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Subject: Christian Religious Studies
Topic: Spiritual Gifts (1Corinthians 12:4 – 6)
Lesson Objectives: At the end of the lessons, learners should be to:
i. Identify at least seven spiritual gifts,
ii. State the values and uses of spiritual gifts,
iii. Identify where wrong emphasis is placed on certain spiritual gifts,
iv. Differentiate between spiritual gifts and talents.
Spiritual gift is a gift of the Holy Spirit. According to St. Paul, it is the Holy Spirit that dwells in a man and makes him acknowledge Jesus as Lord. Where the Holy Spirit is absent in a man, he cannot acknowledge Jesus as Lord. St. Paul said:
“There are varieties of gift, but the same spirit, and there are varieties of services by the same Lord; and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in everyone.” (1 Corinthians 12:4 – 6)
Types of Spiritual Gifts
The nine gifts as enlightened by St. Paul are as follows;
i. The utterance of wisdom
ii. The utterance of knowledge
iv. Gift of healing
v. The gift of working miracles
vi. The gift of prophesy
vii. The gift of distinguishing between spirits (discernment)
viii. The gift to speak in tongues
ix. The gift to interprete tongues.
All these gifts Paul said, are inspired by the same spirit who apportions to individuals as he wills, but the manifestation of the gifts in the individual is for the common good of the body of Christ (the church). Paul likened these gifts to the human body with different parts and different functions all playing an important role for the good of the entire body. So it is with Christ; by one spirit we were baptized into one body of Christ.
Paul, in his analogy, went further to say that God has arranged the different parts of the body to be mutually interdependent and necessary for the existence of the entire body. Some parts which seem to be weaker are indispensable. The parts which people consider less honourable are invested with greater honour; the unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty which our presentable parts do not require. God created the body that there might be no discord, if one member suffers, all suffer together, if one member is honoured, all rejoice together. In the same way, in the body of Christ (that is the church); God has appointed apostles, prophets, teachers, workers of miracles, healers, administrators and speakers in various kinds of tongues. All must use their gifts to the glory of God and for the growth of the church.
The Significance Of Paul’s Teaching On Spiritual Gifts
i. Since the human body is one so are we who have been baptized by one Spirit into the body of Christ, the church should therefore act and behave as one united by the church.
ii. In the church, there should be no discrimination of people’s contribution in the overall good of the church.
iii. No member should feel proud for his talent or contribution in the overall good of the church.
iv. There should be no racial discrimination in the church; no black, no white, no Yoruba, Hausa or Igbo, all the people should be seen as one in the body of Christ.
Functions Of Spiritual Gifts To The Church
i. They are meant for the good of the entire church community.
ii. They are to promote good relationship among Christians in the community of faith.
iii. It helps to make the church remain united.
iv. They are given to the church to glorify the name of God.
Making Use of Individual Talents (Romans 12:3 – 8)
Paul, in his teachings on the use of individual gifts, enjoined individual members of the church to use the gift for the betterment of the church as the body of Christ and to the glory of God. People should be sober and exercise high sense of humility in their dealings with one another. People’s gifts differ according to the grace given them by God.
“Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; he who teaches, in his teaching; he who extorts, in his exhortation; he who contributes, in liberality; he who gives aid, with zeal; he who does acts of Mercy, with cheerfulness.”
People should endeavour to serve humanity with the gift of God has given them to the best of their ability and knowledge, all to the glory of God.
Ways Individual Talents Can Be Applied In The Churches
i. Those that possess the gifts of good voice for singing are specially endowed by God to praise Him in songs and Psalms; they are given special honour in the church to perform with this gift to the glory of God.
ii. The art of teaching is also a special talent from God. Those that have the talent of teaching should organise Bible lectures with the approval of the church leaders.
iii. Those endowed with wealth can contribute meaningfully to the projects of the church.
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Take a quick test for this lesson
i. What does Paul teach concerning the use of individual talent?. In what two ways can this teaching be applied in Christian living today?
ii. From Paul’s list of nine spiritual gifts, name six which are manifested in the church today. Indicate how any three of them are seen in action.
iii. Explain what Paul called so gift in 1Corinthians and how he likened them to human body. What is the significance of this teaching to the church?
iv. What advice did Paul give on the use of individual talents in his epistle to the Romans? Identify two ways of applying your talents.
v. What is Paul’s advise in his epistle to the Romans on the use of individual talents?. Identify three functions of spiritual gifts.
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