Saturday, August 27, 2011

Spiritual Gifts: Chapter 4.4 - The Gift of Evangelist , by Jay Quine

The baptism of the eunuch by Rembrandt, 1626, ...Rembrandt, 1626 Baptism of the Eunuch by Philip, posted by Jay Quine

The word “evangelist” comes from the same word that is translated “good news” or “gospel” (euangellion).[1] The evangelist is specially gifted in communicating the good news of salvation -- the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The word is only found two places in the New Testament—describing Philip in Acts 21:8, and in Paul’s instruction to Timothy to do the work of an evangelist in 2 Timothy 4:5.

But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

As a pastor/teacher, Timothy was to take and make opportunities to explain the gospel message. The passage implies that there are evangelists who are specifically gifted by God who do this work, whom Timothy is to imitate.

Let’s look at one example of a gifted evangelist. Philip is called an evangelist in Acts 21:8, but we see him in operation in Acts 8:26-40. After preaching successfully in Samaria, Philip is instructed by the Lord,

“Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.

Philip went south and was given an opportunity to share the gospel with a traveler.

So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candice, queen on the Ethiopians. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the book of Isaiah the prophet. The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”

Notice next how Philip takes an evangelistic advantage of the situation. He asks a probing, opening question.

Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.

“How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

The directness of Philip’s question has often surprised me. He held nothing back—when right for it and challenged the person in need of salvation. This is a sign of an evangelist—the recognition of the need of sinners, and the insight to probe and gently yet directly force the issue. His values reflect a low regard for acceptance, but priority for influence.

The beauty of the Lord’s direction is evident when we examine the passage that the Ethiopian was reading. Isaiah 52:13—53:12 is one of the clearest passages in the Old Testament which speaks to the suffering and death of Christ for our sins. Philip, who obviously knew Scripture, used the very passage the Ethiopian was reading to explain the gospel.

The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?”

Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.”

After the Ethiopian’s conversion Philip evangelized in every city up the coast until arriving in Caesarea. He settled in that Roman outpost and continued his ministry.


1) The gift of evangelist is given today, as seen with the instruction to Timothy to do that kind of work.

2) It involves insightfully and clearly sharing the gospel with unbelievers.

3) It is marked by one with an overwhelming passion to see people saved.

The three gifts of Apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher are the foundation gifts God gives. Their purpose is for the discovery and development of other gifts God entrusts to others.

[1]Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich and Danker, Greek-English Lexicon, p. 317-18.

Spiritual Gifts: Chapter 4.3 - The Gift of Pastor/Teacher, by Jay Quine

Christ's Charge to Peter by Raphael, 1515. In ...Charge to Peter: "Shepherd My sheep." posted by Jay Quine

The word translated “pastor” is the word for “shepherd.”[1] A pastor is a shepherd of a flock of God’s people, serving under Jesus who is called the “chief shepherd” (1 Peter 5:4). In John 21, Jesus instructs the pastor/shepherd to feed the sheep.

To “feed the sheep” meant to teach them. A pastor is a teacher, as indicated by the grammatical construction in Ephesians 4:11 which really describe not two but one “pastor-teacher.”[2] A pastor is gifted in instructing others in ways of righteousness. A pastor is one who is sensitively concerned for the spiritual growth of the Lord’s people. He is gifted in encouraging others to live a life pleasing to the Lord, no matter what the circumstances.

What separates the pastor from a teacher who isn’t a pastor is leadership. From a close examination of several words used in the New Testament for leadership, we see that the pastor is also an elder and also an overseer of the church. This can be seen if we apply a little algebra!

In a quadratic formula, if A = B, and B = C, then what is the relationship between A and C? (take you time… … …). Okay, I’ll tell you—they’re equal. So, let’s apply that to the role of pastor-teacher as an elder and overseer of the church.

A = B

Elder = Overseer, according to Titus 1:5, 7

The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you…Since an overseer is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless…

B = C

Overseer = Teacher, as seen in 1 Timothy 3:1-2

If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach.

So, according to algebra, certain elders are also teachers. This is confirmed in 1 Timothy 5:17.

The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.

Let’s try again. Since certain elders (A) are also teachers (B):

A = B

Elders = Teachers, from 1 Timothy 5:17, and

B = C

Teacher = Pastor, from the grammatical construction in Ephesians 4:11, we would expect there to be an identity between the office of elder and gift of pastor. Not surprisingly, we find it in 1 Peter 5:1-2.

