Miraculous Gifts as They Are Designated in the Scriptures

by Gilbert Alexander

Miraculous gifts, or spiritual gifts, as they are designated in the Scriptures were given to the apostles for specific purposes. They were given directly to the apostles when the apostles received the baptism of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost (Acts 2) in fulfillment of the promise of Jesus in (Acts 1:5). Earlier in John 14:26; 15:26; and 16:13; Jesus had promised to send the Holy Spirit to the apostles when He went away. His purpose for doing so is clearly stated in those verses. The apostles were empowered miraculously by the Holy Spirit to speak by revelation from God, to remember perfectly what Jesus had taught them, and to perform miracles as signs of proof of the Divine origin of their message (Mark 16:17-20; Hebrews 2:1-4). The apostles were empowered to impart miraculous gifts to other saints through the laying on of their hands (Acts 8:5-18; 19:6; II Timothy 1:6), for specific purposes.

The miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit which were exercised in the early church and in the preaching of the gospel in the days of the apostles were for revelation of the gospel and for signs to unbelievers for proof of the truth and divine authority of the message preached (I Corinthians 14:22). Once the revelation was completed and confirmed, the purpose of the miracles was accomplished, and they ceased (I Corinthians 13:8-10). When the faith was fully revealed and confirmed, it needed no reconfirmation. The miracles which Jesus did were recorded so that hearers may believe that He is the Christ (John 20:30, 31). The record of the signs done by the apostles is our assurance that they spoke from God. We should, therefore, contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3). Why should we demand or expect a sign from God when His signs have already been given? God has given us sufficient proof to establish faith in our hearts, the faith that comes from hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17).