rev 2/25/2016

Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:37b, 38).

In review, we have looked at the identity of the Spirit. He is a person, one of the Godhead. He is not a thing to be ladled out.   We have explored the word "gift" in the passage of Acts 2:38. We determined that it was “the” doreanG1432 type of gift. It is a sacred gift. Later, we will consider whether the gift is "from the Spirit" or is "the Spirit." However, before we do that, let's look at all the Greek “gift” words that's used in the New Testament.i


There are at least nine words in the Greek which are translated in the AV by the word ‘gift’ii: anathema, dorema, dosis, doron, dorea, merismos, doma, charis, and charisma. AnathemaG334 is a votiveiii offering and should be translated as "consecrated offerings" at Luke 21:5. DoremaG1434 occurs in Romans 5:16 and James 1:17, based on doronG1435, and means the thing given rather than the act of giving. DosisG1394 denotes the act of giving (Philippians 4:15) and is translated as "thing bestowed" in James 1:17 (NASB). DoronG1435- 18 times honor “gift”, 1 as sacred “offering”. DoreaG1431 is derived from doron.

(1) Dorea gift.     Before we consider the dorea gift, may we be reminded that its derived source, the doron gift of Ephesians 2:8, is the sacred gift that people would present to an esteemed official or a gift offering (sacrifice) bestowed unto God.

"Therefore if thou bring thy gift (doron) to the altar" (Matthew 5:23,also v.24). "And offer the gift (doron) that Moses commanded" (Matthew 8:4). "Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift (doron) by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me" (Matthew 15:5; Mark 7:11). "Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift (doron) that is upon it" (Matthew 23:18,19).   These passages underscore the realization that the doron gift of Ephesians 2:8-10 is the real and true means of fellowship with God in contrast to the substitute types of the Levitical system of the Old Testament.

The acceptable gift (doron) is provided to mankind from God (John 3:16). Even if it says in a separate passage that it is provided by the Holy Spirit. It is a gift to us whereby we can acceptably present to God in our stead and thereby be sanctified to approach His throne of grace. "In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.   Then said I (Jesus), Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.   Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;   Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.   By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. "(Hebrews 10:6-10).

Dorea is the language child of doron.   This would indicate that the (dorea) gift furnished a man is from God for God and provides the only suitable gift to the divine. It complements man's endeavor to offer a suitable gift to God.   In John 4:10 Jesus uses it to refer to “living water” (i.e., water that furnishes eternal life).   Peter used it when rebuking the sorcerer for seeking to buy the dorea gift of bestowing the miraculous powers of the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:20) that was to confirm the apostolic Word (Mark 16:20).   Again, he referred to the baptism of the Holy Spirit as the dorea gift (Acts 10:45; 11:17) that again authenticated God's Word to hearers and to the apostles themselves.   The apostle Paul says the dorea gift comes from the favor (charis: grace) of Jesus Christ (Romans 5:15).   When he mentions the grace [charis] of God which is in the church, he thanks God for His unspeakable dorea gift (2 Corinthians 9:14).   When he mentions the grace [charis] of God working in himself with power, he identifies it as been according to the dorea gift (Ephesians 3:7). He speaks of the enlightened Christians as having tasted of the dorea gift (Hebrews 6:4). When asked by the audience on the day of Pentecost, Peter commanded them to receive the dorea gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).   This should suggest to us that such gift has to do with a sanctified presentation of oneself before God.

dorea gifts
Comparing dorea gift's source

(2) Merismos in Hebrews 2:4. The Greek word merismosG3311, doesn't really mean “gift.” It actually means “distributions”iv but for some reason it is translated in some versions as “gift/s” in Hebrews 2:4.v Some call such an action as an “editorial decision.” It is translated correctly in Hebrews 4:12 as “dividing asunder.” The word should be translated as "distributions" (Y, NASB mg).vi No, Acts 2:38 is not merismos. Acts 2:38's word is not merismos.

