“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16: 11)
The Basket Case Chronicles #151
“And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues” (1 Cor. 12:28).
When Paul gives a list of spiritual gifts, as he does here, it is not meant to be a comprehensive or exhaustive list. Rather, such lists need to be understood as representative samples of the gifts that are operative within the body. We can tell this from the fact that he gives such lists in different places, and the lists of gifts are not identical. For example, we have the listing here, but another one in Romans.
“Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness” (Rom. 12:6–8).
In Ephesians, he gives us a much shorter list. “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers” (Eph. 4:11).
There are different approaches to this. Some might want to simply combine the lists, remove the redundancies, and say that “those” are the gifts, period. Another approach, one I am inclined to, says that we need to accept the functioning of all listed gifts within biblical parameters, but we may also be open to the possibility of other gifts not expressly mentioned in these lists. One example might be that of a gifted computer tech guy on the church staff. If we were pressed to use a biblical name for him, we could just call him the exorcist.