nation forever. He warned them that first of all the Northern kingdom would go out.Then he warned how the Southern kingdom would go out.And then eventually how the kingdom of Judah would go out.And then he warned them that Gentile nations would be client nations toGod.ISA 7:14 "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, avirgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His nameImmanuel."This is one of the most famous signs in history.But, probably second to that was the sign of the gift of tongues.Now, in 1Co 14, Paul lays groundwork for the real, God-given specificreason for the gift of tongues.In 1CO 14:18 I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all;Paul said this for two reasons.
1. He was an apostle and signs accompanied the apostles.
2. It was the only way he could get a hearing with the carnal crowd atCorinth.
1CO 14:19 however, in the church I desire to speak five words with mymind, that I may instruct others also, rather than ten thousand words ina tongue.Paul was concerned to be in control of his thought process at all times.And so he says, I desire to speak five words with my mind, that I mayinstruct others also, rather than ten thousand words in a tongue.Please notice how inconsequential Paul makes the gift of tongues.Five words with the understanding is greater than 10,000 words in tongueor foreign language.1CO 14:20 Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil bebabes, but in your thinking be mature.However this time he uses the word phren instead of nous for thinking.And phren means cognitive understanding or that which takes residence inthe heart and the emotions. The Corinthian believers had a lot of emotional involvement but littleintellectual involvementSo Paul says in verse 20, 1CO 14:20 Brethren, do not be children inyour thinking;Then he says....1CO 14:20 but in your thinking be mature.Or as the RSV says "be babes in evil." Or the Knox translation is even better, "Keep the innocence of childrentoward evil but in understanding be men." He is telling the tongues crowd in Corinth to grow up.Let me quote four translations here so you can get the idea of what hesaid.NEB, "At least be grown up in your thinking." The Goodspeed, "Be mature mentally" The American Bible Version says..."but in your understanding be fullgrown." Or the 20th century New Testament version says, "but in understandingshow yourselves men." And what is the purpose of tongues and the reason they were given.1CO 14:21 In the Law it is written,In the Law is nomos which is the exact equivalent of Torah. The entire canon in the Old Testament was called Torah.In the law it is written.And now he quotes from ISA 28:11.1CO 14:21 In the Law it is written, "By men of strange tongues and bythe lips of strangers I will speak to this people, and even so they willnot listen to Me," says the Lord.With men of strange tongues which is heteroglossos refers to foreignlanguages and other lips or lips of strangers He will speak unto thispeople. This people being IsraelAnd then in ISA 28:12, He who said to them, "Here is rest, give rest tothe weary," And, "Here is repose," but they would not listen. Even with a spectacular temporary gift like tongues, the Jews would notlisten.The greatest spectacular display of fluent speech and eloquent languagewas in the gift of tongues.However, as in verse 21 says 1CO 14:21 In the Law it is written, "By menof strange tongues and by the lips of strangers I will speak to thispeople, and even so they will not listen to Me," says the Lord.And then the purpose of tongues is brought out in 1CO 14:22where now heis about to define reasonably and intellectually the legitimate purposeof tongues.Tongues are for a sign not to those who are believers but to those whoare unbelievers.That's the word of God.That's the Bible.That's doctrine!