on the energetic working of the Spirit

on the energetic working of the Spirit February 4, 2021

What is the Holy Ghost working in our gathering in this moment?  In a way, these are temporary Gifts, available to anyone in the worship setting as the Spirit directs, and as each person is willing.

I know it’s been a little while, but this is actually the second in a series of articles on the Gifts of the Spirit from the first eleven verses of 1 Corinthians 12.  The first article is:

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about my method

There are many scholars exploring the Gifts of the Spirit, Pentecostal and otherwise.  However, Pentecostals have found a seat at the table of the greater dialogue of scholarship in the last fifty years or so . . . and we’re not going anywhere.  So the authors I’m citing are from various streams, but they are also within the current of Classical Pentecostalism.

I have often found that the very best statements are clear and concise.  So I’ve selected quotes that succinctly define each Gift.  I have also limited the amount of scholars for a few reasons.

Some Theologians will categorize the various lists.  This is a study of the first part of 1 Corinthians 12.  I believe it stands on its own.  I do not want to add categories when the Apostle Paul does not.

Furthermore, it is artificial to try to dissect each Gift on its own when multiple Gifts can be in operation at the same time in any given worship setting.  However, for the sake of this teaching, each of the nine Gifts of the Spirit are briefly explored.

We’ve covered the first three already.

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Now let’s consider the next three.

to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy (1 Corinthians 12.9-10, NRSV)

iv. Gifts of Healing

Dennis Bennett says, “The gifts of healing are for the supernatural curing of injuries, handicaps, and diseases without the aid of natural means or human skills.”[1]

The Holy Spirit can instantly heal or cause the healing processes in the body to speed up.  Healing is unexplainable physical improvement.

The Spirit heals as the needs arise.  “He [Holy Spirit] provides a new ministry of healing for each need as it arises in the Church . . . There is no evidence that the apostles were able to heal whenever they felt like it by some resident power of healing.”[2]  We do not see any one Apostle who is called a Faith Healer or has Healing Ministry.

This means healing is available to everyone, not a select few.  In fact, the Gifts of Healing are often activated as more than one Christian binds together in prayer.

Rosie Fraser | Oxford, United Kingdom | unsplash | 03.12.18

I always like to add that with healing, we often see this mystery of God at work in our medical communities and in various helping professions.

v. Working of Miracles

Stanley Horton says, “‘Miracles’ is the plural of the word power in Acts 1:8, but in the plural it means deeds of mighty, supernatural power that go beyond anything man can do.”[3]

So the root word for miracles is the same root word for power . . . dunamis.  We trace our English terms like dynamic, dynamite, etc. back to dunamis or dynamis.  This is the raw power or virtue of God, often present in the Gospel stories of healing.

Miracles are a display of the power of God.  They defy the laws of nature.  I’ll offer a couple explanations.

  1. First of all, a healing is a form of a miracle, but a miracle does not have to be a healing.  For example the parting of the Red Sea is a miracle that defies the laws of nature, but it is not a healing.
  2. The second explanation is that if a person cuts their finger and the Holy Ghost restores it immediately through prayer, then it’s a healing.  However, if the person cuts their finger off, and the Spirit grows a new one, then it’s a miracle.  It’s against the laws of nature.

There is room for both explanations if the first explanation is accepted first.  The second explanation would be an example of how healing operates within the greater realm of the miraculous.

the working . . .

There is a descriptor for miracles that should not be overlooked.  The word working is the Greek term energema.  It’s a noun.  The etymology of our term energy is traced back to this Greek word family.  The word energema can be translated as the operation itself, the work being wrought, a working.

This particular form of the word is only used one other time in the New Testament, right here in this Passage.

and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. 1 Corinthians 12.6

The noun activities is also the Greek word energema.  Therefore, this is not only a list of the Gifts of the Spirit.  The Gifts are also the energetic working of the Spirit.

Furthermore, the Gifts, the varieties of energetic working, are for everyone.  No one is excluded from any of the Gifts on this particular list, because the Spirit activates all of them in everyone.

Unfortunately, there is a tendency among Pentecostals and Charismatics to ask each other, “What’s your Gift?”  However, this particular Gifts list is not some type of Churchy personality test.

There is a better question we can ask.  What is the Holy Ghost working in our gathering in this moment?  In a way, these are temporary Gifts, available to anyone in the worship setting as the Spirit directs, and as each person is willing.

The varieties of working of the Spirit are also available to all as He activates them in us (verse 6).  By implication, that means that the working of miracles is available to anyone (verse 10), as are the rest of the Gifts on this list.

vi. Prophecy

“The gift of prophecy is manifested when believers speak the mind of God, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and not from their own thoughts.”[4]

Prophecy doesn’t always predict the future.  It’s not always a foretelling, but it is a forth-telling.  It’s a word from the Lord.  Prophecy can be a specific word from the Lord, for specific groups and/or individuals.

Some purposes for prophecy include revealing hearts, marking progress, convicting us, directing us, etc.  There are various methods of prophecy.  A prophecy can be spoken out during the worship setting and in groups.

A sermon can also be a prophecy.  In effect, a prophecy is a right now word, to a specific people, in a specific place, at a specific time.  Since that is the nature of the prophetic, then every Sunday morning it’s possible that countless Pastors around the globe deliver a specific word, to their specific flocks, in specific places, at specific times.

“The gift was available to any member of the congregation, not just to those who had a regular ministry as prophets.”[5]  Let’s think about this.  Anyone can prophesy.

Does your worship leader ever stop between songs to offer a little exhortation?  Has your children’s minister ever met you at the door to encourage you as you pick up your children after service?  Does someone feel led to pray and share a thought in the worship setting?  Does your small group leader thoughtfully answer your question?  How do you know your question wasn’t like a prayer?  How do you know the small group leader didn’t tune-in to your voice and also hear the answer from the Spirit at the same moment?

Are you always chasing a thunderous word from a prophetic personality, or are you aware of all the subtle ways God speaks to you?

What is the Holy Ghost working in our gathering in this moment? 

Joseph Castleberry and others on the spoken word CLICK HERE

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[1] Dennis J. Bennett, Holy Spirit And You (Orlando, FL: Bridge-Logos Publishers, 1987), 163.
[2] Stanley M. Horton, What the Bible Says About the Holy Spirit, Rev. ed. (Springfield, MO: Gospel Publishing House, 2005), 274.
[3] Horton, What The Bible Says About The Holy Spirit (Springfield, MO: Gospel Publishing House, 1997), 275.
[4] Bennett, 99.
[5] Horton, What the Bible Says About the Holy Spirit, Rev. ed., 276.

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