God Assigns Spiritual Gifts

This story was related by Donald Grey Barnhouse. Several years ago, two students graduated from the Chicago-Kent College of Law. The highest ranking student in the class was a blind man named Overton, and when he received his honor, he insisted that half the credit should go … More

Spiritual Gifts

For a third time, Paul stresses the fact that God, not man, assigned the gifts (vv. 18, 24, 28). God gives to each person and each congregation just the gifts it needs when they are needed. No individual believer possesses all the spiritual gifts. Each believer has the gift (or gifts) assigned to him. The stress is on quality and quantity. In verse 28 Paul gives a further listing of the gifts with some additions to those included in verses 4-11. It seems that the list is arranged in order of the most important first and the least important last. In this arrangement apostles, prophets and teachers are the first three listed and tongues are last. These first three gifts may have been greater because of their extensive value to the whole body of Christ. Just as a body possesses many different members, even so the members of the church possess a variety of gifts. The question is asked, “Do all speak with tongues?” The implied answer is no! If all these had the baptism of the Spirit and not all had spoken in tongues, then tongues cannot be the confirming factor of Spirit baptism!

The gift of tongues, on the other hand, tended to bring pride and self-centeredness to the people involved. This self-centeredness also manifested itself in other areas such as eating sacrificial foods, women in worship, celebration of the Lord’s Supper, etc. Love for others was an essential need in the Corinthian church. He commanded that love should prevail among the members (I John 15:12).  This was the ingredient which would maintain unity. The import of this statement is to be seen in chapter 13. Paul will show that a better way is not through striving but through loving.


My spiritual gifts are not for my own self-advancement. They were given to me for the purpose of serving God and enhancing the spiritual growth of other believers.

I Corinthians 12:27-31 (English Standard Version)

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