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Most Christians commonly use the word “gifts” of the holy spirit to describe what the Bible calls “manifestations” of the holy spirit, and this causes problems in Christianity. Why? Because words have definitive meanings. That’s how language and understanding is made possible.
“Manifestation” does not mean “gift.” A gift is individually given, and no one has a gift unless it was given to him. A manifestation is an evidence, a showing forth, of something that a person already has.
When the manifestations are thought to be individual “gifts” that some get and others don’t, then that causes Christians to become spiritually passive. Instead of realizing that they can utilize all nine manifestations, some believers wait on God, hoping that one day He will give them the “gift” of tongues.
Other believers who would love to heal people wait for the power to heal. These people are waiting for something they already have! They may even fast for days, pray for hours on end pleading with and begging God, and then end up disappointed with Him for not answering their prayers.
Christians need to know that they have received the power of holy spirit, and that God is waiting for them to act. They must move their mouths and speak in tongues, or use their voice to prophesy, open their heart and listen to God speak words of knowledge and wisdom to them, stretch forth their hands to heal, all with faith in the power that God has already provided. Take action!
Why is the word “gifts” of the holy spirit used so much if that is not the right word to use?
Because the theology of Bible translators is in large part responsible for people thinking that the manifestations of the spirit are gifts. This problem is propounded by the inaccurate tranlslations of 1 Cor 12:7-11 where it reads "...for to one gift is given, ... for to another...".
Notice how often the word “gift,” “gifts,” or “gifted” appears in most translations of 1 Corinthians 12-14. Yet oddly not one of these uses of “gift” is in the Greek text.
1 Corinthians 12:1a: Now concerning spiritual “gifts”, brethren...”
1 Corinthians 13:2a: If I have “the gift of” prophecy….”
1 Corinthians 14:1: Follow after charity and desire spiritual “gifts”…
1 Corinthians 14:12: …forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual “gifts”…
It is easy to see why the average Christian thinks of prophecy and the other manifestations as “spiritual gifts.” It is difficult to read the Bible and come away with an accurate understanding of it when the translators have allowed their theology to distort the clear reading of the text. Also, Greek is a very rich language and sometimes it takes an entire sentence in English to translate one word in Greek. For the most part, the translators have done a good job with a very difficult task.
One good thing about the King James Version, American Standard Version, and New American Standard Version is that the translators italicized many words that are not in the Hebrew or Greek text, but which they added in an attempt to clarify what they thought a verse says. In modern English literature words are sometimes italicized for emphasis. A Christian reading those versions needs to remember that the italicized words are not being emphasized, they were added to the original text and do not exist!
Furthermore, the word “manifestations” points to the fact that we are dealing with outward evidences of something, which in this case is the single gift of holy spirit. So if speaking in tongues, etc., are manifestations of the gift, then everyone with the gift has the ability to manifest it. If you a born again Christian, then you have holy spirit, and with it comes the power of its nine manifestations just like the Apostle Paul explained it in 1 Cor 12:1-11.
In conclusion, it is important to use the word “manifestations” rather than “gifts” when referring to speaking in tongues, interpretation, prophecy, word of knowledge, etc. That is the wording Paul used when he was inspired by God to write the letter to the Corinthians, and we are always on solid ground when we get as close as we can to the original language of the Bible.
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About your Holy Spirit Teacher:
Pastor Daniel Sweet is the President and founder of God's Word First. He is an ordained minister, expert on holy spirit manifestations and a world renowned author on the subject of Leadership.
He and his wife, Debbra Sweet have overseen the growth and development of multiple in home fellowships and have been instrumental in helping many people world wide come to the knowledge and truth of God’s Word.