The gifts of the Holy Spirit (as listed in 2 Corinthians 12:8-10) were briefly addressed in a previous article dealing with the Holy Spirit’s role in spiritual warfare. Now, we will look further into those gifts, but this time the focus will be upon the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Baptism in the Holy Spirit is the means through which these gifts are imparted to believers. As with the initial experience of baptism in the Holy Spirit, evidenced by speaking in tongues as in the biblical records of the early church (see Acts 10:45-47 and 19), revelation of God to the recipient and to the church is always the purpose of the gifts. In the Old Testament, “prophets are usually mistaken for predictors. The prophets of Israel unveiled not the future but the absolute” (Terrian, 227). Such understanding is the function of all gifts listed in 2 Corinthians 12:8-10. Some (such as utterance of wisdom) provide specific insights, whereas others (such as healing) provide a revelation of God’s love and power. All gifts, however, give edification to the recipient of the gift and to those obtaining ministry through the recipient.
Therefore it seems that 2 Corinthians 12: 8-10 is best viewed as an exhaustive list of spiritual gifts, since it covers every way in which God is seen revealing truth within the history of Scripture. Gifts (including administrative gifts) appearing to be different within other biblical lists of spiritual gifts, all fit categorically within the one of the gifs of 2 Corinthians 12. Many view the scriptural lists of gifts as a mere starting point, however because of such categories, it is much more likely that the passage is intended to be recognized as a complete list.
As a complete list, therefore, it demonstrates the power available to the life of a Spirit-filled person. Jesus was baptized with the Holy Spirit after his water baptism at the Jordan; he was initiated into his ministry and given power for it (Luke 3:21-22). As a result, it must be concluded that since the baptism in the Holy Spirit was essential for Jesus to live the life he was called to, so is the case for his followers in order to reach their greatest potential. This was the standard of the early church and must remain a blessing that is sought and expected within the church today.
Terrian, Samuel. The Illusive Presence: The Heart of Biblical Theology. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1978).
Turner, Max. The Holy Spirit and Spiritual Gifts in the New Testament Church and Today Rev. ed. Peabody: Hendrickson, 1996).