A guest article by Tracy Close, introducing you to the gifts of the Holy Spirit spoken of in the Bible.
Charismata is the plural form of the Greek word charis, meaning grace. Charismata are the visible effects of grace in word or deed, known more commonly to us as spiritual gifts.
Much has been written about the subject of charismata, enough that one could devote quite possibly a lifetime to the reading of all of it in the pursuit of total understanding and grasp of exactly what gifts of the Spirit are, how they are used, whether they exist or not(if that understanding is actually possible).
There are many belief systems or theories existing today regarding Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
One theory, called cessation, states that spiritual gifts died with the apostles of Paul’s time (sometime around the end of the first century AD). It is believed that charismata existed to empower the budding Christian church, to ensure that through miraculous happenings people would be brought to a belief in Jesus Christ as the Savior and therefore the church would increase in numbers. Once the church was on it’s feet, so the theory goes, the gifts were no longer needed and therefore ceased. There are other cessation theories, but this seems to be the most popular.
However, this author takes the stance that the gifts of the Spirit are now and have always been present. No where does the Bible state that the gifts of the Spirit were to cease for the Church, not until Jesus comes again. There are historical accounts of the manifestation of charismata in the church through the ages. Most importantly, because I believe I have personally witnessed spiritual gifts in practice, I believe that they are alive and well in many churches today.
Having said that, the purpose of this article is to provide what I hope is a minimal education as to what spiritual gifts are and what they are not. The statements contained herein are derived from studying The Bible, literary resources, online articles and teachings in local churches.
The prophet Joel predicted, before Jesus walked the earth, that spiritual gifts would be made available to many. “It shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions; And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days” (Joel 2:28). No longer would the prophets and miracle workers be a small group of people.
So it happened at the first Pentecost after Jesus ascended to heaven that the prophecy was fulfilled. “They were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:4)