Gifts to the Churches

“He gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, shepherds and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, to the work of serving, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a full grown man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we may no longer be children, tossed back and forth and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error; but speaking truth in love, we may grow up in all things into him, who is the head, Christ; from whom all the body, being fitted and knit together through that which every joint supplies, according to the working in measure of each individual part, makes the body increase to the building up of itself in love.” (Ephesians 4:11-16)

In 1 Corinthians 12:8-28 the Spirit is seen as enduing the members of the body of Christ with spiritual gifts, or enablements for a varied service; here certain Spirit-endued men, viz. apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, are themselves the gifts whom the glorified Christ bestows upon His body the church. In Corinthians the gifts are spiritual enablements for specific service; in Ephesians the gifts are men who have such enablements.

The Lord, in bestowing the gifted men, determines, providentially (e.g.) Acts 11:22-26 or directly through the Spirit; Acts 13:1-2, 6-7 the places of their service. “Some” (churches or places) need one gift, for example, evangelist; “some” (churches or places) need rather a pastor or teacher. Absolutely nothing in Christ’s service is left to mere human judgment or self-choosing. Even an apostle was not permitted to choose his place of service. See Acts 16:7-8. (Scofield)

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