(3) Doma in Philippians 4:17. Another Greek word translated “gift” is domaG1390d.vii According to Thayer this word is like doreaG1431 in that both are derived from the verb “give” didōmiG1325. viii It is used at least four times in the KJV. It seems to be more of a general term. James uses it in the umbrella phrase “every good gift is” from God (James 1:17). Paul uses the word for financial aid (Philippians 4:17). Paul also said that Jesus gave doma gifts for the edifying of the church (Ephesians 4:8-11) which included apostles, prophets, evangelists, elders and teachers. In Luke 11:13 [and its parallel passage in Matthew 7:11] Jesus uses both the verb didomi and the noun doma: "If you, being wicked, know how to give [didomiG1325] good gifts [domaG1390] to your children, how much rather will the Father who is out of heaven give [didomiG1325] the Holy Spirit to those who ask him."ix Vine's Dictionary differentiates doma as a gift that “lends greater stress to the concrete character of the "gift," than to [any] beneficent nature.” But for our purpose, Acts 2:38's gift is not doma.

(4) Charisma in Romans 12:6. If I were to characterize the chief gift words for our purpose, I would use dorea and charisma. The chief Biblical word besides doreaG1431 that's translated into “gift” is charismaG5486. In Romans 12:6 Paul declares that believers have “gifts that differ [i.e., χαρίσματαG5486 ... διάφορα] according to the grace [charisG5485] given to us” (Romans 12:6 KJV).x This unique word is usually in the plural while dorea is singular.

According to Vine's Dictionary a charisma “gift” is "'a gift of grace, a gift involving grace' (charisG5485) on the part of God as the donor.”

(a) It is used of God's bestowments upon mankind, Romans 5:15,16; “eternal life” in Romans 6:23; “favors of God” in Romans 11:29.

(b) It is used of power endowments upon believers; (1) Romans 12:6, “favorsG5486 according to the favor being given to us” (ABP+); (2) 1 Corinthians 1:7, “You, be not lacking in not one favorG5486(ABP+); (3) 1 Timothy 4:14, graceG5486 gift given by prophecy with laying on of hands; (4) 2 Timothy 1:6, “stir up” the graceG5486 gift of God in thee by Paul's hands; (5) 1 Peter 4:10, “each hath received a graceG5486serving among one another.

(c) 1 Corinthians 12. This chapter like Romans 12 speaks of “charisma” (KJV, “gifts”), and not the doreaxi gift. The teaching of a relationship of equivalency appears to be a modern invention. Even a “Pentecostal” author challenged his fellows that "charisma" was not the same as the “gift” of Acts 2:38 but was literally what he called "grace-effect(s)" or "grace-working(s)." He defined its meaning as something that grace does or results in; i.e., “a manifestation of grace.”xii Contrary then to modern church teaching there is a difference between the dorean gift of Acts 2:38 and the charismaG5486 “gifts” of 1 Corinthians 12. The labeled “spiritual” and/or “miraculous” gifts of 1 Corinthians 12 is from the word that's usually translated “grace” or “favor” (charisG5485).xiii For examples, 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, “divisions of favorsG5486...but the same Spirit; 1 Corinthians 12:9, “to another favorsG5486 of cures”; 1 Corinthians 12:28, “then favorsG5486 of cures”; 1 Corinthians 12:30,31, “Not all [favorsG5486 have] of cures”, “be zealous for the [favorsG5486 better].”

(d) 1 Corinthians 7:7. While discussing marriage and celibacy, Paul recognized that “each man has his own 'gift' (KJV) from God, one in this manner, and another in that [ἕκαστος ἴδιον ἔχει χάρισμα ἐκ θεοῦ, ὁ μὲν οὕτως, ὁ δὲ οὕτως].” The word is charisma. It is not dorea. Not everyone has the charisma of marriage, and not everyone has the charisma of celibacy. In this case it is a natural gift from God.

(e) 2 Corinthians 1:11. It is also used of gracious deliverances granted in answer to the prayers of fellow believers, 2 Corinthians 1:11.xiv

(f) Romans 6:23. The word for "gift" here is also "charisma." "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Some have suggested that the gift of Acts 2:38 is exclusively eternal life; but, this is not the same word.

