Beginner’s Guide to Spiritual Gifts (Storms)

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Thesis: Spiritual gifts aren’t “stuff” but God himself working in us.

NT terminology:

Charisma(ta): it is a gracious work God has bestowed.

Pneumatikon: spirituals/spiritual things

Diakoinia: the purpose for spiritual gifts.

Energema: effects; gifts are concrete operations.

The prophecy of Joel says that the gifts would be given to all, not simply to those who hold an office or specific gift of x.

Gifts are not given to authenticate a message (at least not primarily).  Gifts are other-directed. They are for service.

>>Spiritual gifts vary in intensity and accuracy (1 Cor. 14:18; 2 Tim. 1:6).

Words of Wisdom:  to what degree is supernatural knowledge different from regular prophesy?  The NT isn’t quite clear but we have some precedents. Jesus knew the thoughts of scribes.  Words of wisdom seem to be knowing the thoughts of others, whereas prophecy is a revelation from God.

James’s use of Elijah counters the argument that miracles are “clustered.”  The point from quoting Elijah is that this is what you are supposed to do.

As to the Trophimus argument, even if the canon was completed and the gift had ceased (which doesn’t work in the cessationist timeline), the cessationist has to explain why Epaphroditus and Timothy weren’t healed.  In fact, Storms argues that if Paul were so distressed that he couldn’t heal Epaphroditus, he wouldn’t have drawn the same conclusion that cessationists do.

Healing is a divine mercy (Phil. 2:27).  It shouldn’t be viewed as a right. Those cessationists who say that healers should go into hospitals simply don’t know what they are talking about.

As to working miracles:  Paul’s actual word is “powers,” which has a very different nuance.  It’s also why the Eastern fathers called miracle workers “thaumaturge,” which is much closer in concept to the original.


Prophecy has three elements: 1) the revelation itself; 2) the interpretation of what has been disclosed; 3) application of that interpretation.  This reframes the problem of fallible prophecy. This is no more problematic than preaching an infallible word.

Some notes on tongues:

>If tongues are a sign to unbelievers, as some who reference Isaiah argue, then why does Paul counsel against their use when unbelievers are present?

>If tongues were always in a human language, then why would there need to be the gift of interpretation?  Anyone who was multilingual could suffice.  

>If someone who speaks in a tongue speaks to God and not men (1 Cor. 14:2), then why does it need to be in a foreign language?

>>And if they were in a foreign language, then an unbeliever who entered would not conclude they were mad, but highly educated.


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