To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: be shepherds of God’s flock that is in your care, serving as overseers—not because you must but because you are willing.


1) The gifts of pastor-teacher and teacher are given today, to

2) shepherd others in the ways of God, through the teaching, guiding, and application the word,

3) with a passion to see believers nourished and grow in Christ.

4) The pastor is also serves as an overseer and elder of a local church.

Certain core values would accompany the gift of pastor-teacher. These decision shaping values influence the decisions of the one endowed with such a gift. Let’s look at how Timothy led his life.

It was likely Timothy’s gift was that of pastor-teacher. Encouraging his pastoral duties, Paul wrote him. “Until I come, give attention to the reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching. Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you.” (1Timothy 4:13-14) He was to “be ready to preach to word, in season and out of season.” (2Timothy 4:2) Likewise, embedded in 1 and 2 Timothy are words to encourage his pastoral leadership. Timothy was a servant of God, entrusted with the gift of pastor-teacher.

His values fit with his gift. Although he likely struggled with the desire for things of the world, his values would mature. He was to lead the disciplined life of a soldier or an athlete (2Timothy 2:3-5). His values would reflect a low need for physical comfort, and high priority toward those values reflecting a need to enhance the lives of others.

[1]See poimen, in Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich and Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, University of Chicago Press, 1979 p. 684.

[2]See Hoehner, Ephesians, pp. 543-44 where, after observing the one article for the two gifts joined by the “and” (kai) as explicative (“pastors, that is teachers”), he concludes that even if two separate groups, one is a subset of the other. In other words, all pastors are to be teachers, but not all teachers are pastors.

Spiritual Gifts: Chapter 4.2 - The Gift of Prophet, by Jay Quine

The Prophecy of Agabus by Louis CheronProphecy of Agabus, by Louis Cheron, posted by Jay Quine
Your Gifts, Your Values -- Quine

In both the Old and New Testaments, a “prophet” had two characteristics. Not only could they occasionally foretell events, but was more involved in simply forthtelling a message from God. But it is the predictive aspect which especially distinguishes this from other proclamation gifts (e.g. teaching, pastor, evangelism, exhortation).

The prophet as a forthteller:

1 Corinthians 14:3 indicates that prophets were involved in “edification, exhortation, and encouragement.” One Lexicon defines a “prophet” as one who expounds or preaches under the influence of the Holy Spirit.”[1]

The prophet as a foreteller:

Clearly, the Old Testament prophet was more than a teacher. In its warning to those who claim to be prophets, Deuteronomy 18:20-22 seems to expect the aspect of prediction.

When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not follow, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken.

Prophecy was more than edification and exhortation. It involved supernatural revelation, and even prediction.

Few passages in the New Testament describe the function of the prophet. Acts 19:6 mentions that upon the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, John’s disciples prophesied. However what they said is not specifically mentioned. The same is true for Philip’s daughters who were described as “prophetesses” in Acts 21:9. However, clearly Agabus foretold both a famine (Acts 11:27-28) and Paul’s arrest upon his return to Jerusalem (Acts 21:10). Therefore, just as in the Old Testament, the predictive element seems to be part of this gift.

The gift of prophecy is second in rank only to the apostles as gifts given priority over the others (1 Corinthians 12:28-29). Also like the gift of apostle, the gift of prophecy is mentioned in Ephesians 2:20 as the other foundation gift given to the church. Like the gift of apostle, once the foundation of the church was laid the gift of prophecy was no longer needed.


1) A New Testament prophet functioned similarly to the Old Testament prophets.

2) Prophets not only spoke about God’s revelation, but spoke new revelation, including predictions of the future.

3) The gift was to be given high priority over the other gifts (since prophecy edified the church, 1Cor 14:4).

4) The gift was for establishing a foundation for the church so passed off the scene once that foundation was laid. Because of this foundational aspect, the gift of Prophet is not included in the spiritual gift assessment survey explained in this book.

[1] Liddell and Scott, Lexicon, pp. 1539-40.

