Renewalists (Pentecostals, Charismatics and Neo-Charismatics) believe that all the gifts of God mentioned in the New Testament are for today. They flow from God and are exercised through the Spirit and grace and a yielded, eager heart when the need arises. Let’s study the ones in Rom. 12:6-8.
Here’s how this post is sectioned.
TRANSLATION OF Rom. 12:3-8
EXPANDED AND FREE TRANSLATION OF 12:6-8
KEY WORD STUDY
Let’s begin with as literal a translation as feasible. It is mine.
3 For by the grace given me, I tell each one of you not to think above what he ought to think, but to think according to what is reasonable, as God has apportioned to each person a measure of faith. 4 For just as we have many members in one body, and all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we are many in one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 We have different gifts in accordance with the grace given us: whether prophecy, in proportion to faith; 7 whether service, with service; whether teaching, with teaching; 8 whether encouraging, with encouragement; whether giving, with generosity; whether leading, with diligence; whether showing mercy, with cheerfulness (Rom. 12:3-8, my tentative translation)
The main point in v. 3 is equality with differences. Each one has been given a measure of faith, so we are equal in that regard. So let’s not allow inflated thinking to grab hold of our mind. No one person or no one gift is better than the other. “Think above” is one Greek word with the prefix hyper attached, meaning “above” or “more.” So some translations correctly have “not to think more highly of himself” or a variation of it. In v. 3, “reasonable” could be translated as “sober judgment.” The central idea is proportionality and accuracy. Don’t think you are above everyone else, as if your gift is superior to other gifts.
Most importantly, this grace and faith here in v. 3 is not saving faith or saving grace that first brought you into the kingdom of light and God. Rather, this is empowering faith and grace that enables you to serve God after you entered into his kingdom. Never believe hyper-grace teachers who tell you that grace has nothing to do with empowerment for service and good works. It is both-and, not either-or. Grace both saves and empowers.
We belong to each other as many members in one body. Paul had already developed this line of thinking in 1 Cor. 12:12-27, but apparently he abbreviated it here in this passage. We are all members of the body of Christ. And just as each member has different functions, so we the members of the church also have different functions. But the feet are just as important as the hands, and the fingers are just as important as the toes. Equality again, through God, but with differences, as God wills.
“Gifts” comes from the Greek noun charisma (pronounced khah-reess-mah) and is used 18 times in the New Testament. The plural is charismata, and we get our word charismatic from it. Charis means “grace” and the ma– suffix means “the result of,” so charisma means a gift that comes from or is the result of grace. It is clear that God gives each gift to yielded hearts. Charisma in the NT sense does not equal charisma in the modern political sense, someone with a forceful and likeable (more or less) personality and a big smile.
“proportion”: It comes from the Greek word analogia (pronounced ah-nah-loh-gee-ah, and the “g” is hard, as in “get”), which is obviously the source of our word analogy. In any case, it is used only once, and it is here. And in the bigger Greek world and outside the NT, it also means “proportion.” It is “a state of right relationship involving proportions” (BDAG). The verb is analogizomai (pronounced ah-nah-log-gee-zo-my, and the “g” is also hard, as in “give”), and it means to “reason with careful deliberation, to consider” (BDAG). I admit I was surprised to see analogia as meaning “proportionate.” I can understand why analogy means a proportionate comparison to the original, but it surprises me that the Greek word analogia means proportion, unless it means to “recalculate” or “recompute.”
Next, Paul illustrates the different functions. My translation is the barebone version, closest to Greek. “Whether” could be translated as “if.” Example: “If showing mercy, with cheerfulness.”
Paul expects us, I am sure, to carry on the idea of “in proportion to [his] faith” into the rest of the list. So “whether service, in service” could be rendered “whether service, in service in proportion to faith.” “His” (“his faith”) is not in the original, but some translations supply it to make better sense. Or they make it personal and put in “you” or “your.”
So what does “proportion to faith” mean? It cannot mean to build a huge and impenetrable wall around a gift, as if someone who exhibits the gift of service can never show the gift of giving. The gifts interpenetrate and relate to each other. So what does it mean? It probably signifies that God tailor-makes and channels faith for each gift and doer of the gift, with different nuances. So someone who shows mercy with cheerfulness must receive a special gift that a prophetic gift does not have completely, while the prophetic gift has nuances that the other gifts don’t have. “Proportionate faith” is the faith that is needed at the right time, at the right time, and in the way, for each individual gift.
