Boyd’s Bible Dictionary:

(given). A common way of showing esteem and confidence and securing favors (Gen. 32:13-15; 45:22-23). Kings were donees (1 Kings 4:21; 2 Chron. 17:5). Not to give, a mark of contempt (1 Sam. 10:27). Cattle given (Gen. 32:13); garments (2 Kings 5:23); money (2 Sam. 18:11); perfumes (Matt. 2:11).

Concise Bible Dictionary:

These have a large place in the Old Testament history, and several different words are used which are often translated PRESENTS. There were
1. Gifts from a superior to an inferior in good will and kindness and as rewards (Esther 2:18; Dan. 2:6, 48.
2. From an inferior to a superior (2 Chron. 9:24; 2 Chron. 17:5,11). This also took the form of tribute, an acknowledgment of submission (1 Sam. 10:27; 1 Kings 4:21). When Solomon reigned supreme, “all the earth” sought to Solomon to hear his wisdom, and brought presents, as did the queen of Sheba (1 Kings 10:2,24-25). This is a type of Christ’s kingdom as established on earth, when presents, as willing tribute, will be sent from all nations to the Lord Jesus (Psa. 45:12; 72:10,15; Isa. 60:9).
3. Gifts to judges: these were very apt to become bribes, and were strictly prohibited (Ex. 23:8; Deut. 16:19; 2 Chron. 19:7). It was usual also to take presents to prophets (1 Sam. 9:7); and as the prophets were sometimes judges, the gifts were liable to become bribes, as they did with the sons of Samuel, though Samuel himself could challenge the people, and they admitted the fact, that he had never taken a bribe to blind his eyes therewith (1 Sam. 8:3; 1 Sam. 12:3).

From Anstey’s Doctrinal Definitions:

