The Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Can I Possess The Holy Spirit Gifts Today?

Are gifts of the spirit, especially tongues, available today?The Gifts of the Holy Spirit

There is a difference between the Holy Spirit and Holy Spirit gifts.  Holy Spirit gifts were only available in the first century AD.

The apostles were baptised with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to bring Jesus’ words to remembrance and be guided in preaching the truth.

John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

With it came the ability, amongst other things, to speak in different languages and to heal.  If Paul is taken as an example, each of the apostles possessed all the gifts.

1 Corinthians 14:18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:

He was not affected by the bite of a poisonous reptile and he could prophesy, heal and raise the dead.

Different Holy Spirit gifts were made available to others by the laying on of the apostles’ hands. In the case of the Samaritans, the Holy Spirit gifts were not given at baptism. Philip (who had Holy Spirit gifts) could not confer them. The Apostles had to come from Jerusalem to lay their hands on them.

Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

This fact did not go unnoticed by Simon the sorcerer.

Acts 8:18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.

The baptised Samaritans required the Apostles to lay hands on them before they could receive the Holy Spirit; Philip who had worked miracles, converted and baptised them couldn’t pass on the gifts that he had received.

The baptised Ephesians required the laying on of the hands of the apostle Paul.

Acts 19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

That the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on believers was NOT the norm is illustrated in the case of Cornelius. That it happened was a sign to the Apostles from God that they were to extend their preaching to the Gentiles. They were astonished; it comes into the category of a special case.

From Peter’s words we can see that it was only the second time it had happened.

Acts 11:15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.

It jogged his memory

Acts 11:16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.

Only the Apostles could confer gifts of the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands and those like Philip who received the gifts could not pass them on; Consequently Holy Spirit gifts ceased with the death of the second generation of first century Christians.

Not everyone in the early church had gifts and of those that did not everyone had the same gift.

1 Corinthians 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?

In each church by the laying on of the apostles’ hands, different members had different gifts to enable the church to function as one body. These gifts were necessary for the formation and establishment of the early churches. Once the churches were established and the New Testament was complete and available in written form the gifts ceased.

The history of the church confirms that this was the case. Within 200 years the churches had deteriorated almost beyond recognition both in doctrine and practice. Jesus says that those who possessed gifts were not assured of salvation.

Matthew 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

From Paul we understand that Holy Spirit gifts are not essential to salvation; for he goes on to say that possessing them without love would not profit them.

1 Corinthians 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am becomeFaith Hope and Love as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing.

Further he prophesied that the gifts would cease.

1 Corinthians 13:8 Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

Just 3 things would continue.

1 Corinthians 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

The special abilities available to the first century churches are not available today. There is no evidence that they are. There are no apostles to confer special abilities upon us. Special abilities are not necessary for salvation. The Holy Spirit and Holy Spirit gifts are not synonymous. The Spirit of God which indwells every true believer is that of the mind; the way we think. This comes from reading the word of God, believing it and changing the way we think to the way God thinks.

The word of God was written by direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

2 Timothy 3:16  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

2 Peter 1:21  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

It was written to change the way we think.

Ephesians 4:23  And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Romans 12:2  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Colossians 3:10  And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

Romans 8:6  For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Romans 8:9  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

Hebrews 10:16  This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;

After belief and baptism into Christ we are to live a new life following his commandments. Not doing our own will but God’s will.

Matthew 7:21  Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

The emphasis is not on Holy Spirit gifts but on love.

Ephesians 3:17-19  That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;

And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

Ephesians 4:15,16  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

1 John 4:7  Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.

1 John 4:16  And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

Peter advises.

2 Peter 1:5  And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

He does not mention the necessity of acquiring Holy Spirit gifts.  When we are judged it will not be on the possession of Holy Spirit gifts, it will be on how we have manifested the love of Christ to others.

Matthew 25:40  And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:45  Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

The Holy Spirit is not to be expected as an emotional experience.  Living ‘in the spirit’ simply means living by the commandments of Christ.

Romans 8:9  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

1 Corinthians 2:16  For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

If you want to come to grips with what the Bible really teaches, why not take the free online Bible study course available on our website,

This course will give you a background in the major themes of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. As with everything we offer, there is no cost to you other than your time and effort… You will also have a personal tutor to whom you may pose questions either from the course itself or those questions which come to you as you read the Bible.

I hope this helps.

By Glenn Smith