What Are Spiritual Gifts?
Spiritual gifts can be defined as drives, opportunities, and results given to us
by the Godhead to achieve God's
supernatural goals. Each person who is born again
into God's kingdom takes on a "debt of love" which is designed to motivate
a believer to fulfill the law of God. Thus, we are instructed in Romans 13:8 to
"Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath
fulfilled the law." You see, God gives us spiritual gifts so that we may pay our debt of love.
What Is the Purpose of Spiritual Gifts?
The Spirit-filled experience is more than just "speaking in tongues." In
reality, it is coming into the fullness of the gifts and
fruit of the Spirit as outlined in the New Testament (I Corinthians 12:7-11; Galatians 5:22-23).
In speaking of the gifts, however, exclusivism is never implied. The gifts are
placed in the church as resources to be utilized at the point of need for
ministry in the body. This means that not every believer will have the same
gifts as every other believer. Rather, the Holy Spirit is the Author and
Dispenser of the gifts to bring about integrity in worship and kingdom
The full potential of a life, a marriage, a family, or a church will not be
experienced until there is a clear, Biblical understanding of spiritual gifts.
For this reason, the Apostle Paul writes in I Corinthians 12:1: "Now concerning
spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant."
In I Corinthians 12:7-11, the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit are listed.
Their purpose is specific - to "profit" the body of the church. The Greek
word for profit is sumphero which means "to bring together, to benefit,
to be advantageous," which is experienced as the body is strengthened in its life
together and expanded through its ministry of evangelism. These nine
gifts are specifically available to every believer as the Holy Spirit distributes
them (I Corinthians 12:11). They are not to be merely acknowledged in a passive
way, but rather are to be actively welcomed and expected (I Corinthians 13:1; 14:1).
Who Is Given A Spiritual Gift?
Every Christian is given a spiritual gift as soon as he or she becomes born again. At that very
moment the Holy Spirit will unite with that person's spirit (Romans 8:16-17).
When we are born physically, we possess certain natural abilities. When we are born
again spiritually, God takes these natural abilities and turns them into the means
by which He can work through us supernaturally. Jesus "gave gifts unto men ... For
the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the
body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith..." (Ephesians 4:8, 12-14).
How Many Gifts Does Each Christian Have?
There are three types of gifts: motivation, ministry, and manifestation. We only have one
motivational gift and the possibility of many ministry and manifestation gifts. These gifts
are outlined further below.
The Apostle Paul writes:
"Now there are diversities of gifts (motivation gifts of the Father), but the same Spirit. And there are differences
of administrations, (ministry gifts of the Son) but the same Lord. And there are diversities
of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit
(gifts of the Holy Spirit) is given to every man to profit withal"
What is the Apostle Paul trying to tell us? Well, he is simply saying that there
are three categories of spiritual gifts:
(I Corinthians 12:4-7).
Three Categories of Spiritual Gifts
|Gifts of the Father
|Gifts of the Son
I Corinthians 12:28
|Gifts of the Holy Spirit
||I Corinthians 12:7-11
The gifts of the Father are motivational gifts. The Greek word for "gift" is charisma
which comes from the word char meaning "joy." Charis is the Greek word for
grace, which is God giving us the desire and power to do His will (Philippians 2:13).
The term motivation is simply defined as the work of God's grace.
These seven gifts (which can be found in Romans 12:6-8) seem to characterize basic
motivations or inherent tendencies in a person by reason of the
Creator's unique workmanship in their initial gifting. A believer usually displays one
dominant motivational gift although he or she may have a small mixture of the other six.
Peter writes, "As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one
to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God" (I Peter 4:10). Thus by having one
primary motivational gift, we are able to nurture and develop it.
The gifts of the Son (Jesus Christ) are administration or ministry gifts.
The term administration comes from the Greek work diakanion from which
we get our English word deacon. This word relates to the ministries and outreach
of the local church. These gifts (Ephesians 4:11; I Corinthians 12:28) are pivotal in assuring that the motivation and manifestation
gifts are being applied in the body of the church.These gifts are confirmed by ordination.
