Spiritual Gifts – introduction
Before the spiritual gifts (usually called ‘the gifts of the Spirit’) can be discussed it is necessary, first of all, to give a definition of the concept of ‘spiritual gifts’.
Looking for a definition of ‘gift of God’s grace’.
A ‘spiritual gift’ is the translation of the Greek word ‘charisma’.
According to the OLB ‘charisma’ is:
- derived from the word ‘charizomai’
- which, in turn, is derived from ‘charis’
- which, in turn, is derived from ‘chairo’.
In order to understand the concept of ‘charisma’ correctly, this study – as an introduction to the concept of ‘spiritual gifts’ – is limited to the discussion of the meaning of ‘charizomai’, the word from which ‘charisma’ is derived.
Word study of ‘charizomai’.
The concepts of ‘charis’ and ‘chairo’ must be studied first in order to understand the concept of ‘charizomai’ correctly.
This is expounded in the study ‘Grace – definition’. It is therefore necessary to read this first.
‘Charizomai’ (a verb) is found in 19 Bible texts of the New Testament according to the OLB.
- derived from ‘charis/kindness’
and is translated as:
- to do something pleasant or agreeable (to someone), to do a favour to, gratify
- to show one’s self graciousness, kindness, benevolence
- to grant forgiveness, to pardon
- to give graciously, give freely, bestow
- to forgive
- graciously to restore one to another
- to protect a person in peril
Greek/Dutch dictionary translates it as:
- serving, granting a favour
- giving pleasure
‘Charizomai’ is a verb and it therefore describes an action.
This action is in relationship to another person: serving someone, granting someone a favour or giving pleasure to someone.
Some examples of ‘charizomai’ in Bible texts:
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give (charizomai) us all things? (Romans 8:32)
What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given (charizomai) us. (1 Corinthians 2:12)
For it (charizomai) has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, (Philippians 1:29)
Bear with each other and forgive (charizomai) one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive (charizomai) as the Lord forgave (charizomai) you. (Colossians 3:13)
Without now paying attention to how ‘charizomai’ is translated, an action is described in every case:
- (to) them
- (to) us
- (to) you
- (to) one another / (to) you
Someone is always giving special attention to someone else.
And as ‘charizomai’ is derived from ‘charis/kindness’, this always therefore refers to a gesture, prompted by the kind disposition of the person who reaches out to the other one.
Definition of ‘charizomai’.
‘Charizomai’ indicates that someone, who acts from a kind disposition, directs himself specifically to someone else out of his kindness, without describing what that person receives as a result.
Summary of the concepts from which ‘charisma/gifts of God’s grace’ are derives:
‘Chairo’: directs attention to the inner disposition of someone who ‘is glad’, ‘rejoices’.
‘Charis’: directs attention to the kind demeanour of someone who ‘is glad’, ‘rejoices’.
‘Charizomai’: indicates that someone directs himself, out of this kind demeanour, to one or more persons.
Discussion of the Bible texts.
All the texts in which ‘charizomai’ appears are discussed below.
The translation of ‘charizomai’ is always given in bold letters.
Following the Bible text, an interpretation of the underlined passage is given, or a more literal translation from the Greek.
At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave (charizomai) sight to many who were blind.
Literally: … and Jesus granted many who were blind a favour to see.
Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave (charizomai) the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
Literally: But they do not possess payment. He granted both of them a favour/was kind towards both of them. Which of them …
Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven (charizomai).”
Literally: …, to whom he granted the biggest favour.
You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released (charizomai) to you.
If, however, I (Paul) am guilty of doing anything deserving death, I do not refuse to die. But if the charges brought against me by these Jews are not true, no one has the right to hand me over (charizomai) to them. I appeal to Caesar!”
Literally: … then no one can grant a favour to them: I appeal to Caesar!
Remark: Which favour was to be granted ‘to them’ is not mentioned in the Greek text.
What is to be understood from the context: that they wanted to hand Paul over to the Pharisees, has been added to the translation.
(Festus said:) “I told them that it is not the Roman custom to hand over (charizomai) anyone …
Literally: … it is not the Roman custom to grant a person a favour for destruction.
… and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given (charizomai) you the lives of all who sail with you.’
Literally: … and see, God grants a favour to you and all who sail with you.
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give (charizomai) us all things?
Literally: … not also, together with him, grant a favour to us all.
1 Corinthians 2:12
What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given (charizomai) us.
Literally: …, what favour has been granted us by God.
2 Corinthians 2:6-7
The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. Now instead, you ought to forgive (charizomai) and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.
Interpretation: Now instead, you ought to show him kindness and comfort him, …
2 Corinthians 2:8 and 10-11
I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.
Anyone you forgive (charizomai), I also forgive. And what I have forgiven – if there was anything to forgive (charizomai) – I have forgiven (charizomai) in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us.
Literally (verse 10): What you ‘charizomai’ to anyone, I do too, for what I than also ‘charizomai’, who/what I ‘charizomai’, on your behalf in the sight of Christ, …
Interpretation: If you are kind towards someone, I am too, for if I have been kind towards someone, I have been kind because of you, in the sight of Christ.
2 Corinthians 12:13
How were you inferior to the other churches, except that I was never a burden to you? Forgive (charizomai) me this wrong!
Interpretation: Show me your kindness, in spite of this injustice.
For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in his grace gave (charizomai) it to Abraham through a promise.
Literally: … by a promise God showed his favour to Abraham.
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving (charizomai) each other, just as in Christ God forgave (charizomai) you.
Interpretation: … subserviant to one another, as God in Christ has shown you kindness.
For it has been granted (charizomai) (showed favour, given pleasure) to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave (charizomai) him the name (also: might) that is above every name (also: might), …
When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave (charizomai) us all our sins, …
Literally: … made you alive with Him. Showing you favour with respect to all your sins …
Bear with each other and forgive (charizomai: be kind towards) one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave (charizomai) you.
Literally: … as the Lord has also been kind towards you.
And one thing more: Prepare a guest room for me, because I hope to be restored (charizomai) to you in answer to your prayers.
Literally: … for I hope that, thanks to your prayers, favour will be shown to you.
To be continued in de study: Spiritual gifts – definition.
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Spiritual Gifts – introduction.