Now that my study on sin for this blog is completed, I asked the Lord what He wanted me to write about next and He told me that His children need to know more about the gifts of the Spirit. So, I turned to 1 Corinthians and Romans, chapter 12 in both, to learn what those gifts are and I am going to write about each one every week. For today, however, I’m going to give you a list of the spiritual gifts I’ll be writing on and a brief overview of each.
- Miraculous Powers
- Speaking in Tongues
- Interpretation of Tongues
- Showing Mercy
Here are the Scriptures where I found these gifts:
7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and He distributes them to each one, just as He determines. (1 Corinthians 12:7-11)
6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. (Romans 12:6-8)
Now, I want to begin by saying that there is no Scriptural basis for anyone to say that these gifts, given to anyone who has the Holy Spirit, were just for the original disciples. It is the same Holy Spirit that James, John, Peter, and Paul received that we receive upon salvation. The Holy Spirit has not changed so there is absolutely no reason to believe that the spiritual gifts have changed. But, there are a few things we need to remember:
- No Christian receives all these gifts, we receive the ones God wants us to have
- There are no right or wrong gifts, for they are all from our Heavenly Father
- There are no higher or more important gifts for they are all used by our Lord for His great purposes
- You can have more than one gift
- God wants us to use our gifts to help one another, especially as many of these gifts need other gifts to be most effective
Having said that, let me give a very brief overview of each gift. I will go into a lot more detail (including other Scriptures) in each gift’s individual blog post.
Knowledge is defined as “facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.” When we are given the gift of knowledge, I believe that means the person with that gift learns quickly and easily where other people have to take a lot more time and effort. I believe this person also retains information far better than those who don’t have the gift.
Wisdom is knowing what to do with knowledge, how to use it. I believe knowledge is great, but without wisdom, it is essentially useless. That is why if you have the gift of knowledge but not the gift of wisdom, you need to find someone with that gift (a spouse, a friend, an advisor) so that the two of you can edify one another and be used for God’s glory together.
While all believers need to practice faith, for those with the gift of faith it comes easily. They don’t have to try or struggle like those without this gift to have faith that God will do what He says He will do. Those with the gift of faith can join with many other gifts, but I believe especially someone with the gift of encouragement, to really help others. When one has faith and the other encouragement, you can really bring people out of the darkness of doubt and discouragement that all of us enter at some point in our lives.
Healing is still alive and well today. That doesn’t mean that everyone will be healed or that Christians will never get sick or die. Sickness and death are a part of life and Jesus did not heal every person in the world when He was walking on it. But, there are those who are given the spiritual gift of healing and can heal people that God tells them to heal. This one works very well with both the gift of miraculous powers and the gift of faith.
Jesus did a lot of amazing things like turning water into wine, raising the dead, healing the sick, casting out demons, walking on water, and calming storms. But the disciples could do a lot of these as well, and, in fact, Jesus promised them that they would do even greater things with the coming of the Holy Spirit (John 14:12). So, there are follows of Christ today who can do miraculous things just as Jesus and the disciples did. We see this a lot of ministers and missionaries who go to 3rd-world countries.
The gift of prophecy was very big in the Old Testament and all the prophets had it, which was why they were recorded in God’s Word. The disciple John had it too which was how he wrote Revelations. But there are Christians today who have the gift of prophecy. That means that they know something will happen before it does because God reveals it to them, whether through dreams or visions or even a feeling in their spirit, which works especially well with those who have the gift of discernment.
Discernment is the gift of discerning spirits. When someone has the gift of discernment they can usually tell if there are evil spirits around, if someone is saved or not saved, if someone is demon possessed, even if a certain place or person are doing evil things. It is usually a feeling that the person has, a feeling that leads to information they couldn’t possibly know but is revealed to them by the Holy Spirit.
Speaking in Tongues
While I think all Christians can speak in the heavenly tongues if they choose to, I know that certain people are given the gift of tongues where it comes easily to them and they can speak it whenever they wish. However, this gift is best used if you have, or know someone who has, the gift of interpretation of tongues. Otherwise, you are only speaking for yourself, which is fine in prayer time, but not in groups where you need an interpreter.
Interpretation of Tongues
These people can interpret when someone is speaking in tongues, our heavenly language, so that everyone can know what is being said. This is not necessary if you’re speaking in tongues in your own prayer time, but definitely necessary if you are speaking in a group or large assembly, that way everyone knows what God wants us to know through the person speaking in tongues.
While we all need to serve others, those with this gift find it easy to serve – it is their nature. They aren’t happy unless they are volunteering or putting other’s needs before their own. They don’t struggle much with selfishness because they truly just want to take care of everyone.
When someone is called to teach, they enjoy doing it. It isn’t a chore or just a job to them, it is something they love to do and they are pretty good at it naturally, even without training. God can speak through them and use them to teach other Christians how to live for Him and how to grow and mature spiritually.
Those with this gift love to encourage others. They send emails or texts just to let the people in their lives know that God is with them, everything will turn out well, they are here for them, etc. They usually know the right thing to say at the right time, even if they don’t always realize it. The gifts of prophecy and discernment help with this gift.
Again, all believers should give generously, but those with this gift don’t struggle with it as other believers might. They freely give with a happy heart, even to the point where it may hurt them financially simply because they just want to give to everyone. This might be money, time, or whatever, but they just love to give. These believers also rarely deal with selfishness because they constantly think of how to give to others.
Not everyone needs to lead. Some are good at following, as long as they are following the right people, and ultimately following God. But, God gives some the gift of leading and if someone has this gift they usually aren’t happy with a follower or employee role. Leaders usually have to be the CEO of a company or pastor of a church, the owner of a small business, or even a freelancer where you make your own schedule and choose your own clients. Those with this gift just have to lead wherever they go and aren’t content to follow others, except following God.
Finally, we all need to show one another mercy, but those with this gift do it automatically. They don’t have to pray about it for weeks or months or years to forgive someone. They easily let go of offenses and they easily forgive. They never hold on to what might have been done to them in the past.
So, these are the gifts I’ll be discussing over the next few weeks. I truly hope you guys will enjoy this series and I know I will definitely learn a lot as I write it!
By the way, the descriptions I gave for each gift weren’t things I made up – they were wisdom from the Holy Spirit. I’ll talk more about that in my blog post on the gift of wisdom (coming out this Thursday)!