Further, Paul expects us to carry forward the idea of grace. So “whether in teaching, in teaching” could be rendered “whether in teaching, with the grace given by God for teaching.”
It is possible to be trained as a teacher, if you are really shy and cannot get up in front of people. Take public speaking classes, if you believe God is calling you to teach. Do it afraid. Though these gifts are built on God’s grace and his distribution of faith, people can grow into them and improve their practice and implementation of them. But expect God to grace you and give you confidence (faith) as you teach. Step out in faith.
As noted, if service needs some giving, then serve and give. I don’t believe we should build a huge wall around the gifts. Sometimes they may overlap.
EXPANDED AND FREE TRANSLATION OF ROM. 12:6-8
In light of the last section, here is an expanded translation, filling in the elliptical list in 7-8 with the introduction to the first item (prophecy) in the list in v. 6. Some translations switch from “we” and “our” to “you” and “your.” But Paul keeps the “we” and “our” because of his body metaphor. We are members of the same team. Or he switches to singular teaching or encouraging or giving, for example, which could be translated as follows: “he who teaches,” “he who encourages, “he who gives,” or “he who shows mercy.” I just left it as “teaching,” “encouraging,” “giving” and “showing.”
6 We have different gifts in accordance with the grace given us: whether prophecy, then let it be prophecy with the grace given and in proportion to faith; 7 whether service, then let it be service with the grace given and in proportion to faith; whether teaching, then let it be teaching with the grace given and in proportion to faith; 8 whether encouraging, then let it be encouragement with the grace given and in proportion to faith; whether giving, then let it be with generosity with the grace given and in proportion to faith; whether leading, then let it be with diligence and with the grace given and in proportion to faith; whether showing mercy, then let it be with cheerfulness and with the grace given and in proportion to faith. (Rom. 12:6-8, my tentative translation)
Bottom line: Our gifts come through the grace and faith that God gives us, not by our own strength and willpower and natural talent. And then let’s exercise our gifts really well, but only by his grace he has already given us and by the faith he has already apportioned to us! God is the source and the sustenance of his gifts. He gets all the glory.
Please note that Paul Walker, writing his essay “The Holy Spirit Gifts and Power,” for the Spirit-Filled Study Bible, says that Rom. 12:6-8 indicates that these gifts come from the Father, while the office-gifts in Eph. 4:11 are the Son’s domain, and the gifts in 1 Cor. 12:7-11 are the Spirit’s offerings to Christ’s church (pp. 1941-49). Then he says that the gifts of the Father in Rom. 12:6-8 are basic life purposes and motivations, as if they can be trained and improved. They may come partly from natural talent.
My response is that the demarcation between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit may be true, but I would not make a big thing of these divisions. And developing and improving the gifts here? Maybe. My views are explained, below.
KEY WORD STUDY
Let’s take them one at a time.
As noted in my commentary on 1 Cor. 12:10, it comes from the Greek noun prophēteia (pronounced pro-fay-tay-yah) and is used 19 times in the NT. Let’s look at a few key verses to get a range of meanings.
It appears in 1 Cor. 12:10, in the list of the ninefold gifts. In both there and Rom. 12:6, it has the same meaning: to speak by the power of the Spirit. It is not forthtelling or a strong speaking ability, though the gift of prophecy could include that. Prophecy may be expressed in forthtelling, but not always. It could be spoken softly and in bits and pieces, haltingly. It is not natural talent or ability in speaking, or else why would Paul make so much of God’s gifting his grace and apportioning faith? And it does not mean just shrieking and freaking behind the pulpit (too much soul power). It has to go deeper. It does not come by study, though that is important to know God’s mind and to prevent a prophetic person’s own thoughts from dominating. The Spirit speaks special knowledge that the human speaker did not know before and he realizes God is in their midst and he repents (1 Cor. 14:24-25).
The purpose of prophecy is seen in 1 Cor. 14:3:
Edify, exhort, and comfort (KJV)
Edification, exhortation, and comfort (NKJV)
Strengthen, encourage, and comfort (NIV)
Strengthening, encouragement, and consolation (NET)
Edification, exhortation, and consolation (NASB)
Grow in the Lord, encouraging, and comforting (NLT)
Strength, encouragement, and comfort (NCV)
Helped, encouraged, and made to feel better (CEV)
Upbuilding, encouragement, and consolation (ESV)
Grow, be strong, and experience his presence with you (MSG)
In 1 Thess. 5:20, in the context of a command not to quench the Spirit, Paul tells the church there not to treat prophecies with contempt. This is a warning to us today.
