How does the Bible describe the gifts of the Spirit?


By BibleAsk Team

The Gifts of the Spirit

The New Testament presents the gifts of the Spirit in the following passages:

Romans 12:6-8 – prophesying, ministry, teaching, exhorting, giving, leadership, and showing mercy.

1 Corinthians 12:4-11 – the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, speaking in tongues and interpretation of tongues.

1 Corinthians 12:28 – miracles, healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.

Description of the Gifts

Prophecy – This gift is the power to speak authoritatively for God either by foretelling future events or by declaring His will for the present (Exodus 3:10, 14, 15; Deuteronomy 18:15, 18; 2 Samuel 23:2; Matthew 11:9, 10; 2 Peter 1:21). God communicates to man through prophecy (Numbers 12:6; Amos 3:7). The whole Bible was inspired by this gift (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20, 21).

Visions, dreams, special divine illumination are different ways in which this gift of prophecy operates (Numbers 12:6; Revelation 1:1–3). The Lord promised to endow His end time church with this gift (Joel 2:28, 29). In fact, it is the mark of identification to God’s final church (Revelation 12:17; 19:10).

Ministry – This gift includes all ministration and offices in the Christian church (Romans 11:13; 1 Corinthians 12:5; 2 Corinthians 3:8, 9; Ephesians 4:12; 1 Timothy 1:12, etc.). It also encompasses services to support the members’ physical needs (Acts 6:1; 11:29) such as providing for the wants of the poor, the sick, and the stranger.

Teaching – This gift is granted to educate the minds with the truth. God gives the gifted person an enlightened mind and a clear exposition as in the case of Apollos (Acts 18:24–28). Teaching reaches the mind.

Exhorting – This gift is for giving “encouragement” and “consolation” (Romans 15:5; 2 Corinthians 8:4; Philippians 2:1). It reaches the heart and will. Those who have this gift are to stimulate the believers to action, or comfort them during their trials.

Giving – This gift is to share one’s own resources with the church (Luke 3:11; Ephesians 4:28). In the early church, persecution brought poverty to many, therefore, it was necessary for the wealthy believers to support the needy ones (Acts 2:44, 45; Romans 15:26; 1 Corinthians 16:1; Galatians 2:10).

Leadership – This gift refers to those who are in any position of authority whether in the church (1 Thessalonians 5:12; 1 Timothy 5:17) or in the home (1 Timothy 3:4, 5, 12). This gift deals with “government” (1 Corinthians 12:28).

Showing Mercy – This gift involves doing deeds of kindness that is “to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction” (James 1:27), “to bind up the brokenhearted” (Isaiah 61:1), to visit those who are sick or in prison (Matthew 25:36, 39, 44).

The Word of Wisdom – This gift is the utterance of wisdom. A man who has this gift is able to explain the truths of the Bible to others clearly.

The Word of Knowledge – This gift is the utterance of knowledge, which is the ability to apprehend spiritual truth and systematically organize them to share them with others.

Faith – This gift is a special kind of faith that enables a person to do great works for God (Matthew 17:20; 21:21; 1 Corinthians 13:2).

Healing – This gift is having special powers as those that the apostles had (Mark 16:18; Acts 3:2–8; 14:8–10). While it is the privilege of all to pray for the healing of the sick and to receive answers to prayer. Those that had this gift in the early church possessed divine direction and healed only those whom God showed them to heal.

Miracles – Like the gifts of healing, this is a special gift done under divine direction. It is the privilege of those not having the gift to pray for miracles and healings and have their petitions if God wills it.

Discerning of spirits – This gift is the ability to distinguish between divine and counterfeit inspiration (1 John 4:1–3). Christ warned His followers that false prophets would arise in the last days (Matthew 24:4, 5, 11, 23–25). Satan has always worked to counterfeit the true, and often backed the false claims by supernatural miracles (2 Thessalonians 2:9; Revelation 13:13, 14). The apostles in the early church were given the gift of distinguishing between true and false teachers (Acts 5:1–10; 13:9–11).

Speaking in tongues – This gift is the gift of speaking in new languages that the speaker doesn’t know in order to reach people in their own languages.

Interpretation of tongues – This gift is given to interpret the messages imparted.

Helps – This gift is for those that hold the office of a deacon in the church that he may be able to minister to the poor and the sick (Isaiah 58:7).

Administration – This gift refers to the gifts of administration in the church.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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