6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith;
Beginning with prophecy, the Holy Spirit now listed seven spiritual gifts that God uses in the local church.
let us use them:
There is no verb in the Greek in this phrase, but rather a simple conjunction—“whether.” If we have the gift of prophecy then we function in one manner, and if we have another gift then we operate differently.
Christians should put their gift out to the church like we would invest in a stock. Biblically, we do not choose our gifts; they are donated to us by God. If God takes the effort to give us gifts, we should use them under their unique design.
We use the word prophecy today primarily as foretelling, but the Greek has two uses: (1) foretelling and (2) forth-telling. “Prophecy” here is forth-telling, not foretelling. Literally the word means to speak forth. The word is close to the idea of preaching or proclamation.
Prophecy has prominence among the gifts in this and other lists in the New Testament (1 Co 14:1, 39; 1 Th 5:19-20). The reason prophecy stands out among the gifts is that it builds the believer (14:3-5). This gift is second only to the gift of apostleship (1 Co 12:28; Eph 4:11; cf. 2:20).
1 Co 14:1, Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.
We need to understand that the gift of prophecy also included special revelation from God before the closing of the canon (Ac 11:28; 21:10-11). This part of the gift is no longer extant, now that the canon (the assembly of the books of the Bible into one unit) has closed; thus, the element of foretelling lost its dimension after the closing of the canon as well.
in proportion to [according to the standard of] our [the] faith;
The qualifying directive to the person with the gift of prophecy is that he is to exercise that gift according to the Word of God. The Greek word for “in” is according to the standard of. Bible doctrine is the standard for using prophecy. “Proportion” has the mathematical idea of being in proportion to. The prophet is bound by the standard of Scripture already revealed. To go beyond the Word of God is to violate the gift of prophecy.
Ga 1:8, But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.
We are to carry out the gift of prophecy in proportion to our faith or in agreement with our faith. Prophesying is to be done in accordance with what we believe. Here “faith” is equivalent to doctrine. The body of doctrine of what we believe is the standard for measuring whether preaching is accurate or not. Doctrine is always the norm whereby we test whether something said from the Word of God is true or false. The gift of apostleship is no longer operative in the church because the canon is closed as well.
What we preach should always be true to Scripture.
Our special, supernatural spiritual gifts can open the door to fanaticism and undue emotionalism. Apostolic teaching in the Word of God gives balance and true perspective on gifts from God. Doctrine is the norm whereby we stay on track.
Christians should serve God with the idea that their gift was bestowed on them. There is a certain amount of risk in doing so. Our capital is our gift that we put out to be used of God.
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