In 1 Tim. 1:18 Paul encourages his disciple Timothy to remember the prophecies that pointed him to remember to wage spiritual warfare, holding on to faith and a conscience (1:18). If one does not have faith and a good conscience, then spiritual warfare is difficult.
In 1 Tim. 4:14 Paul reminds Timothy not to neglect the gift (charisma) that was given him through prophecy when the body of elders laid hands on him. So gifts can be imparted by laying on of hands. They don’t always have to come by passivity. It is possible to knock on the door to God’s throne room and ask him for a gift. If he says no to one gift, then find out from him what your gift is. I used to think I should be a pastor and church planter, but God never opened up that door to me. I did not go to seminary and earn an M.Div., nor was I ever invited to shepherd a church (except for 6 months in Paris, France, and I was bad at it). Then in 2012, I sought God hard yet again about planting a church in my home city. God clearly revealed to me one word: no. Then clarity came. I am a teacher (see below), not a pastor or church planter. Of course. I had been teaching for a long time.
Philip the evangelist and servant (Acts 6) had four prophetic daughters who were unmarried (Acts 21:9). These four girls had a ministry, and no doubt they were young, some premarriage age and others of marriageable age, but unmarried. Kids don’t get “Holy Spirit, Jr.” They get the fullness of the Spirit, both boys and girls. They can have a prophetic ministry—and so can single people.
Prophecy can have predictive elements. Agabus was a prophet in Judea, and he told Paul, as follows:
10 While we stayed there [Caesarea] several days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 He approached us and took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands and said, “The Holy Spirit says this: ‘In this way the Jews in Jerusalem shall bind the man whose belt this is and turn him over to the hands of the Gentiles’” (Acts 21:10-11, my tentative translation)
Not all prophecies have to be sugar and spice and everything nice. They can warn. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.
So what distinguishes this gift of prophecy from other speaking gifts is the power of the Spirit, proclaiming loudly or whispering the mind of God towards an individual, a church, or a nation.
See this related post:
And see this fuller post:
Service with service
It is the Greek noun diakonia (pronounced dee-ah-koh-nee-ah), and it appears 34 times. Depending on the context, it can mean “service,” “office,” “ministry,” “task,” or “aid, support, distribution.” Yes, we get our word deacon from it (1 Tim. 3:10, 13). It evolved into a position at church for a man or woman (Rom. 16:1 and Phoebe) who did practical service, to help the pastor, so he (or she) could focus on the Word of God. But this does not limit the deacons’ service away from the Word, as evidenced in the lives of Stephen and Philip, who were numbered among the seven servants (deacons) (Acts 6), but who also preached the gospel (Acts 7 and 8).
In 2 Cor. 8:4, Paul praised the Macedonian churches highly because they were eager to share in the service (diakonia) of giving money to the impoverished churches in Judea. And Paul again calls giving money a service (diakonia) (2 Cor. 9:1). Money is very practical.
In Eph. 4:12 Paul says that God gave the office gifts of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to equip the saints (believers in Jesus who makes them holy) for the works of service (diakonia). Serving is just working or doing good works that God prepared beforehand for us to do.
Finally, even angels perform service (diakonia) to those who are shall inherit salvation (Heb. 1:14).
Other important verses mentioning diakonia, for your further study: Luke 10:40; Acts 6:1, 4; 11:29; 12:25; 20:24; 21:9; Rom. 11:13; 15:31; 1 Cor. 16:16; 2 Cor. 3:7-9; 4:1; 5:18; 6:3; 8:4; 9:1, 12-13; 11:8; Col. 4:17; 1 Tim. 1:12; 4:5; 2 Tim. 4:5; 4:11; Rev. 2:19.
In 1 Cor. 12:5 Paul lists service (diakonia) in the context of gifts (v. 4) and working (v. 6), just before he introduces the list of the ninefold charismata (vv. 7-11).
In Rom. 12:7, the key word does not mean a special office. It means to serve in practical ways. And God’s grace can empower you to serve in proportion to your faith. Serving may be built on the natural order—some people naturally serve and help—but God must prompt serving that is pleasing to him, or else you can get into busywork. However, it is best not to over-analyze things. Just pitch in and help when a need arises.
