What Does the Bible Say About Spiritual Gifts?

Vivian Bricker

Contributing Writer
Published: Sep 11, 2022
What Does the Bible Say About Spiritual Gifts?

The Holy Spirit is the One who gives us our spiritual gifts as the Apostle Paul tells us, “All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines” (1 Corinthians 12:11).

Spiritual gifts are a popular topic within the Christian community, and much controversy surrounds spiritual gifts. The Bible speaks about spiritual gifts multiple times in the New Testament. The main passages of spiritual gifts include Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, and 1 Corinthians 12:28. It is vital to have a good understanding of these passages to know what the Bible says about spiritual gifts.

Spiritual Gifts

Spiritual gifts as recorded in these passages include serving, teaching, prophecy, encouragement, giving, leadership, mercy, word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, healing, miraculous powers, distinguishing spirits, helps, speaking in tongues, and the interpretation of tongues. The Holy Spirit is the One who gives us our spiritual gifts as the Apostle Paul tells us, “All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines” (1 Corinthians 12:11).

Every believer will receive at least one spiritual gift during their Christian walk. It can be difficult to discover your spiritual gifts, yet God can help reveal them if you ask Him in prayer. In addition to asking God in prayer, you can try serving in different areas of the church to help reveal your spiritual gifts. Try volunteering with children’s ministry, teen ministry, or college ministry to see if you have the spiritual gifts of word of wisdom, word of knowledge, or encouragement. You could volunteer within servant ministries to see if your spiritual gift is serving or helps. 

Discovering your spiritual gifts can take some time, but God will help reveal them in His timing. It must be noted that there are a few spiritual gifts that are not active in the present day. These spiritual gifts ceased after the era of the Apostles. In other words, certain spiritual gifts cannot be received in the current day, including the spiritual gifts of prophecy, healing, miraculous powers, speaking in tongues, and the interpretation of tongues. Each of these spiritual gifts was a sign gift, which died out during the end of the Apostles. Christians today cannot receive these spiritual gifts. 

Serving

The spiritual gift of serving is a wonderful gift to be given by the Holy Spirit. The word “serving” can also mean “ministering,” which ultimately means you are serving and helping anyone in need. You can discover if you have the spiritual gift of serving by praying for God's guidance and serving in your church's soup kitchen, clothes closet, or children's ministry. Other trusted Christians in your life can also help you discern your spiritual gifts and speak up when they think you have found your calling. 

Serving doesn't always require that you become an international missionary; sometimes, serving means you recognize the daily and often overlooked needs of others and, through God's help, meet their needs. 

Teaching

Teaching is another spiritual gift that is extremely important. The spiritual gift of teaching means an individual has the gift of being able to teach about the Word of God in a way that is meaningful and understandable to their listeners. Rather than being confusing, those with the spiritual gift of teaching can proclaim the message of Christ, deep theological truths, and teachings of the Bible eloquently and accurately. If you are trying to discern if you have the spiritual gift of teaching, try teaching a Bible lesson or leading a Bible study. It might not be revealed to you right away, but it will be revealed in time. 

A special note, however: the spiritual gift of teaching, while it often comes with eloquence, isn't to be used in a lofty prideful way, nor should you intend to sound so eloquent that you confuse others. The gift of teaching allows you to clearly and correctly share God's Word with everyone, no matter their academic status. 

Encouragement 

Encouragement is a spiritual gift of being able to build each other up in the Lord and support them. Those with the spiritual gift of encouragement can help strengthen other individuals' faith when they are weak. If you want to discern if your spiritual gift is encouragement, try helping those whose faith is weak or struggling. Helping others with the gift of encouragement is often through words of affirming, reminding believers that with God, they can do the impossible. It means edifying them when they are facing a hard season or trying something new. 

Try to discern if this is the spiritual gift that God is revealing to you. It should be noted that spiritual gifts are never forced, but rather they are gifts, and they should come naturally to us.  

