What is the gifts of healings? Why is it plural?
The spiritual gifts of healings is the manifestation of God’s power flowing through a believer to heal the sick. This spiritual gift is plural because the gifts of healings not only heal natural, physical infirmities, but they are also a gift used to cast out demons, which heals people as well.
In case you didn’t know, the Bible calls the spiritual gift of healing the “gifts of healings.” It took me a long time to recognize this, but it is definitely in the text.
“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit…to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit…” (1 Corinthians 12:7-9)
So why does the apostle Paul call the manifestation of healing the “gifts of healings”? If we can answer this question then we can explain what the gift of healing actually is.
The apostle Paul calls it the gifts of healings because this gift is twofold. On one hand, this gift is used to heal the sick and any natural caused infirmity, but on the other hand, it is also used to cast out demons, which often heals people.
We see this gift demonstrated perfectly in the life and ministry of Jesus. In Matthew chapter 4 it says,
“Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them.”
Notice how He healed the demon-possessed along with the sick people. Of course, Jesus didn’t heal the demon, but He did cast out the demon which was the catalyst for the person to be healed.
Another perfect example is in Matthew 12:22 when Jesus healed a blind and mute man.
“Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw.”
As you can see from just a couple of scriptures, the gifts of healings apply to both the casting out of demons and the healing of the sick.
How to receive the gifts of healings
You can receive the gifts of healings in three steps; (1) receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit, (2) grow in your knowledge of God, and, (3) step out in faith believing that when you pray for the sick, they will be healed.
Step 1: Receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit
The Bible makes it clear that we receive the power of the Holy Spirit the moment that we are baptized in Him.
“You shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now…But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:5 & 8)
It’s important to remember that the gifts of the Holy Spirit, including the gifts of healings, are simply a manifestation of the Spirit. The gifts were never meant to be viewed as presents with pretty bows, rather they were meant to be understood as manifestations of the Person of Holy Spirit.
So, when we receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit, we receive the Person of Holy Spirit, which, as a result, brings His manifestations into our lives.
Step 2: Grow in your relationship with God
After we receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit, it’s true that we have received God’s power, but now we need to learn to access this power.
You see, the moment we receive the Holy Spirit, His power comes to live on the inside of us, in our spirits. That’s why the Word says,
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Ephesians 3:20).
So now that we have this power, we need to learn to access it, so how do we do that?
Well first, we need to grow in our knowledge of God and learn to develop an intimacy with Him. Here are some verses that will support what I am saying:
“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:2-3).
In this passage, Peter says that God’s power has already given to us all things that we need for life and godliness. And as powerful of truth as this is, it’s important not to neglect the rest of the verse.
Peter continues by telling us that this power is accessed only through the Knowledge of the God who called us by glory and virtue.
The apostle Paul also teaches us something very similar.
“After I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him…” (Ephesians 1:15-17)
Why would he pray that we would know God? He prayed it so…
“The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe” (Ephesians 1:18-19).
Notice how both of these powerful apostles reveal to us that God’s power is accessed only through the knowledge of Him. The more we get to know God, the more His power will manifest through our lives.
In other words, the more we get to know God, the more the gifts of healings will begin to flow through us.
If you are interested in teachings about knowing God more in our daily life, you can check out the relationship with God category of this website. Some articles in their include: Dwelling in the secret place: what it is and how to do it, How to spend an hour in prayer (8 helpful tips), and How to start knowing God (Step by Step).
Step 3: Step out in faith
Finally, the last step is for us to step out in faith, believing that when we pray for the sick, they will recover. It would be unreasonable for us to expect God to heal through us if we never step out and release faith.
Right after Jesus rose from the grave He gave all those who follow Him a powerful promise. He said,
“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.” (Mark 16:17-18)
This one verse reveals almost everything we need to know about stepping out in faith and healing the sick. There are a few things I want you to notice.
First, the sign of healing the sick only follows those who believe. Second, the sign of healing the sick is in the name of Jesus only. Third, the believers lay their hands on the sick in faith. And finally, if these conditions are met, the sick will recover every single time.
So, how does this look practically? Well, that’s what the next section of this article is going to cover.
How to operate/activate the gifts of healings
We activate and operate the gift of healing by simply stepping out in faith and praying for the sick to be healed. There is no secret sauce. It is simply believing that what the Bible says is true, and then acting on what it says.
As I mentioned before, we will not see the gifts of healings flow through us if we do not step out in faith. So how do we take this step?
