The Holy Spirit and His Gifts
This study begins several considerations of the Holy Spirit’s gifts given to the body of Christ to fulfill Jesus’ words in John 17.18. He did not leave you ill-equipped for the opportunities and challenges but gave you the best Equipper to guide and supply you along the way. The Apostle Paul wrote about these gifts in Romans 12.3-8 (the results of ‘transformed’ minds and ‘sacrificed’ bodies in Romans 12.1-2; a doctrinal statement written in AD 56-57 while in Corinth during his Third Missionary Journey) and in 1 Corinthians 12.1-14.25 (the protocols for engaging the gifts within the church and culture; written in AD 55-56 while in Ephesus during Third Missionary Journey to answer questions from Corinthian believers). Before you understand the gifts, you should understand how Paul came to understand these from the Holy Spirit.
What did Paul understand about the Holy Spirit before writing about Spiritual Gifts?
- Paul was a scholar of the Torah and writings you call the Old Testament of the Bible. He had read and studied about the comprehensiveness of the Holy Spirit from Isaiah 11.2. He was learning the role of the Holy Spirit in accomplishing God’s desire expressed in Jeremiah 9.24 and stated his understanding in 1 Corinthians 2.6-16, especially verses 11-12.
- Paul would probably have recognized ‘lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness’ (Jeremiah 9.24) in Jesus’ words in John 16.7-15, which Paul would have heard repeated by the Holy Spirit or Jesus directly, since the Gospel records of Jesus words and deeds on earth had not been written. Paul would have understood what Jesus meant in John 14.26.
- So, Paul would have reflected his understanding and walk with the Holy Spirit in his books, all summarized in one verse, Romans 8.14, although written later but from his practice.
- In his first book, Galatians (AD 48; First Missionary Journey; from Syrian Antioch), Paul attributes his knowledge about Jesus to the Holy Spirit ‘through a revelation’ and not through his interaction with the Apostles Peter and James (Jesus’ half-brother; Galatians 1.12-21). Paul communed with the same Holy Spirit in the wilderness, as Jesus had for 40 days (Matthew 4.1-11), learning much (Galatians 4.6; 1 John 2.27). Paul learned the character of the Holy Spirit to be the ‘fruit’ in Christians he listed in Galatians 5.22-23, in contrast to the evidence of the schemes of satan through the flesh, verses 16-21.
- Paul wrote 1 Thessalonians 1.4-7 (AD 50; Second Missionary Journey; written in Corinth) to remind believers there that they had heard the truth of God from the Holy Spirit through Paul. This was similar to the power the Holy Spirit demonstrated at Pentecost when foreigners in Jerusalem heard about God in their native languages from men who had never studied; see Acts 2.1-11. The Holy Spirit ensured that the truth was heard. He still does! That is one of His jobs, as Jesus inferred in John 8.31-32! So, do as Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5.19!
- In 2 Thessalonians 2.1-12 (AD 50-51; from Corinth), Paul refuted teachers that had followed his visit and taught that the Rapture had already happened. By ‘he who now restrains’, Paul meant the Holy Spirit Who will leave the earth when believers do, for His job of John 16.8-11 will have been completed when God calls you ‘home’ (Revelation 4.1-4). This illustrates the Holy Spirit protecting the truth of God.
Paul did not write again until he wrote 1 Corinthians from Ephesus in AD 55-56 during his Third Missionary Journey. He answers believers’ question in Chapters 12-14 as he had done in Chapter 7. From 1 Corinthians 12.1-3, what do you think was their question? Why did he answer by listing the gifts of the Holy Spirit? Why did Paul use a body metaphor? How does this accomplish Jesus’ words in John 17.18? How should this change your life?
From this study, it is important for you to develop an intimate walk with the Holy Spirit so you will more likely fulfill God’s plan for your life (Jeremiah 29.11-13; John 3.27) and will have His help when your walk with Christ is challenged (1 Peter 3.15; Matthew 10.19-20).
Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2014. www.sozoclass.com