Giving

Giving is another spiritual gift that is a true blessing. The spiritual gift of giving is given to those who can joyfully give to others financially, spiritually, or emotionally. Those with the spiritual gift of giving enjoy giving to others and giving up their own time to invest in time with others. Often, we think of giving as only financial, but we can also give our time, energy, and material possessions to help others. The Lord is very happy when we give to others and invest in our relationships with others. Discerning if you have the spiritual gift of giving is to decipher if you feel joy when you give financially, materially, or emotionally to others. 

Remember, "God loves a cheerful giver" 2 Corinthians 9:7.

Leadership

Leadership is the spiritual gift of being able to lead others in a way that honors Christ. Those with the spiritual gift of leadership can guide and instruct others to better follow Christ. Their entire leadership is based on Christ and His mercy, kindness, and love. The spiritual gift of leadership is much needed in the church today as God wants us to have leaders who will lead us as Christ leads the church. If you want to discern if you have the spiritual gift of leadership, try serving in leadership roles and see how you do and how you feel. 

It is important to remember, though, that leadership comes with great responsibility. God has granted you the wonderful responsibility of leading others by your example. It's not simply telling others how to live out their faith, but it's you showing them how to live out faith by your daily walk. 

"To whom much is given, much will be required" Luke 12:48.

Mercy

Mercy is a spiritual gift to which the individual is caring, compassionate, and merciful to others. Those with this gift are often more sympathetic and sensitive to the needs and emotions of others. This spiritual gift is needed today since the world is prone to be hateful, unmerciful, and unforgiving. Individuals with the spiritual gift of mercy will be able to help others struggling and remind them of Christ’s love in their words and their actions. 

Granted, it's not always easy to show mercy, even if that is your primary spiritual gift. However, the gift of mercy is God's way of constantly compelling you to prioritize extending understanding and empathy to others, just as Christ does for us. 

Word of Wisdom

Another spiritual gift a believer can receive is the spiritual gift of the word of wisdom. This spiritual gift is the ability to speak the truth of the Bible in an accurate way that will help listeners apply the teaching to their daily lives. When we read the Bible, it is all too common for us to fall into the practice of only reading it and not applying it. The Lord wants us to apply the teachings of the Bible because they will help us grow to become more like Christ. Try teaching others about the Bible in a way that is convicting and life-changing if you want to discern if this is your spiritual gift.

Perhaps you can host a ladies' luncheon and discuss a certain revelation you've had about a particular book of the Bible or Fruit of the Spirit. 

Word of Knowledge 

Word of knowledge is a spiritual gift that is closely connected with the spiritual gift of the word of wisdom. This spiritual gift means an individual understands the deep truths of the Bible and can give others insight into the truth of God’s Word. This is vitally important as we need believers with this spiritual gift to help others know the deep truths of the Bible. Similar to word of knowledge, if you want to discern if you have this spiritual gift, try teaching others about the Bible and the deeper issues, such as soteriology, eschatology, and ecclesiology.

Note that this gift requires that you not interpret Scripture how you wish it to be but how God has truly revealed it. 

Faith

To an extent, every believer has the spiritual gift of faith. This is because we all have expressed faith in Christ by believing in Him. The spiritual gift of faith is shown in a strong, sure, steadfast belief that God always comes through. Rather than doubting, there is a solid foundation of faith in a believer’s heart. They believe that the impossible is truly possible through God. 

Distinguishing Spirits

Distinguishing spirits is the spiritual gift that enables a believer to discern God’s message and truth apart from Satan and his lies. There are many false doctrines in the world today, yet the believer with the spiritual gift of distinguishing spirits will be able to tell the difference between the truth of God and the lies of the enemy.

Sign Gifts

The sign gifts include prophecy, healing, miraculous powers, speaking in tongues, and interpreting tongues. All of these gifts died out after the era of the Apostles. Prophecy was the ability to discern God’s divine will for the future. The spiritual gift of healing was the ability to heal someone else of various illnesses, and the spiritual gift of miraculous powers was the ability to perform miracles by the power of God (Acts 8:6-7, 19:11-12). Speaking in tongues was the ability to speak in previously unknown true languages to help spread the Gospel, and the interpretation of tongues was the ability to translate the various languages into the native language of the people. 

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/InspirationGP


Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.

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