We step out in faith by obeying what Jesus said to us in Luke chapter 10 and Matthew chapter 10.
“Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you. And heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’” (Luke 10:8)
“And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:7-8)
These verses tell us that we are to heal all sick people in every city.
So let’s say you go to your weekly grocery store and you see someone with a brace on their wrist. Is that person in the categories of “whatever city” and “the sick”? Absolutely!
Approach that person with gentleness and compassion, ask them what happened to their wrist to break the ice, and then ask them if you can pray for them.
A lot of the time they’ll say yes. And when they do, pray a five second prayer telling that pain to leave in Jesus name. After you get done praying, ask the person to check where it was hurting. If they’re healed, praise God! Then share the gospel with that person.
If they don’t appear to be healed, no worries. There are multiple examples in the Bible where healing doesn’t take place right away, but rather within the hour (Luke 17:14). Just tell them thank you and let them know Jesus loves them, then go on your way.
I promise all of you that this is not meant to be complicated, but rather very simple.
Before I move on, I do want to address one contradiction that will possibly arise in some of your minds. And that contradiction is, “The passages in Luke 10 and Matthew 10 were addressed to those individual disciples, not to all believers, and especially not current day believers.”
If that’s true, then why did Jesus tell those same apostles to teach us the same things He taught them?
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe ALL THINGS that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20)
I think the topic of healing the sick is in the category of all things.
Also, if you are right, then why does Jesus say that “these signs shall follow those who believe…In My name…they will lay hands on the sick and they will recover” (Mark 16:17-18).
Jesus didn’t say that “these signs will only follow My special anointed apostles”, “or these current day believers.” No, He said these signs will follow those who believe. Are you a believer? Then go heal the sick.
If you want to know more about this topic, I have another article titled How to activate God’s healing power (Step by Step). I approach this topic from a slightly different angle, you might enjoy it!
How to develop and grow the gifts of healings
You can develop and grow the gift of healing by following these few steps; (1) Be continually seeking God through prayer and fasting, (2) develop a mustard seed faith, and (3) continue to pray for the sick.
Be continually Seeking God through prayer and fasting
As mentioned before, the only way to access more of God’s power is through having an intimate relationship with Him (2 Peter 1:2-3). So, if we are not actively seeking Him through prayer and fasting then we are not developing a knowledge of Him that will grow the gifts of healings in our lives.
Let’s look at a passage of scripture that illustrates this perfectly.
“Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?”
So Jesus said to them, “Because of your little faith; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” (Matthew 17:19-21)
In this passage of scripture, the disciples just failed to cast out a demon from a little boy, and when Jesus appeared on the scene He cast out the demon very quickly. So, they asked a reasonable question, “why could we not cast it out?”
Jesus gave them two reasons: (1) they had little faith, and (2) they did not have enough access to God’s power to cast that demon out. Let’s first address the second reason, and then in the next section we’ll address the first reason.
It’s important to note that the only thing “going out” in this passage of scripture is the demon.
I’ve heard good teachers say that Jesus was referring to the disciple’s unbelief leaving them through prayer and fasting, but this can’t be the case because the only thing “going out” in this passage is the demon, not unbelief.
It’s also important to mention that the disciples had already received God’s power to heal the sick (Matthew 10:1).
So, why would Jesus tell them that this kind can’t go out except by prayer and fasting?
Because the more we get to know God the more we have access to His power and praying and fasting are vital to growing that relationship with God.
Fasting and praying are not meant to be a work that we perform to get God to move, rather it is our decision to seek God in response to what He has already done and promised us through His Word.
Develop a mustard seed faith
Another reason the disciples couldn’t see the demon cast out was because of their little faith. In other words, they had too much unbelief to see the miracle come to pass.
Jesus told them that the primary reason that they couldn’t cast out the demon was because of their little faith, or unbelief. But notice immediately after He tells them this, He gives them a promise to boost their faith.
“For assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20)
What an incredible promise! If we can have faith as a mustard seed we will be able to speak to any mountain and see it move.
But first, we need to understand what it means to have faith as a mustard seed.
I have heard some good teachers say that this verse is referring to the size of faith. These teachers say that we do not need a whole lot of faith to see mountains move, all we need is faith the size of a mustard seed, and no unbelief, then we can see any miracle come to pass.
But personally, I can’t see this in the scripture because Jesus constantly rebukes His disciples for having little faith (Matthew 8:26).
What I believe Jesus is telling us here is not for us to have faith the size of mustard seed, but rather for us to have faith like a mustard seed.
