The Holy Spirit and Miraculous Gifts
Copyright © 1996 by Roy Dunavin, Fort Smith, Arkansas
- When you and I read the Bible we will know as much as
can be known about spiritual gifts because all that can be known about them
is found in the Bible.
- We cannot fully comprehend all that is involved in these gifts because
no one possesses them today.
- Many think the Bible teaches that these gifts are available today, so
they try to help God out by trying to manufacture these gifts.
- These people are hindering the cause of Christ rather than helping. They
are causing unbelief among thinking people. Many think these gifts and the
Bible stand or fall together and since they see nothing they can come to
grips with they dismiss the Bible as the word of God.
- On the other hand there are those who deny the indwelling Spirit. Perhaps
they think to admit to the indwelling Spirit would be to accept the miraculous
gifts of the Spirit. This is not true.
- WE NEED TO MAKE A DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE SPIRIT HIMSELF AND GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT.
- The Holy Spirit is a person. One of the three modes of being in the Godhead. "Howbeit when HE, the Spirit of truth . . ." (Jno 16:13).
- The Spirit dwells in every obedient person. (Acts 5:32)
- Before Christ died the Spirit was in the world (Gen 1:2)
but did not in-dwell. The Spirit could not dwell in an unclean tabernacle.
Man was separated from God because of sin and until the sin problem was solved
man would remain so. (Isa. 59:1-2; Heb. 10:4, 9:13-15)
- Jesus said "He that believeth on me as the scripture hath said, out
of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake he of the
Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: For the Holy Ghost
was not yet given because that Jesus was not yet glorified." (Jno. 7:38-39)
After Jesus died man could have forgiveness of sins by obedience to the gospel
(Rom. 6:17-18) and at that time his body would become a temple of the Holy
Spirit (I Cor. 6:19-20). Notice Jno. 14:17 concerning the indwelling Spirit.
"For He dwelleth with you and shall be in you." Jesus
is speaking of a new relationship. The Spirit has been beside you but He
shall be inside you.
- The first gospel sermon preached after the death of Jesus is recorded
in Acts chapter 2. In this sermon Peter told the people to "Repent and
be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission
of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." We cannot
tell from this text whether or not he was speaking of the Spirit himself
or gifts of the Spirit. But we can tell from other passages he was speaking
of the Spirit as in chapter 5:32. Peter said, "and we are His witnesses
of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them
that obey Him." (Acts 5:32)
- In Gal. 3:26-27 Paul tells us how to become children of God. And in chapter
4:6 he tells us what happens because we are sons. "And because ye are
sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying,
- We have people who tell us God dwells in us through the Word. There is
no passage that teaches this as far as I know. But there is a passage that
tells us how God in-dwells. Paul said to the Ephesians "Ye also are builded
together for an habitation of God through the Spirit." (Eph. 2:22)
- When we think about the Spirit dwelling through the Word we must realize
there is no difference in a man's knowledge before and after baptism. We
recognize a man's body is not the temple of the Holy Spirit before baptism
and we recognize it is after baptism. He must accept the Word before baptism
or he is not scripturally baptized. We receive the Spirit at baptism (Gal
3:26-27; 4:6) but we do not necessarily possess more of the Word. Therefore
the indwelling of the Spirit is based on forgiveness of sins and not how
much knowledge one possess of God's Word.
- What does the indwelling Spirit do?
- The realization that my body is a temple of God and that
the Spirit of God dwells in me serves as a restraint against the abuse of
my body. Paul said to the Corinthians "What? Know ye not that your body
is the temple of THE HOLY GHOST which is in you, which ye have of God, and
ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God
in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." (I Cor 6:19-20)
- The Spirit helps us bear fruit. (Gal. 5:22-23) Love, joy, peace, long
suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. This is not
your fruit but "the fruit of the Spirit." Concerning love notice Jno.
13:34-35; Rom. 5:5.
