TO EQUIP GOD'S PEOPLE
Apostles - Prophets - Evangelists - Pastors - Teachers
TO EXPLAIN GOD'S TRUTHS
Prophecy - Teaching - Exhortation - Word of Wisdom - Word of Knowledge
TO ENABLE GOD'S WORK
Serving - Helps - Leadership - Administration - Giving - Mercy - Discerning of Spirits - Faith - Hospitality
TO ESTABLISH GOD'S AUTHORITY
Tongues - Interpretation - Miracles - Healings
At the end of the descriptions below, I've included a Spiritual Gifts Survey in PDF format for you to download. Remember that this information is only the start. Once you know what your giftings are, you have to then put those gifts into spiritually profitable use for the glory of God's Kingdom.
The first group of spiritual gifts are what we will call "leadership gifts". We use this title for these gifts because each one is a special leadership position in the church. These leadership positions are sometimes called "offices" in the church. And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers. (Ephesians 4:11).
So what does it mean to have one or more of these gifts?
An apostle is someone who has the gifts and the anointing to develop new churches in different places and cultures and to oversee a number of churches as a supervisor. Apostle means "a delegate, one sent with full power and authority to act for another". The apostle has a special authority and ability to extend the Gospel by developing and organizing bodies of believers. Some modern terms for an apostle would be missionary or church-planter.
There are two prophetic gifts. One is the special gift of being a prophet. The other is the speaking gift of prophecy. In general, prophecy refers to speaking under the special inspiration of God. It is the special ability to receive and communicate an immediate message of God to His people through a divinely-anointed utterance.
But a person is not a prophet just because he prophesies. Every prophet prophesise but not everyone who speaks a prophesy is a prophet. Those with the special gift of being a prophet do not just speak under the inspiration of God. They also hold an office of authority and leadership in the church. This is confirmed in Acts 13:1-4 where prophets and teachers were used in a leadership capacity to guide Barnabas and Saul into the special ministry to which God had called them to.
The Bible gives many examples of prophets both men and women in the Old and New Testament. As you study these references try to distinguish between those who had the special gift of being a prophet [leadership] from those who had just the gift of prophecy.
An evangelist has a special ability to share the Gospel with non-believers in a way that men and women respond to, and become responsible members of the Body of Christ. The meaning of the word "evangelist" is "one who brings good news".
Now, we are all called to "do the work of an evangelist" and share the Gospel with others, but God gives some the special gift of being an evangelist. Philip is actually the only person in the New Testament called an evangelist. In fact, when Philip met Jesus the first thing he did was to share the news with Nathanael: Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” (John 1:45-46)
The Greek word "pastor" actually means shepherd. Pastors are leaders who assume long-term personal responsibility for the spiritual welfare of a group of believers. To spiritually feed and protect those under his ministry, serving and leading them as God directs.
Teachers are believers who have the special ability of communicating the Word of God effectively in such a way that others learn and apply what is taught. Teaching involves training, not just communicating information.
The special gift of being a teacher differs from the speaking gift of teaching just as being a prophet differs from the speaking gift of prophecy. You will recall that Acts 13:1-4 showed teachers in a special leadership position [along with the prophets] in guiding the ministry of Paul and Barnabas. All believers do not have the special gift of teaching or the speaking gift of teaching. But all believers are to be involved in teaching the basic Gospel message.
LEADERSHIP WORKING TOGETHER
The five special gifts of leadership function together in the ministry of the church.
Apostles extend the Gospel message to various regions and raise up organized bodies of believers.
Prophets also provide leadership in the church. One of their functions is to give special messages from God through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Evangelists communicate the Gospel in such a manner that people respond to it and become believers. They may minister individually or in large groups, but their ministry always produces new believers. These believers then come under the care of apostles, prophets, pastors, and teachers of the church who guide their spiritual development.
Pastors exercise long-term leadership and care for those who have believed through the message of the evangelist. They provide pastoral care to those who have become believers through the ministry of apostles. Their ministry is a picture of the loving care of a shepherd for his sheep.
Teachers provide instruction which goes beyond the presentation of the Gospel by the evangelist. They teach believers to be spiritually mature. They train faithful people who are capable of teaching others.
