Spiritual Gifts in The Bible

October 26, 2023

Written byAdelekan Bolanle

Originally posted on May 11, 2022 @ 3:02 pm

God is the almighty, all-knowing and a giver of gifts. He never withholds good gifts from his children. The Bible emphasises that God grants us spiritual gifts through salvation and infilling the Holy Spirit. This article will explore the meaning, purpose, and how to identify and use spiritual gifts. 

For I long to visit you so I can bring you some spiritual gift that will help you grow strong in the Lord. When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.

Romans 1:11-12

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What are the Gifts of the Spirit (spiritual gifts)?

Spiritual gifts, also called gifts of the Spirit, are divine enablement given by the Holy Spirit to help us manifest his power more and accomplish a given ministry. The Greek words charisma (plural: charisms or charismata)refer to spiritual gifts. The Spiritual gift is an inheritance God gives us after we are born again. God gives us gift(s) of the Spirit to make our spiritual walk easy and beneficial to others. There are different spiritual gifts, and they function in different capacities. 

What is the Purpose of Spiritual Gifts?

Spiritual gifts serve many essential purposes in the church. I believe a church where the gifts of the Spirit are not evident is not truly a church. The purpose of spiritual gifts, according to the Bible, includes:

  • Edification of the church. In other words. A spiritual gift is given to a believer to build up other believers helping them grow and become better with their gifts. 1 Corinthians 14:12
  • Service unto the Lord. The gift of the Spirit is for serving the Lord and nothing more; it is not to glorify the self. 1 Peter 4:11
  • Spiritual gifts promote unity, love and growth of the church.
  • It reveals the works of the flesh, preventing wolves from entering the flock.
  • It is a sign to unbelievers. Spiritual gifts show the power and awesomeness of God; when the gifts are used properly, they can convince an unbelieving heart to come to the Lord.
  • God uses the gift to send the church a word of Comfort and encouragement in difficult times.

Lists of Gifts of the Spirit

Many spiritual gifts are mentioned in the Bible, although some are similar and operate similarly. I believe there are more gifts than those the Bible stated because there are many more roles in the church as the gospel expands. The spiritual gifts are divided into three categories. Let us examine each of these categories and the gifts.

  • Motivational gifts
  • Ministry gifts
  • Manifestation gift

Ministry Gifts 

Ministry gifts are gifts used to propagate the ministry. These gifts are often called the fivefold ministry because they are five in number. Ministry is often referred to as a calling by many people. Most other gifts are usually used to fulfil the ministry God has called one into. The gift is for building up the body of Christ and making the church stand firm and strong. Christ loves his church, and he never wants the church to be weakened. Gifts of the Holy Spirit are beneficial to help the people of God do the work of the ministry effectively.

The ministry gifts are also known as fivefold ministry according to Ephesians 4:12. 

Spiritual Gifts: Five fold ministry gifts according to Ephesians 4:11
The ministry gifts also known as fivefold ministry according to Ephesians 4:12.

The ministry gifts which Apostle Paul mentioned while speaking to the Ephesians church have their place in the church. According to Ephesians 4:12, the gifts mentioned are;

  • Apostles 

Apostles are forerunners of the gospel. They take the gospel to even the most obscure places on Earth. Apostles govern and direct the administration of the church. They usually plant churches and oversee the administration of the church. Apostles are anointed and appointed by God. 

  • Prophets

The ministry of the prophet is to guide the church. He sees and hears from God under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Prophets are God’s eyes and ears in the church. They are always there to call the church to order; prophets are usually burden bearers.

  • Evangelist

Evangelists are passionate about sharing the gospel. Evangelists tell the good news of Christ without fear. The evangelist’s ministry is to gather a flock for the pastor to tend. Evangelists usually stay in a location for a short time. They go around preaching the good news. Signs and wonders follow the ministry of the evangelist.

  • Pastors

Pastors are often referred to as the shepherd. They have a love for the sheep, and they are committed to dedicating their time to tending the sheep. The pastor’s ministry is characterised by their ability to feed, protect, care and encourage the flock to reach maturity.

  • Teacher

The teaching ministry is unique. Teachers explain the deep truths of the word. Teachers can break down complex issues in the Bible in a way everyone can understand. The teaching ministry is responsible for illuminating the word of God and explaining sound doctrine to the church.

Motivational Gifts of the Spirit

Motivational gifts are given to us as believers to change our thoughts, actions and how we relate with others. These gifts are very useful in helping the church grow. We use these gifts in different church departments. (Romans12:3-8).

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Motivational gifts of the Spirit

Motivational gifts include the following: 

  • Perceiving

Perceiving is a gift of the Spirit where the individual can perceive actions, events, moods, or foresee. This gift is like having a sixth sense that senses what others do not.

  • Serving

Have you met someone always willing to serve others? People with this gift find happiness in serving and helping other people. 

