A Definition Of Spiritual Gifts
Let us begin with a preliminary definition of a spiritual gift:
A spiritual gift is a supernatural ability sovereignly bestowed upon every Christian by the Holy Spirit, enabling him or her to carry out their divinely assigned function as a member of Christs body, the church.
In short, a spiritual gift is the supernatural ability to carry out the work of Christ through his church.
Texts which Enumerate the Spiritual Gifts
The Gift Of Interpretation
The spiritual gift of interpretation of tongues is found alongside the gift of speaking in tongues in 1 Corinthians 12:10. The Greek word for interpretation is hermeneia and simply means to interpret, explain, or expound some message that is not able to be understood in a natural way. Thus, this spiritual gift is the supernatural ability to understand and explain messages uttered in an unknown language.
This is a revelatory gift, meaning that God reveals the meaning of the words or message being spoken and allows the interpreter to communicate its meaning to those who need to hear it. When this happens in the church two things happen: the church is edified and God is glorified.
The spiritual gift of interpretation is given by the Holy Spirit to certain individuals to reveal messages spoken in an unknown tongue to God for the building up of the church. Like the gift of prophecy, tongues that are interpreted have the effect of encouraging and blessing the church to love and serve God more deeply and effectively. See also 1 Corinthians 12:10, 30 14:1-28.
How Many Spiritual Gifts Are In The Bible
- Eleonore, Stump . Norman Kretzmann Scott Charles MacDonald Eleonore Stump . Moral Theory of Thomas Aquinas Norman Kretzmann was honored with a collection of essays. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York, p. 49. The ISBN number is 978-0-801-43436-5. Aquinas considers four distinct kinds of ethical traits that are crucial for his treatment of wisdom, in addition to the five intellectual virtues and the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Read Also: Does The Bible Say It Is Inerrant
The Gifts Are For The Benefit Of Others
It is also important that we understand the purpose of the gifts. According to the Apostle Paul, the purpose of the gifts of the Spirit is to build up and encourage other believers. They are not for pride or individual glory. He wrote.
To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good .
Gifts have been given for the common good.
The New Testament stresses that everyone is supposed to get involved in the work of the ministry. Thus believers are to use their gifts for the benefit of others. Paul also reminded the church at Rome that we are one body with many members.
So we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another .
Spiritual gifts are given so that the believer can serve the church, the body of Christ.
God gives spiritual gifts to build up believers to do the work of the ministry. The Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus.
Their responsibility is to equip Gods people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ .
The gifts build up the church through the instruction of believers and the salvation of the lost. They are not merely for personal benefit. Any personal benefit derived from a spiritual gift is the result of using the gift it is certainly not the purpose of the gift.
Paul emphasized the gifts are for the strengthening of the church. He said.
Spiritual Gifts That Serve With Words:
Teaching : The God-given ability to understand and communicate biblical truth in a clear and relevant manner so that there is understanding and application.
Learning, researching, communicating, and illustrating truth are qualities that an individual will manifest when exercising the gift of teaching. These people enjoy studying and learning new information, and find joy in sharing it with others.
Exhortation and Encouragement : Involves motivating, encouraging, and consoling others so they mature in their walk with Jesus.
Christians with this gift have an unusual sensitivity for and are attracted to those who are discouraged or struggling. As a result, people tend to pursue them for healing words, gracious truth, and compassionate counsel. These people also tend to have a high degree of patience and optimism.
Recommended Reading: Follow Your Heart Bible Verse
What Is The Gift Of Prophecy
The Various Gifts of the Holy Spirit Question 9
One of the gifts that God has given to the church is the gift of prophecy. Paul wrote about this gift in his letter to the Romans. He said.
We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith .
According to Paul, there is a certain spiritual gift known as the gift of prophecy.
Are Spiritual Gifts The Best Sign Of Spirituality
No! Christ-like maturity is primarily indicated by the manifestation of the Fruit of the Spirit, not by the presence of spiritual gifts .
God may choose to shine forth in a spiritually immature baby Christian. However, that does not make the baby spiritual. A spiritual child may say excitedly, “I got the gift of tongues last night and now Im spiritual!”
But, Jesus said: “For by their fruit you shall know them” .