The main responsibility of those with special leadership gifts is to train other believers to discover and use their spiritual gifts.
SPEAKING GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
There are five gifts of the Holy Spirit that we call "speaking gifts" because surprise, they all involve speaking aloud. The five speaking gifts are:
-Words of knowledge
-Words of Wisdom
The first two speaking gifts, prophecy and teaching, are similar to two of the special gifts. But as I said before, the speaking gifts of prophecy and teaching are not the same as the leadership gifts of being a prophet or a teacher.
So what is the gift of prophesy? A person with the gift of prophecy speaks by the special inspiration of God to communicate an immediate message to His people. Everything I said before about prophecy given by a prophet also applies to the gift of prophecy. Although they prophesy like prophets, people with the gift of prophecy do not have the special leadership position of a prophet. They simply deliver special messages under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
As in the example of prophets and prophecy, the speaking gift of teaching does not mean a person has the special gift of being a teacher. God sets teachers [who also have the gift of teaching] in special leadership positions in the church.
This is a big scary word for counselling and lifting up others. The gift of exhortation is the ability to draw close to individuals when they're in need, counseling them correctly with the Word of God. To "exhort" literally means to call a person aside, to advise, recommend, admonish, encourage, or comfort.
Exhortation is the ability to give wise spiritual counsel. People with this gift minister words of comfort, consolation, and encouragement in such a way that others are helped. A modern term for this gift would be "the gift of counseling".
WORD OF WISDOM
The word of wisdom is a divine insight into people and situations that is not obvious to the average person. This God-given wisdom is combined with an understanding of what to do and how to do it. This gift is not called "the gift of wisdom" because it does not give one the total wisdom of God. It is a word of wisdom, just a portion of God's infinite wisdom.
The gift of the word of wisdom doesn't come through education you can't learn this gift. And if you don't have the gift of the word of wisdom you can still develop spiritual wisdom by studying the Word of God. But remember, this spiritual wisdom available to all believers is not the same as the gift of the word of wisdom. The word of wisdom is a special ability given by God through the Holy Spirit.
WORD OF KNOWLEDGE
The gift of the word of knowledge is revelatory knowledge under the inspiration of the Spirit. This means it is knowledge revealed by God. It's not knowledge obtained through education or study. Like the word of wisdom, it is not called "the gift of knowledge". It is the gift of the "word of knowledge". It's not the total knowledge of God, but only a portion of His knowledge.
Like all of the gifts the Holy Spirit gives us; the gift of the word of knowledge should be used in humility because you are not the source of the knowledge. God is the source.
SERVING GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
There are nine spiritual gifts which we will call the "serving gifts". These nine gifts "serve" the church by providing structure, organization, and support in both spiritual and practical areas. The nine serving gifts are:
-Discerning of spirits -Helps
DISCERNING OF SPIRITS
Discerning of spirits is the ability to evaluate people, doctrines, and situations as to whether they are of God or of Satan. Discerning of spirits should not be confused with having a critical spirit. This gift is limited to the discerning of spirits. It is not just discerning in general. This gift serves the church by identifying people who would split the fellowship with wrong motives, doctrines, and attitudes.
Discerning of spirits is an important gift because our enemies in spiritual warfare are not visible to the human eye. They are recognized only through spiritual discernment:
If you don't have the gift of discerning of spirits you're not defenceless. God has given a way to test the spirits. This test is valid whether or not you have the gift of discernment and that is, comparing it against God's Word. IF you want to know more about discerning of spirits, I have a few references you can look up.
The spiritual gift of leadership is the ability to set goals in accord with God's purpose and to communicate these goals to others. A person with this gift motivates and leads others to accomplish these goals for the glory of God.
Leadership is mentioned in Romans 12 and the qualification for this gift is that one leads [rules] with diligence. Diligence means to show constant care and effort to accomplish what is undertaken. It means to be industrious, attentive, and to persevere. This is true for the gift of administration as well.
The gift of administration is actually called "governments" in the Bible. A person with the gift of administration has the ability to give direction, organize, and make decisions on behalf of others. The meaning of the word administration is similar to the word used for a pilot steering a ship. A person with this gift is responsible for direction and decision making. Like the pilot of a ship they may not be the owner of the ship, but they have been entrusted with the responsibility of directing it on its voyage.
