SPIRITUAL GIFTS SERIES
The Spiritual Gift of Helps
Class of Gift: Service
1 Corinthians 12:28
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1.1 Every Born-Again Christian Has at Least One Spiritual Gift. Every born-again believer in Jesus Christ has received a spiritual gift from the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 12:4-11). Please recall also that one spiritual gift may have a variety of ministries (“διακονιῶν”), with a variety of spiritual effects (1 Corinthians 12:4-7). Therefore, if you have the Spiritual Gift of Helps, that single gift may result in a variety of ministries and spiritual effects. Although not all believers may have the Spiritual Gift of Helps, they should be careful to lay hold of people for the purpose of helping them pursue the glory of God.
1.2 Meaning of the Term “Helps.” The term used to describe the Spiritual Gift of Helps (“ἀντιλήμψεις“–1 Corinthians 12:28) means a believer with a special ability to lay hold of someone for their benefit. This word only occurs once in the New Testament in 1 Corinthians 12:28. Therefore, we have very little direct lexical information regarding this term.
1.3 Helps and the Spiritual Gifts. All believers must know and use their spiritual gifts to the glory of God. All believers, not just the pastors and church leaders, perform the work of helps. While all believers must perform the work of helps, only some believers have the Spiritual Gift of Helps, bestowed by the Holy Spirit upon some, but not all, believers as a gift of grace which works according to His power (Ephesians 3:7).
1.4 The New Testament Diversity of the Term “Helps.” The Greek term translated as “helps” (“ἀντιλήμψεις“) has no other appearance in the New Testament outside of 1 Corinthians 12:28. Therefore, we do not see any direct use of term in the New Testament to understand its meaning. It was used in the Septuagint (the Old Testament translated into Greek).
1.5 The Usage of the Term “Helps” in the Septuagint. Please recall that the Septuagint is not inspired. Only the original autographs of the New Testament are inspired. In the Septuagint, the term “help” appears in Psalm 22:19, as “assistance” when David identified the LORD as his help and beseeched the LORD to hasten to his assistance (“τηναντιλημψιν” translating “לְעֶזְרָתִי”). In Psalm 84:5, the Psalmist wrote that blessed is the man whose strength (“αντιλημψις” translating “עוֹז”) is in the LORD. In Psalm 83:8, we read that Assyria became a “help” (“αντιλημψιν” translating “זְרוֹעַ”) to the children of Lot. In Psalm 89:18, the Psalmist described the LORD as our “shield” (“αντιλημψις” translating “עֻזָּמוֹ”). In Psalm 108:8, the Psalmist described Ephraim as a “helmet”(“αντιλημψις” translating “מָעוֹז”). Based upon these uninspired translations (with English from the New American Standard Bible) that should be viewed with caution, the usage in the Septuagint supports the translation of 1 Corinthians 12:28 as “helps,” but adds a background of assistance with power and military strength, and even the concept of a helmet for protection. But the Septuagint employs wide discretion in translating terms and casts some doubt upon the heavy reliance upon the Septuagint translations above. Therefore, the ideas behind “helps” means to lay hold of someone for the purposes of protection, strength, and deliverance.
The Ministry of Laying Hold
2.1 Pressing On. Paul described Jesus as having laid hold (“κατελήμφθην”) of Paul (Philippians 3:12). While Jesus has a firm grip on Paul, Paul continues to press on that he may lay hold (“καταλάβω”) of the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Notice the interaction between the two grips. Jesus first grips and holds Paul, and then Paul strives to grip the prize of the upward call of God, the very purpose of Jesus gripping Paul in the first place. Paul did not struggle to release the grip of Jesus, but to fulfill the grip of Jesus by laying hold of the prize of God’s upward call. One grip strengthens the other grip.
Identification. If you have a ministry of striving to lay hold of the prize of the upward call of God, while Jesus grips you, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Helps.
2.2 Letting Down. After Saul met Jesus on the Damascus road, Saul began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues. He confounded the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ. After many days, the Jews plotted to kill Saul, but the disciples took Saul by night and let him down through an opening in the wall and he escaped to Jerusalem (Acts 9:19-25).
Identification. If you have a ministry of providing the means of escape and protection for other believers under attack, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Helps.
2.3 Barnabas. After Saul of Tarsus met Jesus on the Damascus road, Saul (later known as Paul) went to Jerusalem. There the brethren were afraid of him because they knew of his prior, violent hatred of Christians and his earlier actions in arresting Christians. Many believers in Jerusalem did not believe that Paul was a disciple. Barnabas, however, “took hold of him” (“ἐπιλαβόμενος”) and brought Paul to the apostles, who received him so that he was with them, moving freely about Jerusalem, speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord (Acts 9:26-31).
