The Gospel Observer
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them to
observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to
the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19,20).
March 27, 2011
1) 1 Peter 4:10-11 (Tom Edwards)
1 Peter 4:10-11
by Tom Edwards
After instructing the brethren who are scattered throughout Asia Minor
to "Be hospitable to one another without complaint" (1 Pet. 4:9), Peter
then gives some additional instruction in 1 Peter 4:10,11. He
states: "As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving
one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of
God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength
which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through
Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever.
In this passage, the Greek word for "gift" is "charisma," which is used
in the Scriptures with reference to miraculous and non-miraculous
gifts; so it doesn't have to necessarily be referring to only a
miraculous gift in verse 10. Thayer defines it as "1) a favour with
which one receives without any merit of his own 2) the gift of
divine grace 3) the gift of faith, knowledge, holiness,
virtue 4) the economy of divine grace, by which the pardon of sin
and eternal salvation is appointed to sinners in consideration of the
merits of Christ laid hold of by faith 5) grace or gifts denoting
extraordinary powers, distinguishing certain Christians and enabling
them to serve the church of Christ, the reception of which is due to
the power of divine grace operating on their souls by the Holy Spirit."
The Greek word for "grace" in the Scriptures is "charis." So we
are not surprised when Vine defines "charisma" as "a gift of grace, a
gift involving grace."
Consider some of these following passages where "charisma" is used:
Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death, but the FREE GIFT of God
is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (emphasis mine). So
here "charisma" is referring to eternal life as being the "free gift"
that the Christian has in Jesus. For how could such a gift ever
be earned, deserved, or merited?
In 2 Corinthians 1:8-11, "charisma" is rendered as "favor" and has
reference to the deliverance God bestowed upon Paul and others through
the prayers of the saints.
Another usage of "charisma" can be seen in 1 Corinthians 7:7 where it
is rendered as "gift," but referring to self-control with regard to
sexual abstinence, which the context makes clear. For after
saying, "Yet I wish that all men were even as I myself am. However,
each man has his own gift from God, one in this manner, and another in
that," Paul then states: "But I say to the unmarried and to widows that
it is good for them if they remain even as I. But if they do not
have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to
burn with passion." (Consider also vv. 3-6.)
Sometimes, however, "charisma" is used to refer to miraculous gifts,
such as in 1 Corinthians 12:4. Here, Paul states that "...there
are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit." He then continues by
specifying those gifts, which were the miraculous gifts of "the word of
wisdom," "the word of knowledge," "faith," "gifts of healing,"
"effecting of miracles," "prophecy," "distinguishing of spirits,"
"tongues," and "the interpretation of tongues." And since they
are "gifts" that were given by God's grace, the Corinthians should have
had that type of attitude toward them. However, they seemed to
have disregarded that important fact, as 1 Corinthians 4:7 indicates:
"For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not
receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not
Sometimes in the same passage, "charisma" is used to stand for
miraculous, as well as non-miraculous gifts, such as in Roman 12:6-8:
"Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us,
each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to
the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who
teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who
gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows
mercy, with cheerfulness."
In 1 Peter 4:9, Peter had instructed the brethren to "Be hospitable to
one another without complaint." Surely that is something that can
be carried out without miraculous gifts -- and whatever good thing that
the Lord has made possible for us to have, we are merely stewards of
that and should not be stingy with it. For when you think about
it, what can we say that we have that the Lord hasn't made possible for
us to have?
But someone might say, "God never gave anything to me; I had to work
for it all." Do you think that person is seeing things very
clearly? For those who feel as that individual does, we could
present the questions, "Where did you get that mind and body to do the
work? And where did that food, water, air, and other necessities
of life that help sustain your mind and body really come from?"
You have legs to walk with; arms to reach out with; hands to grab with;
eyes to see with; ears to hear with; a mouth to speak and eat with; and
on and on. How could anyone be so blind as to say that God has
never done anything for him, when everything that makes up an
individual is made possible by God?! And what a blessing it all
is. It is the Lord who makes the sunshine and the rain, the air
and the food, the habitable environment in which we live. All of
nature is from God; and He has also provided man with the resources and
ability to use them in order to make many helpful things for
mankind. To not see the hand of God in all of this, is to truly
be blind indeed. Therefore, whatever good we can achieve in this
life or whatever good we can receive, we need to realize that if it
were not for the Lord, none of it would have ever been possible.
Peter also points out in 1 Peter 4:10 that whatever this specific
"special gift" would be, the Christian was to use it in serving one
Serving is essential. Can we be a Christian without doing
so? Compare, for example, Matthew 20:25-28: "But
Jesus called them to Himself, and said, 'You know that the rulers of
the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority
over them. It is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become
great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first
among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to
be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.'"
Christ was the greatest servant of all. Note what God the Father
says about His Son in Matthew 12:18, "BEHOLD, MY SERVANT WHOM I HAVE
CHOSEN; MY BELOVED IN WHOM MY SOUL is WELL-PLEASED; I WILL PUT MY
SPIRIT UPON HIM, AND HE SHALL PROCLAIM JUSTICE TO THE GENTILES."
The great people of faith we read about in the Scriptures are those who
served God and man. Though we normally think of Moses, for
instance, as that great leader of God's people, he was also a humble
servant (Heb. 3:5). And Numbers 12:3 is a parenthetical statement
showing just how humble he really was: "(Now the man Moses was very
humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth.)"
