It seems to me that many believers have the idea that God gives people certain gifts that they are at liberty to impart to others. Believers then flock to men and women with a dynamic ministry, hoping to receive some gift they did not have before. Certainly we can benefit from the manifestation of the Spirit's work through one another, but can gifts of the Spirit be imparted?
What does Scripture say?
- Every believer receives the Holy Spirit through faith in Jesus. Eph. 1:13,14
- Every believer receives every spiritual blessing in Christ because the fullness of Christ lives in him. Eph. 1:3; Col. 2:10; 1 Cor. 1:4-7
- The believer lives in the Giver and the Giver lives in him. 1 John 4:15
- Jesus, the Giver, by His Spirit, distributes gifts as HE determines. 1 Cor. 12:11; Eph. 4:7
- The manifestation of different gifts through different believers is the revelation of the work of the Giver through us. Rom. 12:6
What about Timothy?
"..stir into flame the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind." 2 Tim. 1:6,7 (KJV)
- Timothy received the gift of the Holy Spirit when Paul laid his hands on him and not a particular spiritual gift (see Acts 8:18 & 19:6). The context shows us that Paul is referring to the stirring up of the spirit of love, power and of self-control - all manifestations of the Holy Spirit in Timothy. 2 Tim. 1:6,7; Gal. 5:22
What about Paul?
"For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; that is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me." Rom. 1:11,12
- Paul is saying that he longs to see the Church in Rome to encourage them with his faith. The manifestation of the Holy Spirit in Paul's life was to strengthen and build up the Body of Christ wherever he went. Eph. 3:2; Col. 2:2
- Note that the word translated "impart" here means "to share". Paul shared his gifts with the Church to encourage the Body in their faith.
So, in answer to, "Can gifts of the Spirit be imparted?" I would say, NO. What we can do, however, is encourage one another in our faith to trust God to manifest His Spirit through us as we make ourselves available for "the master's use." Even now I am using my gifts to encourage you to believe that you have received fullness in Christ and that God will use you to be an encouragement to the Body of Christ as you use your gifts to serve others.
Don't run after what you think you are lacking - use what is in your hand and eagerly desire a greater manifestation of the Giver in you!