(I Timothy 4:14).
The gifts of the Holy Spirit are gifts of manifestation or operation. The term
operations comes from the Greek word energeia. Its English equivalent is energy.
As God gives power through our motivational gift, the effects produced by it are the operations
or manifestations of the Spirit. These nine gifts of manifestation (I Corinthians 12:7-11) are
given to profit the body of the church.
To summarize, it is our responsibility to develop our motivational gifts, it the church's
responsibility to confirm ministry gifts, and it is the Holy Spirit's function to reward the
use of the gifts for the profit of all.
The Nine Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Although I briefly highlighted the three categories of gifts from the Godhead, the remainder of this
teaching will only focus on the third set of gifts: the gifts of the Holy
God has given His people nine mighty gifts of the Holy Spirit to enable
them to mature spiritually, edify others, and do the work of the ministry.
Although these gifts of God are perfect, the manifestation of these gifts are sometimes
not so perfect
because they are manifested through an imperfect channel:
men and women.
However, perfect or imperfect, it is still God's will that the Church have all of the
gifts of the Holy Spirit in operation
and that every believer be open to the working of these gifts in their life.
Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Paul confirms this statement
when he exhorted God's people
by writing: "That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance,
and in all knowledge; Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 'So
that ye come behind in no gift;' waiting for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ."
(I Corinthians 1:5-7). Therefore, these gifts are not only essential for
spiritual maturity and ministry, but they also prepare you for Christ's return.
The gifts are the spiritual senses of the Church. Just as we have five physical
senses that allow us to function in the natural realm (world), so we also have nine
gifts of the Holy Spirit (the "spiritual senses") that enable us to function
properly in the spiritual realm.
These gifts are identified in I Corinthians 12:8-11
"For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the
word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another
the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another
prophecy; to another discering of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another
the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit,
dividing to every man severally as he will."
These nine gifts can be broken down into three categories:
Purposes of the Gifts
Can We Have All of The Gifts?
- Spiritual maturity
You cannot strengthen someone who is weak unless you are
mature yourself. Spiritual gifts help you mature so you can edify the Church and
(I Corinthians 14:12).
Spiritual gifts are used for the edification of the Church and
are tools that bring us into spiritual maturity: "Even so ye, forasmuch
as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of
(I Corinthians 14;12)
A credential is having evidence or testimony concerning your
authority. When the gifts are displayed, it publicly confirms that you are
a true believer, an ambassador of God: "And these signs shall follow
them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with
new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it
shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover ...
And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and
confirming the word with signs following. Amen." (Mark 16:17-18,20)
We are identified as believers through the gifts of the Spirit: "God also
bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts
of the Holy Ghost..." (Hebrews 2:4)
- Spiritual Prosperity
I Corinthians 12:7 declares, "But the manifestation of the
Spirit is given to every man to profit withal." The gift
of the Holy Spirit can be compared to a precious stone which brings prosperity.
Proverbs17:8 says that "A gift is
as a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it: whithersoever it turneth, it
The revelation, power, and inspiration
gifts were all operative in the ministry of the Apostle Paul. God wants you to have
these gifts of the Spirit; that is why the Bible encourages us to "covet earnestly
the best gifts..." (I Corinthians 12:31).
How to Receive These Gifts?
These nine spiritual gifts come by prayer,
so ask for them, desire them, pray to receive them, and covet earnestly the best
gifts (I Corinthians 12:31).
Personal Rewards of Spiritual Gifts
Knowing we have a gift that is an asset to the body of Christ, we are able to achieve
a deeper level of self-acceptance and purpose in life. As we exercise our gifts, we
experience personal fulfillment and a deep sense of joy. By concentrating on our
gifts, we achieve maximum fruitfulness with minimum weariness.
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This teaching was written by David Holt Boshart, Jr.
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