  • Teaching

Teaching is a gift from God. Teachers can be great writers but not entertaining speakers; they can give in-depth explanations and revelations about the word of God. They find it easy and comforting to explain things to people, clearing confusion.

  • Encouraging

The gift of encouragement is evident in people who are always willing to give counsel. They are ready to encourage others and cheer them on.

  • Giving

Giving is indeed a gift. I used to know a friend who gave without fail. She finds joy in giving and making people happy.

  • Administration

The gift of administration is evident in people confident in leadership roles. They find it easy to make decisions and direct the helms of affairs. People gifted with the gift of administration may find it easy to go into politics and make a change. 

  • Mercy

Mercy is an extraordinary gift. It shows forgiveness and love to others even when they do not deserve it.

Motivational gifts are usually evident in our daily lives. Our personalities and opinions are subject to these gifts.

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Manifestation gifts of the Spirit

Manifestation gifts are gifts God give us to demonstrate or manifest the power of the Holy Spirit. These gifts show the power of the Holy Spirit and his works. The good thing about these gifts is. Manifestation gift is divided into three categories based on how they are manifested, and they are:

  • Revelational Gifts
  • Power Gifts
  • Inspirational Gifts

A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge. The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy.

He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.

1 Corinthians 12:7-11

Revelational Gifts of the Spirit

As the name implies, revelation spiritual gifts reveal things; they can reveal the mind of man, the mind of God or plans for the future. These gifts reveal things that ordinary humans would never have known. Three gifts are under this category: word of wisdom, word of knowledge, and prophecy.

Word of Wisdom

The word of wisdom is to give counsel needed at a particular time. God has all wisdom in his domain, and he knows the right approach to any situation. Word of wisdom helps to solve problems, give direction, express God’s mind and overturn the enemy’s counsel. Word of wisdom can come through prophecy, audible voice, scriptures, meditation, etc. 

Bible characters with words of wisdom

  • Jethro

Jethro was Moses’ father-in-law who gave Moses the counsel to appoint men who would help him to oversee the affairs of Israel (Exodus 18:21-22)

  • Stephen

The Bible recorded that Stephen was full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. Stephen spoke words of wisdom before he was stoned to death (Acts 4:10)

Word of knowledge

The word of knowledge is a supernatural gift of the Holy Spirit which reveals past or present events. God knows everything and can reveal details we need to solve a problem or bring light to a situation. People with this gift often have spiritual insights; they speak things the normal human mind wouldn’t have known.

Word of knowledge can come through an audible voice, visions or dreams. The purpose of the word of knowledge in the church is: to enlighten the church and reveal the works of the flesh.

Bible Characters with Gift of Word of Knowledge

  • Daniel

Daniel revealed the dream of Nebuchadnezzar through the word of knowledge. He wasn’t present when the king had the dream, but with the inspiration of God, he revealed the dream. (Daniel 2)

  • Peter

 Peter revealed the intention of Ananias and Sapphira by word of knowledge. He was able to know their intentions by the Spirit of God. (Acts 5: 1-11)

Discerning of Spirit

The gift of discerning of Spirit is a must-have in these end times. Discern means to see and recognise differences in the spiritual realm. The devil comes with all forms of confusion, and by the discerning Spirit, one can tell the voice of God from the voice of the devil. 

Power Gifts of the Spirit

Power gifts of the Spirit show the power of God physically in a way man can see, understand and experience. The power gifts are important in the church as they demonstrate the power of God. These gifts are for improving the church, living a victorious life and for humanity. Three gifts are often referred to as the power gifts; the gift of faith, the gift of healings, and the working of miracles.

Gift of Great Faith

Faith believes the unseen is the reality even when it doesn’t make sense to others. Christianity is a religion built on faith in God. The gift of great faith is having faith even when circumstances and situations around you say otherwise.  

Bible characters with Great Faith

  • The woman who came for healing

This woman came to Jesus for healing for her son. She was determined to receive the healing that day. Jesus acknowledged that he had never seen this type of faith in Israel. Her faith gave her son healing. (Matthew 15: 21 -28)

  • Meshach, Abednego and Shadrach

This trio had faith in God that he would deliver them. They had assurance in God, and they were rewarded for their faith. (Daniel 3:16-28) 

Gifts of healing

Every believer can heal. The gifts of healing are evident in people whose presence always heals the sick (physically, emotionally and spiritually) due to the grace of God upon them. God sometimes uses this gift to bless both unbelievers and believers.

Bible characters with Gifts of healing

  • Jesus

Jesus is our perfect example. The Bible recorded that Jesus healed the sick everywhere he went. 

Gift of Working miracles

Miracles are events that defy natural or scientific laws. Miracles are exciting, and it boosts our faith in God. The Bible recalls many miracles. The gift of miracles is often a sign to the unbelievers to draw them to the kingdom of God.

Bible characters with the gift of miracles

  • Peter

The Bible recorded that Peter performed diverse miracles. This git was evident in his life, and his shadow healed the sick.

