In order for many functions and responsibilities within the Father's earthly family to be performed efficiently and effectively, it is necessary for the Father to give a person several different attributes, abilities and authorizations, many of which are interdependent. What follows is a discussion of why some gifts the Father bestows are dependent on others in order to produce the desired result.
After Christ's death and resurrection, he appeared to several people and then to his eleven disciples and said to them, "I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high" (Lk.24:49 NIV).
While the disciples and the other men and women with them were at the temple on the Day of Pentecost, the Father bestowed several supernatural abilities on each of these individuals, which fulfilled the following prophecy recorded by Joel:
"And I will pour out my spirit on my slaves and on my slave-girls in those days" (Joel 2:29 KJV Para.).
When the Father adopts a person into his family he places his holy spirit within them, which immediately transforms them into a new and different being with spiritual power, godly love, and self-control as a part of their nature. Along with these three spiritual attributes, the individuals gathered together on Pentecost were also given the ability to communicate in many different languages and to give divinely inspired messages to those listening to them.
This one-time event was only the beginning of the supernatural attributes and abilities the Father would bestow on his children. It seems logical that, during the forty days after his resurrection that he appeared to people, he would have taught his disciple and others what they were to do with the attributes, abilities, and powers they would be given from their heavenly Father. See Acts 1:1-4.
In his letters, Paul does not mention all of the various attributes, qualities, functions, and authorizations that can be manifested through the power of the holy spirit, but he mentions enough of them for us to know with certainty who is to use these gifts from the Father, what is to be accomplished through their use, and that some of these gifts are dependent on other gifts for them to be used effectively.
When Paul wrote to the elect at Corinth, Rome, and Ephesus he wrote about the hierarchical organizational structure of the church, the types of supernatural abilities the Father bestows on his children, and why these abilities are necessary for his earthly family to function as he intended.
The Elect at Corinth
Paul explains to the elect at Corinth that, although there are a variety of supernatural abilities and authorizations and a variety of effects produced through their use, each of these are given for the benefit of all the elect:
"Now there are a variety of gifts, but the same spirit. And there are a variety of services but the same Lord. And there are a variety of effects, but it is the same God which works all in all. But the manifestation of the spirit is given to everyone to profit" (1.Cor. 12:4-7 KJV Para.).
It is apparent from verses 8 through 12 that the supernatural abilities and authorizations the Father gives are to be used in a unified organizational structure to perform the collective work to which he has called each of the elect to participate:
"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 the gift of healing by the same spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another different kinds of languages; to another the interpretation of languages: All these are the work of one and the same spirit, and he gives them to each person, as he wills. For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ" (1.Cor.12: 8-12 KJV Para.).
In verses 8-12, Paul again mentions some of the abilities and authorizations that the Father personally gives to individuals and that these are necessary functions within the body of Christ (i.e., the Father's earthly family).
The Elect at Rome
Paul explains to the elect at Rome that all of the various abilities, authorizations, functions, and responsibilities the Father gives to individuals work together in a unified manner for the benefit of all the elect:
"For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of themselves more highly than they ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another" (Rom.12:3-5 KJV Para.).
The Elect at Ephesus
In his letter to the elect at Ephesus Paul lists apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers which all require supernatural abilities and authorizations in order to perform their responsibilities adequately:
"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we are no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the deceitful scheming and trickery of people, whereby they lie in wait to deceive . . ." (Eph.4:11-14 KJV Para.).
It is within the organizational structure of the church that several supernatural abilities and authorizations are necessary for some of the elect to perform their primary functions and responsibilities, such as an apostle, prophet, teacher, evangelist, bishop, or pastor. Without possessing specific abilities and authorizations it would be virtually impossible for these individuals to effectively perform their work, such as the work of the ministry and the edification and perfecting of the elect.
The following is a brief overview of the functions and responsibilities that existed in the early church and the Father's spiritual gifts which allowed the elect to perform a dynamic and powerful work for him.
The English word apostles in Eph.4:11 is translated from the Greek word apostolos, which means an ambassador. From what is written about various apostles throughout the New Testament, it seems that these men needed many abilities and authorizations in order to perform their work, such as discernment of spirits, faith, knowledge, healing, languages, miracles, teaching, and wisdom.
Although Paul mentions apostles as being first in the hierarchical organizational structure of the church, there is no indication that there will be apostles in the end of the age as a primary function and responsibility in the same way these men were in the early church.
What we do see is that a few years before the first resurrection and Christ's return to establish his Father's Kingdom on earth, there will be two dynamic and powerful men who will proclaim God the Father's good news message from Jerusalem. Because of what is said about these men in the Book of Zechariah and the Book of Revelation, it seems clear that they function as the principal leadership of the church at that time. For details about these two men get a copy of the Book Biblical Prophecies Past, Present, and Future, ISBN 978-0-9844608-1-6 or visit www. bible-prophecy.net or www.bibleresearch.org.
Prophets and Teachers
Nowhere in the scriptures is it found that prophets or teachers were ordained to their function by either the priesthood or the eldership. What is found is that prophets and teachers were personally selected to a position of authority and service by God, after which they were acknowledged by God's people as they fulfilled these positions.
The scriptures show many individuals (men and women) under the covenant with national Israel and the Father's agreement with his earthly children were given responsibilities outside of physical bloodlines or a formal ordination ritual. Therefore, there is a precedent for this same situation to exist during this age of the church.
The English word prophets mentioned in 1.Cor.12:28 and Eph.4:11is translated from the Greek word prophetes, which can mean a foreteller (prophet); by analogy, an inspired speaker.
If the prophets of ancient Israel are any indication of a prophet during the gospel age, these men would need many, if not all of the following gifts of the spirit: faith, prophecy, knowledge, healing, languages, miracles, teaching, and wisdom.
If prophetesses of ancient Israel are any indication of a prophetess during the gospel age, these women would need the following gifts of the spirit: faith, prophecy, knowledge and wisdom.
The English word teachers in 1.Cor.12:28 and Eph.4:11as one of the three primary functions and responsibilities in the church is translated from the Greek word didaskalos, which means an instructor.
The importance of teaching is self-evident. Without being instructed in the Father's truth, no progress can be made toward the goal of spiritual maturity and perfection. Although it should be the goal of each of the elect to become skilled enough in the Father's truth and the mysteries of God to be able to explain the Father's plan for the salvation of mankind to others, the apostle James gives this warning to those who assume the teaching function within the church:
"My brothers, Not many of you should be teachers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more severely" (Jms.3:1 Para.).
The function of teaching within the church carries with it the responsibility to make sure that what one teaches is truth, because if any of what is taught is not correct or not thoroughly explained, it has the potential to adversely impact a person's life and spiritual growth.
As with the function of a prophet, both men and women are noted as fulfilling the teaching function. However, teaching performed by men is much different from that of women. Men teach the entire church, whereas older, more spiritually mature women are to teach the younger women by a righteous example and direct instruction. See Titus 2:3-5.
For a person to be an effective teacher of God's truth, he or she must have more than a casual knowledge of the scriptures and may also need the gifts of languages, the interpretation of languages, knowledge, wisdom, and exhortation, depending on the situation.
The English word evangelists in Eph.4:11 is translated from the Greek word euaggelistes, which is derived from the word euaggelizo, meaning to announce good news. Euaggelistes in the context of verse 11 means a preacher of the Father's good new message.
Many men fulfilled the function of an evangelist in the early church. From what we see in the biblical record, any man who preached the good news message as a function of their ministry was an evangelist, such as the apostles, the men who traveled with them, the prophets, Philip who had four daughters that prophesied, and Stephen the martyr.
The function of an evangelist included not only proclaiming the good news message but also teaching the Father's truth to the elect, as noted by Paul's instruction to the evangelist Timothy:
"Therefore I charge you before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having a desire to hear what they want to hear. And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned to fables. But you watch in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, and make full proof of your ministry" (2.Tim.4:1-5 KJV Para).
The English word ministry in verse 5 is translated from the Greek word diakonia, which means attendance (as a servant, etc.) i.e., service.
Although Timothy's personal work was that of a preacher of the good news message, he was also one who served the church as a teacher of the Father's truth for the perfecting of the saints and for the building of the church as a collective entity.
Because of their contact with many diverse people, it seems that these men would need many supernatural abilities, such as discernment of spirits, faith, knowledge, healing, languages, miracles, teaching, and wisdom.
Governments and Rulers
Only the Father's elect are given an understanding of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. One of these understandings is that the Father's kingdom fulfills the four basic requirements of a kingdom, which are a sovereign to govern it, territories to govern, people to govern, and laws with which to govern.
While explaining that the elect were the Father's priests on earth who were to offer spiritual sacrifices, the apostle Peter mentioned that they were a holy nation:
"But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a purchased people; that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light" (1.Pet.2:9 KJV Para.).
Here, the English word nation is translated from the Greek word ethnos, which is derived from a word that means race. In the context of verse 9, ethnos means a tribe especially a foreign one.
Although the elect dwell on earth, they are nonetheless members of the Father's kingdom and are governed by its officials and laws. Not many men are born with the organizational and managerial skills necessary to manage the affairs of one or more congregations of the elect or to give direction to its members. This is one of the reasons there is a need for the gifts of the spirit to govern and rule as noted in 1.Cor.12:28 and Rom.12:8.
The English word governments in 1.Cor.12:28 is translated from the Greek word kubernesis, which is derived from kubernao (of Latin origin, to steer); pilotage, i.e., (figuratively) directorship. The Greek word kubernesis leaves no doubt that what is being spoken of is rulership and its authority. Because men in leadership positions within congregations make many decisions which directly affect the lives of those they lead and serve, having the ability to govern effectively is an extremely important gift from the Father.
In Romans, chapter 12, Paul writes about the need for unity and teamwork within the church and mentions several gifts from the Father which are necessary for elders in positions of rulership over congregations:
"Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teaches, on teaching; Or he that exhorts, on exhortation: he that shares do it with sincerity; he that rules with diligence and compassion, with cheerfulness" (Rom.12:6-8 KJV Para.).
The English word rules in verse 8 is translated from the Greek word proistemi, which is derived from a word meaning to stand before, i.e., (in rank) to preside, or (by implication) to practice. In the context of verse 8, proistemi means a position of authority.
In Hebrews, chapter 13, the writer mentions those in authority within the church and that these men must be shown the respect due to them for their performance of this important function:
"Remember those who have the rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct" (Heb.13:7 KJV Para.).
"Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you" (Heb.13:17 KJV).
"Know you that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you. Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you" (Heb.13:23-24 KJV).
The English phrase have the rule over in these three scriptures is translated from the Greek word hegeomai, which in these scriptures means to command (with official authority).
There are many scriptures that explain how men placed in authority over their spiritual brothers and sisters must conduct their personal life and their responsibility to carefully consider the welfare and protection of those placed under their care. Additionally, there are warnings to those who rule within congregations in an autocratic, dictatorial, and harsh manner. This is why they need the gifts of the spirit, which enable them to righteously govern and rule as noted in 1.Cor.12:28 and Rom.12:8.
"This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desires a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach . . . " (1.Tim.3:1-2 KJV).
The English word bishop in verse 1 is translated from the Greek word episkope, which basically means one who supervises i.e., manages or oversees.
The English word bishop in verse 2 is translated from the Greek word episkopos, which basically means one who carefully supervises i.e., carefully manages or oversees.
The work of a bishop (i.e., a pastor over many congregations) is an extremely important responsibility, because this man must provide spiritual leadership for all those under his care and protection, just as a loving father and husband is to provide for his family. See Titus 1:5-9.
It seems that in the hierarchical structure of the church, men who were apostles, such as Paul ordained elders who were given the responsibility to supervise many churches. These men would need many gifts of the spirit, such as discernment of spirits, faith, knowledge, healing, languages, miracles, teaching, wisdom, governing, and ruling in order to perform their responsibilities adequately.
The English word pastors in Eph.4:11 is translated from the Greek word poimen, which means a shepherd (literally or figuratively).
Those who were called to supervise local congregations of the early church had a uniquely different responsibility from others within the eldership. Not all men are suited for this type of work, because it takes a person of exceptional patience, gentleness, kindness, self-sacrifice, wisdom, spiritual understanding, and dedication to serve the elect in this capacity.
Paul cautions those who had been given the responsibility of a congregational elder to be very careful how they fulfilled their responsibility to serve the Father's children:
"Take heed, therefore to yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the holy spirit has made you overseers [superintendent or official in charge], to feed the church of God, which he [Jesus] has purchased with his blood. For I know that after I leave, grievous wolves [evil people] will come among you, that will not spare the flock. Also among you shall men arise, speaking perverse things, in order to draw away disciples after themselves . . . I have shown you all things, and that you ought to work to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, when he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:28-30, 35 Para.).
Attitude Toward Service
Although everyone the Father calls to become one of his earthly children is expected to serve their spiritual brothers and sisters, those called to be congregational pastors or elders must be especially dedicated to serving their brothers and sisters. Without question, the responsibility of a congregational pastor or elder has the potential to be an exceptionally gratifying and joyful experience, but is one of the most demanding, time consuming, and stressful functions within the eldership.
It is logical to assume that congregational pastors and elders would need many gifts of the spirit, such as discernment of spirits, faith, knowledge, healing, languages, miracles, teaching, wisdom, governing, and ruling.
The English word helps in 1.Cor.12:28 is translated from the Greek word antilepsis, which is derived from the word antilambanomai, which can mean to take hold, succor or to participate. Because antilepsis is used in the context of a gift of the spirit, it must be an important ability in the overall work of the church.
Although the work of the ministry is extremely important to the overall work of the church, without individuals to help these men and people to perform specific tasks within the church, including helping members with specific needs, very little would be accomplished.
Even Christ who had the holy spirit without measure could not do everything he was given to do without the help of others. He chose twelve men to be his constant companions and seventy others to also help him proclaim the Kingdom of God. He sent some of these men to perform certain tasks for him like announcing that he was coming to town and preparing a place to observe the Passover.
There were also many women who helped him in his ministry. Although there are few details about the specific tasks they performed, their help and support was necessary for him to carry out his ministry.
An example of those who perhaps had the gift of helps with which to benefit other people are the seven men appointed to minister to widows in the early church and Tabitha who spent much time, effort, and money to make garments for the elect as an act of compassion. In Romans, chapter 16, Paul mentions ten men and women who were intimately involved in helping in various ways within the church.
Other individuals who helped through various means are those identified by the Greek words diakonos, diakoneo, and diakonia, which in most translations of the New Testament are translated as deacon, deacons, and the office of a deacon. None of these three Greek words implies anything of an official capacity or office of authority, but refer to someone who provides a service to other people. In the context of the biblical record, these Greek words simply mean someone who serves their spiritual brothers and sisters. It seems logical that these individuals were already helping and serving others and that the gift of helps enhanced and increased their ability to do what they were already doing.
The gift of helps has far reaching implications and should not be underestimated, because without men and women to provide help to the elect in various ways and to support the effort of the ministry the collective work of the church would be severely limited.
Exhort, Give, and Mercy
In Romans, chapter 12, the apostle Paul mentions the spiritual gifts of exhorting, giving, and mercy, which apply in one degree or another to each of the elect:
"Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, on our ministering: or to teach, on teaching; Or to exhort, on exhortation: or to give, with simplicity; he that rules, with diligence; mercy, with cheerfulness" (Rom.12:6-8 Para.).
In verse 6, Paul writes about four spiritual attributes the Father gives to individuals. Although the context of verses 7-8 is primarily concerned with interacting with one's spiritual brothers and sisters, exhorting, giving, and mercy are spiritual attributes that can also be practiced as one interacts with other people. It is interesting that, when Paul identifies three of these godly attributes the Father bestows to individuals, he also explains them.
To Exhort and Exhortation
In Romans 12:8, the English word exhort is translated from the Greek word parakaleo, which can mean to call to, beseech, to exhort, and to comfort. The English word exhortation is translated from the Greek word paraklesis, which means to encourage.
It can be assumed (generally speaking) from the context of many scriptures that contain various Greek words which have been translated into the English words exhort, exhorts, and exhortation that the concepts being written about deal with being strongly encouraged, urged to do something or encouraging in the sense of comforting individuals who are experiencing some sort of difficulty.
There are two primary ways a person can receive exhortation and comfort. One is from the scriptures and the other is from another person.
The scriptures encourage and urge us to do many things for the good of ourselves and of others. And they have many encouraging and comforting things to say that help us to have faith in the promises of our heavenly Father and our Savior.
Not everyone has the personality or the natural ability to encourage or comfort another person in times of discouragement, loss of hope, sickness, stress, or other difficulties. But, this is an attribute that each of the elect should be able to cultivate over time with practice and experience. But for those whose function and responsibility is to be intimately involved in working with the elect on a personal level, such as the ministry and those who serve the widows, the ability to encourage and comfort is a necessary attribute for them to carry out their work effectively.
In his letter to the elect at Corinth, Paul mentions edifying, exhorting, and comforting. This seems to be a continuation of what he writes to the ministry at the end of chapter 12, in chapter 13, and the beginning of chapter 14, which also applies in some degree to all the elect:
"Pursue godly love, and desire the spiritual, but much more that you may prophesy. Therefore speaking a supernaturally acquired language does not speak to people, but to God: for nobody else understands; but in the spirit he speaks mysteries. But he that speaks under divine inspiration speaks to people edifying, exhorting, and comforting" (1.Cor.14:1-3 Para.).
Encouraging and comforting a person is mentioned over 27 times in various contexts in the New Testament, which shows this attribute, whether a natural ability or a gift from the Father, as being an important expression of godly character, the doing of good works, and the practice of a righteous life.
In Romans 12:8, Paul encourages those who give to do it with simplicity. The English words give and simplicity are translated from the Greek words metadidomi and haplotes, which in the context of verse 8 respectively mean to share and to be exceptionally generous.
In Paul's letter to the Ephesians, he wrote of their past spiritual condition, their calling, their salvation, and why they were created as one of the Father's earthly children:
"That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace you are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them" (Eph.2:7-10 KJV).
A major part of a person's good works is the sharing of one's time, effort, and material goods with others.
Some people share their time, effort, and material goods because they are pressured by others, but others share because of their love and concern for others. Sharing and generosity are godly characteristics which are well documented in the biblical record. Some individuals naturally have a sharing personality and some do not; however, sharing is a godly quality which each of the elect must cultivate through practice and as one grows in spiritual maturity.
Although being selfish with one's time, effort, and material goods is clearly not a godly attitude, the Father and Jesus Christ certainly do not intend that we prove our righteousness by sharing to the point that we cannot care for our personal needs or those of our family members. Therefore, a balanced approach to giving of our time, effort, and material goods is necessary. One of the reasons the Father gives specific individuals the gift of sharing seems to be for them to set the proper example of this godly quality. In the context of generosity, Paul writes:
"Let him that is taught in the word communicate [in the sense of sharing material goods. See Phil.4:14-15] to him that teaches in all good things. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap. For he that sows to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that sows to the spirit shall of the spirit reap life everlasting" (Gal.6:6-8 KJV).
