7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
1901 ASV Translation:
7 or ministry, let us give ourselves to our ministry; or he that teacheth, to his teaching;
8 or he that exhorteth, to his exhorting: he that giveth, let him do it with liberality; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness.
I. Paul's Focus Upon the Grace-Gifts.
A. His "selectivity".
B. His fundamental understanding.
C. His instruction.
1. Critical to understanding is the issue of "definitions"; thus, we must be sure we understand to some degree that which Paul addresses and not be taken in by those who would distort the definitions in order to take advantage of others.
2. Those who have the ability to "prophesy" are to "prophesy" according to the "apportioned faith" given to them.
3. Those who have the ability to "minister" are to so "minister".
4. The list runs through "teaching", "exhortation", "giving", "ruling", and "showing mercy".
1) The issue of "teaching" is best understood by considering the "odd" references. One such is Matthew 28:15 where we are told the guards, who were supposed to watch the tomb of Jesus, took the bribe offered them "and did as they were taught". Since we do not generally associate "teaching" with talking people into lying by use of bribes and promises, this use of the word is instructive. Clearly, "teaching" in this text is the attempt to counter any/all arguments put up by those who are the objects of the "teaching". Just as clearly, it is an attempt to get someone to act according to the desire of the "teacher". It does not follow that "teaching" actually consists of getting the "taught" to act. Jesus "taught" even when His audience did not do what He said. What does follow is this: the various "objections" are countered by means of a plausible solution. Thus, "teaching" may well have some "overlap" with "exhorting" (if "exhorting" is taken to mean something along the line of "urging someone to act"), but its unique essence is, apparently, "countering" contrary arguments.
2) "Teachers" are to apply themselves to their subject so that they may offer alternative ways of understanding an issue than the way they consider to be in error. Teachers, like all others, are often of impure motives and "teach" in order to argue for a corrupt method of acting. Thus Paul insists that the "grace/faith-function" called "teaching" be exercised "in teaching" ... with the unstated assumption that the "teacher's" objective is to present Truth in ways that expose errors. Teachers are, therefore, in a seriously dangerous position because "teaching" is designed to persuade people to take certain actions and the "teacher" is highly subject to the notion that what he is attempting to get people to do is God's agenda when it may simply be his own.
1) At the heart of "exhortation" is the notion of a "summons" that is designed to attempt to get someone to "come alongside" of the one issuing the summons. The way the word is translated in the New Testament exposes this meaning. The visual is of a person who is at a particular place and is attempting to get another to "come alongside". Thus, if the summoned one is lagging behind, the effort might be called "exhorting" or "urging". If, however, the summoned one is running ahead, the "exhorter" might actually "rebuke". If the summoned has faltered, the "exhorter" might be a "comforter". Etc.
2) The most significant issue in this term is this: the one doing the exhorting must be doing what he is summoning others to do. One cannot summon one alongside if the one doing the summoning is not "there". Exhortation assumes the absence of hypocrisy.