Spiritual Gifts: Chapter 4.1 - Spiritual Steroids, by Jay Quine

Ministry of the Apostles, a complex multi-figu...Ministry of the Apostles, posted by Quine
Your Gifts, Your Values -- Quine

What is the worst gift you have ever received? It doesn’t take me long to think of the one on the top of my list. It was our first Christmas after we were married. My wife’s mother, my mother-in-law, gave me a present. We were in my in-law’s home, all the extended family and grand kids gathered around the tree, as I unwrapped a sugar bowl of our china. My first thought was Christian enough; “Lord, what in heaven’s name is it?” My mother-in-law explained, “I wanted to make sure you had a complete set of your china.” We still don’t.

From my unbiased perspective, this was a useless gift. We have used it maybe three times in all our years of marriage. It sits in our cupboard. By the time we pull it out to use it again the sugar has gone from a sedimentary to the metamorphic rock stage. To me it is worse than useless: it adds little to our life (but for more frustration) and takes up space in our home.

The same is true for some Christians and their spiritual gifts. God has given each of us one or more spiritual gifts, but many set them in the cupboard of their lives, only to bring them out to be used on rare occasions—and even then only after extensive cleaning first! In effect, all they do is take up space as their gifts grow harder and harder over time. Let’s examine the spiritual gifts to end stagnation for us!

Ephesians 4:14-16

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Let’s look at some of these “parts.”

The gift of “Apostle”

Originally, the word “apostle” was used for ships being sent out for cargo or on military expeditions. It was rarely used of people, until in the New Testament where it is used commonly for the twelve who witnessed the resurrection of Christ, and where Paul referred to those who, as delegates of Jesus Christ, were sent to propagate the message of salvation and start new local churches.[1] While the root word includes the concept of “being sent out,” it focuses on being a representative and not necessarily physical travel. This is borne out by the fact that the Twelve Apostles mostly remained in Jerusalem (Acts 8:1). There they continued to function as ambassadors for Jesus Christ.

The New Testament sets forth clear requirements to be an Apostle. In the Gospels many were called disciples but only a select group of them were called “apostles.” Matthew 10:2 identifies them as the “twelve apostles.” The book of Acts also calls them “the apostles.” For example, when Matthias was picked in Acts 1:21-26, “he was numbered with the eleven apostles.” Two requirements had to be met: 1) to have accompanied Jesus during his earthly ministry, and 2) to be an eyewitness of His resurrection (compare 1 Cor 9:1-2).

Verification that one was an apostle was the ability to perform miraculous signs and wonders (2 Cor 12:12). Besides the twelve, Paul and Barnabas are called apostles in Acts 14:4 and 14. Clearly Paul meets the requirement of seeing the resurrected Jesus, since he met Him in Acts 9 on the highway to Damascus. The first two Chapters of Galatians is spent validating Paul’s apostleship. But we don’t have the confirming evidence demonstrating why Barnabas is called an apostle. We must presume he met the requirements. However, it is important to note that no other mortal man is clearly called an apostle.

The gift of apostle was one of the foundation gifts for the church (Eph 2:20). Once a foundation was is laid it did not need to be laid again. Other materials (in this case gifts) are laid upon it. It is likely then that the gift of an apostle was only bestowed by God at the beginning, the foundation, of the church age.

A great example of a person with the gift of apostle is Peter. Peter met all the requirements. Certainly he meets the qualification of seeing the Lord, both during His earthly ministry, and after His resurrection. Peter also performed innumerable signs and wonders, as Acts 5:12-15 indicates.

The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by.

Not only did he walk with Jesus personally, perform signs and wonders, but Peter clearly served as an ambassador and representative of the Lord, as the meaning of “apostle” would indicate. In Acts 10 Peter was sent by God to witness to a Gentile named Cornelius. Upon arriving at his house he explains to Cornelius, “God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?”

Cornelius answers, “I sent for you immediately, and it was good for you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.”

Peter was sent to take the message from the Lord Jesus to those people. He served as a representative or ambassador of the King. Clearly, Peter was an apostle.


1) Only the Twelve apostles, Barnabas and Paul are clearly apostles.

2) An Apostle had to be a direct witness of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

3) The sign of an Apostle was the ability to perform signs and wonders.

4) The gift of apostle was a foundation gift for the church. Because of this foundational aspect, the gift of Apostle is not included in the spiritual gift assessment survey explained in this book.

