Every single believer has access to all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit’s gifts were never meant to be viewed as presents that God gives to some and not all. Rather, the gifts of the Spirit are simply the titles of manifestations of God’s power in the life of a believer.
We know this because throughout the New Testament we see verses that imply that the manifestations of the Spirit are to happen in all believers.
Take for example Mark 16:17-18.
“And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Here we see Jesus say that the gifts of healings, miracles, and speaking in tongues are meant to follow all of those who believe. (Related article: How to Walk in the Gifts of Healings-A Complete Guide).
In the gospel of John, Jesus said something similar.
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.” (John 14:12)
These “works” that Jesus is referring to in this passage are the works of miracles, signs, and wonders. So what works did Jesus do exactly? Well, He healed the sick, He raised the dead, He casted out demons, He calmed storms, He multiplied food, He received words of knowledge and words of wisdom on multiple occasions, He discerned spirits, and He prophesied.
He did everything except for the gift of speaking in tongues and the interpretation of tongues. The reason He didn’t is that these gifts weren’t given until the day of Pentecost and because Christ did not need to speak in tongues.
Jesus Christ was perfect and the Bible says that speaking in tongues is the Holy Spirit helping our weaknesses because “we do not know what we should pray for as we ought.” This, of course, was never an issue for Jesus Christ. It is only an issue for His followers so He gave us this wonderful gift to assist us in our weaknesses. (Related article: Is Speaking in Tongues for Everyone?)
So, you see, all the gifts of the Spirit flowed in the life of Jesus Christ perfectly and Christ says that those who believe in Him will be able to do the exact same things that He did. How exactly is that possible? Jesus tells us at the end of verse 12, “because I go to My Father.”
When Jesus went to the Father, after He rose from the grave, He gave us a precious Gift that could not be given until He died for us on the cross; the Holy Spirit.
“But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:39)
“Therefore (Jesus) being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.” (Acts 2:33)
This is significant because without the Holy Spirit there is no power from God. Jesus said that “you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you” (Acts 1:8). So, when we receive the Holy Spirit we receive all of the manifestations that come with Him. (Related articles: When do we receive the Gifts of the Holy Spirit? (Explained) & How to receive the Holy Spirit and Speak in Tongues).
Think of it this way; suppose I give you a swiss army knife. When I give you this knife, and you choose to receive it, do you only receive the blade and not the scissors? Or do you only receive the toothpick and not the corkscrew?
Of course not! You receive all of those things because they are the manifestations of the knife! It would be impossible for you to receive the swiss army knife without you also receiving the very things that make it a swiss army knife.
It is the same way with the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit is a Person and His gifts are simply manifestations of Himself working through believers. When you receive Him, you receive all of Him!
If this is true, then why do some people believe that God gives some spiritual gifts to one person and then He gives other gifts to someone else? In other words, why do people believe that God gives the gift of prophecy and discerning of spirits to one person, for example, and then He gives the working of miracles and healings to another?
The reason is that people misinterpret 1 Corinthians 12.
“For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit…” (1 Corinthians 12:8-9).
“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?” (1 Corinthians 12:28-30) (The obvious implied answer to these questions is no).
How these two passages are usually interpreted is that God gives His supernatural gift to one person and then He gives another gift to someone else. Then people use 1 Corinthians 12:28-30 to prove that not everyone can heal the sick, speak in tongues, or prophesy.
I can see how these passages can seem confusing, but we need to remember to look at scripture in its entire context. If a passage of scripture appears to contradict the rest of scripture then we do not have an accurate interpretation.
In these passages, Paul was addressing the organization of the Church when believers come together. This context starts in 1 Corinthians 11:18 and continues through 1 Corinthians 14, with a pause in chapter 13.
“For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it.” (1 Corinthians 11:18)
The apostle Paul was communicating to the Corinthians that when they meet together God wants to use each one of them with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. That is why he says,
“Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation.” (1 Corinthians 14:26)
Notice Paul says that each of you has a teaching, a tongue, an interpretation, etc.
Paul is saying that when we come together some should speak in tongues and others should interpret (1 Corinthians 14:27), some should prophesy and others should judge that prophecy (1 Corinthians 14:29), some should heal the sick and others should discern spirits.
And when it comes to ministries, such as apostles or prophets or pastors, not everyone functions in those roles. Not everyone is going to be doing administrative work, not everyone will be acting as an apostle or prophet within the Church. However, everyone will be acting like Christ and discipling believers, healing the sick, prophesying, and judging prophecy, etc.
You see, Paul was not stating that some have certain spiritual gifts and others do not. Or that because someone is a prophet only they can prophesy. If that were the case, Paul would have never said, “For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged” (1 Corinthians 14:31)
In fact, the ministry gifts are meant to teach the Body of Christ so that the people can do the same works as the ministers.
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-12).
So, in short, the “one and to another” in 1 Corinthians 12 was not stating that person A will have these three gifts for the rest of her life, or that person B will have these 6 gifts for the rest of his life. Rather, the “one and to another” was simply saying that when believers come together each one has a gift of the Spirit that the Holy Spirit wants to manifest at that specific point and time so we should do things decently and in order when we meet.
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