The gifts of leadership and administration both involve organizational skills which result in the accomplishing of spiritual goals. Often a believer will have both the gifts of leadership and administration. If a person has the gift of administration but does not have the gift of leadership, he will need someone with that gift to work with him.
A person with the gift of administration has the ability to direct, organize, and make decisions. But without the gift of leadership he does not have the ability to motivate and actually work with people to achieve goals.
Pastors and teachers often also have the spiritual gift of leadership. They are able to motivate people to accomplish spiritual goals. But many of them do not have the gift of administration. Although they motivate, they fail to organize in such a way that the goals can be achieved.
A person with the gift of faith has a special ability to believe with supernatural confidence and trust God in difficult circumstances. It is special faith to meet a special need. He knows God is going to do the impossible. He exercises this faith even when other believers around him do not believe.
There are different kinds of faith. The Bible speaks of sanctifying faith (Galatians 2:20), defensive faith (Ephesians 6:16), and saving faith (Romans 5:1). The Bible also teaches that each person has a certain amount of faith given to him as a gift from God (Romans 12:3b). It also teaches that we are saved through faith (Ephesians 2:8). But the gift of faith is an unusual ability to believe God in every area of life. This faith knows no impossibilities. It puts no limits on what God can do.
Faith is listed in Galatians 5:22 as a fruit of the Holy Spirit as well as a gift. Faith as a spiritual gift refers to power. As a fruit it refers to character. Faith as a gift is an act. It is the ability to act in faith in the face of impossibilities. Faith as a fruit is an attitude. It is developed through spiritual growth just as fruit in the natural world develops through growth processes.
A person with the gift of giving has a special ability to give material goods and financial resources to the work of the Lord. He does it with joy and eagerness. The gift of giving also includes the giving of time, strength, and talents to the work of the Lord. The one requirement for a person with the gift of giving is that it is done with simplicity, and by simplicity I mean liberally.
All Christians are to give to the work of the Lord. All believers are to give tithe from their income. The tithe is 10% of all that is earned and that is a minimum. If believers are not giving tithes and offerings, it is the same as robbing from God. Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. (Malachi 3:8)
I know it's hard to hear, and I really don't want to sound like I'm judging because my point is that; although all believers are to give and are blessed of God for doing so, a person with the gift of giving has an unusual ability to give joyfully to the Lord; a special spiritual motivation to give.
A person with the gift of helps has the ability to assist others in the work of the Lord enabling them to increase the effectiveness of their own spiritual gifts. From custodian to musicians, anything assisting in the operation of a church or a ministry can be considered a gift of helps. When Paul sent a woman named Phoebe to Rome, he asked believers there to assist her with the gift of helps. The gift of helps is any work which supports or assists someone else. It is like serving as an assistant.
The gift of serving is an ability to perform practical tasks related to the work of the Lord. A person who serves helps others accomplish spiritual goals by freeing them from routine but necessary duties. Serving differs from helps in that it relieves someone of certain duties. One who serves assumes the responsibility for certain tasks to free another to exercise their spiritual gift.
A person with the gift of serving might totally relieve a pastor from involvement in the distribution of food to those in need within the church body. An example of this is found in the early church where certain believers "served" tables to free the apostles for more important spiritual tasks.
"Mercy" means compassion and empathy. This means you are able to feel with and for another. A person with the gift of mercy has special compassion on those suffering and an ability to help them.
The gift of mercy involves an attitude as well as an action. This is shown in the story of the Good Samaritan. The Samaritan not only had compassion on the victim of the robbers, but also took action to help him.
The gift of hospitality is a special ability God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to provide food and lodging for those in need. A requirement for the use of this spiritual gift is that it is done without grudging. Grudging means resenting having to do it. Hospitality is done with excitement and joy.
SIGN GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
There are four gifts which we will call "sign gifts" because they are supernatural signs of God's power working through believers to confirm His Word.
The sign gifts minister to and through believers in healing, miracles, and special messages from God through tongues and interpretation. The four sign gifts are:
-Interpretation of tongues
You may notice that these gifts are not on the gift survey; that is because you can't really survey these. If I asked you if you have ever raised someone from the dead, then you probably have the gift of miracles. If you have ever restored sight to a blind person, you most likely have a gift for healing etc.