You see, a mustard seed is one of the smallest seeds that there is, but when it is planted and properly cared for, it can become one of the biggest plants in the garden.
So in this passage, Jesus is encouraging His disciples. In a sense, He is telling them, “you were unable to heal the boy because of your little faith, but I tell you the truth if you can grow your small faith, as a mustard seed grows its small seed, nothing will be impossible for you.”
I hoped that blessed and encouraged you as it did me when I first understood this passage. If you want to know more about having a faith that grows exceedingly, check out my article How to grow in faith.
Continue to pray for the sick
Finally, the more we pray for the sick the more we will see the sick healed. The Bible makes it clear that the more we use a gift that God gives us, the more of the gift we will be given.
“Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given. For whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.” (Mark 4:24-25)
The apostle Paul mentioned something similar when He was addressing how we are to become mature in Christ.
“Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.” (Phillipians 3:16)
What Paul means by that is we shouldn’t shrink back and get discouraged if it appears that we have a far way to go in our walk with Christ. Life is a continual journey of looking more like Christ every day whether that be in holiness, love, power, or even the healing of the sick.
So what Paul is telling us to do is to walk and live out the maturity that we have reached, rather than getting discouraged because there is a lot to grow into.
The apostle Paul even said this of himself,
“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phillipains 3:13-14)
So whatever you do, don’t get discouraged. Keep praying for the sick. If you are only seeing minor healings every once in a while, keep going. Because “the same measure you use, it will be measured to you” and “whoever has, to him more will be given.”
Does everyone have the gifts of Healings?
Every single believer has the gift of healing. The Bible makes it clear that the supernatural sign of healing the sick is meant to follow all believers, not just some (Mark 16:17-18).
There are so many verses that support this, but sadly there are even more people that get caught up on only a couple verses that seem to contradict the fact that the gifts of healings are for everyone.
Let’s look at the whole counsel of God, and then we will address the few verses that appear to contradict.
“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.” (Mark 16:17-18)
This verse reveals that the gifts of healings are not just for the gifted, but for all believers.
“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 4:12)
In this passage, Jesus is speaking and He clearly says that the works He does His believers will do also, and even greater works than He does. Well, what kind of works did He do? He healed the sick, casted out demons, cleansed the lepers, and raised the dead.
Again, this is addressed to all believers, not just the gifted.
“Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases.” (Luke 9:1)
After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. Then He said to them…Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you. And heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ (Luke 10:1-2 & 8-9)
Notice from these two passages of scripture you have 12 out of 12 disciples receiving the ability of God to heal the sick. Later we see 70 out of 70 disciples also receive the ability of God to heal the sick. And even later than both of these events we have Jesus saying that all believers will heal the sick and cast out demons (Mark 16:17-18).
There is no way around this: every single born again believer can heal the sick and cast out demons.
Now onto the apparent contradictions. If this true, then why did the apostle Paul, when he was talking about the gifts of the Spirit, say, “to one and to another”? And why did he say that not all have the gifts of healings?
“For to one is given the word of wisdom through the 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 answers to these questions is no).
The reason the apostle Paul was saying these sort of statements is because these verses are in context of the organization of the Church when it comes together. In other words, he was addressing how a church should function when it meets together.
“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 verse above is the same letter as the passage about the gifts of the Spirit, and it is right before the gifts are addressed. This context about the church coming together continues to carry on until 1 Corinthians chapter 14.
“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)
You see, Paul is saying that when we come together some should speak in tongues and others should interpret (1 Corinthians 14:27), some should prophecy and others should judge that prophecy (1 Corinthians 14:29), some should heal the sick and others should discern spirits.
Paul was not stating that some have the gifts of healings and others do not. Rather he was 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.
Where the confusion lies is people tend to think that the gifts of the Spirit are pretty wrapped presents that some have more of and others do not. This is not the case!
The gifts of the Spirit are manifestations of Himself. They are a natural byproduct of the Spirit living inside the believer. It is similar to receiving a swiss army knife. When you receive the knife you don’t only receive the scissors do you? Or do you only receive the toothpick?
No, of course not! You receive all of the manifestations of that knife, not just some.
I say all of that to say, the gifts of healings are for every born-again believer, not just for the gifted. The whole counsel of God makes this very clear.
If you wish to know more about the gifts of the Spirit and how to have them flow through you, you can check out my articles titled 4 Simple Steps to Receive/Activate the Gifts of the Holy Spirit and When do we Receive the Gifts of the Spirit? (Explained).
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