  • Elisha

Elisha performed lots of miracles. He even reversed the law of nature by allowing iron to float instead of wood. The bones of Elisha also performed miracles.

Inspirational Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Inspirational gifts of the Spirit are the gift that inspires. There are three gifts referred to as inspirational gifts: Gift of diverse kinds of tongues, prophecy and interpretation of tongues. 

Diverse kinds of tongue

There are different types of tongue: heavenly tongue and earthly tongue. This gift can manifest in any of the two ways. Speaking in unknown tongues is essential for every believer. The gift of diverse kinds of tongues was evident in the first church, where the disciples were in the upper room. The Bible recorded that the disciples were speaking languages they didn’t learn.

 Interpretation of tongues

The spiritual gift of interpreting tongues is the ability to interpret unknown tongues. This gift is not interpreting the languages of man but the heavenly language. I have seen this gift operate several times. Interpretation of tongues brings divine insight and direction.

Gift of Prophecy

The gift of prophecy is declaring a word under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Prophecy is a supernatural ability to speak of things to come. Prophesying is speaking as a mouthpiece or agent of God. Prophecy is to glorify and exalt the name of the Lord.

Bible characters with the gift of prophecy

  • Isaiah

Isaiah was a prophet who spoke about the coming of Jesus and his death years before Jesus was born. 

  • Jesus

Jesus was a prophet who prophesied about the end-time events happening now. (Matthew 28)

manifestation gifts of the spirit
Spiritual Gifts in The Bible 5

What is the difference between spiritual gifts and talents?

Spiritual gifts and talents are somehow related; however, they are different in many ways. Some of the similarities include

  • Both are meant to be used to serve and bless others.
  • Both are meant to be sharpened and developed to reach more people and make a wider impact.
  • Both bring glory to God when they are used properly.

However, there are many differences between spiritual gifts and talents, and they include the following;

  • Talent is a natural ability, but spiritual gifts are supernatural abilities.
  • Your DNA, upbringing and environment can determine your talent, while your spiritual gift does not rely on your genetic makeup.
  • Talent can be used to develop along a particular career or future path for financial gain and livelihood. However, spiritual gifts are not developed for financial gain but rather for improving and strengthening Christ’s body.
  • Everyone has talents, either believers or unbelievers, but only believers who have accepted Jesus have spiritual gifts.

Frequently Asked Questions about Spiritual Gifts

Which of the Spiritual gifts is more important?

One is not more important than the other when I think about spiritual gifts. Every gift has a place in the body of Christ. 

Can Spiritual Gifts be abused?

Yes, spiritual gifts can be abused. Some people commercialise the gift of God upon them by making it their sole aim to make money rather than preach the gospel or use it to save souls.

Can someone steal your spiritual gifts?

No one can steal your spiritual gift because it wasn’t given to you by man. Spiritual gifts and anointing can be transferred if both parties are willing and God approves of it but not stolen.

What is the difference between Ministry gifts and Spiritual gifts?

Both are members of the same family. The bigger umbrella is the Spiritual gifts given by the Holy Spirit. In contrast, the ministry gift is often a call by God to function in any of these offices, so they are often referred to as the fivefold ministry (Pastors, Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists and Teachers).

What happens if we don’t use our Spiritual gifts?

You lose touch with the ability when you don’t use your spiritual gift regularly. Imagine you were given a brand new car on your graduation day; I’m sure you will be excited and probably take it out to test drive the car. If you park the car after that day and stop using it regularly, it starts to deteriorate. The longer you park the car without using it, the more difficult it is to revive and bring it to full capacity. The same can be said for spiritual gifts.

How to activate or awaken your spiritual gifts?

You can activate your spiritual gift by following the Holy Spirit’s leading every time. Then try to understand and discover your spiritual gift as we discussed earlier. The gift has been deposited in you after you receive salvation; therefore, the more you yield to the Holy Spirit, the more you can fan your gift to flame.

How do I know my Spiritual Gift?

Often we need clarification to determine what our gift(s) are. There are many ways to determine what our spiritual gifts are. If you follow these methods, you will discover your spiritual gift.
1. Prayer; Pry to God and ask him to reveal your gift. God knows your spiritual gift, and he can reveal your gift to you if you ask him.
2. Ask friends and family what they think your gifts are. Feedback from your friends and people around you can help you determine what your gift is.
3. Discover your strengths
4. Take an online gift of the Spirit test from these sites (Gifts Tests,  Spiritual Gifts Tests)

You can develop your talents and use them for the growth and development of the kingdom.

Ephesians 4:12 fivefold ministry
Spiritual Gifts in The Bible 6

Finally, every believer has a spiritual gift. Remember the story of the talents in the Bible; everyone received talents according to his ability. We are also permitted to covet some gifts, and if our intentions are pure, God will not withhold his gifts from us. When you faithfully use your gifts and serve God with the gifts, God is glorified. Remember, you are a child of God; make sure you use his gifts for his glory.

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