Identification. If you have a ministry of laying hold of a new believer to introduce them to other believers so that fears and prejudices may be laid aside, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Helps.
The Ministry of Helper
3.1 John Mark. When Paul and Barnabas returned from their mission to Jerusalem to deliver a contribution from Antioch to the poor of Jerusalem, they brought with them John who was also called Mark (Acts 12:25). As Paul and Barnabas began their first missionary journey, they took along John as their helper (“ὑπηρέτην”). John helped Paul and Barnabas proclaim the word of God. After John’s early departure from the first missionary journey, Paul refused to take John on the next missionary journey, but Barnabas separated from Paul and took John with him (Acts 15:36-41). Paul later found Mark to be useful for service (“εὔχρηστος εἰς διακονίαν“) to Paul (2 Timothy 4:11).
Identification. If you have a ministry of traveling with missionaries, and seek to aid them in their preaching and teaching, you may have The Spiritual Gift of Helps.
The Ministry of Supporting The Use of Other Gifts
4.1 Barnabas. When the Holy Spirit began producing much fruit in Antioch, the Jerusalem church sent Barnabas to Antioch to investigate the matter. After witnessing first hand the many great things God was doing in Antioch among the people, and especially the Gentiles, Barnabas left and went to Tarsus to pick up Paul and bring him to Antioch to join the ministry team. Barnabas helped Paul develop his use of spiritual gifts by his daily encouragement to participate in the booming ministry at Antioch and use his spiritual gifts to the glory of God (Acts 11:19-30). You may recall that on the first missionary journey, Paul at Lystra discerned the faith the lame man had to be made well, and the man was healed by God. Yet, the people regarded Barnabas as the chief speaker and called Barnabas the name of their highest god, Zeus (Acts 14:8-18). Although Paul did his share of preaching on that first missionary journey, Barnabas and Paul worked together on a ministry team and both were acclaimed speakers. Please keep in mind that Barnabas was instrumental in bringing Paul along in the ministry and helping him use his spiritual gifts to the glory of God.
Identification. If you have a ministry of seeking out believers to have them join a ministry team, so that they will use their spiritual gifts next to other gifted believers, and the ministry team functions even better together, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Helps.
4.2 Paul. Having benefited from Barnabas influencing his life, Paul wrote under the inspiration of God about discipleship. Paul taught that discipleship begins with salvation and leads to entrusting the things learned from others to the next generation of disciples who will in turn entrust those things to the next generation of disciples (2 Timothy 2:2). Paul practiced what he preached and taught. Young Timothy joined Paul in missionary service and Paul greatly aided Timothy by instructing him and encouraging him to use his spiritual gifts to the glory of God (see all of 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy). Paul performed the same type of service for Titus (see the Book of Titus) and others in the New Testament.
Identification. If you have a ministry of helping disciples to use their spiritual gifts to the glory of God and often provide hands on guidance, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Helps.
Hallmarks of the Spiritual Gift of Helps
Helps: Understanding the Spiritual Gifts. The believer with the Spiritual Gift of Helps ministers in many ways, helping believers with protection, service, development and discipleship. They use their spiritual gift to assist ministry teams, develop individual believers, and provide protection against threats.
Please review this entire article to understand The Spiritual Gift of Helps and to see if you have that spiritual gift.
If you want to examine yourself regarding The Spiritual Gift of Helps, then see if you have a special ability to help other believers glorify God and to protect them from evil. If you find yourself participating in some of the activities listed below, then you may have The Spiritual Gift of Helps.
♦ Helps-gifted believers may have a ministry of striving to lay hold of the prize of the upward call of God, while Jesus grips them.
♦ Helps-gifted believers may have a ministry of providing a means of escape and protection for other believers under attack.
♦ Helps-gifted believers may have a ministry of laying hold of new believers to introduce them to other believers so that fears and prejudices may be laid aside.
♦ Helps-gifted believers may have a ministry of traveling with missionaries and aiding them with preaching and teaching.
♦ Helps-gifted believers may have a ministry of seeking out believers to join a ministry team, so that they will use their spiritual gifts next to other gifted believers, and the ministry team functions better together.
♦ Helps-gifted believers may have a ministry of helping disciples to use their spiritual gifts to the glory of God and often provide hands-on spiritual guidance.
Because the word “helps” only occurs one place in the New Testament, we have very little direct lexical evidence to determine what the word means in the New Testament. Therefore, I am cautious about its meaning in the context of The Spiritual Gift of Helps. Even so, the meaning most obvious to me would be that this spiritual gift enables other believers to use their spiritual gifts. Of course, we all share in that privilege of helping others use their spiritual gifts through the process of discipleship, but these people shine brightly using their gift while striving to lay hold of the prize, providing escape and protection for other believers, introducing them to others and overcoming fear and prejudice, traveling with missionaries, and seeking out others to join a ministry team.