28And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.
“Prophets” were spokesmen and spokeswomen of God. They were conduits of revelation from God to man. God gave some of them the right to write the Bible. Some merely expounded Scripture. They were forth-tellers rather than fore-tellers. They were second in rank to an apostle. Apostles judged their message (1 Co 14:37). This office in its official sense ceased with the writing of the New Testament. Once God laid the foundation of the church, there was no need for a prophet. God established the church on apostles and prophets:
Ep 2: 20 …having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,
“Teachers” expounded the Bible. This gift may be broader than the gift of pastor/teacher (Ac 13:1; Ep 4:11). This is the third ranked gift and the highest ranked gift extant today and carries with it great authority.
after that miracles,
The person with the gift of “miracles” gave spectacular evidence that God’s message was true. The gift of miracles is a sign gift.
then gifts of healings,
The “gifts of healings” is sign gift. A sign gift pointed to the authenticity of a message. Once God authenticated the message, the gift passed from the scene.
The gift of “helps” was a supernatural capacity to assist or support others in ministry. It may be the same gift of “serving” in Romans 12:7. The word “helps” means to take the burden off others and place it on self. This is not a showy but an essential gift for the church. It does not function in the limelight but in the background.
The gift of “administrations” directed and managed people within the local church. The word “administrations” is a naval metaphor and literally means to steer, pilot a ship (Acts 27:11). This person keeps the ship of the church on its course.
varieties of tongues.
The gift of “tongues” is the ability to speak in foreign languages without studying for them. This was especially helpful in reaching those who did not speak Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek. This gift was also a sign gift.
God designed all gifts for all Christians to serve others.
Someone may say, “I am an inactive Christian.” There is no such thing. That is like saying, “I am an honest thief” or “I am a godly prostitute.” An inactive Christian is a paradox in terms. No Christian is without a special, supernatural gift from God. Inactive Christians are about as good as a bump on a pickle. There is no such animal as an inactive Christian biblically.