Spiritual Gift Series
Spiritual Gifts: The Gifts of Healing
Category of Gift: Service
1 Corinthians 12:9
“to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, . . . .”
As we have seen in other studies, Paul did not define The Spiritual Gifts of Healing in 1 Corinthians 12:9, Page 1796, but placed it in a list of other gifts. Therefore, we may understand that Paul meant for us to look at the general ministry of healing to understand The Spiritual Gifts of Healing. In fact, God declared that He gave believers “gifts” of healing. Each time a healing takes place shows how special the Gifts of Healing was in that instance. Furthermore, based upon the previous studies, we know that different gifts can produce a variety of ministries. Those ministries of healing differ from one another, although each ministry uses the same Spiritual Gifts of Healing. We know that different people in the New Testament did different things with their gifts and God produced a variety of effects from the same spiritual gift.
The Term Healing
1.1 Jesus Healed. Jesus healed people throughout His ministry (Mark 1:34, Page 1559; Matthew 5:23, Page 1506). At times, the people’s lack of faith limited the scope of His ministry and the number of people healed (Mark 6:5, Page 1567–Jesus even wondered at the unbelief of His household, His relatives, and his Hometown).
1.2 The Term “Healing.” As we have seen with other spiritual gifts, the list itself only mentions the spiritual gift, but does not define the spiritual gift. In this case, the list includes “gifts of healing,” but does not define the gift itself. Notice the term “gifts.” God used the plural term “gifts” to describe The Spiritual Gifts of Healing. The plural for gifts (“χαρίσματα”), perhaps, implies the diversity of this single gift.
1.3 The New Testament Words for Healing. In 1 Corinthians 12:9, the Holy Spirit chose a particular word for “healing” to describe The Spiritual Gifts of Healing. A brief survey of a few instances of the different terms for healing provides some insight into the New Testament concepts of healing.
1.3.1 Physical Healing. The New Testament writers used two main terms for healing (“ἴαμα” and “θεραπεία”).
1.3.2 Jesus and Physical Healing. Jesus and His apostles healed (“ἐθεράπευσεν”) many types of physical problems: (Luke 13:14, Page 1627): (a) Jesus restored (“ὑγιὴς”) a withered hand (“χεῖρα ἔχων ξηράν”) (Matthew 12:10, Page 1520); (b) Jesus healed (“ἰαθεὶς”) a man at Bethesda who for thirty-eight years was “ill” (“τῇ ἀσθενείᾳ“) (John 5:5, Page 1662), also called the sick man (“ὁ ἀσθενῶν”) (John 5:7, Page 1662) so that he was unable to walk; (c) Jesus healed (“ἰάσατο“) a man suffering from dropsy (“ὑδρωπικὸς”) (Luke 14:4, Page 1529); (d) a woman with a hemorrhage of blood (“ῥύσει αἵματος“) for twelve years could not be healed (“θεραπευθῆναι”) by anyone (Luke 8:43, page 1614)–but Jesus said her faith had healed (“σέσωκέν”) her (Luke 8:48, page 1614); (e) Jesus healed a women (“τεθεραπευμέναι “) of evil spirits (“πνευμάτων πονηρῶν“) and sicknesses (“ἀσθενειῶν”) (Luke 8:2, Page 1611). Jesus often healed everyone seeking healing (“θεραπεύοντες πανταχοῦ) while He was preaching the Gospel (Luke 9:6, Page 1615). Jesus also cured people in need of healing (“τοὺς χρείαν ἔχονταςθεραπείας ἰᾶτο“) while speaking of the kingdom of God (Luke 9:11, Page 1615).
1.3.4 The Disciples and Physical Healing. Likewise, Philip in Samaria healed the lame (“χωλοὶ”) and the paralyzed (“παραλελυμένοι”) (Acts 8:6, Page 1714). Different believers performed many healings in many places.