Through a person with the gift of miracles God performs powerful acts which are beyond the possibility of occurring naturally. These supernatural acts are a sign that God's power is greater than that of Satan.
Miracles accomplish specific spiritual purposes. God uses miracles to confirm the Gospel message and bring people into the Body of Christ, or to show the anointing and approval of the person ministering. God confirmed the ministry of Jesus and the apostles through miracles. But we always have to be on our toes because signs and wonders do not necessarily mean a man or ministry is of God. Satan likes to deceive through miracles.
A believer with the gift of healing has the ability to let God's power flow through him to restore health apart from the use of natural methods. "Healing" means to make well. This type of healing often referred to as "divine healing" because it is done by the divine power of God alone rather than through natural means.
Physical healing is one of the spiritual signs that is to follow the ministry of all believers. All believers can pray for the sick, but a believer with a gift of healing is used specifically and consistently by God in this area of ministry. In addition to curing physical affliction, healing can also include the casting out of unclean spirits.
Even with the gift of healing, not everyone we pray healing over will be healed and you shouldn't be discouraged by this. God has His reasons. If we gave up or doubted our gifting because someone wasn't healed it would be like an evangelist who stopped ministering because everyone he preached to didn't respond to the Gospel. Everyone Paul preached to didn't respond to the Gospel. Everyone he prayed for wasn't healed. But he kept on doing what God had called him to do. He preached the Gospel and prayed for the sick and left the results in the hands of God.
The gift of tongues is the ability to receive and communicate a message of God to His people through a language never learned. "Tongues" means languages. The reason we call this a "sign" gift rather than a "speaking" gift is that the Bible indicates clearly that this gift is given for a sign.
When one speaks in tongues it can be in a language known and recognized by listeners; or it can be in a language no one knows. This is called speaking in unknown tongues.
Now speaking in tongues is the physical sign of having been baptised in the Holy Spirit. But this is different from the gift of tongues. The gift of tongues is the special ability to deliver messages from God to the church in a language not known by the speaker.
The purposes of speaking in tongues, for personal prayer, self edification, and as a sign of baptism in the Holy Spirit. The gift of tongues is for edification of the church, intercession, prophesy, or as a sign for unbelievers.
INTERPRETATION OF TONGUES
The gift of interpretation is pretty self explanatory. It's a special ability to translate the language of someone who is speaking in tongues. The interpretation of a message in tongues is given by the Holy Spirit to one with this spiritual gift. It is not interpreted by knowing the language in which the message was given. It is given by revelation from the Holy Spirit. Interpretation is a summary of the message, not a word by word translation. Because of this, interpretation may vary from the message in tongues in length or structure.
I hope these explanations of the gifts of the Holy Spirit have been of some help to you. If you really want to see what these gifts look like in action, I've included examples of Christ demonstrating each gift. God bless you all!
GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE LIFE OF JESUS
-Miracles: Acts 2:22
-Healing: Acts 10:38
-Word Of Wisdom: I Corinthians 1:24,30
-Word Of Knowledge: John 1:45-50; 4:18; 11:14
-Discerning of Spirits: John 1:45-50 6:61
-Prophecy/Prophet: Matthew 24
-Teaching/Teacher: Matthew 4:23; 9:35; 26:55; Mark 6:6; 14:49;
Luke 5:17; 13:10,22; 21:37
-Exhortation: Luke 3:18
-Mercy [compassion]: Matthew 20:30-34
-Apostle: Hebrews 3:1
-Evangelist: John 10:16
-Pastor: John 10:11
-Leadership: John 13:15-16; Mark 10:42-45
-Administration: Luke 10:1-17
-Faith: Luke 8:49-56
-Giving: John 10:11
-Helps: John 17:6-10
-Serving: John 13:4-16; Mark 10:42-45
-Hospitality: John 21:9-13 [Had no home yet had hospitality].
-Tongues and Interpretation: These were the only two spiritual gifts not evident in the life of Jesus. These were not necessary because He was the Word of God Himself. There was no need for the gifts of tongues and interpretation to bring a message from God through Him to man.