Are the Gifts of the Spirit more like guidelines?

Thanks, @Jesse_Means_God_Exists. I agree every believer does not have the gift of tongues, but I think it is available to every believer via the baptism of the Holy Ghost.

I ask for a few reasons, which I will get into in a minute.

I actually think there are plenty of women who like to wear jewelry to show their status in today’s world. One need only watch the commercials during February to see this. It’s even stated, “a diamond is a girls best friend.” Then there are the women who wear rings on almost all their fingers. So I don’t think that went away.

As far as 1 Cor. 12 goes, I read the reason he wrote that letter was because the church there specifically wanted to get Paul’s thoughts on the Spiritual Gifts. It brings a new meaning when Paul starts in chapter 12, “about the Spiritual Gifts, I do not want you to be uneducated”.

As far as why I bring up this topic, it is mostly to do with the previous thread, but also, I have devoted a lot of thought in my study of 1 Cor. 12.

This will sound possibly like heresy to the church of the Pentecostals, but I believe the order of gifts goes from least important to most, or at least lest spiritual to most. The key verse for my undertanding here is the association between tongues and the parts of the body we cover up being more honorable. I know people who may have the gift of knowledge but do not have the gift of tongues. I also think different people have different levels of sensitivity to the Spirit.

Anyways, those are some thoughts.


Leah I believe just as you do about the gifts of the Spirit, and Holy Spirit baptism scriptures teach that progression.

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Interesting thoughts, @Jesse_Means_God_Exists. The last example you shared sounds like the leading of the Spirit like @rpage and @psalm151ls described earlier. It’s amazing to think how God directs our steps in so many ways and with such intricacy! He is a personal Savior!! Like you, I’m blessed when I have moments of realization that God has orchestrated the details of my life.

I was talking with a friend today who is Pentecostal, and she did not think that the baptism of the Holy Ghost was a prerequisite for the gifts of the Holy Spirit other than for the gift of tongues. So, there are different trains of thought on it for sure. Thank the Lord He gave us His word so we can each continue reading and learning.

A few months back on Connect, Michelle Tepper @Michelle_Tepper was the RZIM staff fielding questions for the week, and in response to a question she suggested a book called “Holy Fire: A Balanced, Biblical Look at the Holy Spirit’s Work in Our Lives” by R. T. Kendall. I don’t have this book but sure would like to get it.



This is really good stuff! Is this from a book with the tilte listed at the beginning of your post?

Sorry Laurie I was trying to give a link and it didn’t work “should have been more clear about where resource came from” I copy pasted info to read. You can look up that title on the web.
Discovering your God given gifts is another book with in depth info on the subject.


This is really interesting for me for a number of reasons.

First, I think a church said I had the Gist of Discernment before I had the Gift of Tongues. Secondly, I was actually by myself praying when I first got the Gift of Tongues. IDK what the protocol is for Tongues, but I assumed you needed to be prayed for in the laying of hands to receive that gift. I do not remember if I had been prayed for in the laying of hands recently before the gift, but I know my friend prayed for me to receive that gift earlier, but It didn’t happen then. It wasn’t until I was by myself praying by myself that I just tried to speak in tongues and after a little bit of trying it just became automatic at a certain point.

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Hi, @Jesse_Means_God_Exists, yes, our God is quite awesome this way. I have heard these things from Christians many times. Since we share one and the same Spirit, though he gives many different gifts, we all share common spiritual experiences like that. When it happens, it’s important to go to the Lord and pray on it. It is promised in the Bible that the Holy Spirit would teach us (John 14:26). That is a benefit all believers have in the Spirit.

As far as how coincidences work out, I would just thank God for His grace and not think too much on it. Sometimes it’s just how life goes, sometimes it is our heavenly Father’s provident care for us at that point, but it is not something that I would think would be attributed to spiritual gifts. The Bible does not speak to those experiences as being the result of any spiritual gift, and so I think that is something we probably should not venture to do. I’ve seen too many Christians go down that road, and the problem is that it leads to changes in their theology from serving a sovereign God that is in control to being in control themselves and being able to manipulate God. One thing that separates our God from many other gods is His inability to be manipulated.

Thanks for the great conversation! This was a great question!


Hey, there, @Jesse_Means_God_Exists. I hear what you are saying, but while women may wear a lot of jewelry today, and it’s stated that many of them like jewelry a lot (diamonds are a girl’s best friend), that isn’t really the same thing as being a cultural sign of social status. Those are two different things. When we go out in public there are any number of women wearing jewelry, and one cannot today usually properly judge a person’s social status or wealth just by looking at the jewelry someone is wearing. Though that may be the case every now and then, it is not the norm, and therefore, it is not at all a cultural social status marker. The cultural marker in biblical days made the status very, very obvious. That isn’t something that is really ingrained in our culture today. Again, the fact that women love jewelry and so it’s on a lot of commercials advertising is not the same thing as jewelry being a cultural social status marker. Even if it was, that doesn’t really undermine what I was explaining as to the fact that the particular passage I brought up was speaking to cultural factors. The purpose for bringing that passage up was for comparison with the passage about the gifts.