1.4 The Causes of Physical Illness. Jesus taught His disciples that not every physical problem resulted from the sin of the person or the parents. For example, the disciples saw a man born blind and asked if that man had sinned or his parents. Jesus replied that neither that man nor his parents sinned, but rather the man was blind so that the works of God might be displayed in him (“ἵνα φανερωθῇ τὰ ἔργα τοῦ θεοῦ ἐν αὐτῷ“) (John 9:3, Page 1673).
1.5 Satan and Demons. Evil spirits also caused physical problems. For example, a woman had a sickness (“ἔχουσα ἀσθενείας“) caused by a spirit (“πνεῦμα”–note the original phrase was “πνεῦμα ἔχουσα ἀσθενείας”) for eighteen years (Luke 13:11, Page 1627). Jesus appeared and released her from the bond of being bent double (“συγκύπτουσα”) and unable to straighten up at all (“μὴ δυναμένη ἀνακύψαι εἰς τὸ παντελές“). Indignant that Jesus had healed the woman, the synagogue official chided the people present for seeking healing on the Sabbath. The synagogue official instructed them to come during the week and get healed (“θεραπεύεσθε“), but not on the Sabbath, because it was a day of rest. Jesus answered and explained that even the synagogue officials lead their donkeys and oxen to water on the Sabbath, but they objected to Jesus releasing the woman whom satan had bound (“ἔδησεν ὁ Σατανᾶς“) for eighteen years (Luke 13:14-17, Page 1627). Therefore, we know that some sickness results from satan binding people so that their bodies do not function properly and they are sick. Consider also that satan has the power to heal sickness. The beast of Revelation 13:3 was healed of a fatal wound (“ἡ πληγὴ τοῦ θανάτου“), apparently by satan (Revelation 13:3, Page 1928; Revelation 13:12, Page 1929).
Kinds of Gifts
2.1 The Kind of Gift. As we have seen before, Paul used terms to group together the spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12, separating the groups by the word “hetero” (“ἑτέρῳ“). The Spiritual Gift of Faith and The Spiritual Gifts of Healing form one related group. Therefore, the Spiritual Gift of Faith relates directly to The Spiritual Gifts of Healing.
2.2 The Plural of Gifts. In 1 Corinthians 12:9, Page 1796, Paul used the plural term for “gifts.” The use of the plural for “gifts” may well indicate that the Holy Spirit bestows several different gifts of healing, or each healing represents a special gift of healing, or this one spiritual gift may include a wide diversity of healings.
Faith and Healing
3.1 The Lack of Faith. The ministry of healing often required faith. Jesus wondered (“ἐθαύμαζεν“) at the unbelief in Nazareth, His hometown, where not even His hometown, nor His own relatives, nor His household believed in Him (Mark 6:4, Page 1567). Because of unbelief, Jesus could do no miracles there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed (“ἐθεράπευσεν”) them.
3.2 Faith for Healing. The New Testament contains records of different ways that faith for healing manifested itself in people.
3.3 Words of Healing. Some people in the New Testament expressed words of faith about the power of Jesus to heal them. For example, the leper said to Jesus: “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean” (Matthew 8:2, Page 1512). Jesus healed the leper. Likewise, the woman with the issue of blood was saying to herself words of faith, “If I only touch the fringe of His cloak, I will get well (“σωθήσομαι”)” (Matthew 9:21, Page 1515). She touched Jesus and she was healed immediately. Another example concerns two blind men. Jesus asked them specifically about their faith for healing: “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They replied: “Yes, Lord.” Jesus responded: “It shall be done to you according to your faith” (Matthew 9:28-29). In all these examples, we see that people with all kinds of physical problems believed that Jesus could heal them. They spoke words of healing to Jesus, expressing their faith. Today, people can express their faith to Jesus, but we must always remember the words of the leper, “If You are willing.” Also, please keep in mind that the people of Nazareth, including the household and relatives of Jesus, did not honor Him. In fact Jesus told the people of Nazareth that just as God only healed Naaman the Syrian of his leprosy in the days of Elisha, so Jesus would not do many miracles in Nazareth because they dishonored Him. Even so, Jesus laid His hands on a few sick (“ἀρρώστοις”) people and healed (“ἐθεράπευσεν”) them.
