3. Gifts of the Spirit: Faith

This is a surge of trust that God will give anyone who needs it and in accordance with his will.

Let’s begin with my (tentative) translation:

4 There are a variety of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are a variety of services, and the same Lord. 6 And there are a variety of workings, but the same God who works everything in everyone. 7 To each the manifestation of the Spirit is given towards the common benefit. 8 For to one person is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom; to another person a message of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9 To a different person faith by the same Spirit; to a different person the gifts of healings by the one Spirit; 10 To a different person workings of miracles; to a different person prophecy; to a different person discernings of spirits; to a different person kinds of (prayer and praise) languages; to another person an interpretation of (prayer and praise) languages; 11 The one same Spirit works and distributes all these things to each particular individual as he wills. (1 Cor. 12:4-11)

For other translations, please click here: biblegateway.com

For my commentary on how to organize these gifts please see this post:

Gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12:7-11 and 12:28

Exegetical Commentary on “Faith”

Some theology: Above are three great verses (4-6) on the activity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Triunity is not an abstract doctrine, but the three persons want to invade your space and gift you, so that you can reach and help people.

Click here The Trinity: What Does He Mean to Me? and at the end of that linked ten-point post, you can click on other articles on the Trinuity.

“to a different person”: again, the word person is supplied, because I want to emphasize that both men and women can exercise these gifts. Everyone gets to play.

“different”: it is the word heteros (pronounced heh-teh-rohss), and it too means “other” or “different” or “another.”

“faith”: it is the noun pistis (pronounced peace-teace). It is used 243 times, and the NIV translates as “faith” in every case other than these: faithfulness (Matt. 23:23; Rom. 3:3; Gal. 5:22, in the “fruit” list; Rev. 14:12); faithfulness (Rev. 13:10); trusted (Titus 2:10); believe or believing or belief (Gal. 3:2, 5, 7; 2 Thess. 2:13); pledge (1 Tim. 5:12); given proof (Acts 17:31). Incidentally, the verb, pisteuō, is used 241 times. Therefore the noun faith and the verb “faithing” is the language of the NT and so the language of God. Relate to God by and through faith, not intellect alone, or whining for praying, and so on.

So what does the noun mean in the context of the Spirit energizing it? It has to go farther than saving faith, because though that causes a person to enter the kingdom, we are now talking about someone who exercises faith that is inside the kingdom. It has to go deeper than a set of beliefs that constitute doctrine—important as that is. Clearly it must be a surge of faith that cannot come by itself or is worked up by human willpower or figured out by human reasoning. Paul says that this faith comes by the instrumentation of the same Spirit. He produces this faith.

Defining and Describing the Gift of Faith

Let’s appeal to these theologians and Bible interpreters.

J.. Rodman Williams

[T]his faith has its source in God: it is faith that comes from Him. It is, as I said at the outset, a gift of the Holy Spirit. Like all the other gifts, faith is apportioned according to His will. He either gives it or there is no faith at all. It may be no larger than a mustard seed, but if the faith, the believing, is from God, it can accomplish far more than the greatest of human efforts to believe … Faith comes only from God Still, we may, and should, ask for it. Like all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, this kind of faith may be earnestly desired …. (vol. 2, pp. 361-62).

He further offers all kinds of examples in Scripture of extraordinary healings coming throught faith.

Craig Keener

“Faith energizes all the gifts” (Gift Giver: The Holy Spirit for Today [Baker Academic, 2001], p. 116). God provides a measure of faith to all Christians to carry out their function in Christ’s body (Rom. 12:3, 6). In this case Paul speaks of an endowment of faith, the sort that moves mountains (1 Cor. 13:2). “Moving mountains” was a Jewish idiom for doing what was virtually impossible. If we exercised even a mustard seed size of faith, nothing would be impossible (Mark 11:23) (p. 117).

David Lim

It is not saving faith, “but a miraculous faith for a special situation or opportunity, such as Elijah’s confrontation with the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:33-35). It can include special ability to inspire faith in others” (Systematic Theology, ed. Stanley Horton, p. 466).

Derek Prince

God has all faith, and through this gift He imparts to us a tiny portion of it. It is not human faith or faith that is cultivated. It is divine faith. This is the faith that comes instantly, supernaturally, as a gift directly from God by the Holy Spirit, very frequently in the form of a word. (The Gifts of the Spirit, [Whitaker House, 2007], p. 109)

“The form of a word” means that one must speak it (pp. 112-15).

Jack Hayford

“As a dynamic power, faith is an agency for actions; it is this aspect which best describes the 1 Corinthians manifestation” (Gifts, Fruit, and Fullness of the Holy Spirit [Thomas Nelson, 1993], p. 123). Hayford is not as thorough about this gift as he is the others.

Paul Walker

It is (1-2) supernatural ability to believe God without doubt and to combat unbelief; (3) supernatural ability to meet contrary circumstances with trust in God; (4) Inner conviction impelled by a higher calling (The Spirit-Filled Study Bible [3rd ed. Thomas Nelson, 2018], p. 1947).

My Definition

Charismatic faith is a surge of confidence and trust that God intends to accomplish miraculously the humanly impossible, resulting in a positive action and blessing and answered prayer. Doubt cannot suppress this surge of faith.

Scriptural Examples

In Mark 11:12-14 Jesus cursed a fig tree, and it soon withered from the roots. Peter and the disciples marveled. Jesus said that when we pray, we need just a little faith and we can say to a mountain to be removed. When we pray, believe (faith) that we have received, and we will have it (vv. 23-24).

In Matt. 17:19-21, the disciples could not cast out a demon and asked him about it. He replied, “Because of your unbelief” (no faith). Then he told them about mustard-seed faith, the smallest seed in his know world region. If they have it, then they can say to a mountain to be removed. Nothing shall be impossible to them through God.

Jesus told the disciples that if they had the faith of a mustard seed, and spoke to the mulberry tree, it would be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea (Luke 17:6).

James called on believers to pray the “prayer of faith” in the context of Elijah praying for rain during a drought (James 5:15-18). His prayers were answered. Sometimes a Spirit-inspired faith surge is needed.

Stephen was a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit (Acts 6:5). The Holy Spirit and faith go together. Stephen seemed to be filled with a continuous stream of Spirit-surging faith.


Word Study on Faith and Faithfulness

What Is the ‘Anointing’?


1. Gifts of Spirit: Word of Wisdom

2. Gifts of the Spirit: Word of Knowledge

3. Gifts of the Spirit: Faith

4. Gifts of the Spirit: Gifts of Healings

5. Gifts of the Spirit: Workings of Miracles

6. Gifts of the Spirit: Prophecy

7. Gifts of the Spirit: Discernings of Spirits

8. Gifts of the Spirit: Spirit-Inspired Languages (‘Tongues’)

9. Gifts of the Spirit: Interpretation of Spirit-Inspired Languages


Works Cited

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