Paul delves into the concept of spiritual gifts in three of his letters, 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, and Ephesians 4.
Spiritual gifts are extraordinary God-given talents and abilities. A few of these have overlap between the three letters.
Here is a list of every spiritual gift mentioned in these verses:
Prophecy literally means “to speak forth” the Word of God to His people.
It is seen as a highly unusual gift. One of the common themes regarding prophecy is that it tends to call out sin and attitudes but is not looking for judgment or punishment to be fulfilled and would rather that the relationship between God and that individual(s) can be restored.
Note – many people mistake prophecy for telling the future, however it is telling forth God’s truths. A person gifted with prophecy boldly speaks forward God’s truth.
Serving is completing tasks that need to be done but few are willing to do.
These jobs are considered menial by the vast majority of people, but for someone with serving as their spiritual gift these tasks are where they shine.
Individuals who have this gift do not have to be asked twice to do something. Help can be given to others both spiritually and physically by someone with the gift of serving. They are great at filling the needs of fellow believers and their communities.
Teaching is the ability to communicate Biblical truths in a way people can comprehend and grow their faith.
It is a highly important gift with significant responsibility. By assisting with growth, teachers can move believers into maturity in Christ.
Teachers can break down the complexities of the Bible into easy-to-digest concepts. Teaching is a spiritual gift that grows the church.
Exhortation is pulling up along someone to give them support to fulfill the work God has called them to do.
It is referred to by some as the gift of encouragement. Through encouragement, individuals with this gift impart strength in those who they impact.
This gift can be particularly helpful for others who are going through trials and challenges in their lives who are now questioning their faith. Exhortation can lift up people and help them get back on track in their lives.
Individuals with this gift can speak God’s Words into the lives of those who are struggling in a way that their words can lead to healing.
The spirit of an individual with this gift includes the ability to truly praise God no matter the circumstance being faced. This optimism and enthusiasm are contagious.
Giving is the generous donation of physical or financial resources to others without an expectation of anything in return.
A primary component of this gift is sincerely gifting things to people who would otherwise have to go without. Individuals with this freely give as they feel God has blessed them.
Leadership is the ability to motivate, direct, and guide others to stay focused in the direction God is leading.
Forwarding thinking, an individual who possesses this gift drives groups to achieve more than they would on their own. The primary goal of leadership is to help people glorify God, which is achievable when we do what God has planned for us.
Mercy is the gift to show compassion and empathy to those suffering from afflictions.
An individual with this spiritual gift walks alongside and love others. They can identify suffering and pain in others more easily than other people which makes them great listeners and people who want to help others in need.
Word of Wisdom can either be a prophetic gift while others see it as more of a teaching gift.
Through an in-depth understanding of the of Word of God, this gift provides the ability to live within the will of God more easily. Wisdom provides first and foremost a fear of the LORD and flows into a meaningful understanding and relationship with God.
This gift is very helpful when the church is being faced with a challenging circumstance or situation. This wisdom relates to the mysteries previously hidden by God and intended for those who truly believe in Him.
Word of Knowledge is very closely tied to the Word of Wisdom gift. The ability to teach the faith it is also frequently related to the gift of prophecy as well. It consists of the Holy Spirit providing knowledge that the individual would have no other way of possessing. This knowledge is unquestionable and unshakeable.
Faith is a supernatural ability to keep faith in God no matter what circumstances may be presented.
It provides both joy and encouragement to others, like it’s contagious. Faith as a spiritual gift is different than the saving faith all believers gain salvation through — this is deeper and provided specifically through the Holy Spirit as a gift to some.
Hebrews 11, frequently called the Hall of Faith is filled with examples of Biblical people who possessed this level of faith (think Noah, Abraham, Moses, etc.).
Gifts of Healing is a supernatural ability to provide healing through the Holy Spirit.
It is closely tied to both the spiritual gifts of Faith and Miracles. It is believed this is a method through which God can reveal Himself to individuals who are in need of various forms of healing.
Individuals with this gift are drawn to praying for the ill. The healings can also draw people to God and serve as a motive to those who possess it.
Miracles are the Holy Spirit given ability to do supernatural things on behalf of God as a spiritual gift.
There are many examples of miracles in the Book of Acts. Similar to the Gift of Healings, Miracles draw people to God. A miracle is something that would be impossible for a human to do, but are done through God and the Holy Spirit.
Distinguishing Between Spirits is the spiritual gift to easily discern between things that are God’s, Satan’s, flesh, or the world’s.
This is important for the church as the person with this ability helps prevent the church from accepting things that could lead it astray from God’s plan.
Jude is a strong example of this ability in the Bible as he easily recognized both false teachings and false teachers. It is incredibly important as Satan closely mimics God to lead people away without them recognizing the falsehood.
Tongues is an ability to praise or pray to God in a language the speaker does not naturally know. The roots of speaking in tongues dates back to the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11:9 when God confused the languages. Then in Acts 2 on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit gave the ability to speak in other languages.
Interpretation of Tongues is tied very closely to the gift of tongues as it is the ability to translate what is said in the unknown language into a known language. The Interpretation of Tongues is a revelatory gift since it is God revealing something to the individual with the gift.
Helps are individuals who are willing to assist in those who are ill or in need. It ties closely to the spiritual gift of service addressed previously.
Administration an individual with this spiritual gift has the ability to help guide the church through challenges and troubles. Individuals with this gift are able to take charge and lead through the storm where others may not want to be in power.
Apostle is the ability to travel out into other parts of world in order introduce Jesus to new groups of people and plant new churches.
Although somewhat similar, an Apostle is not the same as a Pastor or an Evangelist. An example of an Apostle can be a missionary in another land evangelizing to non-believers.
Evangelist is an individual entirely dedicated to spreading the Gospel to others and bringing people to faith in Jesus.
It is closely tied to the Apostle spiritual gift, but while Apostles tend to plant new churches, evangelists usually add new believers to existing churches.
Evangelists have a special ability to be highly effective in their outreach to attract new believers to the Word of God. They are able to communicate the Gospels in a way that others will listen and believe.
Pastor is derived directly from the word “to shepherd.” An individual with this spiritual gift is able to lead and teach individuals about living the life God calls them to through their own example.
It is closely tied to a teacher as well, as Pastors are called to teach the Word to their flocks.
After Apostles and Evangelists add new believers to the body of Christ, it is the responsibility of Pastors to oversee their spiritual growth as they develop from new to mature Christians.
I hope this article has helped you to better understand all the spiritual gifts that God has created for His people.
I pray that God revealed to you some of these He may have blessed you with. If you are still unsure what your spiritual gifts are, please read this article entitled, 5 Steps to Identifying Your Spiritual Gifts.