[1]See Herald Hoehner’s explanation in Ephesians, An Exegetical Commentary, Baker Academic, 2002, pp. 134-25, and 540-42.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Spiritual Gifts: Chapter 3.3 - Use of Our "Talents"--The Responsible Use of Spiritual Gifts, by Jay Quine

How do you responsibly use your spiritual gift? Three things to consider. The first is: Use them Purposefully.

Ephesians 4:7, 11-13

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it… It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Don’t miss some important observations. First, verse 7 reminds us that since they are given “according to the measure of Christ's gift” it is the Lord who is sovereign in giving the gifts. They are His, and we are only bailees of them!

Second, this is a partial list (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers). Verse 12 tells us the purpose of these four gifts is to prepare God’s people for works of service. These four gifts are used to develop the other gifts in other people for mature works of service.

For example, I can’t read through a book like the book of Ephesians without getting excited! “Yes, thank you Lord for entrusting the Apostle Paul with the gift of an apostle.” I think of pastors and teachers who have taught me, and inspired me—inspired me to get up and stand up and serve the Lord with all that I am! So I say, “Yes, thank you Lord for gifting those people.”

This is true for everyone, for notice what Ephesians 4:16 says:

From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Gifts have their purpose. The four gifts mentioned in Ephesians 4 have as their purpose to rouse and ignite other gifts into action. The gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher are to mature the gifts in others. These others are thereby equipped or prepared to utilize what God has entrusted to them to do the work of the ministry by serving the body. Pastors are not the only ministers in church—each part of the body is as well! Different emphasis, different gifts, but all work together toward each other’s maturity. Through the exercise of the spiritual gift the pastor prepares others for service, but in turn needs the service of others to grow and mature. Each gift has its purpose.

Second, to responsibly use our gifts we must use them Properly.

1 Corinthians 12:7

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

This verse indicates a common goal even in great diversity of the gifts. Reading further, verses 27-31 shows equal importance yet priority:

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration and those speaking indifferent kinds of tongues.

Notice the priority. Which is first? Which is second? Which is third? Then, which are fourth—all the rest! It looks like this in this:

1st, 2nd, and 3rd then…

apostles miracles

prophets healing

teachers helps



The Corinthians had it backwards. They were all excited about the more flamboyant gifts like healing and tongues, to the neglect of the more foundational ones. They had the wrong priority. In the church, the proper function of the gifts is to focus on those which edify the others. Encourage, and support those who teach in your church—for (unless you have apostles and prophets in attendance!) they are our top priority gifts today!

Use spiritual gifts not only purposefully and properly, but, third:

Use them Powerfully.

Romans 12:6-8

We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

This is another partial list. The important thing is the description of how the person with one of these particular gifts is to use them—they are all followed by words of power!

It’s like playing an acoustic guitar. If you play an acoustic guitar in a large room, those close can hear it well. But if you put an electric pick-up on it and plug it into a high powered amp and speakers thousands can hear you. What Paul suggests is to use your gifts as if they are plugged in and amplified. He mentions several:


If your gift is prophecy, then with all your might, proclaim the revelation of God.


If serving then serve! as if you’re a high powered waiter working in a five star restaurant!


If you are gifted in teaching then take every opportunity to teach, and work at teaching with all you’ve got!


If you’re given to encouragement, then strengthen that gift so you make use of every opportunity and means to lift others up!


If you gifted in giving then build those giving muscles! Give with from every aspect of your heart and soul.


Lead with great diligence, if you’re a blessing to others in your leadership.


Rather than followed by a word of amplification, the person gifted in mercy is to use it with joy. Here lies the power in this gift—joy even when the person needing mercy is requiring extra grace!

Conclusion: The Best Present I Was Ever Given

What was the best present you’ve ever been given? One on the top of my list was a bicycle my parents gave me for Christmas when I was 14. I told them the model I wanted, knew where they could buy it, even told them the price! And low and behold, that Christmas morning, there it was—my first ten speed!

From that day on I rode that bike everywhere. Rarely again did I take the bus; I rode my bike to school. I rode to the store; I rode to the lake; I even rode that bike over 300 miles across the State of Washington on a five day bike-hike. If it can be said that you can wear out a bike, I did!

As a result of riding my bike my legs grew incredibly strong. I had powerful thighs. I became a decent runner—a good sprinter. It was because of my speed that when the time came for the basketball try-outs in high school I made the team, even though I hadn’t played much ball before. That gave me great confidence and taught me how to be part of a team. In my senior year I made the all city team, and was offered a scholarship from a school in California. Even though I didn’t play ball in college, it bolstered my confidence.

