Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Gifted For Office (1 Corinthians 12:27-31)

"And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers …" (1 Cor. 12:28).

God has appointed individuals in His church to hold certain offices. The gifts He has given determines the office. Paul reminds the Corinthians of this fact and emphasizes that not everyone holds the same office because not everyone has been given the same gift. “No man could be an apostle without the gift of infallibility; nor a prophet without the gift of inspiration; nor a healer of diseases without the gift of healing,” Hodge wrote. “Man may appoint men to offices for which they have not the necessary gifts, but God never does, any more than He ordains the foot to see or the hand to hear. If any man, therefore, claims to be an apostle, or prophet, or worker of miracles, without the corresponding gift, he is a false pretender. In the early church, as now, there were many false apostles, i.e., those who claimed the honor and authority of the office without the gifts.

“The fact that any office existed in the apostolic church is no evidence that it was intended to be permanent. In that age there was a plenitude of spiritual manifestations and endowments demanded for the organization and propagation of the church, which is no longer required. We have no longer prophets, nor workers of miracles, nor gifts of tongues,” Hodge wrote. “The only evidence that an office was intended to be permanent is the continuance of the gift of which it was the organ, and the command to appoint to the office those who are found to possess the gift.”

When someone claims to hold a certain position in the church or wants to hold a certain ministerial office, the church as a whole is responsible to examine that person for the gifts necessary to execute that office. Unless the necessary gifts are present, that person should not be encouraged to pursue a role God has not designed for him or her to fill. But if any man has received ministerial gifts, he has received a call to the ministry. The Bible teaches us that those gifts are “soundness in the faith, competent knowledge, ability to teach, the love of Christ and zeal for His glory, an intelligent conviction of an obligation to preach the Gospel, and in short the qualifications which are necessary in one who is to be an example and guide of the flock of Jesus Christ,” Hodge wrote.

If the gift determines the office, why is the office of apostle no longer present in the church? Remember that an apostle is given the gift of direct revelation, making his teaching infallible. We have the apostles’ teaching in the Bible. Why is it necessary for you to compare the teaching of any person with the Word of God?