Here’s everything you need to know in under half an hour, including definitions and the answer to the question as to whether the MIRACULOUS GIFTS and SPEAKING IN TONGUES are for today. You may be surprised at my conclusion. Or, maybe not. Click here to watch the 30 minute video.
If you want to simply read the descriptions of the spiritual gifts then continue reading. You will also find 4 ways that you can identify your gifting that was not included in the sermon.
There are four chapters where spiritual gifts are mentioned, and they describe the things that the Holy Spirit empowers his people to do. I always remember the chapters this way: “12, 12, 4, 4.” They are found in Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4 and 1 Peter 4.
The Gifts of Romans 12: 6-8
(Special thanks to the website “Got Questions” for help with these definitions.)
Prophecy: The Greek word translated “prophecy” means “a speaking forth.” To prophesy is to declare the divine will, to interpret the purposes of God, or to make known in any way the truth of God that is designed to influence people.
Evangelicals disagree as to whether this gift is limited to the founding era of the Christian church or whether it is currently operative in the church now.
Serving: Service of any kind, any practical help to those in need.
This is where we get the word deacon.
Teaching: This gift involves the analysis and proclamation of the Word of God, explaining the meaning, context and application to the hearer’s life.
The teacher has the unique ability to clearly instruct and communicate knowledge, specifically the doctrines of the faith.
Encouraging: Also called “exhortation,” the one gifted calls upon others to obey and follow God’s truth, which may involve correction or building others up by strengthening weak faith or comforting in trials.
Giving: Gifted givers are those who joyfully share what they have with others, whether it is financial, material, or the giving of personal time and attention.
Leadership: The leader manages other people in the church. One with the gift of leadership rules with wisdom and grace and exhibits the fruit of the Spirit in his life as he leads by example.
Mercy: One who is compassionate toward others who are in distress, showing sympathy and sensitivity coupled with a desire and the resources to lessen their suffering in a kind and cheerful manner.
The Gifts of 1 Corinthians 12: 8-11
There is a controversy over whether the miraculous gifts are still for today. We do know that God still performs miracles today. It would be foolish and unbiblical to claim God does not heal people, speak to people, and perform miraculous signs and wonders today. The question is whether the miraculous gifts of the Spirit, described here are still active.
I take the “open but cautious approach,” not wanting to put God in a box. But there are many who abuse these gifts, so it’s best to be cautious.
Regardless, here are some definitions:
Word of wisdom: This gift describes someone who can understand and speak forth biblical truth in such a way as to skillfully apply it to life situations with discernment.
Word of knowledge: Understanding truth with an insight that only comes by revelation from God. Those with the gift of knowledge understand the deep things of God and the mysteries of His Word.
Faith: Now we all have the gift of faith if we are believers. But the spiritual gift of faith is exhibited by one with a strong and unshakeable confidence in God, His Word, His promises, and the power of prayer to effect miracles.
Healing: Of course, God still heals. Christians today do not have the power to heal the sick or resurrect the dead.
If they did, the hospitals and morgues would be full of these “gifted” people emptying beds and coffins everywhere. Still, God can heal through people when he wants.
Miraculous powers: This gift enables a person to perform supernatural events that could only be attributed to the power of God. God can work miracles when he wants, but it’s doubtful someone has this gift.
Distinguishing or (discerning) of spirits: Certain individuals possess the unique ability to determine the true message of God from that of the deceiver, Satan.
Speaking in tongues: The gift of tongues was given to the early Church to enable the gospel to be preached throughout the world to all nations and in all known languages. It involved the divine ability to speak in languages previously unknown to the speaker. This gift authenticated the message of the gospel and those who preached it as coming from God.
Interpretation of tongues: A person with the gift of interpreting tongues could understand what a tongues-speaker was saying even though he did not know the language that was being spoken. The tongues interpreter would then communicate the message of the tongues speaker to everyone else, so all could understand.
There’s one more list in 1 Corinthians and it adds two more gifts that haven’t been mentioned yet.
The Gifts of 1 Corinthians 12:28
Apostle: means “one who is sent out.” In the New Testament, there are two primary usages of the word apostle. The first is in specifically referring to the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. The qualifications of an apostle when this was written were:
1. To have been a witness of the resurrected Christ (1 Corinthians 9:1)
2. To have been explicitly chosen by the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:15)
3. To have the ability to perform signs and wonders (Acts 2:43; 2 Corinthians 12:12)
The responsibility of the twelve apostles was to lay the foundation of the church, which we are not doing anymore.
The second use of apostle is in a generic sense, referring to those who are sent out to be messengers, church planters or ambassadors of Jesus Christ.
Administrator (ESV): One with this gift helps to organize people to accomplish an objective and keeps the church functioning at its most efficient best as they handle the business affairs.
The Gifts of 1 Peter 4:9-11
This next list adds only one new gift: hospitality.
Hospitality: One with this gift can receive and treat guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way.
The Gifts of Ephesians 4:11
In this last list, some say these aren’t gifts, but offices in the church. These are two of the gifts that have not been mentioned previously.
Evangelists share their faith and teach others how to do so.
Pastors shepherd the flock and lead them to follow Christ more closely.
As we have looked at these gifts, surely you recognize that you may have one or many. Please, don’t sit on your gift.
How You Can Discover Your Spiritual Gifts
by J.D. Greear
1. A spiritual gift bestows an unusual effectiveness in a responsibility given to all believers. Most spiritual gifts are assigned somewhere as duties to all believers. For example, God commands all believers to serve, evangelize, prophesy, pray for healing, intercede for others, trust God for provision, be generous, exhort one another, and so on. But some believers are particularly effective in those things. This unusual effectiveness is the sign of a spiritual gifting.
2. We discover our spiritual gifts as we actively pursue those responsibilities. As we obey the commands God has given to all believers, God reveals to us, through our own experiences in obedience and by the testimony of others who observe us, where we are the most effective for him.
3. A spiritual gift usually reveals itself in the confluence of what we are passionate about, what we’re good at, and the affirmation of others. The circle labeled “ability” refers to what you are naturally good at; “affinity” to what you feel passionate about; and “affirmation” to ways people have testified that God has used you. Where all three circles converge is typically an indication of a spiritual gift. Often, spiritual gifts coincide with natural abilities you already have. God takes a natural talent and “supercharges” it for his purposes.
4. Spiritual giftings arise out of the unique ways God has written our life stories. Charles Spurgeon, Britain’s nineteenth-century “prince of preachers,” saw his gout and depression — so severe, he said, that at times he could barely move — as specially given to him by God for the benefit of the church. He said, “I would go into the deeps a hundred times to cheer a downcast spirit, that I might know how to speak a word in season to the weary.” His pain became the Spirit’s gateway into new insights into Jesus’ beauty, which he could then share with others. Having benefited personally from Spurgeon’s writing on suffering, I am grateful.