As a result of that bike I was brash enough to be adventurous and try new things. When I graduated from school I couldn’t find a job in the area I wanted, so I started my own business. When a position came open to teach at the University, I applied and told the Dean (in partial desperation), “You’ll be making a big mistake if you don’t hire me.” He hired me! I was 24 years old teaching business law. When the time came for me to decide go to seminary to study to be a pastor, I had the confidence to leave it all behind. Now I am a pastor, using the gifts God has entrusted to me—and I can trace it all back to the bicycle my parents gave me one Christmas!

How different my life would be if I didn’t ride that bike, or if I only used it once or twice! It is because I rode it into the ground that I developed the muscles needed for basketball, which resulted in confidence, and so much influence in my life.

Spiritual Gifts: Chapter 3.2 - God Trusts Us with Our Gifts, by Jay Quine

Your Gifts, Your Values -- Quine

Matthew 5:13

"You are the salt of the earth"

Have you ever tasted a sauce to see what it may need to make it better? I tried out a new recipe the other night on my wife. It was this sweet potato sort of stew thing. We sat down, tasted it. It was good. But there was just something mind was thinking, “would basal help? a little oregano? maybe rosemary.” But she simply said, “ It needs a little salt.”

I never think of salt. Just a little salt, the flavors came alive. Used in the right quantity, in the right way, salt makes things taste better. Salt makes things more attractive to the old taste buds. When the Lord said, “You are the salt of the earth,” He was saying that we should have a certain quality about us that makes Christ’s message attractive. It is through the function of our spiritual gifts that the Gospel can become attractive.

They didn’t have refrigeration in the ancient world as we do today, so they also used salt as a preservative. Salting meat or fish would allow them to be kept longer. When Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth” I believe He was not only saying we are to attract others to Him, but also that we preserve our society through the utilization of our spiritual gifts.

So, we may conclude from this verse:

Active believers preserve their society.

Active believers attract others to the faith.

Jesus also spoke a parable which directly speaks to the use of our spiritual gifts.

Matthew 25:14-15

Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey.

First, make this important observation: the talents were given "according to his own A B I L I T Y " So, each one is individually responsible for what was given him, and no one is given more than he can handle.

Matthew 25:16-18

The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

Notice, we have choices with what we do with what the Lord entrust to us!

Matthew 25:19-21

After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. “Master,” he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.” His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”

The same kind of report and commendation occurred for the second servant. It is important to notice that even though we are to properly utilize what the Lord entrusts to us they are considered by Him as a “few things.” We can conclude,

Fulfilling our responsibility is considered a small thing.

Faithfulness to our talent will be evaluated.

Last is the third servant who hid his talent.

Matthew 25:24-25

Then the man who had received the one talent came. “Master,” he said, “I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.”

This servant only knew certain aspects of the Master. One may know of the justice of God, and fear the holy wrath of God, but know nothing of His grace, mercy, compassion and love. This servant really didn’t know the Master at all. Yes God is just and judges, but these are always tempered by His grace, mercy and love. The Lord’s predisposition is first towards love. But the third servant never saw it. Since he never knew the Lord he was banished to the place reserved for unbelievers—“outer darkness.”

His master replied, “You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 25:26-30

Looking back over both the “salt of the earth” passage and this “talent” parable we find a common denominator: We must responsibly use what God has entrusted to us. We must mature in the use of our gifts.

Spiritual Gifts: Chapter 3.1 -- Spiritual Bailments, by Jay Quine

In law there is a curious thing called a “bailment.” It is when property is delivered to another, who is to utilize or keep the property for the good of the owner until the time of trust is complete.[1] For a bailment to occur two requirements must be met:

1) knowledge of the object

2) actual change of possession

For example, let’s say you own a beauty shop. A customer walks in and hangs her coat. You see her hang her coat; in fact you have to wait for her to finish hanging her coat as you invite her to have her hair washed. Hanging it on the hanger (which your shop provided) she says, “Now I’m trusting you with this, dearee.”

But, you’re not the only one who saw her hang her coat. So did another customer, who decided to help herself to it on her way out. Under the law of bailment, you, the shop owner are liable for the stolen coat because there was 1) knowledge of the object, and 2) it was in your shop and on your hanger—you took possession.

