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I think Scripture makes clear that spiritual gifts are enablements by the Spirit that are given to us:

1 Corinthians 12:7 - But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

1 Peter 4:10 - As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God

Romans 12:6 - Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of faith.

However, 1 Corinthians 14:1 says 'Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.

How do would you reconcile this?

Note of Clarification: The discussion is about whether we can ask for gifts and what that means in context of I Corinthians 14 when reconciled with other passages related to spiritual gifts.

Tags: gifts, spiritual

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Craig, I would agree with you. But my point is the fact that he says 'desire' to prophesy. If prophecy is a gift, and each one receives a diversity of gifts, do we ask for a gift that we do not have? Or is this only applicable to prophecy? (ignoring for now what that looks like in present day context).
Here's a thought, is desiring the gift for one personally to possess for the purpose of edifying the body OR desiring that those with the gift be more in abundance so that for the gifts represented, there might be prophecy rather than tongues?
My take:

Spritual gifts could be given at rebirth or as one grows closer to his Lord, or both. And as one grows in the Lord, he may desire a certain gift, and ask his Father. However, since the purpose of the gifts are for the corporate edification, the Father may or may not answer his prayer, as He alone sees the bigger picture. Still, we can ask, but He being a wise Father, knows which one to give to whom, and for a particular purpose.
Tom Constable notes:

"...he told them, 'eagerly desire the greater charismata.' Now in a context where the emphasis will be on the activity of the Spirit in the community at worship, he says, 'eagerly desire the things of the Spirit [ta pneumatika]"
Lisa,

Could it be somewhat because the Corinthians had run amok? that they needed sound doctrine, a sound teacher/teachers?
Paraphrasing ... Your not wrong to pursue love, continue to desire spiritual gifts BUT in particular strive and desire in the area you lack which was prophecy or teaching. ????? Thinking he was speaking to them not so much as individuals, but as a group, what the group needed. I might be running amok but just thinking aloud :)
Prophecy is something that isn't expressly limited. We're called upon to do so in certain circumstances. Some people may have a whole ministry surrounding their prophetic gift, but others may find themselves called to use it say in a home bible study.
Actually, I would say prophecy is speaking forth the word of the Lord and since we that word contained in Scripture, it could be argued that prophecy is bringing forth the word. Otherwise, God would still be bringing forth revelation, which Hebrews 1:1-3 would contradict.

However, whatever we conclude prophecy is, is not really the issue here but whether or not we can ask for the gift.

Michael Ballai said:
Prophecy is something that isn't expressly limited. We're called upon to do so in certain circumstances. Some people may have a whole ministry surrounding their prophetic gift, but others may find themselves called to use it say in a home bible study.
My understanding is that prophecy, as for today, is proclaiming/expounding on his Word, not some new revelation. That clarification aside, there's no reason why someone wouldn't ask for it. The lone caveat is that it bears upon one such a considerable responsibility to proclaim the gospel with great care.
Prophecy to me is to be desired above the other manifestations of the Holy Spirit because it is not only a gift for the body of Christ, but the fact that it is a gift. What i am getting at is this...in the list of "gifts" in 1 Corinthians the word gift is in italics, and therefore not in the original Greek...however strongly it is inferred. What is in the Greek is "manifestation of the Spirit" at the beginning of the chapter. So, just maybe, the whole theology of "gifts" should be a theology of "spirituals" or "manifestations of the spirit" which are not given as gifts so that the person owns them, but given as needed by God's Spirit when God pleases for certain situations? (And this coming from a Pentecostal who has lived the whole "spiritual gift" phenomenon!) I believe that there are gifts in the Bible, but we have boxed the Spirit in by theologizing one portion of Scripture so that we have the control. The only say we should have in such things is total obedience.
There is tension in a lot of these things. We are told we are chosen from the foundation of the world, yet we are to repent and believe. We are told that nothing can snatch us from His hand, yet we are to faithfully persevere. We are told the kingdom is here, yet we are told it is not here fully.

So, in regards to giftings, we are told that God is the one who gives as He wills. Yet, we are also told to desire (seek after) God's giftings. So we keep both of these sides of the coin in view so we can stay balanced and level.
Scott, what do you think about the desiring of gifts, as represented in 1 Cor 14:1, to be about having the gift present in the assembly rather than it being about asking personally to possess the gift? That seems to make sense in the context of chapters 12-14 and emphasis on edification of the body. The "you" is plural.

It does seem that wherever there is a discussion of gifts, its represented as something that is given to us. I think maybe the exception, as represented in I Cor 14, is to prophesy although I am not convinced it is a request for one personally. Of course, I contend that the significance of prophecy was because there were no authoratative writings, which we now have. But this was the vehicle through which the word of the Lord came forth. So I think Kim might have a point about the "teaching" aspect of the gift being present and why they should desire it.

I am not so convinced regarding any other gift. I mean, consider that Paul tells Timothy to do the work of an evangelist NOT pray for the gift of evangelism. Of course, you can't use only that as proof, but just sayin.

ScottL said:
There is tension in a lot of these things. We are told we are chosen from the foundation of the world, yet we are to repent and believe. We are told that nothing can snatch us from His hand, yet we are to faithfully persevere. We are told the kingdom is here, yet we are told it is not here fully.

So, in regards to giftings, we are told that God is the one who gives as He wills. Yet, we are also told to desire (seek after) God's giftings. So we keep both of these sides of the coin in view so we can stay balanced and level.
Lisa -

I think the gifts, and especially the way Paul addresses them in the Corinthian context, shows the importance of their use in the gathered assembly. Still, we must remember that gifts are not only limited to our meetings. As 1 Cor 14:1 also teaches - pursue love. This is something noteworthy in the context of the assembly and outside of it. And we read Acts and we see these pneumatikos throughout. Of course, I guess we are probably going to head down a road that differs on why we see them in Acts.

It's possible that Paul asks Timothy to do the work of an evangelist because he knows it's not his particular ministry gift, but it is needed. Or, it could be that Timothy is called into such a ministry service and has not been walking it out, thus a reprimand. It's hard to tell.

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