Teaching with teaching
It means just what it says in English as in Greek, without mystery. The verb is didaskō (pronounced dee-das-koh) and is used 97 times, and our word didactic is related to it. It means, depending on the context, to “tell someone what to do, tell, instruct”; “to provide instruction in a formal or informal setting, teach” (BDAG). In the broader Greek world, it is a duplication (dida-) of the first syllable of the simpler verb daō (pronounced dah-oh), which means “to learn” or “to teach.” But that may be too much needless information for our purposes.
No question Jesus is the one who exercised the gift of teaching most often (even accounting for the parallel passages in the Synoptics), so often, in fact, that we don’t need to list the Scriptures. He taught because he was a teacher. Teachers teach. Incidentally, “teacher” is didaskalos (pronounced dee-das-kah-lohs) and is used 59 times, sometimes addressed to Jesus as “Teacher” (Matt. 8:19; 9:11; 19:16; 22:16, 24, 36; 23:8; 26:18).
The other key word in Rom. 12:8 is a noun: didaskalia (pronounced dee-das-kah-lee-ah), which is used 21 times. It means “teaching, instruction” (BDAG) or could be translated as “doctrine.”
Teaching can take place in the natural order of human gifting, but when the Spirit inspires it by grace and in proportion to faith, the ministry of teaching can flow through anyone. One scholar says that in Rom. 12:7 the focus is on the act of teaching, and not on the teacher, but let’s make too much of this because the Greek says, “he who teaches.” Yet the scholar is right in the sense that teaching, no matter who does it, is vital in v. 7. This agrees with 1 Cor. 14:26, which says “each one has … a teaching….” This does not seem like an official teacher. However, in 1 Cor. 12:28, Paul writes, God gave first apostles, second prophets, third teachers. So we have both an official position or office and the act of teaching that anyone could manifest, by the power of the Spirit.
In the 1970s, during the Charismatic Renewal and the Jesus Movement (they overlapped) in a small group in an apartment, while I was in Bible college, the leader used to ask, “Does anyone have something to share?” One or two persons would talk about this or that prayer need or this or that answered prayer, but one man used to regularly give a “teachette” or a brief teaching about what the Lord had been showing him recently in Scripture. He was not an official teacher, but he had the gift of teaching at that moment. Surely this informality is what Rom. 12:7 assumes.
Encouraging with encouragement
In the first key word in v. 8 it is the verb parakaleō (pronounced pah-rah-kah-leh-oh) and is used 109 times. It can be translated variously as “to urge, beg, encourage, plead with, appeal to, invite, comfort, ask, exhort (incite by argument or advice, urge strongly, warn, advise), request.” In most cases translators opt for “encourage.” Its basic meaning is to call to one’s side or to ask to come and be present where the speaker is (BDAG). Para– basically means “alongside” and the kal– or klē– stems means “to call” or “to summon.” So I ask God to come and be present where I am. Then he encourages me. It can also mean “to make a strong request, to implore, entreat” or “to instill someone with courage or cheer, comfort, encourage, cheer up” (BDAG).
The second key word is the noun paraklēsis (pronounced pah-rah-klay-seess) and is used 29 times. It is variously translated as “encouragement, comfort, appeal, consolation, exhortation, preaching, urgency.” Most translations opt for “encouragement.” “It is the act of emboldening another in belief or course of action”; “encouragement, exhortation [strong warning or advice or an appeal with urgency]”; “strong request, appeal”; “lifting of another’s spirit, comfort, consolation” (BDAG). Similar to the verb, paraklēsis means that someone comes alongside you and offers you encouragement.
In Luke 6:24, in the Sermon on the Plain, Jesus said that the rich have already received their comfort. Money can bring earthly comfort and encouragement, but not a heavenly one. Money rusts down here, but heavenly treasure can never rust (Matt. 6:19-20).
In Acts 9:31 Luke writes a summary verse that says the church grew numerically and in the fear of the Lord and in encouragement of the Holy Spirit. So once again the Spirit is involved in paraklēsis.
In Rom. 15:4 Paul writes that the Scriptures teach us so that the endurance that comes through them can offer encouragement, so that we can have hope.