So it is with spiritual gifts. We could think of them as spiritual bailments rather than spiritual gifts in that they are God’s which He entrusts to us for a time. There is knowledge of them, for every believer has a spiritual gift—“to each one there is given a manifestation of the spirit” (1Cor 12:7). So we know we all have one. There is knowledge of the object.

There is also a change of possession—God gives them to us, and through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we know we possess them. Like a bailment, we are responsible for what we do with the spiritual gifts the Lord has entrusted to us.

[1]Black’s Law Dictionary, Eighth Edition, edited by Bryan A. Garner, 2006.

Spiritual Gifts: Chapter 2.2 - Overall Purpose of Spiritual Gifts, by Jay Quine

Your Gifts, Your Values -- Quine

At first our spiritual gifts might be rather foreign to us as a Christian at the early stage. But as we “open the gifts” (by utilizing them) we see they have three overall purposes—even for the primitive or new Christian.

The first purpose is found in Romans 12:1. It is to worship God. “Offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.”

Paul notes in the next the next few verses that in that this “spiritual act of worship” is accomplished through the function of our spiritual gifts. They are given to us, and we use them to WORSHIP the Lord.

“Worship” means to lift up God; to promote Him; to do what advances His reputation. We commonly think of worship as singing in church. But whether in singing or in the proper function of our spiritual gifts we promote the Lord Jesus Christ. Since giving glory to the Son has always been the primary ministry of the Holy Spirit - never to promote Himself but to honor the Son - it is only natural and appropriate that the first purpose of our spiritual gifts given to us by the Holy Spirit is to worship Him.

The second purpose of our spiritual gifts is CHANGE. It is explained in Ephesians 4:11-13.

“It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up, until (to the extent that) we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God, and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”

As the Holy Spirit challenges and prods us to engage our spiritual gifts, we mature. Through their use we change. Maturity lies at the very heart of the Holy Spirit’s ministry to us. We are to grow, mature, advance in faith and change for the better. While it is possible to be passive and experience change, so much more dynamic and powerful is the change when we actively participate. The Holy Spirit gives us spiritual gifts so that by their use we mature. By examining what we hold as life’s values we can measure our journey toward maturity.

Marylyn worked as an assistant manager in an insurance office. She worked hard, both in business and at home. When she was first divorced, she was overwhelmed by the double duty as a single parent to raise her daughter alone. SURVIVAL was all she could think about. Every day was a struggle. But when she started going to the church’s singles ministry she felt welcomed and supported as new friends reached out to help her.

As she realized she wasn’t alone, SURVIVAL mentality changed. She journeyed from a ME orientation to feel like she belonged to a group. As one of US, she soon volunteered in the church’s outreach events. It wasn’t about mere survival anymore. It was working with others to make a CONTRIBUTION.

It didn’t take long for her to kindly suggest some improvements in the organization of the ministry. Within a year she was the ministry’s lay director. Under Marylyn’s leadership she and the other leaders began teaching seminars at church conferences on successful singles’ ministry platforms. Her team volunteered their giftedness, experience and expertise even when it didn’t benefit them or their own local church ministry. She found herself speaking to larger and larger groups about the ministry, and entertained going into full time ministry herself for the sake of training others. She journeyed from ME to US to YOU. She was a leading INFLUENCE in shaping the world. By getting involved, she used her spiritual gifts, contributed to the needs of the body to equip those like her to change the world. She matured in a way that could be seen and measured.

Not surprising then that the third purpose of spiritual gifts is SERVICE. It is an aspect of maturity. Service to others is clearly stated as an overall purpose in 1 Corinthians 12.

The Corinthian church was a troubled church—they did everything wrong. They were full of zeal, but way off base. They were allowing gross and public sin to continue unchecked; their leadership was divided; there were apparently two men who were once in a Christian business together, now suing each other; their worship service was chaotic, full of confusion, not reflecting the Character of God, and therefore not honoring to God. It was a church speeding straight for a brick wall. Before they splattered their spiritual life all over the road, Paul wrote to arrest them.

Regarding the use of their spiritual gifts, he first confirms that they have received spiritual gifts, as have all Christians. But then Paul gives an overall governing principle for the use of these gifts. Two passages convey this same principle.

1 Corinthians 12:7

“Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

1 Corinthians 14:12

“Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the body.”