3.4 Faith To Be Made Well. In Acts 14:8-10, Page 1727, Paul saw a man a Lystra sitting, because he had no strength in his feet, who had never walked, born lame. The lame man was listening to Paul as he spoke. Fixing his gaze upon the lame man, Paul saw that the lame man had faith to be made well. So, Paul declared with a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he leaped up and began to walk. Notice the phrase that Paul saw the man had faith to be made well (“τοῦ σωθῆναι“). Paul spiritually discerned faith that made the man ready to be made well, and spiritually saved at the same time.
3.5 Enabling Faith. At times, the faith of others could help people needing healing. For example, the Centurion sent word to Jesus that the Centurion’s servant was ill and needed healing. The Centurion did not want Jesus to enter his house, but merely Jesus saying the word of healing would suffice. Upon hearing this statement from the Centurion, Jesus observed that He had not found faith in all of Israel like that of the Centurion (Matthew 8:5-13, Page 1512). Likewise, the men carrying the paralytic let him down through the roof in front of Jesus (Luke 5:17-26, Page 1605). We learn that the faith of friends may be invaluable to healing.
3.6 Jesus Healed Them All. Jesus also had mass healing events. For example, as the news of Jesus healing people spread through all Syria, they brought to Him all who were ill with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics and He healed them all (Matthew 4:24, Page 1506; compare Matthew 12:15, Page 1520).
Signs and Wonders
4.1 The Sign Gifts. Jesus always intended for the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be primary and supreme, for it alone brought salvation and eternal life. Therefore, in order to promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ, He granted authority to His disciples to perform signs to demonstrate the authority of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and Jesus Himself.
4.2 The Twelve Disciples and Paul. Jesus commissioned His disciples to go forth and proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing (“ἰᾶσθαι”) (Matthew 10:1, Page 1516). Jesus gave them authority (“ἐξουσίαν”) over unclean spirits (“πνευμάτων ἀκαθάρτων”) to cast them out and to heal (“θεραπεύειν”) every disease (“πᾶσαν νόσον“) and every sickness (“πᾶσαν μαλακίαν“). Jesus further commanded them to heal (“θεραπεύετε“) the sick (“ἀσθενοῦντας“), raise the dead, cleanse (“καθαρίζετε”) the lepers (“λεπροὺς”) and cast out (“ἐκβάλλετε”) the demons (“δαιμόνια”). Jesus emphasized that the disciples had freely received this authority, and they should freely minister with that authority (Matthew 108, Page 1516). Jesus linked the preaching of the kingdom with the ministry of healing (“ἰᾶσθαι”). God also used Paul in unusual ways to heal people. People carried the aprons and handkerchiefs from Paul to the sick and diseases left them and evil spirits went out (Acts 19:11-12, Pages 1737-1738).
4.3 The Hand of Jesus. Jesus used His hands to touch people and heal them (Matthew 8:3, Page ). In Acts 4:24, the believers lifted their voices to God with one accord saying, in part, “while You extend Your hand to heal (“ἴασιν“) and signs and wonders (“σημεῖα καὶ τέρατα“) take place through Your holy servant Jesus.” We see the wonderful way that God described the healing power flowing through hand of Jesus as the apostles healed in the name of Jesus, the holy servant of God. Whenever anyone receives healing, they should always see the hand of Jesus touching them.
4.4 False Christs and False Prophets. In the future, false Christs (“ψευδόχριστοι”) and false prophets (“ψευδοπροφῆται”) will arise and show greats signs (“σημεῖα μεγάλα“) and wonders (“τέρατα“) in order to mislead (“πλανῆσαι”), if possible, even the elect (Matthew 24:24, Page 1545). Therefore, we see that Satan will use signs and wonders to mislead, where Jesus uses signs and wonders to confirm authority and lead people into the kingdom of God.