In 1 Cor. 1:3-7 Paul piles on the noun paraklēsis: we must receive it so we can offer it to others who need. This implies that we must need it first because we have been going through a tough time.
In 2 Thess. 2:16 says that our Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father gave us eternal encouragement. “Eternal” can be translated that way, or it could mean we receive encouragement now, but also for “the age to come.” It works out to be the same—now and in eternity.
The author of Hebrews wants his readers to bear with his word of exhortation or his entire long epistle. He tells them that his epistle was actually rather short (13:22).
In 1 Tim. 6:2 Paul tells Timothy to speak and exhort (strongly urge) about things that help masters and slaves to get along with each other, particularly when both sides are believers.
These verses reveal the range of encouraging and encouragement, but let’s not lose track of their usage in Rom. 12:8. This kind of encouragement comes through grace and in proportion to faith. Encouragement is empowered to come at the right time and in the right way, with the right words and gestures—a hug or an arm around the shoulder.
Giving with generosity
The Greek verb is metadidōmi (pronounced meh-tah-dee-doh-mee), and it is used only five times. The main verb is didōmi, which is the standard verb “to give.” So why the prefix meta-? These prefixes are sometimes unclear (to me, at least). But meta– usually means “a change of place or condition,” perhaps roughly corresponding to the Latin trans– or “over, across, to the other side.” But I need to do more research on that.
Whatever the case, metadidōmi means to “impart or share” (BDAG). Other translations of Rom. 12:8 say: “gives” (KJV, NASB, NKJV, CEV), “contributing” (NIV, ESV), “share money” (NLT), “give aid” (MSG), or “gift of giving” (NCV).
In Luke 3:11 John the Baptist says that the man with two tunics must share with another man that has none.
Paul writes to the Romans that he may impart to them a spiritual gift (Rom. 1:11).
Eph. 4:28 says that that a thief must not steal no longer, but work with his hands so that he can share what he has with others.
In Thess. 2:8 Paul tells the church there that he cared for them as a nursing mother cares for her children. He loved them so much that he shared with them the gospel of God, but also his own life.
As for generosity, the noun haplotēs (pronounced hah-plo-tays) is used 8 times. It describes the way the giver should contribute in Rom. 12:8. It means in some contexts “simplicity, sincerity, uprightness, frankness.” In our context it means “generosity” or “liberality.” It can mean “without strings attached,” “without hidden agendas” (BDAG). The adjective form means “singleness of purpose so as to be open and above board” and “single, without guile, sincere, straightforward” (BDAG).
Understandably, Paul used the noun in a major context of giving: “generously” or “generosity” (2 Cor. 8:2; 9:11, 13). In the other verses it means “sincerity” (Eph. 6:5; Col. 3:22).
So it seems that people can have the gift of giving. Yes, everyone needs to contribute where needed and where led to good soil, but apparently the Spirit through grace and in proportion to faith can inspire giving in everyone who is yielded.
See my post on tithing, particularly point no. 21, which highlights generosity without compulsion:
Leading with diligence
The first key word is the verb proistēmi (pronounced pro-ee-stay-mee), and it is used 8 times. In some contexts, it can mean “to exercise a position of leadership, rule, direct, be at the head of”; and in other contexts, it can mean “to have an interest in, to show concern for, care for, give aid” (BDAG). It is made up of two parts: pro-, which means “before” or “in front of” and histēmi, which means, depending on the context, “to cause to be in a place or position, set, place, bring, allow to come”; “to set up or put into force, establish”; “reinforce validity of, uphold, maintain, validate”; “cause to be steadfast, make someone stand” (BDAG). It is related to “leadership” in 1 Cor. 12:28, which many translations have as “administration.”
So the question now becomes, how does this relate to the fivefold offices or ministry positions in Eph. 4:11? Does this gift attach itself to those offices? Is it a separate gift? It is not clear to me. Perhaps there are people who just lead without a position. Or better, it should be attached to the offices and eldership and service gifts. All of those men and women can exercise the gift of leadership.
The verb in certain contexts can be translated variously as “over you in the Lord” (1 Thess. 5:12); an overseer must manage his own family well (1 Tim. 3:4-5); a deacon must manage his own children and household (1 Tim. 3:12); elders must direct the affairs of the church (1 Tim. 5:17); those who have trusted God must devote themselves to doing good (Tit. 3:8, 14).
