Have spiritual gifts ceased? Can ordinary believers still speak supernatural tongues, prophesy, heal, and do miracles in Jesus’ name? I grew up in a church that taught that supernatural gifts stopped with the apostles. They said there was no need for these since the Bible was complete.
Were Spiritual Gifts only for the Apostles?
Those who think the gifts have ceased will sight their use as a sign for the apostles. 2 Corinthians 12: 12 When I (Paul) was with you, I certainly gave you proof that I am an apostle. For I patiently did many signs and wonders and miracles among you. Yet, there are examples of non-apostles performing miracles, such as Stephen (Acts 6:8) and Philip (Acts 8:6-7).
The gift of tongues and prophecy was given multiple times. There are many examples, but here are two. The Gentile Cornelius and his friends received the gift of tongues without asking for them. Acts 10: 46 For they heard them speaking in other tongues and praising God. Paul prayed for twelve new converts in Ephesus. Acts 19: 6 Then when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in other tongues and prophesied.
In our text this week, Paul speaks about these gifts to new believers in Corinth who were not apostles. In fact, Paul gives specific instructions for using these spiritual gifts in their worship services.1 Corinthians 14: 4 A person who speaks in tongues is strengthened personally, but one who speaks a word of prophecy strengthens the entire church. 5 I wish you could all speak in tongues, but even more I wish you could all prophesy. For prophecy is greater than speaking in tongues, unless someone interprets what you are saying so that the whole church will be strengthened. I believe this shows that Paul didn’t think these gifts ended with the apostles, but through the power of the Holy Spirit, they would continue through believers.
Keep Focused on Christ
I believe Paul gave instructions for spiritual gifts because they are still relevant today. There is no scriptural reason to believe otherwise. But this non-foundational issue should not divide us. Whether we believe that the gifts continue or have ceased, we are all part of the body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12: 27 All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.
Just before His trial and death on the cross, Jesus prayed for all believers. John 17: 20 I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. 21 I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.
The Father loved us so much that He gave us the gift of Jesus. Jesus spoke of good gifts. Luke 11: 13 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him. Have spiritual gifts ceased? I believe ordinary believers can speak supernatural tongues, prophesy, heal, and do miracles in Jesus’ name. I urge you to keep your heart open to gifts from the Holy Spirit. To learn more, listen here: