SPECIAL TOPIC: SPIRITUAL GIFTS (from 1 Corinthians 12. See full discussion of each gift there online)

There are several lists of spiritual gifts in the NT (cf. Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12-14; Ephesians 4:11; and 1 Pet. 4:10-11). The lists are not the same, nor is the order of gifts the same. They are representative samples, not definitive lists. Some of the gifts function in gathered worship, but others focus outside corporate worship meetings. There is no hierarchy of gifts.  All are given by the Spirit for the health and growth of the Body of Christ (cf. 1  Cor. 12:7).  Tongues is said to be least because it blesses only the speaker (cf. 1 Cor. 14:1-19), but tongues with interpretation surely equals "prophecy."


The emphasis which Paul places on spiritual giftedness is surprising, but he says little about how one finds or identifies his/her gift. I am reluctant to affirm many of the "spiritual gift tests" that have been developed in our day. They test only for the gifts listed in the NT. Many of the gifts listed are not clearly defined (i.e., the gifts of leadership in Eph. 4:11). The most helpful guide I have found in this area is the IVP booklet entitled Affirming the Will of God by Paul Little. The same Christian wisdom that helps us find God's will also helps us identify our effective gift for ministry.

1. pray specifically

2. ask mature Christians who know you what strengths they see in you

3. look for open doors of opportunity to try different areas

4. follow the desires of your heart


It is far more important that as believers we know what gift we have been given (i.e., a salvation, cf. 1 Cor. 12:11), but that all believers are called, gifted, ministers (cf.  Eph. 4:12).

One may have more than one gift and the gifts may change through time and need of the body.  Before non-charismatics use 1 Cor. 14:34 too much, please read verse 39!  We must always be careful of our denominational experiential biases!

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