Thus the verb is wide-ranging, but its basic meaning for Rom. 12:8 is to stand up in front and be established. God’s grace and the faith he apportioned to you can enable you to stand in front and lead and help you manage your family and church.
The other key word is the noun spoudē (pronounced spoo-day), and it is used 12 times. Its primary meaning is “swiftness of movement or action, haste or speed” (Mark. 6:25; Luke 1:39), but in Rom. 12:8 (and elsewhere) it means “earnest commitment in discharge of an obligation or experience of a relationship, eagerness, earnestness, diligence, willingness, zeal” (BDAG). Take your pick. Any one of them fits the context.
In Rom. 12:11 the word is used again to keep up one’s zeal and spiritual fervor.
In 2 Cor. 7:11-12 Paul commends the Corinthians for showing godly sorrow and their eagerness to clear themselves of wrongdoing.
In the context of giving to those in need, whom the Corinthians did not even meet, they were earnest to give money (2 Cor. 8:7-8). And Paul praises God for putting into Titus the same concern Paul had for the Corinthians (2 Cor. 8:16).
In Heb. 6:11 the author of this epistle, after warning his readers not to fall away, wants each of them to show the same diligence to the very end and not to become lazy.
Peter urges his readers to make every effort to add to their faith goodness (2 Pet. 1:5).
And Jude, the brother of Jesus, said he was very eager to write to the recipients of his small letter (v. 3).
It is interesting that God’s grace given to you and the proportion of faith he apportioned to you are combined with diligence. A leader cannot be lazy, but he or she must work hard and make every effort to carry out his leadership calling. But as noted at the tail end of the expanded translation (the comment below the bold font), God’s grace and faith flows to you and through you as you exercise your gift.
Showing mercy with cheerfulness
The first key word is the verb eleeō (pronounced eh-leh-eh-oh), and it is used 29 times. It simply means “show mercy (pity)” or “have mercy (pity).” Of course it is used often in the ministry of Jesus, when the common folk need his healing power: Have mercy on us / me! (Matt. 9:27; 15:22; 17:15; 20:30-31 and so on). It is sad to hear their cries, but sadness turned to action when Jesus came on the scene. In each instance of “have mercy,” it could be translated as “show mercy.” In other word, mercy must be shown, it cannot be hidden in your heart. Don’t just have it; display it and act on it.
The second key word is the noun hilarotēs (pronounced hee-lar-o-tays), it is used only once, and in Rom. 12:8. (Its cognate hilaros is also used only once, in 2 Cor. 9:7). Yes, we get our word hilarity from it. It means “quality or state of cheerfulness, opposite of an attitude suggesting being under duress; cheerfulness, gladness, wholeheartedness, graciousness” (BDAG). Another opposite: morose.
I felt the emotion of sadness when I thought about the needs of the people in the Gospels, like blindness or dying children. Then I felt uplifted when I thought about Jesus meeting those needs. Rom. 12:8, however, encourages us not to feel morose or sad when showing mercy, but to display cheerfulness. Workers at orphanages around the globe, for example, must not feel sadness, but put a smile on their faces. That’s easy for me to say because I visited only one orphanage in Mexico long ago, and only one time, but they have to receive grace given them by God and a proportion of faith that is apportioned by God. They are gifted to be there. When they feel discouraged, they must get alone with him and ask him for the grace and faith to be cheerful and to fulfill their calling gladly, wholeheartedly and graciously.
How does this post help me know God better and apply my gift?
Peter wrote on a similar theme, but in a shorter version:
… Each one received grace for others, ministering it as fine managers of the multifaceted grace of God. If someone speaks, let it be as the words of God; if someone serves, as from strength that God supplies, so that in everything God would be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory and the power forever and ever, amen (1 Pet. 4:10-11, my tentative translation).
Peter mentions only two broad gifts—speaking and serving—and how much deeper do we need to go? Jesus was powerful in word and deed (Luke 24:19). “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Col. 3:17, NIV). Speaking and doing. Our words can edify or tear down, and our actions can lift people up.
What is really interesting about the verses in 1 Peter is that it says we can manage the multifaceted grace of God. Grace can split off into multiple gifts, so those two gifts of speaking and doing are suggestive, not comprehensive or exclusive. We can exercise them or let them fall into disuse. We must use them. And then when we do use them, let’s manage them well.
Every gift comes from God; we exercise our gift for him. And then God gets the glory, and so does his Son, on an equal footing with God.