In the New Testament, the subject of “gift” is referred to in a few different ways. Firstly, there is “the gift of the Holy Spirit,” which is given to every person who believes on the Lord Jesus Christ (John 4:10; Acts 2:38; 10:45; 1 Thess. 4:8; 1 John 3:24). This reception of the Holy Spirit makes the person part of the Church of God, which is the body of Christ.
Then, there is the gift of “grace” that is given to every member of the body of Christ, whereby each is enabled to fill the place in the body in which he has been set (Eph. 4:7).
There are also spiritual endowments that are given to believers, called “spiritual gifts” in the KJV, or “spiritual manifestations” as rendered in the J. N. Darby Translation (1 Cor. 12:1; 14:1, 12). A spiritual endowment (gift) is given to a person the moment he believes on the Lord Jesus and receives the Holy Spirit. When he is led of the Spirit to exercise his gift, he will contribute in some way to the edification of the body (1 Cor. 12:7; Eph. 4:15). The Bible teaches that all believers have been given at least one such gift (1 Cor. 12:7; 1 Peter 4:10). Ministry is simply the exercise of one’s gift; since all Christians have a gift of some kind, all Christians are in “the ministry.” The full range of these gifts is much wider than teaching, exhorting, prophesying, preaching, etc. It includes sign gifts such as: healing, tongues, and the working of miracles, etc. (1 Cor. 12:9-10), and gifts that are more private in nature, for helping people on an individual level—such as: shepherding, helps, giving, showing mercy, etc. (Rom. 12:8; 1 Cor. 12:28).
There are also special “gifts” which are given to the Church by Christ, the Head of the body (Eph. 4:10-11). These are men who in themselves possess certain distinct spiritual endowments for ministering the Word. They are: “apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors [shepherds] and teachers.” The Lord gives these men for the purpose of equipping the saints, and thus developing them into being able contributors in the work of the ministry (Eph. 4:12). Apostles are no longer with us on earth (Eph. 2:20), but the other gifts surely are. The prophets that are with us today are not those who receive revelations and foretell future events (Acts 11:28; 21:10-11), but those who minister the Word for edification, exhortation, and comfort (1 Cor. 14:3).
The sign or evidential gifts mentioned above have ceased because the purpose for which they were given has been fulfilled. This was in two ways: Firstly, those gifts were used to bear “witness” to the Jewish nation that the God was able and willing to bring in the kingdom in all of its power and glory (as presented in the Old Testament Prophets), if they would receive the Lord Jesus as their rightful Messiah. God confirmed this grace toward them in the ministry of the apostles (Acts 2:43). Through them the nation tasted “the powers of the world to come” (Heb. 6:4-5) and saw “signs and wonders” and “divers miracles” with “distributions of the Holy Spirit” (Heb. 2:3-4), and they also had men speak to them with “tongues” (Acts 2:1-13; 1 Cor. 14:21-22). But when—apart from a remnant that believed (Rom. 11:5)—the Jews formally rejected this testimony (Acts 7:54-60), God set the nation aside in A.D. 70 with the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, with a large portion of the people being killed (Matt. 21:33-44; 22:7; 24:2). Hence, the use of these sign gifts was no longer required (1 Cor. 13:8). History bears witness to the fact that after the first century, these miraculous gifts were no longer in use.
Secondly, God used the sign gifts to bear witness to the Gentiles that He had made a new departure in His dispensational ways in sending the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to form the Church (Mark 16:15-20; Rom. 15:18-19). The Gentiles were given opportunity to be a part of it, if they received the Lord Jesus. After the Church was established in those early days the sign gifts that were exercised in association with the preaching of the gospel, no longer continued. Again, Church history bears witness to this fact.
The sphere in which the gifts operate in the house of God is one of three distinct spheres of privilege and responsibility—priesthood, gift, and office. Christendom has misunderstood the distinctions that mark these three spheres of spiritual activity and has merged them into one, and out of it has come the invention of a clergyman (a so-called Minister or Pastor), which does not have the support of Scripture. It is, therefore, important to note the difference between them. One difference is that priesthood has to do with what goes from man to God, since it pertains to praise and prayer; whereas gift has to do with spiritual things being ministered from God to man. (See The Priesthood of Believers and Office).
When the sphere of gift in the house of God is in discussion, it is usually referring to those gifts which pertain to the public ministry of the Word—preaching, teaching, exhorting, etc. However, the exercise of one’s spiritual gift is something that is not confined to assembly meetings; the gifts are to operate whenever and wherever a person is led by the Spirit to do so.
An important thing to see in connection with the subject of gift is that Scripture does not teach that a person needs to be trained in a seminary and ordained before he can use his spiritual gift. Nor does Scripture teach that these gifts must be carried out under the auspices of the assembly, or under the direction of a para-church organization—i.e. a missionary board. Each gift is given by the Lord and is to be used under His direction. The possession of a spiritual gift is God’s warrant to use it. The Apostle Peter indicates this, stating, “As every man hath received a gift, even so minister the same one to another” (1 Peter 4:10). He also said, “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it of the ability which God giveth.” Note: Peter does not say that after receiving a gift to minister the Word that one needs to go to school before he can use it. The simple order in Scripture is: “When ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation” (1 Cor. 14:26). This is how the Church was taught and edified in its early days and it is the model for Christian ministry today.
J. N. Darby said, “If Christ has thought proper to give me a gift, I am to trade with my talent as His servant, and the assembly has nothing to do with it: I am not their servant at all....I refuse peremptorily to be its servant. If I do or say anything as an individual, calling for discipline, that is another matter; but in trading with my talent, I act neither in, nor for, an assembly. When I go to teach, I go individually to exercise my gift....The Lordship of Christ is denied by those who hold these ideas; they want to make the assembly, or themselves, lords. If I am Christ's servant, let me serve Him in the liberty of the Spirit. They want to make the servants of Christ the servants of the assembly, and deny individual service as responsible to Christ....I am free to act without consulting them in my service to Christ: they are not the masters of the Lord’s servants” (Letters, vol. 2, p. 92).
A person’s gift needs to be developed, and this takes time and use. The more a person matures in divine things, the more effective he will become in ministry (Acts 18:24-28; Mark 4:20). The Biblical way for a person to be taught in divine things is through attending Bible reading meetings (1 Tim. 4:13) and other such meetings where the Word of God is taught under the direction of the Holy Spirit (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 14:29-31). There is also written ministry (2 Tim. 4:13), or recorded ministry, given by knowledgeable and gifted persons.
It is also important to understand that these “spiritual” gifts are not natural gifts (1 Cor. 12:1; 14:1, 12). Natural gifts have been given to men by God from birth, which men develop through practise. These would be things such as: musical abilities, artistic abilities, athletic abilities, intellectual powers, etc. In Matthew 25:14-30, the Lord made a distinction between spiritual gifts (using the figure of “talents” – a unit of money) and natural abilities and skills (which He called “ability”), showing that these are two different things. The wisdom of God is seen in the parable in that the man gave talents to his servants “according to” their differing abilities. This teaches us that the Lord gives spiritual gifts to the members of His body that correspond with what has been formed in their personalities naturally. For instance, an evangelist would likely have a natural ability of being able to talk to people, since this kind of service is all about reaching out to people with the gospel. It is not likely that the Lord would give that gift to a person who is reticent and lacks communicative skills. Likewise, the gift of teaching requires a certain degree of natural ability in the way of intellectual powers. The gift of teaching, therefore, would likely be given to someone who has an orderly mind.
Christians, generally, are confused about this. They think that a person’s natural ability is their gift in the body of Christ. From this comes the belief that Christians should pursue worldly careers in life—such as: professional sports, professional music, and other kinds of worldly entertainment, because they have a natural ability in that direction. J. N. Darby said, “It is wholly a false principle that natural gifts are a reason for using them. I may have amazing strength or speed in running; I knock a man down with one, and win a prize cup with another. Music may be a more refined thing, but the principle is the same. This point I believe to be now of utmost importance. Christians have lost their moral influence by bringing in nature and the world as harmless. All things are lawful to me, but as I said, you cannot mix flesh and Spirit” (Letters, vol. 3, p. 476). Nor do we see the Church in Scripture having meetings for these talented persons to display their natural abilities. Spiritual gifts are not for Christian entertainment, but for the building up of the saints in spiritual things.
It is also important to see that all such gifts do not reside in one person. Scripture says, “For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another ... ” (1 Cor. 12:8-10). A man may have more than one gift, but it is clear from this passage that he will not possess all the gifts. Therefore, the assembly will need participation from all who have a gift for ministering the Word, if it is going to get the benefit of the gifts in its midst. Unfortunately, the clergy/laity system in place almost everywhere in Christendom pre-empts the free exercise of the gifts in those assemblies.

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