The New Testament teaches that spiritual (miraculous) gifts were received in the first century in only two ways:
- Holy Spirit baptism — which came upon the apostles (Acts 2) and upon the household of Cornelius (Acts 10).
- By the laying on of the apostles’ hands (Acts 8:18; 19:6).
Some allege, however, that 1 Timothy 4:14 broadens the method of gift reception. The claim is made that this passage shows that supernatural gifts could be received from a “presbytery,” i.e., an eldership. Does it? Actually it does not. The facts are these.
- Paul states that Timothy possessed a gift.
- The gift was given “by prophecy,” i.e., its bestowal was accompanied by prophecy.
- The event occurred at the same time the young evangelist was appointed to a ministry by an eldership. It was “with [meta] the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.” A.T. Robertson observes that meta “does not express instrument or means, but merely accompaniment” (Word Pictures in the New Testament, Vol.IV, p. 581). Timothy’s miraculous gift actually came “through [dia] the laying on of [Paul’s] hands” (2 Timothy 1:6).
Block off this passage and note: See 2 Timothy 1:6. Gift came “through” Paul’s hands, “accompanied by” appointment by elders.