1 Corinthians 12:10
To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another [divers] kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
Note 25 at 1Co 12:10: All believers can experience miracles as a result of their own faith (see note 30 at 1Co 12:11), but some individuals have been given the gift of miracles. Miracles characterize their ministry.
A miracle is a supernatural intervention of God's power over natural law. Healings occur within the boundaries of natural law, while miracles are not limited to natural law. A person with a high fever who receives prayer and then begins to recover is experiencing a healing. The Lord intervened, but in natural ways. The virus, infection, or whatever was rebuked (Lu 4:39), and then the natural healing process that the Lord built into all of us takes over. But when something totally supernatural happens, that's a miracle. When Jesus reattached the servant's ear so that it was instantly whole after Peter had cut it off (Lu 22:51), that was a miracle. It was a healing too, but it was a miraculous healing. Feeding the 5,000 (Mt 14:19-20), walking on the water (Mt 14:25), translating a ship and all aboard to the other side of the sea (Joh 6:21)--all those are miracles. Miracles are usually instantaneous, whereas healings are sometimes gradual.
Note 26 at 1Co 12:10: This gift of prophecy is different from the ministry gift of a prophet (Eph 4:11). According to 1Co 14:3, this gift of prophecy is for edification, exhortation, and comfort (see note 6 at 1Co 14:3). There have certainly been many prophets whose prophecies didn't meet those standards (e.g., 2Sa 12:1-14; 1Ki 13:1-5, and 21:17-24).
This simple gift of prophecy that operates in the church assembly is limited to general edification, exhortation, and comfort of the body (1Co 14:3). If a person begins to give an individual prophecy of personal direction to someone, that falls into the ministry of a prophet and is different from this simple gift of prophecy.
For example, believers wouldn't allow people called to the office of a teacher to interrupt a service and just start teaching. That would be out of order. Teachers should make themselves known to the pastor, and if given the authority, then they could teach. Likewise, for people to minister direction or future events to an individual or the whole body and claim that it is a prophecy are out of order. That would be the ministry of a prophet, and prophets should be recognized by the pastor, just as teachers would have to be.
This simple gift of prophecy that Paul was describing here will never be a lengthy teaching, a rebuke, or a warning. That's the ministry of a prophet. This will just be words of encouragement from the Lord along the lines of "Children, I love you. I've received your praise. I'm present to minister to you," etc.
Failure to understand the difference between this simple gift of prophecy and the ministry of a prophet has led to some strange things being called words of prophecy in many churches. Some people actually prepare teachings during the week and deliver them as prophecies in church. Others use "prophecy" as an opportunity to rebuke someone or to vent their own prejudices or to put in their "two bits" about what the church should be doing. None of those things are the gift of prophecy that Paul was describing here.
Note 27 at 1Co 12:10: Some people believe this gift is the supernatural ability to distinguish different kinds of spiritual beings (i.e., angels or demons), while others interpret "spirits" as being attitudes or emotions. Indeed the word "spirit" can be used to refer to things in the spiritual realm or to attitudes, such as "school spirit."
Note 28 at 1Co 12:10: There are different kinds of speaking in tongues (see note 13 at Mr 16:17). This gift of speaking in tongues is a ministry gift that operates in church and differs from the personal speaking in tongues that every believer who has been baptized in the Holy Spirit can do (Mr 16:17). Only some believers are given this gift of tongues that operates in public (see note 22 at 1Co 12:30) and equals prophecy when interpreted (see note 12 at 1Co 14:5).
Note 29 at 1Co 12:10: The gift of interpreting the gift of tongues is not a translation but an interpretation; it just conveys the thought of what was said into the known language. Therefore, the interpretation may be longer or shorter than the message in tongues and differ in style, yet be the proper interpretation. When the gift of tongues and the gift of interpretation of tongues operate together, that is equal to prophecy (see note 12 at 1Co 14:5).
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