Equipped to Serve

 "Now concerning spiritual gifts, my friends, I do not want you to be ignorant."

Equipped To Serve Kenh Chant

With that blunt sentence, Paul begins a discourse on the charismata  - that is, the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit that were part of the life and worship of the early

church (1 Co 12:7-11).  Paul here mentions nine of them, and in the familiar words and order of the KJV, they are:

  •  a word of wisdom
  •  a word of knowledge
  •  the gift of faith
  •  gifts of healing
  •  working of miracles
  •  prophecy
  •  discerning of spirits
  •  the gift of tongues
  •  interpretation of tongues.

The Corinthians, it seems, lacked proper information about these gifts, and were therefore running into problems.   So Paul wrote to combat their ignorance, and to show th

em (and us) how the charismata should function within a local church.

The strife at Corinth did not come from uncertainty about the existence of the charismata.  On the contrary, the Corinthians were overly aware of the gifts and too exuberant in their use of them.  Paul saw an urgent need to correct that abuse of sacred privilege.  But to avoid any risk of his readers misunderstanding him and of accusing him of scorning the charismata, he decided first to stress their special value.

What is that value?

They provide the church with access to an extraordinary dimension of worship and ministry.  Paul highlights this in a striking way:

  • he begins by contrasting their new supernatural potential in Christ with the characteristics of their old pagan life;
  • then he shows them how to tell true charismata from those that are false;
  • then he provides a list of various spiritual gifts, comments on the way they are distributed around the church, and gives a set of rules to govern their use in the church 


This book is now also available as an  ebook from Smashwords  Equipped to Serve

 

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