THE MANIFESTATION OF THE SPIRIT
In Christianity today the traditional teaching about gifts is not trustworthy. One traditional teaching concerning the meetings says that there are nine gifts as manifestations of the Spirit. However, 1 Corinthians 12:7 does not use the word manifestations in the plural. It uses manifestation in the singular. Verses 7 to 10 say, “But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for what is profitable. For to one through the Spirit a word of wisdom is given, and to another a word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit; to a different one faith in the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing in the one Spirit, and to another operations of works of power, and to another prophecy, and to another discerning of spirits; to a different one various kinds of tongues, and to another interpretation of tongues.” In these verses Paul mentioned nine items in the list of the gifts, but do you believe the manifestation of the Spirit is only in these nine items? Verse 28 of the same chapter says, “And God has placed some in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then works of power, then gifts of healing, helps, administrations, various kinds tongues.” In the list in verses 7 through 10 nothing is mentioned concerning helps and administrations. Acts 2:17 also says, “And it shall be in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream things in dreams.” Visions and dreams are also the manifestation of the Spirit, but these two items are not mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12. In 1 Corinthians 12:7-10 Paul lists only certain items of the manifestation of the Spirit as illustrations. This list does not include all the items. There are many items of the manifestation of the Spirit.
In the same way, the traditional teaching in Christianity tells people that the fruit of the Spirit is only nine items. Galatians 5:22-23a says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control.” Do you believe that the fruit of the Spirit is only these nine items? What about humility, righteousness, and holiness? These virtues are not mentioned in Galatians 5. Many other kinds of spiritual virtues are also not mentioned, but every kind of spiritual virtue is a fruit of the Spirit. The apostle Paul listed only some as an illustration. The fruit of the Holy Spirit is not only of nine kinds. Similarly, the manifestation of the Spirit is not only of nine items. Only nine items are mentioned as an illustration. At least four items are clearly mentioned in the Bible as the manifestation of the Spirit but are not listed in 1 Corinthians 12—helps, administrations, visions, and dreams. We should not have confidence in the traditional teachings we received from Christianity. They are not trustworthy or adequate. We have to come back to the pure Word.
THE WORD OF WISDOM AND THE WORD OF KNOWLEDGE
In the list in 1 Corinthians 12, the word of wisdom is first, and the word of knowledge is second (v. 8). These two kinds of words are the first gifts. Tongues and the interpretation of tongues are the last (v. 10). However, the Charismatic movement has made tongues and interpretation the first and nearly the unique gifts. Sometimes certain ones ask us if we have the manifestation of the Spirit in our meetings. I am afraid that some of us would not dare to answer this question. If such a one would ask me if we have the manifestation of the Spirit, I would say that we have it more than others do. I refer to the first two items: the word of wisdom and the word of knowledge. Are these not the gifts? Never say that in our meetings we do not have the manifestation of the Spirit. We have the manifestation of the best gifts, the first two items of the gifts. What others may have are the last two items. The teaching in today’s Christianity is not so accurate, and we have been too influenced by it. We have much of the manifestation of the Spirit in our meetings, yet we have been foolishly influenced to not dare to say that we have the manifestation of the Spirit.
The word of wisdom and the word of knowledge are the first items of the gifts, and tongues and interpretation of tongues are the last items of the gifts. We have the word of wisdom and the word of knowledge in our meetings all the time. Why would we say that we do not have the manifestation of the Spirit? Because of the influence of the traditional teachings of Christianity, we still subconsciously consider that tongues and healings are the gifts. We may never have considered the word of wisdom as the first item of the gifts. In 1 Corinthians 12 through 14 Paul encouraged the Corinthian believers to practice the word of wisdom and the word of knowledge more than tongues. Verse 1 of chapter fourteen says, “Pursue love, and desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.” Verses 4 and 5 say, “He who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but he who prophesies builds up the church. I desire that you all speak in tongues, but especially that you would prophesy; and greater is he who prophesies than he who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, that the church may receive building up.”
Moreover, not all the Corinthian believers spoke in tongues. If they all did, Paul would have had no need to say, “I desire that you all speak in tongues.” This is also a proof that the teaching of today’s Charismatic movement is wrong. The Charismatic movement tells people that all have to speak in tongues.
(Enjoying the Riches of Christ for the Building Up of the Church as the Body of Christ, Chapter 11, by Witness Lee)