Satan can imitate and counterfeit spiritual gifts, but he is baffled in trying to imitate the Fruit of the Spirit.
Read Also: How Many Verses Are In The Book Of Psalms
How Do You Receive The Gift Of The Holy Spirit
Peter, in his Pentecost sermon, gives to us the answer: Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. To be filled and led by the Spirit of God does not require any great spiritual work on our part.
Kinds Of Spiritual Gifts
There are three kinds of spiritual gifts. These gifts are not something we possess they are Gods supernatural ability showing up in our lives in various ways. The Bible calls it a manifestation.
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
There are ministry gifts, manifestation gifts, and motivational gifts. All believers take part in these gifts in various ways.
Lets look at each of them separately.
Dont Miss: Does The Bible Say No Tattoos
Don’t Miss: Bible Chronological Order
The Specific Gifts Recorded In Scripture
There are several lists of spiritual gifts found in the New Testament. While there is some similarity within these lists, there are at least twenty unique gifts identified, and there is no doubt there are more as they express this varied grace of God.9
1 Corinthians 12: Apostleship, teaching, miracles, healing, helps, administration, tongues/interpretation, words of wisdom, words of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, prophecy, distinguishing spirits
1 Peter 4:11: Speaking gifts, serving gifts
While a person is given a gift or gifts when they come to faith, the Scripture indicates that other gifts may be granted over time. All gifts are given based on Gods sovereign plan10, our desire for them11, our commitment to use them12, and our spiritual walk, which keeps us from quenching the work of the Spirit in our lives.13 It is important that every Christian discover and develop the spiritual gifts God has given them. These gifts enrich both the believer and the body because through their use the believer is satisfied14 the body of Christ is edified15, and the Lord is glorified.16
There is also a group of gifts often referred to as sign gifts. While all gifts are a supernatural manifestation of the Spirit, these gifts defy human explanation or replication and graphically remind people that God is powerfully present and at work.
There are three views concerning the viability of these sign gifts in our day.
Spiritual Gifts Can Vary In Strength From Believer To Believer
Scripture indicates that spiritual gifts can vary in strength. Paul wrote to the Romans.
According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts: If prophecy, use it according to the standard of faith .
This would seem to mean that a particular spiritual gift will be more developed in some individuals than in others. Therefore, while two people may have the same spiritual gift, such as teaching, the gift may be more developed in one person than the other person.
There can be a number of reasons for this. These include both human and divine reasons. On the human level, one person may have had the gift for a longer time than the other and is more experienced in using it. While it is the same gift, there are degrees of strength that people have when they exercise it.
We find an example of this in Scripture. We are told the following about Apollos.
A Jew named Apollos, who had been born in Alexandria, arrived in the city of Ephesus. He was an eloquent speaker and knew how to use the Scriptures in a powerful way .
From this description, Apollos had a grasp of the Scripture that others did not have. Obviously this grasp of Scripture came through diligent study.
There is also a divine side to this. God gives the gifts as He wills. Paul wrote.
But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. .
Recommended Reading: Bible Verses To Read When Lonely
What Are Gifts Of The Holy Spirit
The Gifts of the Holy Spirit are unique skills and abilities given by the Holy Spirit to faithful followers of Christ to serve God for the common benefit of his people, the church. A listing of spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 mentions wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, speaking in tongues, and interpretation of tongues. Comparable gifts are discussed in Ephesians 4:7-13, Isaiah 11:2-3, and Romans 12:3-8.
The gifts of the Spirit are simply God empowering faithful Christians to do what He has called us to do. 2 Peter 1:3 says, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” The gifts of the Holy Spirit are part of “everything we need” to accomplish His plans for our lives.
Paul instructed that “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us… let use in proportion to faith,” Romans 12:6.
Identifying And Defining Spiritual Gifts
1 Corinthians 12 states that spiritual gifts are given to God’s people by the Holy Spirit for “the common good.” Verse 11 says the gifts are given according to God’s sovereign will, “as he determines.” Ephesians 4:12 tells us these gifts are given to prepare God’s people for service and for building up the body of Christ.
