E1.    Work of the Holy Spirit - alternate list (Question 49)

E2.    Basic principles about spiritual gifts (Question 51)

a. Definition: A spiritual gift is any ability that is empowered by the Holy Spirit and used in any ministry of the church.   b. Purpose of spiritual gifts: to equip the church to carry out its ministry until Christ returns (1Co 1:7; Eph 4:12)   c. Number of spiritual gifts: In the lists on gifts, Paul was not attempting to construct exhaustive lists of gifts. They appear as ad hoc random lists. Also, since different churches received different lists, they still would not be able to construct an exhaustive list even if Paul listed all gifts in his letters. In addition, at least two letters to the Corinthians are non-extent (1Co 5:9; 2Co 7:8; 2:4).   d. Groups of spiritual gifts: e. Gifts may vary in strength: use "in proportion to our faith" (Ro 12:6). Many gifts increase in strength and effectiveness as they are used (1Ti 4:14).   f. Distribution: the Holy Spirit "apportions to each one individually as He wills" (1Co 12:11); even abilities we think to be "natural" are from God (1Co 4:7)   g. Permanency: it seems that spiritual gifts are permanent although some gifts are nonpermanent by their nature. Also gifts may be withdrawn if they are neglected (1Ti 4:14; Mt 25:29).   h. Discovering spiritual gifts: church leaders need to provide sufficient opportunities for varieties of gifts to be used (1Pe 4:10). A person can simply begins to try ministering in various areas and see where God brings blessing.

i. Seeking spiritual gifts: A person can desire higher gifts (1Co 12:31) and ask God for them.

j. Every believer is given one more more spiritual gifts (1Co 12:7,11; 1Pe 4:10).

k. The presence of spiritual gifts does not necessarily signify spiritual maturity (1Co 3:1).

E3.    Unpardonable sin: detailed version (Question 52) There is one unpardonable sin: blaspheming the Holy Spirit (Mt 12:31-32; Mk 3:29; Lk 12:10).