Notice again the phenomenon (which is another way to translate the Greek word for “manifestation”[1]) of the Spirit is given to each one—every individual is given some manifestation of the Spirit.

Now note carefully, the use of spiritual gifts is not primarily for the good of the one who possesses the gift, but for the common good. It isn’t for you to take and hide in your closet, or use while alone in your bedroom, but to be used out here—in the open; with others. The spiritual gifts are given to everyone individually, but for the good of everyone corporately. Inherent in the gifts is a transition from a ME orientation to an US and even YOU mindset.

Wouldn’t the following conversation be strange?

Primitive Believer: “The Lord has made it clear to me that I have the gift of teaching.”

Christian Ed Director: “Oh, that’s great. We could really use some help in our Sunday school classes. Would you consider going through our training program so you can teach in a Sunday school next quarter?”

Primitive: “No, not interested. You see, the Lord gave my gift so I can teach myself.”

If you think you have the gift of prayer, it is not so that you only pray for yourself, but for others. All spiritual gifts are given for the good of the body. They are not for ME, but for US and YOU.

By the time I had met Walt he had been retired for years. He had served the church well as a deacon fixing about every part of the church as they broke over the years. But now he frequently felt the aches and pains from years of labor. He continued to serve on the Missions Committee, but felt like his role making repairs would be best done by younger men. He only wondered briefly what the Lord would have him do, for he had always been burdened to pray more.

Walt invited a few friends to join him early Sunday morning and pray. Soon others were invited, and still others. After a couple of months there were consistently over 20 people meeting every Sunday morning to pray for the church, for the service, and for their missionaries. Although in his age Walt lost his ability to do physical things, the Lord developed and blessed his spiritual gift of prayer and encouragement.

Although the changes through aging may prevent us from utilizing many abilities, we don’t lose our spiritual gifts. Their purposes can still be fulfilled—we can still worship God, we can still mature and grow, and we can still serve others.

[1]The word “manifestation” is the Greek word didotai. Gordon Fee explains that this is a disclosure, not so much of the gifts themselves, but of God to the church community by the distribution of the gifts directed by the Holy Spirit. See New International Commentary of the New Testament, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1987, p. 589, and footnote 30.

Spiritual Gifts: Chapter 2.1 -- Spiritual Surprises! by Jay Quine

Your Gifts, Your Values -- Quine

As we get older our lives significantly change. For example, once retired, we are no longer preoccupied with how to make a living, and the tasks before us at work. Likewise, our bodies change, so that even though we have the time to take lessons, we physically may not be able to play the piano like we have always dreamed—at least not learn as well as a child with nimble agile fingers. We can’t sing like we use to. We can’t think as clearly; bake as well; our timing is off. We don’t have the physical strength of our youth anymore. As the reality of aging truths mount it can conjure up a fear. “Afraid,” one older gentleman told me upon retirement, “I’m afraid of becoming useless.” One of the worst horrors of the human soul is the fear of being useless.

A study of spiritual gifts may surprise us in that we soon see we can lay aside the fear of becoming useless. It is not because God promises to keep us strong, or sharp, or on key as we grow old. Instead He promises to give us a gift that won’t fade, but only continue to mature and get better with age. This is because it is a supernatural thing—not dependent upon us or our decaying physical minds and bodies, but dependent upon the Spirit of God. And because it is a supernatural thing, not a natural but a spiritual gift, it has a unique purpose. As a result of fulfilling this purpose, that haunting feeling of uselessness vanishes.

Your spiritual gift is by God’s sovereign grace.

Ephesians 4:7

“But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.”

Make sure you notice two things in this verse. First, spiritual gifts are given to “each one of us.” Each and every Christian, whether young or old, experienced or new in the faith, advanced or primitive, has a spiritual gift. We may not know what it is or how to use it, but the Lord has given it.

This leads to the second observation, that these gifts are “given.” They are bestowed by God. They are not things we acquired by our training (even though gifts can be developed as we mature) or by degree. Just like salvation, they are fully given as gifts by virtue of God’s grace.

However, unlike salvation they differ “according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” In other words, the Lord measures out a certain gift for one person, and a different gift for another all under His selection and control.

We might ask why God bothers giving us these spiritual gifts. What is their purpose? A quick survey of the New Testament reveals several overall purposes for every gift and therefore for every believer whether advanced or primitive in the faith.