Note: It is granted that most English translations do not distinguish between δωρεά and χάρισμα. Many commentaries and New Testament grammars believe these are perhaps simply synonyms for the word “gift”. However, Chrysostom, and most ecclesiastical writers distinguished these words with slightly different meanings. Δωρεά should be translated as “gift,” and χάρισμα as “grace.”xv To do otherwise requires an editorial decision and is confusing to the English reader.

I submit that the gift in Acts 2:38 is not charisma.

THE RELATIONSHIP SHOWN IN EPHESIANS 4 between dorea, charisma, and doma. Proposition: Dorea is the sum of the present from all three, the Spirit, the Father, and the Christ. The charisma is each unit that supports, makes up, and provides the dorea.

But unto every one of us is given graceG5484 according to the measure of the giftG1431 of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave giftsG1390 unto men. ... And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers” (Epesians 4:7-11).

THE RELATIONSHIP: 1. The gift (δωρεάG1431) is the singular sum from Heaven (here, Christ). 2. It is divided into measures of grace (charisG5484) which provides 3. the accessibility of gift (domaG1390) to the recipient. This is substantiated by the appointment of the favor, apostles, who receive the gift dorea which is in turn communicated to mankind via favors through the laying on of their hands. Even the appointed office of apostleship is a favor along with prophets, pastors, teachers, and signs which are a means to guide the deliverance and acquisition by men of the complete dorea gift of Acts 2:38. The audience is expected to take advantage by taking hold of this dorean gift from Heaven (from God, the Father, God, the Son Jesus, and God, the Holy Spirit).

It is easy to compare every use of the singular dorea gift and its measured grace gifts in all passages. Suffice it is for us to use this illustrative passage:

Now there are diversities of [favors] gifts, but the same Spirit (διαιρεσεις δε χαρισματωνG5486 εισι το δε αυτο πνευμα)” (1 Corinthians 12:4). Some of these favor gifts are identified in the context and especially in verse 28: “And God hath set (appointed) some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts [favors] of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues” (1 Corinthians 12:28). This then compares and corresponds to Ephesians 4 and confirms our point of the difference between dorea and charisma.

Conclusions. We can readily see that charis gifts are a logical subset of the broader doreaG1431 gift by looking at such passages as Ephesians 2:8. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). ABP+ literal translation makes it definite for us: “For by favorG5484 [gift] you are being preserved through the belief;G4102 [the faith] and this -is not of you of [from] God doron giftG1435-[parent of dorea].” The dorea of the laying on of hands imparted the graces of miraculous gifts and various administrations; the dorea of the baptism of the Holy Spirit confirmed the grace of the appointment of apostles and acceptance of Gentiles; and grace that is in the church is according to dorea.



grace gift

subset has fewer elements or equal to the set

{9,14,28} ⊆ {9,14,28} or {grace gifts} ⊆ {dorea gifts}

Gaylon West

Throw Out the Lifeline

Other articles in this series, The Gift of the Holy Spirit:



iii Votive as in “vow.”

iv Thayer: “1) a division, partition; 1a) distribution (of various kinds); 2) a separation; 2a) so far as to cleave asunder or separate”

v Translated as “gifts” in the following versions: KJV, ASV, EMTV, ERV, GW, RV, WEBA, Webster, WNT.


vii Matthew 7:11; Luke 11:13; Ephesians 4:8; Philippians 4:17.




xi In places like 1 Corinthians 12, you see the English phrase "spiritual gift" in translation. But the word "gift" = "doma" does not occur in the original text, let alone any form of "spirit" = "pneuma" alongside it. The word used is χαρισμα (Strong's G5486, "charis-ma," a word derived from the original of “grace” or “favor”).

xii “But isn't Tongues one of the 9 Gifts of the Spirit?” Gary L Evensen @2005 NJUPCINC

xiii G5486: Romans 1:11; 5:15-17; 6:23; 1 Corinthians 1:7; 7:7; 2 Corinthians 1:11; 8:4; 1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6; 1 Peter 4:10.

xiv Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words.