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8. To one is given He now subjoins an enumeration, or, in other words, specifies particular kinds — not indeed all of them, but such as are sufficient for his present purpose. “Believers,” says he, “are endowed with different gifts, but let every one acknowledge, that he is indebted for whatever he has to the Spirit of God, for he pours forth his gifts as the sun scatters his rays in every direction. As to the difference between these gifts, knowledge (or understanding) and wisdom are taken in different senses in the Scriptures, but here I take them in the way of less and greater, as in Colossians 2:3, where they are also joined together, when Paul says, that in Christ are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Knowledge, therefore, in my opinion, means acquaintance with sacred things — Wisdom, on the other hand, means the perfection of it. Sometimes prudence is put, as it were, in the middle place between these two, and in that case it denotes skill 737737 “Le sqauoir et la dexterite;” — “Skill and dexterity.” As to this use of the term prudentia, (prudence,) see Cicero de Officiis, 1. 43. — Ed. in applying knowledge to some useful purpose. They are, it is true, very nearly allied; but still you observe a difference when they are put together. Let us then take knowledge as meaning ordinary information, and wisdom, as including revelations that are of a more secret and sublime order. 738738 One of the most satisfactory views of this subject is that of Dr. Henderson in his Lecture on “Divine Inspiration,” (pp. 193,196,) who understands by σοφία, (wisdom,) in this passage, “the sublime truths of the gospel, directly revealed to the Apostles, of which the λογος (word) was the supernatural ability rightly to communicate them to others;” and by λόγος γνώσεως (word of knowledge,) the faculty of “infallibly explaining truths and doctrines which had been previously divulged.” — Ed
The term faith is employed here to mean a special faith, as we shall afterwards see from the context. A special faith is of such a kind as does not apprehend Christ wholly, for redemption, righteousness, and sanctification, but only in so far as miracles are performed in his name. Judas had a faith of this kind, and he wrought miracles too by means of it. Chrysostom distinguishes it in a somewhat different manner, calling it the faith of miracles, not of doctrines. 739739 Chrysostom’s words are: Πίστιν οὐ παύτην λέγει τὴν τῶν δογμάτων ἀλλὰ τὴν τῶν σημείων. “By this faith he means not that of doctrines, but that of miraeles.” — It was called by the schoolmen fides miractelorum (faith of miracles.) — Ed This, however, does not differ much from the interpretation previously mentioned. By the gift of healings 740740 The plural is made use of, it is manifest, to intimate the number and variety of the diseases that were healed — the Apostles having been invested with power to heal all manner of sickness, and all manner of disease. (Matthew 10:1.) — Ed. every one knows what is meant.
As to the workings of powers, or, as some render it, the operations of influences, there is more occasion for doubt. I am inclined, however, to think, that what is meant is the influence which is exercised against devils, and also against hypocrites. When, therefore, Christ and his Apostles by authority restrained devils, or put them to flight, that was ἐνέργημα, (powerful working,) and, in like manner, when Paul smote the sorcerer with blindness, (Acts 13:11,) and when Peter struck Ananias and Sapphira dead upon the spot with a single word. The gifts of healing and of miracles, therefore, serve to manifest the goodness of God, but this last, his severity for the destruction of Satan. 741741 There does not appear to be sufficient ground for understanding the miracles here referred to as necessarily deeds of terror, while the connection in which the expression occurs seems to intimate, that the miracles here meant were more than ordinarily stupendous manifestations of Divine power, such as would powerfully constrain the beholder to exclaim, This is the finger of God! Thus, “the resuscitation of the dead, the innocuous handlng of serpents, or drinking of empoisoned liquor, the dispossession of demons, and the infliction of blindness,” as in the case of Elymas, the sorcerer, and of death itself, as in the case of Ananias and Sapphira,. were mighty deeds — to which “no mere created power could possibly pretend, under any circumstances, or by the application of any means whatever.” See Henderson on Inspiration, pp. 203-206. — Ed.
By prophecy, I understand the singular and choice endowment of unfolding the secret will of God, so that a Prophet is a messenger, as it were, between God and man. 742742 “Apportant la volonte de Dieu aux hommes;” — “Communicating the will of God to men.” My reason for taking this view will be explained more fully afterwards.
The discerning of spirits, was a clearness of perception in forming a judgment as to those who professed to be something. (Acts 5:36.) I speak not of that natural wisdom, by which we are regulated in judging. It was a special illumination, with which some were endowed by the gift of God. The use of it was this: that they might not be imposed upon by masks, of mere pretences, 743743 “Par la montre et belle apparence que les gens ont aucuneffois;” — “By the show and fair appearance which persons sometimes have.” but might by that spiritual judgment distinguish, as by a particular mark, the true ministers of Christ from the false.
There was a difference between the knowledge of tongues, and the interpretation of them, for those who were endowed with the former were, in many cases, not acquainted with the language of the
nation with which they had to deal. The interpreters
“Et en tel cas ceux que auoyent le don d’interpretation des langues;” — “And in such a case, those who had the gift of interpreting languages.”
rendered foreign tongues into the native language. These endowments they did not at that time acquire by labor or study, but were put in possession of them by a wonderful revelation of the Spirit.
The following classification of the, gifts, (χαρίσματα) here enumerated by the Apostle, is suggested by Dr. Henderson, as tending to show the “beautiful symmetry” of the passage: —
I. ̔Ω μὲν — λόγος σοφίας — (I. To one, the word of wisdom)
2. ἄλλῳ δὲ λογος γνώσες — (2. to another, the word of knowledge.)
II. ̔ΕΤΕΡΩ δὲ πίστις — (II. To another, faith,)
1. ἄλλῳ δὲ χαρίσματα ἰαμάτων — (1. to another, gifts of healing,)
2. ἄλλῳ δὲ ἐνεργήματα δυμάμεων — (2. to another, working of miracles,)
3. ἄλλῳ δὲ προφητεια — (3. to another, prophecy,)
4. ἄλλῳ δὲ διαχρίσεις πνευμάτων — (4. to another, discerning of spirits.)
III. ̔ΕΤΕΡΩ δὲ γένη γλωσσῶν — (III. To another, divers kinds of tongues,)
2. ἄλλῳ δὲ ἑρμηνεία γλωσσῶν — (2. to another, interpretation of tongues.)
Thus the first class includes “the word of wisdom,” and “the word of knowledge. Under the head of faith, that is, the faith of miracles, four kinds of gifts are enumerated — “gifts of healing,” — “working of miracles,” — “prophecy,” and “discerning of spirits;” while the third class includes “divers kinds of tongues,” and “the interpretation of tongues.” See Henderson on Inspiration. — Ed.