I’ve found that most Spirit-filled Christians operate within a distorted lens when comes to spiritual gifts. Most of the talk on the reality of the supernatural descends into a discussion about possessions, strengths and abilities.
Believers will, for example, talk about their prophetic gifting, healing ministries or other spiritual activities they’ve been able to publicly facilitate. Most seem to be concerned with the diversity of their personal gifts and how they might grow in their outworking.
Something more might be at stake in all of this.
A literal rendering of 1 Corinthians 12:1 affirms the following:
“about spirituals, brothers I don’t want you to be ignorant.”*
Later translators felt the need to insert the word “gifts” for clarification. They thought that the original manuscript’s “spirituals,” obscured things for modern readers.
Ironically, this textual change may have created more confusion. With the insertion of “gifts,” modern readers no longer encountered Paul’s broader intent in the passage. The apostle wasn’t only concerned with “supernatural gifting,” but with the fuller scope of the Holy Spirit’s operation in the lives of believers.
In all our readings and back room discussions, most are still missing the heart of this issue. The ultimate question is not “What is spiritual?” but “Who is spiritual?” It is not about what one has or does, but who they really are before God. It’s about one’s posture, not just their charisms or gracelets.
Paul told the Corinthians “you are not lacking in any gift” (1 Cor. 1:7). Their problem actually wasn’t with spiritual abilities, but with understanding true spirituality. They excelled in the charisms, but failed to properly reflect the Father’s heart. The Corinthian Christians were more charismatic than anyone, but still off the mark when it came to “spirituals.”
What is true of them remains true of us. It seems that many centuries later Christians are still ignorant about “spirituals.”
*Young Literal Translation says: “concerning the spiritual things, brethren, I do not wish you to be ignorant.”
J.D. King, author and director of the World Revival Network, also co-pastors at World Revival Church.