Q&A: Spiritual Gifts for All Believers

Spiritual Gifts for All Believers

Why is it important to know that the Holy Spirit gives spiritual gifts to all believers?

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Answer

It's especially important that we recognize the Holy Spirit gives spiritual gifts to all believers because It's important for us to realize that the Holy Spirit gives spiritual gifts to all believers to keep us humble and to keep us dependent upon one another. That seems to have been forgotten by the church in Corinth. Paul has to use the body of Christ imagery in a very powerful way in 1 Corinthians 12, on the one hand, to rebuke those with high-visibility ministries who may think that they don't need the other members of the body who have very low-visibility spiritual gifts. Paul says the eye cannot say to hand, "I have no need of you," nor can the head say to the feet, "I have no need of you." We need all the members of the body. By the same token, those who may not have highly-visible spiritual gifts — teaching, leadership — may be tempted to think, I have nothing to contribute to the body. And Paul uses that analogy there too as he talks about a foot who says, "Because I'm not a hand I don't belong to the body at all." And that may tempt us to be reluctant to serve, or passive, only receiving other's service; whereas, if we remember that God gives gifts through the Spirit to all the members of the body, we honor every member of the body, we glorify God for his wisdom in putting every member in just the right place, and we're humbled enough to know how much we need one another.

Answer by Dr. Dennis E. Johnson

Dr. Dennis E. Johnson is Academic Dean and Professor of Practical Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in California.