- The Holy Spirit working in cooperation with our spirit enables us to
put to death the deeds of the body. "If ye through the Spirit do mortify
(put to death) the deeds of the body, ye shall live." (Rom 8:13)
- The Spirit helps us in our prayer life. (Rom 8:26)
- The Holy Spirit is given as an earnest and a seal. (Eph. 1:13-14) A seal
indicates ownership. One of the functions of the Holy Spirit is to make actual
the ownership of God in my life. (I Cor. 6:19-20) An earnest is a pre-sample,
plus a guarantee of something to come. What does that mean? I believe this
has to do with the quality of life the Spirit enables me to live. The Holy
Spirit has been given to enable me to live now the same quality of life that
I will live hereafter in the eternity to come. (Rom. 8:13; Heb 6:4b-5) That
is an "earnest" or pre-sample. (Gal 5:22-23)
- When we abuse our body, or do not produce the fruit of the Spirit, or
fail to "put to death the deeds of the body", or neglect our prayer
life, or do not display the seal and earnest of our inheritance, we
"grieve" and "quench" the Spirit of God. (Eph 4:30; I Thess.
- MIRACULOUS GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT.
We have looked at
the indwelling of the Spirit. Now let's look at the gifts of the Spirit.
- There are nine gifts of the Spirit listed in I Cor. 12:8-10.
Wisdom, knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, working of miracles, prophecy,
discerning of spirits, kinds of tongues, and the interpretation of tongues.
- How did a Christian receive these gifts?
Through the laying on of
the apostles hands! It is recorded in the 8th chapter of the book of Acts
"that Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ unto
them" (verse 5). Verse 12 says, "But when they believed Philip preaching
the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ ,they
were baptized, both men and women." According to what we have already
learned they received the indwelling of the Spirit but not gifts of the Spirit.
(Acts 2:38; 5:32)
- When the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received
the Word they sent Peter and John that they might pray for them to receive
the Holy Spirit. "For as yet He was FALLEN UPON none of them."
There is a difference in indwelling and "falling upon." We know from
Acts 5:32 that they had already received the indwelling of the Spirit. Verse
17 says, "then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy
- And Simon saw that through laying on of the Apostles' hands the
Holy Ghost was given. Why didn't Philip lay his hands upon them to impart
the Holy Spirit? Evidently only the apostles had this power. Verse 18 says,
"and when Simon saw." What did he see? Can you see the Holy Spirit?
No! But you can see manifestations of the Spirit, such as speaking in a tongue
or prophesying. I would conclude from this that the Samaritans received the
indwelling Spirit at baptism and gifts of the Spirit through the laying on
of the apostles hands. (Acts 19:1-6)
- What was the purpose of these spiritual gifts?
- Revelation: Man needs a revelation from his Creator
"It is not in man to direct his own steps;" therefore God gave the
gifts of knowledge and wisdom. (Jer. 10:23)
- Proclamation: Man needed to proclaim the right message in the
right language; therefore God gave the gifts of:
- "Prophecy" - the message.
- "Discerning of spirits" - the right message. (1 Jno. 4:1)
- "Interpretation of tongues" - the right language.
- Confirmation: Early Christians did not have the Bible as
we do today. They had to prove that the revelation they had received and
were proclaiming was from God. How would the audience know they were speaking
God's Word without miracles. (Acts 8:6) Therefore God gave the gifts of:
- Faith - I Cor. 13:2.
- Healing - Acts 3:11.
- Miracles - Acts 13:11.
- Tongues - I Cor. 14:22; Acts 2:1-5.
"These signs shall follow them
that believe; in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall take up serpents;
and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them. They shall lay
hands on the sick; and they shall recover. So then after the Lord had spoken
unto them, He was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
And they went forth, and preached every where the Lord working with them;
and confirming the Word with signs following." (Mk. 16:17-20)
"How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first
began to be spoken by the Lord and was confirmed unto us by them that
heard him." (Heb.2:3) "Brethren, I speak after the manner of men;
though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man
disannulleth, or addeth thereto." (Gal. 3:15)
- How long were these miraculous spiritual gifts to last?
To answer this we must look again at their purpose.
- A complete revelation from God was given in the first century
or during the life time of the apostles. In John 16:13, Jesus promised the
apostles that the Holy Spirit would guide them into ALL TRUTH. That
doesn't leave any truth to be revealed. Jesus said in John 17:8, "I have
given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received
them." Paul said in Ephesians 3:3-5, "How that by revelation He made
known unto me the mystery as I wrote afore in few words. Whereby, when you
read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ, which in other
ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto
his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit."
