The Friday feature of the Worldly Saints blog has a NEW THEME. Fridays are going to be reserved for answering questions submitted to you (the reader of this blog). You can ask any question you would like, and it doesn’t have to be about a recent blog post. Any biblical or theological or historical or cultural question is encouraged.
What are Spiritual Gifts?
What are “spiritual gifts”? John MacArthur defines them as “divine enablements for ministry, characteristics of Jesus Christ that are to be manifested through the body corporate just as they were manifested through the body incarnate.” That is a helpful definition that highlights two features that help make up a spiritual gift:
- Spiritual gifts are given by God. Thus, we become stewards of what God has given us. Peter tells us, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (I Pet 4:10).
- Spiritual gifts are given for the purpose of ministering to other people. They strengthen the faith of others. Paul wrote in Romans 1:11-12, “11 For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established; 12 that is, that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other’s faith, both yours and mine.”
Spiritual gifts are abilities empowered by the Holy Spirit and used for ministry in the church.
Are There Listings of Spiritual Gifts?
The listings of spiritual gifts can be found in four primary N.T. passages.
- Romans 12:3-8 – exhortation, giving, leadership, mercy, prophecy, service, teaching
- I Corinthians 12 – administration, apostles, discernment, faith, healing, helping, interpretation, knowledge, prophecy, teaching, tongues, wisdom, working miracles
- Ephesians 4:11 – apostles, evangelists, prophecy, shepherding, teaching
- I Peter 4:10-11 – service, speakingNot one list is exhaustive but represents broad categories of giftedness. The lists contain both natural and supernatural gifts. They are not easily grouped or classified. Some suggest we put every spiritual gift into one of two categories: speaking gifts and serving gifts. While that may be helpful, it is not a perfect idea because every speaking gift is still serving people.
How Can I Best Determine What My Spiritual Gift Is?
The only question that remains is, “How do I know what mine are?” The best way to discover your spiritual gift is to simply start serving somewhere. Just get involved and see what the Lord does.
When I was part of a church plant in the early 2000’s, I filled in as music leader for a Sunday service. And in short, I was terrible. I could choose theologically correct songs, but I had no idea how to transition from one song to the next or which songs complemented each other in their timing. In a desperate attempt to not sound so ridiculous, on Sunday morning, I brought performance tracks so we could sing along with them and then actually uttered the words, “Friends, just pretend you are singing in the shower while you listen to the radio!”
Well, it didn’t take me long to figure out, I am not gifted in this area but I would have never known that had I not tried it. Get involved and you will know if the Lord wants or has equipped you to be there.
However, there are three questions I believed that can help assist you in becoming clearer on your spiritual gift(s).
- