The truth of having God as a Father is still rather foreign to many Christians. This study will bring the reader closer to some of the important aspects of this great truth with statements from God’s Word. It becomes obvious that God was able to have children through the work of His only begotten son Jesus Christ, and that now every man who believes on the lord Jesus Christ is a child or son of God.
For many Christians the concept of God as their Father is still a rather foreign idea. Paintings of artists even today still influence the impression of God in many Christian circles. To everyone it is clear that God is not a human being, that God is spirit, and yet the paintings of God as the old man who is the judge of the world residing on a big throne, who in his mighty reign punishes all, who seems always far away and unreachable for man, have a dominant role. This and similar concepts mirror themselves in the relationship which Christians have, or perhaps don’t even want to have, with God.
Once again, the revealed truth of the Word of God is quite far from the above mentioned ideas of men. In this study I would like to read and work with you some scriptures mainly from the so-called church epistles. (1) The epistles to the church, the church of God, the church of the Body of Christ, to which we today as believers in Christ belong as well, are in a way perhaps the most important revelation of God since they contain what is immediately relevant to and directly addressed to the church.
God – Our Father
We will begin the study with some verses of Scripture which are found in the opening parts of the respective church epistles.
To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father (2) , and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I Corinthians 1:3:
Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
II Corinthians 1:2:
Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Galatians 1:3 – 5:
Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I Thessalonians 1:1:
Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
II Thessalonians 1:1 and 2:
Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
This wonderful truth that God is our Father is expressed in every one of the church epistles right at the beginning as part of the greeting to the saints. It is stated as a given fact and needs no further explanation. We unfortunately at times sort of read over these parts and are not paying proper attention. We just read these verses as part of a greeting and do it with a similar attitude as is quite often displayed when people greet each other today superficially with a “Have a good day!” Then we begin with the more serious reading in the following verses where the main part of the epistle starts. We should however not overlook nor forget what is said in the greeting, we are told where grace and peace come from!
When considering the Bible as a whole, one can say that nowhere outside the church epistles do we find this marvellous revelation as succinctly told. It is a revolutionary message. God is right now our Father – this truth, to such a degree, can only be read in the church epistles and nowhere else in the Bible.
Throughout the whole Old Testament we do not find such a greeting, even in the Gospels we do not find expressions just the same. There we do read regarding Jesus Christ that he of course knew and realized that God was his Father. Regarding Israel there are similar statements made, but they are not quite what the revelation in the church epistles tells about us in the church of God.
We Are Now The Sons of God
We will continue our study in I John, one of the epistles not belonging directly to the so-called church epistles. However, it contains tremendous and very important truths in connection with our study.
I John 3:1:
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God …
Here we see “that we should be called the sons of God”. When it says that we should be called the sons of God, it of course is axiomatic that we also are the sons of God. Why else would we be called sons of God? God’s Word doesn’t talk about us having a fake name or an artist’s acronym. If we are to be called the sons of God then we just plainly are the sons of God! It’s as simple and as plain as that!
I John 3:1 and 2a:
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
Beloved, now are we the sons of God …
“Beloved, now [NOW!] are we the sons of God” – this emphatic statement gives reason to conclude that already at the time of the writing of this epistle there were seemingly some who were of the opinion that they were not now but only perhaps at some time in the future the sons of God. This statement in verse 2 clarifies such ideas and sets forth what God’s truth is. We are not at some undefined time in the future sons of God, we are NOW the sons of God.
It must however be observed that not all of what is involved in our sonship as sons of God has been revealed as of yet. Some of these things are only in the future coming our way. Those who want to talk about “later” as regards being sons of God are only correct to the end that various aspects of our sonship shall be revealed at a later time. Actually, the rest of verse 2 speaks of these things.
I John 3:2:
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
“What we shall be” has not yet been made apparent even though it has been revealed what we already are – “sons of God”. We shall be like him at the time when he will appear, and “we shall see him as he is.” Now, being sons of God, but still living in our physical bodies in this world, we cannot see him as he is because we are not yet like him. Only when we shall have been made like him can we see him as he is. This marvellous change is still to come and the revelation of the sons of God in all the fullness is even today still future because it relates to the return of Christ for the church. (3)
We are already now the sons of God. We already now have Him as our heavenly Father. There is still a phase of this sonship coming which we have not as of yet reached and which is obviously still better and higher than what we already have at this time.
Sonship – Result of God’s Great Love
A simple but very impressive statement is made in verse 1 to show us why we can be called and already are the sons of God: “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us …”!
A very familiar verse to many from the gospel of John declares how this great love of the Father was shown and bestowed upon us.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
God’s great love was expressed when He gave His only begotten Son so that man through believing on him could be saved and now become sons of God. This sonship – that we are now sons of God – was the result of God’s great love which He has bestowed upon us. It did not become a reality because we wanted it so badly, not because we earned some part of it, not because we inherited something from our grandfather or somebody else which would have made us anything before God and would have made possible this sonship. No, no, no! It all rest solely on the great love which God has bestowed upon us. God has shown this great love toward us, has bestowed it upon us, because He desired to have children, because He wanted to be Father to us. All that is so marvelously expressed in the words “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us.”
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
When the fulness of time was come, God sent His son. The reason for this is at least partly told in verse 5: “To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons [or: the placing as a son, i.e. sonship].” God seemingly had planned this and taken steps that would ultimately lead to having a possibility of having sons, children. He did not desire that man should be only His servants – He desired that they should be His children, that they should receive sonship as they were redeemed.
God’s only begotten Son Jesus Christ had an extremely vital part in this plan of God. This section of scripture tells of the connections: “When the fulness of time was come …” A time was in the process of coming until it was finally full. Then the decisive point in the whole plan came to bearing when God sent forth His only begotten Son. After Jesus Christ fulfilled all that the Father had sent him to accomplish, it was possible that we could become the sons of God, that we could receive sonship.
God’s Spirit In Us – Sonship
And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
Here we learn about another important aspect of our sonship, “God hath sent forth the spirit of his Son into your hearts”. It is the spirit from God which gives us sonship; with the receiving of this gift of holy spirit we become “His son”. Via this spirit from God we now can have an intimate relationship and fellowship with our heavenly Father. This intimate relationship which is now available to us as God’s children is expressed in the word “Abba”. This is an Aramaic word which was kept in the English translation. The word “Abba” simply means “father” or “dear father”, nowadays perhaps expressed in the term “daddy”.
This word “Abba” in reference to God is an expression which is also found in the Gospels, where it only was used by Jesus Christ. This way of addressing God is only found in the gospels in places where Jesus Christ was talking to his Father in heaven. Only Jesus Christ is said to have used this term when speaking to God.
Here in Galatians we read that we now have “the spirit of His son” in us. With this spirit from God in us we can now have the same connection to God, we can talk in the same way to God, we can so to say talk to Him on the same level to God, as Jesus Christ did. This has become possible because of what Jesus Christ accomplished in his work of redemption and because it is given to us in our lives when we believe on him. What privilege we have as sons of God!
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
This scripture also indicates that the sons of God have the spirit of God. God’s children can only be “led by the spirit of God” if they have the spirit of God in them. The expression “led by the spirit of God” can of course not mean “to be led” in a way in which a cowboy, for example, is leading, or better “driving”, his cattle along. God does not force Himself on man, He does not possess people, and we as His children do not become robots who have no will anymore. Such ideas are frequently propounded in some Christian churches when it comes to the topic of “holy spirit”, but they cannot be held up when compared to the truths revealed in the Bible.
When it talks about being “led by the spirit of God”, the Bible does not talk about ideas of being possessed by God. God leads via the spirit of God in us in the sense that what He reveals is what gives us the direction, shows us the goal to be achieved, motivates us, gives us our incentive, holds us up, even though we are at all times in control of our life and can freely decide what we do in each situation.
Only God’s children can be “led by the spirit of God”, which becomes even more clear from other scriptures, because it is the receiving of God’s spirit in the new birth which makes us to be His children. An unbelievers, that is someone who does not believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, cannot be led by the spirit of God because he does not have the spirit of God. This is the reason why there is such great emphasis put on this statement which is quite central to our study.
From this statement of scripture, another important truth becomes evident: God is not the Father of all men! God is only the Father of those whom He has made via the gift of holy spirit to be His children. We may often hear arguments which are to prove that God is the Father of all men, immediately followed by the proposed thesis that therefore all men are brothers. This is absolutely not true.
It is an unbiblical idea, it may look nice and be humanistic, and it might show the desire of mankind to have God as Father. It is nevertheless – even though good sounding and good looking – lie.
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear …
We have not received a spirit of bondage, in other words, the spirit we have received from God does not make us to slaves, it does not bring bondage on us. The spirit we receive in the new birth from God does not make as to be slaves, something totally different happens.
… but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
The words “spirit of adoption” are from the Greek texts literally “spirit of sonship”. We have received a spirit from God that makes us to be children, sons of God. Through this spirit we can have an intimate relationship with God because via this spirit we may call on him with “Abba, Father”.
Verse 15 contains an interesting parallel construction by which the given points are put in opposition to each other. On the one side we have “spirit of bondage”, on the other side we have “spirit of sonship”. Via this spirit of sonship we may call God “Abba, Father”, whereas we would again have to fear if the spirit we received were a spirit leading to bondage. These important points are contrasted with each other. We have not received a spirit of bondage so that we would have to fear again, but we have received a spirit of sonship by which we can exclaim “Abba, Father”.
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
In this verse we have two occurrences of the word “spirit” and its meaning is different each time. The first word “spirit” refers without doubt to the spirit of sonship mentioned in the previous verse, that spirit which we have received from God. Then it continues saying that this spirit “beareth witness with our spirit”. “Our spirit” can therefore not be the same as the spirit of sonship which we have received because then the whole sentence would make no sense. “Our spirit” is a term for our innermost being, our heart. Here we learn that this spirit of God which we received, the spirit of sonship, bears us witness in our innermost being, in our hearts, that we are Sons of God.
How is this accomplished? The spirit of sonship bears witness once we utilize it by way of the manifestation of the spirit. Spirit itself is not recognizable with the senses, therefore we can only have a witness of the spirit when that spirit is manifested. We can have the witness by way of the manifestation. Now it becomes clear to us how important the manifestation of the spirit, such as speaking in tongues, or speaking in tongues with interpretation, really is! (4)
Speaking in tongues is one of the manifestations of the spirit which a son of God can evidence in his life at any time according to his will and decision. Speaking in tongues, being a manifestation of the spirit of God, is only possible after one has received God’s spirit. Thus it is such a witness to ourselves that we indeed are a son of God. When we can and do speak in tongues, it is every time as if a witness took the stand to proclaim that we are a son of God. How we feel is completely irrelevant. Our feelings may be not at all as one might expect from a son of God, but a witness is ready to proclaim and confirm that we still are a son of God.
And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
Already now we are God’s children and we have many wonderful blessings available to us here on earth. We can and should live like sons of God. But this verse already talks about the truth that there is far more to come in the future. God is our Father, and we are not only His children, but we are also His heirs as joint-heirs with Christ. Christ is the only begotten Son of God, he is the heir of God. We are God’s children by the new birth, and thus we have been made joint-heirs with Christ to share in the inheritance of God, our Father.
Sonship – God’s Plan
Great truths regarding the topic of our study are revealed in Ephesians.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
This section in Ephesians tells us that God had a desire for sons for a long time. He prepared a plan toward that end a long time ago. This plan involved the necessary sacrifice of His only begotten son because it says that we have been predestinated “unto the adoption [sonship!] by Jesus Christ.” This was God’s good pleasure, this was God’s will from before the foundation of the world.
Ephesians 1:4 and 5:
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself …
This passage also emphasizes that God acted out of His love. He did not do these things because of a necessity forced upon Him, He acted because of His love. In this love He devised this plan and carried it out.
The plan involved a “predestination” for it says, “having predestinated us unto the adoption of children”. The term predestination has often been the cause of far reaching and heated arguments. Men do not have a real grasp of what this word means, and then human ideas are introduced and the descriptions already given in the Word of God remain unconsidered.
Some people understand “predestination” to mean that God, similar to what happens with someone working with puppets, pulls the strings somehow in the background in all of life’s situation and that man can simply not do anything else anyway because in all of what he is doing he is carrying out God’s will because God predestined it this way. Such ideas degrade God to be a master of puppets. Also, with this theory man does not carry any personal responsibility for the conduct of his life because all decisions are really God’s and some people are destined for hell while some other lucky ones get to go to heaven. God would be responsible and man would have no influence whatsoever on the outcome.
This cannot be true! When we carefully consider this section of Scripture, we see that the emphasis in this verse is not on “having predestinated US …”, but rather on “having predestinated us UNTO THE ADOPTION OF CHILDREN [SONSHIP]”. It is evident that God predestinated SONSHIP and not something else. Now, who has part and shares in this wonderful predestination is a completely different matter altogether. It is emphasized WHAT God has predestinated, not WHOM he has predestinated.
Who receives this sonship, who becomes a son of God, is not God’s decision. God has made the offer to all people, and His love was not restricted to one group or one people. The decision who would like to become a son of God now rests solely with man. The previously mentioned verse in John 3:16 clarifies that once for all.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
“Whosoever believeth in him should … have everlasting life.” Having everlasting life means that they would be sons of God. Christ has made SONSHIP available, not bondage (remember Romans 8?) or anything else. If someone becomes a son of God is up to every man, not God. Man either uses the opportunity by believing on the lord Jesus Christ or he lets it slip by. Becoming a son of God, receiving everlasting life is dependent upon believing on Christ.
With this understanding, the verses in Ephesians become even more important to us as they give us insight into God’s wise counsel and His plan.
Ephesians 1:5 and 6:
Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
We now live in the biblical administration of the grace of God, where we as believers belong to the church of the body of Christ.
We can become sons of God already now if we so desire. We do not need to accomplish a certain work in order to deserve it. We are saved solely upon God’s wonderful grace wherein God has made us accepted in Christ. Our part is believing on him.
God’s Plan Was Fulfilled in Christ
In Ephesians 2 more details about this plan of God and its execution in Christ are given.
And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
Verse 18 contains a very important choice of words for our study. It does not say that we have access “unto God”, but it rather says that we both have access “unto the FATHER”. Of course, the Father spoken about here is our God, yet God’s Word emphasizes very distinctly that our access to God is an access of children to their FATHER. We now have this access to the Father by way of one spirit – that spirit of sonship which made us to become sons of God. That spirit allows us and gives us direct access to our heavenly Father.
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
Before, the Gentiles were at best “strangers and foreigners” if one wanted to describe their situation and relation regarding access to God. They were in essence outside the door, they were afar. This has totally changed in the completed work of redemption which Christ accomplished. Now both Israel and the Gentiles, as they believe on Christ, have direct access available to God as unto the Father.
All who believe on the lord Jesus Christ, whether they be of Israel or of the Gentiles does not matter, these all belong to now to God’s house. We as His children are now under his roof. We sit at His table. We are sitting together in the living room of God’s love, we are of His household. We belong so to say to the inner circle of His family, His household. He is the Father, we are the children. Now there is a fellowship among this household. “Fellowcitizens with the saints” emphasizes that we belong there together.
The next verses pick up the picture of the house, a building, and compare it with the church.
And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
Here we learn that we are at the same time God’s habitation through the spirit. He is not only our Father, we also represent His habitation.
God – The Father of His Children
We still want to take one more section from Ephesians 3 into our considerations. Here as well the great truth that God is our Father is emphatically stated.
For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
This verse is the beginning of a prayer. We have here the prayer of a son of God, Paul, to his heavenly Father. Paul was a son of God, he was born again and he too had received this spirit of sonship from God. He prays here to the Father, not to an impersonal, almighty God who has His throne somewhere high up there and who grants no access except to appear before Him at the last judgment. To Paul, God is his Father to whom he turns in his prayer. God is not unreachable, not a being to whom he can have no access.
We too may pray to our Father as Paul prayed here, because we too have free access unto the Father. Paul did not have this access because he was an apostle, he had this access because he was a son of God!
Ephesians 3:14 and 15:
For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
Some people take verse 15 and claim that God is the father of everybody because of Him “the whole family in heaven and earth is named”. Such claims are unfounded and cannot be supported by this verse.
This verse actually claims the exact opposite, namely that God is not the Father of everybody in heaven and on earth. It clearly only talks about a family that is named of God. The great truth is that God is only the Father of those who have been given His name because they have been born of Him. Not every being in heaven or on earth is part of God’s family, carries God’s name. That is the point which must be observed. Those claiming God to be the Father of all in heaven and on earth have not read correctly and then fabricated a theory which of course, being based on an incorrect premise, cannot be correct either.
That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
Who is speaking about? It speaks of God, our Father! Not only of “God”, but of the “Father”. God as our Father can do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that is at work in us.
Fellowship With The Father
I John speaks of the fellowship which we can have with the Father.
I John 1:3:
That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
This verse shows that we by the conduct of our lives according to the Word of God can have fellowship with one another, and that this fellowship is with the Father and with his son Jesus Christ. As children of God, we do not just run off and stay away from our Father, keep out of His reach – no, we want to care and develop the possible fellowship with Him.
Another tremendous section of Scripture which we should consider as part of our study is in I Peter.
I Peter 1:13–19:
Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
In this section we are encouraged as “obedient children” to reorganize our life style in such a way that we walk in agreement with our calling. God is our Father, and He is holy – thus it follows that we too should be walking in this holiness. We have been bought with a price – this should be sufficient reason to turn away from the former ways and to fashion our life according to the new possibilities in Christ.
Jesus Christ, by his death, has accomplished a redemption for us which makes us now to be children of God. We now have God as our Father and belong to His house.
II Thessalonians 2:15–17:
Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.
God, even our Father, who loved us, comforts our hearts, establishes us in every good word and work. This perhaps reminds us of the picture of the little boy or girl who climbs back into daddy’s arms when something frightening or terrible has happened or when a little bit of comfort is needed. The Father gladly provides this comfort and strengthening. When we need some strength because our own is not sufficient in the first place, we only need to turn to our Father because He surely is able and willing and desiring to provide.
Giving Thanks To The Father
At the close of this study we want to briefly look at two verses from Colossians.
Colossians 1:11 and 12:
Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
Giving thanks is something which all too often in our day and time is neglected. We are perhaps not used to giving thanks although it should be absolutely the norm to give thanks for all that we receive from someone else.
Several Bible translations divide up the sentence in Colossians 1:11 and 12 a little differently. They put the “with joyfulness” together with the “giving thanks” which makes a lot of sense. We should joyfully give thanks unto our heavenly Father! We can and should in all things, in our whole life, in everything we do in word or deed, give thanks with joy to our Father for all the blessing He has bestowed upon us.
God is our Father, and He prepares our way. He cares for us, He is concerned for our lives, He has made it possible that we can walk as sons of God now. He wants us to live in all that He has made available to us in Christ. He gives us victory in lives’s situations even when sometimes they appear unconquerable. We can count on Him and His power and might. At the end we should not forget to thank Him and to praise Him, our heavenly Father, who loved us and has given us great consolation. Thanks is due Him.
May our witness for Him and His wonderful Son, our lord and savior Jesus Christ, may contribute to many more becoming sons of God so they too can know God as their heavenly Father.
(1) “The church epistles” is a common term used of the Pauline epistles addressed to “churches”: Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Thessalonians.
(2) The respective words have been underlined for added emphasis.
(3) Compare I Thessalonians 4:13 – 17 and I Corinthians 15:50 – 54.
(4) The manifestation of the spirit is mentioned in I Corinthians 12:7 – 10. This section of scripture is often interpreted to mean “gifts of the spirit”. However, in verse 7 the topic changes to “manifestation of the spirit” as is further supported by checking the Greek texts.