The term “spiritual gifts” comes from the Greek words charismata and pneumatika . They are the plural forms of charisma, meaning “expression of grace,” and pneumatikon meaning “expression of Spirit.”
While there are different kinds of gifts , generally speaking, spiritual gifts are God-given graces meant for works of service, to benefit and build up the body of Christ as a whole.
Although a great deal of disagreement exists between denominations, most Bible scholars classify the spiritual gifts into three categories: ministry gifts, manifestation gifts, and motivational gifts.
Recommended Reading: Emotional Abuse Bible
Love As The Highest Gift
After listing various spiritual gifts, the apostle Paul says: Earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way . This more excellent way is explained in the next chapter: If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing . So, all spiritual gifts should be accompanied by brotherly love. Loving one another is something every believer should strive to perfect, irrespective of the gifts he does or does not have.
Recommended Reading: Bible Against Race Mixing
Common Characteristics Of The Spiritual Gifts
If there may be other spiritual gifts than those specifically identified in Scripture, how would we know them? What sets a spiritual gift apart?
Spiritual gifts are spiritual gifts in that they are given by the Holy Spirit . These abilities are not native within us they are transmitted to us. I know some speak of a close relationship between natural abilities and spiritual gifts, but I am unconvinced by their arguments. Spiritual gifts are given to us to enable us to do what we cannot do in and of ourselves. How frequently we speak of those who could do so much for the Lord if they were saved. They seem to think the natural abilities of men are simply baptized into ones spiritual ministry. I see the human strengths of spiritual men like Peter and Paul who were set aside so that they ministered out of their weaknesses rather than out of their strengths .
Spiritual gifts are divine enablement for service to and through the body of Christ. Spiritual gifts are not given primarily for our own edification but for the edification of the body of Christ. Spiritual gifts are divinely bestowed strengths through which we may minister to the weaknesses of others.
Recommended Reading: How Many Fear Not In The Bible
How Can I Discover My Spiritual Gift
Drawing all that we have said together, lets consider how one can learn what his or her spiritual gift may be.
First, I hope you have concluded that this matter is not the great mystery we have made it out to be. God has given you a gift or gifts and He intends for you to know your gift, to develop it and to use it for His glory. Gifts are not classified or top secret material intended only for the spiritual elite.
Second, arrive at a simple and concise definition for each of the spiritual gifts recorded in the Scriptures. The gift of faith is the supernatural ability to trust God. Faith is both active and passive. The housewife, for example, may demonstrate active faith by trusting God to establish a coffee-type Bible study for the gals in the neighborhood. The husband may exercise active faith in stepping out into a new type of business venture that will bring additional opportunities for ministry. Passive faith is faith which hangs on for dear life. The seminary wife with the gift of faith may demonstrate her passive faith when all the obstacles point to her husband throwing in the towel and quitting seminary, but she keeps encouraging him to trust. These kinds of faith benefit the body by encouraging others to trust the Lord both actively and passively.
Things To Keep In Mind Before Taking A Spiritual Gifts Test:
Kathy Howard goes on in her article:
1. Spiritual gifts test can encourage us to put our purposes in place of Gods purposes.
Since spiritual gifts tests tend to reveal our own strengths and talents, we may use the assessment to find ways to serve that can be undertaken in our own power. We may hesitate to step out in ways that require the Spirits power, thus missing out on Gods greater purpose. Serving in our own strength brings us credit. Serving in Gods strength brings Him glory and honor.
2. Spiritual gifts tests can limit the Holy Spirit.
Even when the test does reveal a true spiritual gift, we may find ourselves only serving in ways that use that specific gift. We may forget that as a believer we have the entire person and power of the Holy Spirit residing within us. Yet we may hear Gods call but reject it because thats not in our area of gifting. With the Holy Spirit, God can do anything through our life He chooses to do.
3. Spiritual gifts tests can become an excuse.
Its a big temptation to follow something concrete and human like a test rather than depending on the leadership and guidance of the Holy Spirit. If we arent careful, believers can easily fall into the trap of making spiritual gifts all about us instead of all about the Giver. We ask, What can I do for God? How can I use my gifts and talents? When instead, we should be asking, How does God want to use the gifts He gave me?
Don’t Miss: Is The Bible In Chronological Order