As far as why Paul wrote the Corinthian letter, especially chapter 12, the Corinthians were not simply wanting to know more about the gifts. Studying the chapter in it’s proper context, we will see that it is much more than that. Paul was dealing with very immature believers in Corinth who were still very much ingrained in the culture of the day, even in how they went about “doing church.” It is important, when studying a particular passage to look at what came before and what comes after (context) and to view that in the light of the whole book in which it resides–as well as to check our understanding of it with the rest of the Bible’s teaching. We can’t hope to fully understand what is going on in a passage by just looking at that passage outside of its context. So we see in chapter 11 the social problems that were involved with the Lord’s Supper. This was creating divisions. Headed into chapter 12, Paul deals with another problem that is causing division: the gifts of the Spirit. In the pagan culture at that time, people ranked each other and pulled rank for honor according to their abilities, trying to outdo each other. They were doing this with the gifts, and it was creating division. Paul does give a ranking of gifts, but only after explaining that those that are less “glamorous” are to be given the most honor, because the ones that are out in the open are already obviously honored (note, this verse has nothing to do with ranking the gifts but changing perspective as to what is to be considered honorable and given honor). Then he moves on to the 13th chapter to say that regardless of the gift that they have, if they are not using it in love and compassion (as they were not–they were using them to promote self-interests), then it has no value. Paul needed to educate the Corinthians about the gifts because they had no understanding of the gifts and how they were supposed to use their gifts together as a body for the purpose of promoting the gospel and helping each other grow–not for the purpose of competing.

Paul’s ranking of the gifts goes according to the authority he put in the gifts. Apostles had special authority in regard to teaching and preaching of the gospel and were therefore named first. Teaching and prophecy are then listed because they edify the body and carry authority when in line with God’s Word in a way that promotes and preaches the application of the truth of the gospel in people’s lives. Paul listed these so that those gifts that are most important for keeping order in the church and preserving proper doctrine and teaching people how to live out their faith are given proper place and authority.

The main thrust Paul is making here, though, is that the ranking of the gifts is not as important as recognizing the necessity and importance of all gifts, that they are given by the good grace of God through the same Spirit and are not to be held up as signs of personal status or honor. They are for edifying others and glorifying God. As far as Pentecostals go, they are less concerned about ranking than proper use of the gifts (i.e., people aren’t supposed to just stand up and just start speaking tongues out of order, interrupting someone else --Paul gives instruction to that, and there are some Pentecostal churches who do not heed that, but there is to be a balance between the leading of the Spirit and order. That is clearly biblical since Paul teaches it. Furthermore, interrupting someone else violates the gifts functioning in love, for the Bible states that love is not rude).

Yes, different people do have different levels of sensitivity to the Spirit, but that is relevant to their growth in their relationship with the Lord-not to gifting. The leading of the Spirit is for everyone (Jesus and Paul both teach this), not just for some especially gifted people, so it would not be biblical to attribute that to gifts.

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A few things.

First, I totally understand how you can see what I am saying as being a “slippery slope” in terms of naming some Spiritual Gifts as not mentioned in the Bible. I understand that things can get really weird sometimes such as making animal noises and such. That is not my intention to forward those types of things. Further, I do not believe it is my job to label my own Spiritual Gifts. I believe that job is for the authorities in my own church. To my knowledge, my pastor has said I have the Gift of Discernment and the gift of Evangelism. But as he describes it, the Gifts are how you have demonstrated service in the Body of Christ and there may be more Gifts I might have. But he also said not to focus so much on what the names are and to just focus on how you can serve the Body. So I believe we are both of one mind here.

But there is a disagreement I make in something you said which I will pose as a question to see how you answer: Why do you think some women like diamonds? Is it not because the represent a certain status? What is there to adore in a stone?

Well, first, unless we asked every woman, we can’t give an answer to that and make that judgment. I can’t speak for all women. I am only one. Most of my lady friends who like diamonds like diamonds because they think they are pretty (a lot of my lady friends do not like diamonds at all; it depends on someone’s preferences). It’s wrong to assume that because some women like jewelry, they like to show off status. If we did that, then we could say that anything anyone liked was because they thought it showed off status, which simply isn’t true. Though I understand it isn’t your intention, that is making a blanket statement about those women that is logically incorrect and actually quite wrongful judgment. I like the little diamonds in my engagement and wedding rings. It has nothing to do with status and everything to do with the fact that I think they are pretty, and the ones in my wedding ring aren’t even real! So…I would tread very carefully here.

I took human services which involved taking sociology and cultural classes. The way social class status markers were judged was by how things were used within a social context, not by trying to guess or judge someone’s motive for using them, because that really isn’t possible without erring, no matter which way anyone wants to look at it, and causes assumptions and judgments to be made which could cause great harm.

That being said, though, I failed to mention that in some cultures, jewelry may still be a status marker. Regardless, whether or not it is a cultural marker today in different places has no bearing on the fact that it is, indeed, a cultural symbol/behavior/taboo in the passage- because of what biblical scholars know about the times and culture-and kind of takes us away from the focus and purpose of our conversation.

As far as the authorities in the church having responsibility to label gifts, that really isn’t stated in the Bible. Our gifts are confirmed by others in the church but not necessarily labeled by them. Though I don’t really have anything against that, necessarily, I would not personally submit to that simply because there is nothing biblical that supports it and because I have seen church leaders seriously err and cause serious problems with that.

Well, these are pretty much my last thoughts. I think others had great thoughts, too, on the subject, and I think I have exhausted my knowledge here, ha. I don’t think anything else I could say would be helpful or fruitful. You had a great question, and this was a great conversation. Thanks for that! I’ll be looking forward to seeing more questions and posts from you!