(More Bible Studies Available @ www.marktabata.com)
It is written:
1 Timothy 4:14-Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership.
The Bible teaches that miraculous gifts were able to be transferred through the laying on of the Apostles’ hands.
Acts 8:12-19-But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. 13 Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done. 14 Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, 15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16 For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. 18 And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”
Here, the laying on of Apostles’ hands led to the Holy Spirit “falling” on these disciples who had been baptized in water.. The phraseology of the Holy Spirit “falling on” people had reference to Holy Spirit baptism.
For example, earlier in Acts we read:
Acts 2:1-4-When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Peter describes this baptism of the Spirit with the prophecy of Joel:
Acts 2:16-21-But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 ‘AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS IN THE LAST DAYS, SAYS GOD, THAT I WILL POUR OUT OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL FLESH; YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS. 18 AND ON MY MENSERVANTS AND ON MY MAIDSERVANTS I WILL POUR OUT MY SPIRIT IN THOSE DAYS; AND THEY SHALL PROPHESY. 19 I WILL SHOW WONDERS IN HEAVEN ABOVE AND SIGNS IN THE EARTH BENEATH: BLOOD AND FIRE AND VAPOR OF SMOKE. 20 THE SUN SHALL BE TURNED INTO DARKNESS, AND THE MOON INTO BLOOD, BEFORE THE COMING OF THE GREAT AND AWESOME DAY OF THE LORD. 21 AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS THAT WHOEVER CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD SHALL BE SAVED.’
Acts 10:44-48-While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, 47 “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.
The account here in Acts 8 shows us that not just any baptized believer received this miraculous portion of the Holy Spirit. This was only for those upon whom the Apostles laid hands. We see the same thing throughout other passages in the New Testament:
Acts 6:1-8-Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution. 2 Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. 3 Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; 4 but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch, 6 whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them. 7 Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith. 8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.
Acts 19:1-6-And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples 2 he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.
Romans 1:11-For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established—
2 Timothy 1:6-Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.
To be an Apostle of Christ, one had to be an eyewitness of His Resurrection from the dead (Acts 1:21-22), and since Paul was the last Apostle to witness the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:1-8), then there have been no more inspired Apostle since Paul. And since miraculous gifts were conferred through the laying on of the Apostles hands (Acts 8:1-19), then the ability to pass on those miraculous gifts ended with the dead of the last Apostle (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:8-10). This is one of the ways that we know the miraculous gifts have long since ceased.
Yet if this is true, then what about Paul’s declaration in 1 Timothy 4:14? Could it be that elders in the local churches also had the ability to pass on these miraculous gifts?
We find the answer in the original languages of the Bible:
“Based on this verse, some have challenged the exclusivity of the role of the apostles in their unique ability to impart miraculous spiritual gifts (Acts 6: 5–6; 8: 18; 2 Timothy 1: 6) since the verse seems to state that the eldership could do so as well. Even though Paul plainly declared that the “gift of God” which Timothy possessed was conferred “through the laying on of my hands” (2 Timothy 1: 6), how does one explain the fact that Paul also stated that Timothy’s gift came through the presbytery (the eldership) as well? The grammar of the text provides the answer. In 2 Timothy 1: 6, where Paul claimed sole credit for imparting the gift to Timothy, he employed the Greek preposition dia with the genitive, which means “through” or “by means of.” However, in 1 Timothy 4: 14, where Paul included the eldership in the action of impartation, he employed a completely different Greek preposition—meta. The root meaning of meta is “in the midst of.” It denotes the attendant circumstances of something that takes place—the accompanying phenomena. 4 In other words, Paul—as an apostle—imparted the miraculous gift to Timothy. It came from God through Paul. However, on that occasion, the local eldership of the church was present and participated with Paul in the event, lending their simultaneous support and accompanying commendation. See the Special Section here.” (Defending the Faith Study Bible, 5407-5408 (Kindle Edition); Montgomery, AL; Apologetics Press)
Since Pentecost of Acts 2, the ability for a person to work miracles to confirm God’s Word was only possible through the laying on of the Apostles’ hands. While God can still work through both natural and supernatural means in answers to prayer by Christ’s authority (1 John 3:22; 5:14), the miraculous gifts have long since ceased.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.