Paul uses the same analogy in discussing the subject of giving with the Corinthians:
"But this I say, those who sow sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and those who sow bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Everyone as they determine in their heart, so let them give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you: that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work" (2.Cor.9:6-9 KJV Para.).
The English word cheerful in verse 7 is translated from the Greek word hilaros, which in the context of verse 7 means prompt or willing.
Jesus said the following about the principle of generosity:
"Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you" (Lk.6:38 NKJV).
Does God expect us to give all we have in time, effort, and material goods to the church, its work, and others? No, he does not! The biblical record teaches that we are expected to use good judgment and give as we are able and sometimes sacrifice if necessary.
The spiritual attribute of a giving attitude the Father gives to some of the elect not only is a blessing to that person, because it enhances their godliness, but also to others who come in contact with them and are blessed through their generosity, such as Tabitha's generosity mentioned in Acts 9:36-39. This gift can also be displayed in giving of one's time, energy, and material goods through being hospitable. See Rom.12: 10-13; 1.Pet.4:8-9.
Although all of the elect are expected to cultivate the godly characteristic of sharing, some are given this gift of a sharing attitude in order to be an example to others.
In Romans 12:8, Paul tells the elect to be merciful with cheerfulness. But, why did he need to instruct us to be cheerful when showing compassion to someone?
The English words mercy and cheerfulness in Romans 12:8 are translated from the Greek words eleeo and hilarotes, which in the context of verse 8 respectively mean to be compassionate and to be cheerful.
Being merciful is a godly quality, which is revealed in many of the laws the Creator gave to ancient Israel, such as the laws about usury, indentured servants, gleaning of crops, cities of refuge, and other laws that are examples of God's mercy toward the less fortunate and those who needed protection from harsh treatment.
Paul's instruction to be merciful with cheerfulness tells us not to show mercy reluctantly, but cheerfully, because love, forgiveness, and compassion are all godly characteristics of the Father and Christ that should also be a part of our character.
Christ who was the Creator God and the personification of his heavenly Father showed great compassion to many people during his ministry and said the following about being compassionate:
"Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy" (Matt.5:7 KJV).
When we analyze what Christ said about being merciful and obtaining mercy several important concepts about having a godly attitude and how one is to practice a righteous life are revealed.
The English word merciful is translated from the Greek word eleemon, which means to be actively compassionate. To be actively compassionate means that we must not only have this quality but we must also be practicing it in our interaction with other people.
The English word mercy is translated from the Greek word eleeo, which means compassion. If we expect to be blessed and receive mercy from our heavenly Father, we must be merciful ourselves (i.e., show compassion to others).
Luke records Christ instructing everyone who desires to be considered one of the Sovereign God's children about the attitude and behavior a righteous person should exhibit toward other people:
"But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and you shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind to the unthankful and to the evil. You therefore be merciful, as your Father also is merciful" (Lk.6:35-36 KJV Para.). See also Jms.2:8-17.
The English word merciful in verse 36 is translated from the Greek word oiktirmon, which is derived from a word with the sense of exercising pity. For the elect oiktirmon means to practice mercy (i.e., compassion) toward others.
These attitudes and behaviors Christ mentions in verses 35-36 are all godly principles which were expressed in various laws given to ancient Israel and are principles to be practiced by the elect.
Some notable examples of the expression of godly love and compassion are Christ's example of the good Samaritan (Lk.10:30-36), the second great commandment (Matt.22:39), the seven chosen to care for widows (Acts 6:1-3), and Tabitha (Acts 9:36-39).
Some people are naturally compassionate and have the ability to be merciful to others regardless of the situation. However, these individuals are rare, thus the many instructions in the biblical record to be compassionate toward other people.
It is logical to assume that apostles, prophets, teachers, evangelists, pastors, and elders need the gift of mercy in order to deal with the elect and other people they come in contact with. It is also logical to assume that each of the elect needs the spiritual attribute of mercy in order to mature spiritually and exhibit the godly characteristic of compassion.
By B.L. Cocherell b14w11