|Topical Bible Study||July 1961|
The Holy Spirit Series—Lesson VIII
Gifts and Fruits of the Spirit
THE Holy Spirit, or power of God, has manifested itself in the lives of his dedicated people throughout the Gospel Age in a variety of ways. Some of these manifestations are described in the Bible as the “gifts” of the Spirit, and some as the “fruit” of the Spirit.—I Cor. 12:4-11; Gal. 5:22,23
There are many different “gifts” of the Spirit, among them the ability to perform miracles of healing, and to speak in unknown tongues. These special gifts did not continue. They were of great value in the Early Church, but were not needed after the church, under the direction of the apostles, had been well established.—I Cor. 13:8
However, there are other gifts of the Spirit which have continued with the church throughout the entire age. One of these is the gift of servants in the church, including the apostles. (Eph. 4:11-13) The apostles were miraculously inspired by the Holy Spirit so that their utterances, oral and written, were infallible. The writings of the apostles, and the records of their oral instructions, still serve as inspired guidance for the Lord’s consecrated people.—Matt. 18:18; 16:19; II Pet. 3:15,16
Other, uninspired servants have been given to the church through the Holy Spirit. These have been pastors, teachers, evangelists, bishops [overseers], and elders. (Acts 20:17,28; I Tim. 3:1,2) These have been consecrated men who, in the Lord’s providence, and by the infilling of the Holy Spirit, have had their natural talents for this type of service quickened by the Holy Spirit of truth. To some of these has been given the gift of prophecy, or public utterance. The ability to explain the truth was considered by Paul to be a better gift than to speak with tongues.—I Cor. 12:31; 14:18,19,39
There is also “the fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22,23) The fruit of the Spirit differs from “the gifts of the Spirit” in that it is a growth or development of divine graces which reflect the likeness of the Lord in daily conversion and conduct. Jesus calls attention to this in his parable of “The Vine and the Branches.”—John 15:1-8
The fruit of the Spirit is also mentioned by the Apostle Peter. (II Pet. 1:4-11) Peter indicates that it is only by possession of these godlike graces of heart and mind that we can be assured of an entrance into the kingdom of Christ.
We may think of godlike love as being the “bond” of all the Christian graces. (Col. 3:14) The Spirit of love, of complete unselfishness, is so essential in the Christian life that, without it, the gifts of the Spirit would be of no value.—I Cor. 13:1-3
However, we are not to think of love as displacing zeal in the service of the Lord, and the faithful use of whatever abilities for proclaiming the truth with which the Lord may have blessed us. It is simply that the use of these gifts is acceptable to the Lord only if motivated by love. Actually, the more filled we are with love, the greater sacrifices we will be impelled to make in declaring the glad tidings of the kingdom.
What two words are used in the Bible to describe some of the manifestations of the Spirit of God in the lives of his people?
Which “gifts” of the Spirit did the Lord employ only during the days of the Early Church?
Name the “gifts” of the Spirit which have continued throughout the entire Gospel Age.
Name the two general categories among the servants of the church.
Which was considered more important in the Early Church, speaking with tongues, or prophesying?
Explain how the “gifts” of the Spirit differ from the “fruit” of the Spirit.
Explain the importance Peter attached to the fruit of the Spirit.
In what sense is love the “bond of perfectness,” as stated in Colossians 3:14
Briefly, what is Christian love? Should it displace activity in the Lord’s service?
“The Atonement Between God and Man,” page 205, paragraph 3, through page 208.
SUMMARY OF IMPORTANT THOUGHTS
The “gift” of healing the sick and speaking with tongues did not continue beyond the Early Church; while the servants of the church, as gifts, have continued throughout the age. The “fruit” of the Spirit is a growth of divine grace in the life of the Christian.