GIFTS, MINISTRIES, AND OPERATIONS
After mentioning the diversities of gifts in verse 4, Paul says in verses 5 and 6, "And there are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are differences of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all" (Gk.). The gifts are by the Spirit, the ministries are of the Lord, and the operations are of God. Therefore, in these verses we have the Spirit, the Lord, and God. In Pentecostalism or in the charismatic movement we hear of the gifts, but not about ministries or operations. It seems that those in the charismatic movement know nothing about these things. The gifts are for the ministries, the ministries are for the operations, the workings, the functions, and the operations are for the fulfillment of God’s eternal purpose. In the church meetings we need the gifts, the ministries, and the operations.
THE WORD OF WISDOM
AND THE WORD OF KNOWLEDGE
In verses 8 through 10 the Apostle Paul lists nine gifts. But this does not mean that there are only nine gifts of the Spirit. There are more than these nine; however, Paul uses nine as illustrations. Often those in the Pentecostal movement or the charismatic movement ask if we have the manifestation of the gifts in our meetings. To them, gifts means speaking in tongues and the interpretation of tongues. When asked whether or not we have the gifts in our meetings, some brothers have answered incorrectly that we do not have them. But in the meetings we have a great deal of the manifestation of the gifts, especially of the word of wisdom and the word of knowledge. After these two gifts, Paul lists faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, the discerning of spirits, tongues, and the interpretation of tongues. By the order of the gifts in these verses, we see that those in the charismatic movement today make the tail the head and the head the tail. The first two gifts are not tongues and the interpretation of tongues; they are the word of wisdom and the word of knowledge. Because we often have the word of wisdom and the word of knowledge in our meetings, we must say that we have the manifestation of the gifts.
THE GIFT OF FAITH
Let me say a word about the gift of faith, the third gift. Day by day we exercise our faith and speak in faith. If I had no faith, I would not be able to speak in the meetings. Sometimes others ask me why I am so bold. My answer is that I am bold because I exercise my faith. Because I have faith, I have the assurance that God will work and move according to the word spoken. Faith is very convincing. It gives us not only power, but also authority. In all our meetings we exercise at least three gifts: the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, and faith. In no other Christian group are these gifts manifested more than in our meetings.
If we do not speak, we shall not have the practice of the gifts. Of the nine gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12, at least three—the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, and prophecy—are related to speaking. Again I say that we must all learn to utter something in the meetings. If we do this, the Body will be present. The Body exists in our being spiritual, and being spiritual means to speak something from our spirit. The Body is not practical until we are spiritual from within our spirit.
(The Spirit and the Body, Chapter 13, by Witness Lee)