- Paul said the Holy Spirit revealed the mystery unto
him. He wrote it down and we can read it and understand
it. Our faith is to be based upon the written Word (Jno. 20:30-31). It is
complete and final (II Tim 3:16-17). This statement would take into consideration
the concluding work of the then living apostles and prophets.
- Jude said "contend for the faith which was once for all delivered
to the saints" (verse 3). Not over and over again, not even twice but
- Therefore, since we have a complete and final revelation from God, I
would conclude that no one has the gift of "wisdom" and "knowledge" (miraculous)
today. These gifts served their purpose and terminated in the first
- Proclamation: There are three gifts of the Spirit that fall
into this category.
- Discerning of spirits. John said, "believe not
every spirit. But try the spirits whether they are of God: Because many false
prophets are gone out into the world." (I Jno. 4:1) We do not need this
gift today because we test a man's message by the Bible. (Rev. 22:18, 19)
- Interpretation of tongues. Within 29 years after the church was
established the gospel was preached in every nation to every creature. (Col.
1:6, 23) The ability to translate the message of God into a man's own language
helped to make this possible. After this was accomplished this gift was no
- Prophecy. "The speaking forth of the mind and counsel of God .
. . it is the declaration of that which cannot be known by natural means."
(W.E. Vine, p. 221) With the completion of the canon of scripture prophecy
passed away. In his measure the teacher has taken the place of the prophet.
(I Cor. 13:8, 9) Note the significant change in II Peter 2:1. The difference
is that, whereas the message of the prophet was a direct revelation of the
mind of God for the occasion, the message of the teacher is gathered from
the completed revelation contained in the scriptures. (Notes on Thess. by
Hogg and Vine pp. 196, 197) Therefore this gift ceased with the completion
of scripture in the first century.
- Confirmation: Men of God received a revelation from God and
the abiltity to proclaim it; but they also needed to confirm it, so God gave
the gifts of "FAITH" that could remove mountains (I Cor. 13:2), the gift
of "healing" (Acts 3:11), the ability to perform "miracles" (Acts 13:11),
and the ability to speak in other "tongues" (languages) as a sign. (I Cor.
14:22) All of these "gifts" were to back up or confirm the message they taught.
Once the message was revealed, proclaimed, and confirmed, there was no further
need for these gifts. The message was revealed, proclaimed, and confirmed
in the first century. (Mk. 16:17-20; Heb. 2:3; Gal. 3:15) Unless a man has
a new revelation from God there is no need for these gifts today. And if
any man preaches a new message he is to be "accursed;" and he "hath
not God." (Gal. 1:7-8; II Jno. 9)
- HOW LONG WERE THESE MIRACULOUS SPIRITUAL GIFTS TO
Until "that which is perfect is come." (I Cor. 13:10)
- In view of their purpose and the fact that that purpose
has been fulfilled I would conclude that these gifts ceased with the death
of the apostles and prophets and at the death of those on whom the apostles
laid their hands to impart these gifts.
- "Whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues,
they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we
know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is
come, then that which is in part shall be done away." (I Cor. 13:8-10)
- We notice here instead of bringing all nine gifts from chapter 12 to
chapter 13 Paul only brings three, one from each category.
- Prophecies: Having to do with the proclamation
of the Word.
- Tongues: Having to do with the confirmation of the Word.
- Knowledge: Having to do with the revelation of the
I understand this to be inclusive of all nine gifts.
- We understand these gifts will cease when that which is
"PERFECT" is come. What is that which is perfect? There are
three views that I know of.
Some say love because of the dominating theme
of the chapter. I am looking at this answer from a critical view and it doesn't
make sense. Did the apostle Paul not possess love? And did he not also possess
these spiritual gifts? Many at that time possessed love and sprititual gifts.
Love is the new commandment. (Jno. 13:34-35) Without love we do not know
God. (1 Jno. 4:7-8) Love is proof of our sonship and spiritual life. (I Jno.
God was not waiting on an overwhelming of love to engulf thembefore He removed the spiritual gifts! But He was waiting on that which is
Christ is perfect and some say that when Christ returns
then these gifts will cease. We know this is not true by what follows. Some
things are ceasing (spiritual gifts) and some things are remaining (faith,
hope, and love - I Cor. 13:13).