4.5 Say to the Sick. As the disciples were to heal (“θεραπεύετε“) the sick (“ἀσθενεῖς”) in the cities where they went, the disciples were also to link explicitly the healing with the proclamation that the kingdom of God has come near to you (Luke 10:9, Page 1618). The healing of the physical body by the power of God must never stand alone, because the healing must be simultaneously and explicitly linked to the the kingdom of God. While many people “speak healing” to people, Jesus commanded His disciples to speak of the kingdom of God while healing people.
The Authority of Healing
5.1 The Authority for Healing. As noted above, Jesus gave His disciples authority (“ἐξουσίαν”) to heal and to cast out unclean spirits (Matthew 10:1, 8, Page 1516; Luke 9:1, Page 1615). Notice that this authority can be given to a particular person, as a gift for ministry to others. The word “authority” emphasized the power to control and to command. The disciples had power to heal and to cast out demons. The power of God was working through them, and the power of God overpowered all. The Spiritual Gifts of Healing will always be about the power of God overpowering all. The special gift of that power will always be awesome.
The Ministry of the Gifts of Healing
6.1 Ministries and Effects. As we have seen before, one spiritual gift may produce a variety of ministries and each ministry may produce a variety of effects (1 Corinthians 12:4-7, page 1796). Our lives as disciples of Christ should be dedicated, in part, to using the spiritual gifts God has placed within us. We must learn about our spiritual gifts and how God intends to use those gifts in His ministries. Therefore, we may list a few of the ministries of The Spiritual Gifts of Healing.
6.2 The Ministry of Physical Healing. Jesus and the Apostles performed many physical healings. For example, they provided sight to the blind, the lame walked, the lepers were cleansed and the deaf heard. Please notice that as a general rule, they have the ability to identify the faith for healing (Acts 14:9, page 1727). They also have the power to heal every kind of disease and every king of sickness among the people (Matthew 4:23, page 1506; Acts 5:16, page 1707). The believer with The Spiritual Gifts of Healing may have the ministry of physical healing.
6.3 The Ministry of Breaking the Physical Bonds of Satan. The woman bent over for eighteen years by the power of satan provides an example of physical disfigurement cause by satan (Luke 13:13-17, page 1627). The account of the healing contains no explicit record of demon possession but that she had a “spirit” (“πνεῦμα”) causing sickness (“ἀσθενείας“). Therefore, although related to casting out a demon, this appears to be a special ministry of releasing a person whom satan bound (“ἔδησεν ὁ Σατανᾶς“) for eighteen years, manifesting as some form of physical disfigurement. The believer with The Spiritual Gifts of Healing may have the ministry of releasing people from the physical bonds of disfigurement put upon them by satan.
6.4 The Ministry of Resurrection. Jesus and the disciples performed miracles of resurrection (e.g., John 11:1-46, pages 1677-1679; Acts 9:36-43, page 1718). The believer with The Spiritual Gifts of Healing may have the ministry of raising the dead.
6.5 The Ministry of Casting out Demons. Jesus and the disciples also cast out (“ἐκβάλλετε”) demons, as God confirmed the messengers of the Gospel with signs and wonders. The believer with The Spiritual Gifts of Healing may have the ministry of casting out demons.
The Spiritual Gifts of Healing Today
7.1 Spiritual Gifts of Healing Today. Many people today claim to perform healings, and many of those people have their own media programs. Often, we learn later that many of those people have been untruthful and fraudulent in their claims of healing. Just as Jesus prophesied, many false prophets and false teachers will arise, and display even supernatural abilities to deceive people. Although we are not living in the Seven Years of Tribulation, even so the devil manifests his supernatural power to deceive. We must be very careful to evaluate everyone claiming to possess The Spiritual Gifts of Healing by the criteria of Scripture.
