Did Mary lead prayers? Did people receive all the gifts of the Spirit?

Question:

Thank you for taking my questions.

We were discussing the upper room Wednesday night. In Acts 1:13-17 it mentions that Mary, Jesus' mother, and other women were present. We were trying to determine if Mary herself was praying while all the people were there. I know some women prophesied back then. My option is she was there supporting and taking care of all there.

Also in Acts 8:17 when the apostles gave power to others, did the apostles give them all powers of healing too or gifts of the Word that they would know what to say when preaching, setting up churches, etc.?


Answer:

"And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers" (Acts 1:13-14).

Just because someone is listed as being present by name, it does not imply that they took a leading role. Since such a role violates other teachings (I Timothy 2:12), we can safely assume that the women were there to learn and support the work.

"Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit" (Acts 8:14-17).

While the passage does not state what gifts were given, we are told after a list of various spiritual gifts, "But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills" (I Corinthians 12:11). It wasn't the apostles who decided what gifts were given to individuals. They were only the medium through which the Spirit worked. It was the Holy Spirit who decided which gifts to give various individuals. We also know that individuals did not receive all the gifts. "And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?" (I Corinthians 12:28-30). The answers to Paul's rhetorical questions are all "no." Such a distribution of different gifts was to encourage Christians to rely on each other. Some didn't even have any miraculous gifts; yet, every person was important to the functioning of the church.