Every Christian has a spiritual gift – a gift that is given by God and manifested in their lives through the work of the Holy Spirit. As Christians, we should employ our God-given spiritual gifts for the upbuilding of the church (Eph. 4:16). While we are to employ these gifts in Christian community, we may not know what the gifts are or what our gift(s) are. So what are the spiritual gifts and how can we know our spiritual gift(s)?
What are the spiritual gifts?
- Prophecy – Prophecy is communicating God’s message in order to strengthen, encourage, and comfort (1 Cor. 14:3). The prophetic message should agree with God’s Word. In other words, it is not new revelation
- Service – A Spirit enabled gifting that allows one to work on behalf of another in a great capacity. It is to go above and beyond.
- Teaching – The activities of educating or instructing others so as to impart knowledge and skillful use of God’s Word.
- Exhortation – The act of emboldening another in belief or course of action (BDAG).
- Giving (Generosity/Contributions) – The ability to continually share with someone else what one has.
- Leadership – The ability to gather and influence others to follow your vision with zeal.
- Mercy (Acts of Mercy) – The ability to continually show kindness or concern for someone in need.
1 Corinthians 12:4-11
- Wisdom – The capacity to understand and bring clarity to a situation or circumstance often by applying the truths of Scripture (Louw Nida, 383.)
- Knowledge – While similar to wisdom, it is the ability to understand and bring truth to a situation with comprehension and intellectual grasp (BDAG 203.)
- Faith – In addition to the faith that every Christian possesses Paul speaks of a special gift of faith that belongs to a select few (1 Cor 12:9). Here he understands faith as an unquestioning belief in God’s power to aid people with miracles, the faith that ‘moves mountains’ 13:2 (cp. Mt 17:20.—21:21) (BDAG, 820.)
- Healing – The act of providing a cure for someone to make them healthy again. It can be a miraculous act but doesn’t need to be. In saying it doesn’t need to be miraculous, I’m thinking of those who have the ability to patiently care for those who are sick and hurting. Often providing insight and care that others couldn’t.
- Miracles – Honestly, I don’t have a framework for this category since I haven’t seen it done in a biblical way. It, however, is a work manifesting great power, with the implication that the Holy Spirit has provided them with supernatural power.
- Distinguish Spirits (Discernment) – The ability to determine who is directing a person’s speech, actions, teaching, or miracles.
- Tongues – The supernatural ability to speak and be understood in another language one has not studied.
- Interpretation of Tongues – The ability to translate a language that is not one’s own.
1 Corinthians 12:27-31
- Helping – Ability or desire to help or assist in times of difficulty.
- Administration – The Greek word provides us with a ship metaphor that tells us administration has to do with steering or directing the affairs of the church. It differs from leadership in that it refers to someone with the ability to execute, structure, and order the church in such a way as to get things done. Whereas leadership focuses on getting others to follow you with zeal.
- Apostleship – It is the ability to start new churches through planting, overseeing, and training. Those who possess this gift are not to be thought of as synonymous with the office of Apostle in the New Testament that figures such as Peter and Paul held.
- Evangelism – An increased ability to dialogue with and convince non-Christians of their need for Jesus.
How can we know our spiritual gift(s)?
- Ask God to reveal them to you.
- What’s your desire? What do you like to do?
- What are you good at? What can you get good at with practice?
- Teaching? Helping? Giving? Service? Administration?
- Ask others – What do others see in you?
- Ask the church – What does the church see in you?
Questions for Reflection
- Do you know your spiritual gift(s)?
- Are you employing them in Christian community to benefit and build up the church?