7.2 The Evaluation of the Claim of Healing. The Bible presents a list of factors to evaluate the presence of The Spiritual Gifts of Healing. We may apply the criteria to anyone claiming to have The Spiritual Gifts of Healing today. Be certain to distinguish the fact that God used someone to perform a particular healing from a person who claims to have The Spiritual Gifts of Healing.
7.2.1 Christ-Centered Ministry. Everyone with The Spiritual Gifts of Healing in the New Testament ministered in the Name of Jesus Christ, and promoted the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Notice the emphasis upon the preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Healings were associated with confirming the ministry of people spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore, a believer with The Spiritual Gifts of Healing will be directly involved with spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They themselves must be born-again believers and confess Jesus Christ as God, Lord, and only Savior. Therefore, the believer with the Spirituals Gifts of Healing will be a believer who confesses Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, and as God, Lord and Savior.
7.2.2 All Healed. As a general rule, everyone with faith who came to a believer with The Spiritual Gifts of Healing was actually healed. Furthermore, the believer with The Spiritual Gifts of Healing had the ability to perceive faith for healing within people, or the lack thereof. Even without faith, in many cases, everyone who came for healing was actually healed. Therefore, the believer with The Spiritual Gifts of Healing actually heals everyone who comes for healing with faith to be healed, and the believer with The Spiritual Gifts of Healing can often discern such healing faith; even without faith for healing, the believer with The Spiritual Gifts of Healing generally heals everyone who comes for healing.
7.2.3 Giving Glory to God. The people healed always understood that God had healed them, often through His human messengers, but the messengers truly from God, using The Spiritual Gifts of Healing, never supplanted God in any way, but always directed all praise and worship for healing back to the source, God Himself. Therefore, the believer with The Spiritual Gifts of Healing will witness many people praising God for the healings God has worked through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and never take such glory to himself.
The Spiritual Gifts of Healing caused many people to glorify God for His great power and love. The ministry of The Spiritual Gifts of Healing always seemed associated with spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and frequently confirming the authenticity of the messengers sent by God to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The people with The Spiritual Gifts of Healing may perform a variety of different kinds of healings, but everyone with faith for healing must be healed for The Spiritual Gifts of Healing to be truly active. Furthermore, the believer with The Spiritual Gifts of Healing has the ability to identify people with faith for healing. Many false prophets and false teachers will perform many miracles, some even in the name of Jesus, but they never knew Jesus or His power of salvation. Only born-again believers have spiritual gifts, and only the Holy Spirit distributes those gifts as He alone wishes. We can praise God for the wonderful Spiritual Gifts of Healing, and carefully evaluate its use today, to see if it is truly present as each case may arise.
Hallmarks of the Spiritual
Gifts of Healing
Healing: Understanding the Spiritual Gifts. The believer with The Spiritual Gifts of Healing brings the healing power of God to help people with spiritual and physical problems. As above, the ministry of the believer with The Spiritual Gifts of Healing may take many forms, and produce a variety of effects. I have listed a few of those hallmarks below.
Please review this entire study to understand The Spiritual Gifts of Healing and to see if you have that spiritual gift.
♦ Healing-gifted believers understand that both spiritual and physical problems may beset believers.
♦ Healing-gifted believers promote saving faith through the proper use of their Spiritual Gifts of Healing.
♦ Healing-gifted believers know that all authority for all healing comes only from God.
♦ Healing-gifted believers may break the physical bonds of the devil.
♦ Healing-gifted believers may cast out demons.
♦ Healing-gifted believers know that all healing must be tested against the word of God, the Bible.
♦ Healing-gifted believers always promote Jesus Christ and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
♦ Healing-gifted believers generally can heal all the people who come to them seeking healing.
♦ Healing-gifted believers may be able to identify people with faith for healing.