- The Corinthians were envious and jealous of each other over these gifts.
Paul is saying you are desirous of something that is of a temporary nature.
You should be seeking those things that abide: faith, hope, and love. If
"that which is perfect" is Christ, then "spiritual gifts"
faith and hope will cease at the same time. This would destroy Paul's
argument on the time differential between the two. What will happen to faith
when Christ returns? It will become sight. (Heb. 11:1; 1 John 3:lff)
- What will happen to hope when Christ returns? It will become realization.
(Rom. 8:24-25) Love is eternal!
- Besides there is no point in saying these gifts will cease when Christ
returns. That is self evident. When Christ returns we will not be given the
message but judged on the basis of what we did with the message. (Jno. 12:48;
- These miraculous gifts will cease. But faith, hope and love will continue
until Christ returns.
- PERFECT KNOWLEDGE, COMPLETE REVELATION.
Paul said, "We know in part and we prophesy in part.
But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in
part shall be done away." That which is "in part" gives
way to that which is complete. The things that were in part must balance
with that which is complete. The things that were in part, the spiritual
gifts, were used of the Lord to bring the revelation of His will to man.
But when this revelation was committed to writing as it was in the first
century, there remained no further purpose to be fulfilled by these gifts.
Therefore, when the completed revelation, the Bible, came the things that
were in part were abolished.
- Notice the amplified Bible on this text: "For our knowledge is fragmentary
(incomplete and imperfect), and our prophecy (our teaching) is fragmentary
(incomplete and imperfect). But when the complete and perfect (total) comes,
the incomplete and imperfect will vanish away, become antiquated, void, and
- There are many scriptures that point out the perfection and completion
of the scriptures. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for
doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good
works." (II Tim. 3:16-17)
- There are some, before they would take the apostle seriously in this
statement, would have him and his fellow apostles lay aside their pens at
- I believe this statement (II Tim. 3:16-17) would be inclusive of the
remaining work of the then living apostles and prophets. However, I believe
it would be carrying it a bit too far to take on a second generation of apostles
and prophets. The apostle John was privileged to put that final touch to
the scriptures. (Rev. 22:18-21)
- There are some who apply Mark's statement, "these signs shall follow
them that believe," to all believers. (Mk. 16:17-20) If this passage
applies to all believers then all believers perform miracles! If not, why
not? I see three alternatives from Mark's statement.
- I perform miracles.
- I do not believe.
- I admit Jesus was speaking to the apostles.
I do believe! I do not perform
miracles! I am forced to the conclusion He was speaking to the apostles.
What is your conclusion?
- To appreciate the indwelling Spirit we should read Romans
7:14-24, "man without the Spirit." And Romans 8:1-18, "man with
- Some feel that because we do not have these "miraculous spiritual gifts"
we have a sub-standard spiritual life. They feel this way because they do
not really understand what the Christian possesses.
- When I was baptized into Jesus all of my sins were forgiven;
God made me as though I had never sinned. (II Cor. 5:21; Rom. 6:3-4)
- As I walk in the light His blood continues to cleanse me from sin. (I
- Over nineteen hundred years ago Jesus went to heaven to prepare a place
for me. (Jno. 14:1-3) And now reservations are made. (I Pet. 1:3-5) It is
"a place that is incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved
in heaven" for me.
- He told me, if I would "seek first the kingdom of God and His
righteousness" I would not have to worry about food, shelter, and raiment,
these would be supplied. (Matt. 6:33)
- He said, He would not allow me to be tempted above my strength. (I Cor.
10:13) That He would never, never, never, leave me. (Heb. 13:5)
- He said, if I continue to love Him He will work all things for my good.
(Rom. 8:28) I know all these things are true because of what Romans 8:32
- The substandard spiritual life is seen in the one who would neglect these
things and go back to those "childish things" that were needful in
the infancy of the church. We need to act like men and put away childish
things. (I Cor. 13:11)
- Miraculous spiritual gifts of I Cor. 12:8-10 are no
longer available. They have ceased. But the gospel still remains God's power
to save. (Rom. 1:16) Will you not obey?
Published in The Old Paths Archive