Notes on Spiritual Gifts, by Tom Schreiner


Here are some notes and highlights from my reading of Spiritual Gifts, by Tom Schreiner.

In Spiritual Gifts, Schreiner explains his “nuanced cessationism” view of Spiritual gifts.  He argues from Ephesians 2:20, the church is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, and since that foundation is laid these gifts no longer remain–they have ceased. He adds the word “nuanced” to cessationism because he believes tongues, healings, and miracles can still happen, but these are rare and certainly not normative or common for the church today.

Schreiner makes a helpful distinction between prophecy and impression. He shows how prophecy is God’s spontaneous direct communication through a prophet, while impressions are strong feelings people have from God. He believes the charismatic use of prophecy is really impressions. “God laid it on my heart to tell you ______” is an impression, not prophecy from God. It can be true, or not.

“The difference between cessationists and continuationists is in some ways insignificant at the practical level when it comes to prophecy, for what continuationists call prophecy, cessationists call impressions. As a cessationist, I affirm that God may speak to his people through impression. And there are occasions where impressions are startlingly accurate.” 119

Schreiner also make a strong case that the gift of tongues is not ecstatic babble, but rather the ability to speak a language you do not know for the purpose of others hearing the Word of God. He shows how spiritual gifts are not me-centered, but other-centered. They build up the church, not promote self.

“We will discover our gift when we pour ourselves into the loves of other believers…” 83

You don’t find your spiritual gift by filling out an innovatory in isolation, but through doing the work of ministry in a community with other believers.

“We should pour our energy into the gifts we have.” 67

“God sovereignly gives the gifts, but we are still to seek them.” 87

Preaching is explaining the Biblical text (continues), prophecy is direct spontaneous communication from God (ceased).

“What makes Acts and 1 Corintians different isn’t the nature of the gift of tongues but the situation.” 131

If you want to know more about spiritual gifts, and if they have ceased or still continue today, I recommend Tom Schreiner’s book Spiritual Gifts. It is a quick read and not technical at all. Very assemble for any student of the Bible.

Grab your copy here

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on email