Joshua, Moses' successor, was also a great leader for God's people,
even as a military leader when he was in his 80's; but all of that was
due to his relationship with God; for Joshua is described in Joshua
24:29 as being "the servant of the Lord."
How are we to serve one another? Paul states in Galatians 5:13,
"...through love serve one another." And as Peter had pointed out
in 1 Peter 4:10, we are to serve as "good stewards of the manifold
grace of God." This, again, reminds us that what we render is
that which really belongs to God to begin with. We are merely
managers or administers of it. Compare, for instance, 1
Corinthians 4:1,2: "Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of
Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. In this case,
moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy."
Jesus also expresses stewardship in the parable of the talents (Matt.
25:13-30). In this parable, a man is about to go on a journey;
but before he leaves, it states in verse 14 that he "...called his own
slaves and entrusted his possessions to them." So they were
stewards of his possessions. To one was given 5 talents, to
another 2, and to another 1 -- and the first two are complimented for
having faithfully done business with theirs in order to gain more for
Another similar parable, in which the Lord expresses stewardship, is
the parable of the minas (or "pounds" in the KJV) (Luke
19:11-17). Here, 10 men are each given 1 mina that they are told
to do business with, while their master was away.
These parables make us realize our own stewardship that we have in
rendering various services unto the Lord and others. That
God's grace is "manifold" expresses, as Strong shows, that it is
"various in character" or "motley." "Manifold" is from the Greek
word "poikilos." In Hebrews 13:9, it is translated as "varied," where
the writer warns the brethren to "not be carried away by VARIED and
strange teachings." But it is most often translated as "various"
(8 times), such as in pertaining to "various diseases and pains" (Matt.
4:24), "various impulses" (2 Tim. 3:16), "various lusts and pleasures"
(Titus 3:3), "various miracles" (Heb. 2:4), and "various trials" (Jam.
1:2, 1 Pet. 1:6). So "poikilos" corresponds with today's primary
definitions of varied, various, or manifold. The NIV renders "the
manifold grace of God" (in 1 Peter 4:10) as "God's grace in its various
forms." The grace of God, therefore, pertains to many things --
and all of which we can be thankful for.
Peter then says in 1 Peter 4:11, "Whoever speaks, is to do so as one
who is speaking the utterances of God..." In this verse, "utterances"
is rendered as "oracles" in the KJV. It comes from the Greek word
"logion," which Thayer defines as "1) a brief utterance, a divine
oracle (doubtless because oracles were generally brief) 1a) in
the NT, the words or utterances of God 1b) of the contents of the
Mosaic law." There are only three other places in the NT where this
Greek word for "oracles" or "utterances" is used. Let us hear
Acts 7:38, "This is the one who was in the congregation in the
wilderness together with the angel who was speaking to him on Mount
Sinai, and who was with our fathers; and he received living oracles to
pass on to you." So here, the oracles has reference to the Law of
Also, Romans 3:1,2: "Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the
benefit of circumcision? Great in every respect. First of all,
that they were entrusted with the oracles of God." Again, the
Greek word, in this case rendered as "oracles," is referring to the
Hebrew Scriptures, the Old Testament.
One other passage is Hebrews 5:12, "For though by this time you ought
to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the
elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need
milk and not solid food."
So in all of these passages, we recognized "oracles" to be pertaining
to a message that is strictly from God, and is not man-made. As
Peter writes in 2 Peter 1:20,21: "But know this first of all, that no
prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no
prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the
Holy Spirit spoke from God." When Paul refers to every scripture
in 2 Timothy 3:16 as being "inspired by God," the idea of inspired
literally means "God breathed." In other words, the communication
of God's inspired word is as if the Lord is exhaling each declaration
that is given.
This truth in 1 Peter 4:11 reminds us of one of the pleas during the
restoration movement: "Let us speak where the Bible speaks and be
silent where it is silent."
People in the world today, however, often act as if God's word is
something that can easily be changed to suit their fancy -- as if it is
nothing more than the word of man; and, therefore, can be altered to
"keep up with the times," or to be "improved" upon. But it is not
the word of man; rather, it is the word of God; and for that reason,
man has no right to tamper with it (cf. Gal. 1:6-9; Rev. 22:18,19).
The Thessalonians certainly had the right attitude toward the
gospel. Paul states, "For this reason we also constantly thank
God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you
accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word
of God, which also performs its work in you who believe" (1 Thess.
These men who spoke the inspired message were simply instruments used
by the Lord to declare His word to the world. Consider how this
is expressed in Acts 1:16: "Brethren, the Scripture had to be
fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David
concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus." See
also Acts 4:24-26, in which is a quote from Psalm 2 that David wrote;
and also confirmation that what David wrote was the inspired word of
God, through the help of the Holy Spirit. So though we don't have
miraculous gifts today, as they did in the early church, let those of
us who are Christians be sure to use the talent and abilities that God
has given us to serve Him today, as we are directed through His word to
do so -- and also given the strength by the Lord that we might bring
glory to His name!
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel,
for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the
deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins
(Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ
(Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water
for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4;
Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith;
CHURCH OF CHRIST
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Sunday services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 6 PM (worship)
Tuesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (225) 667-4520
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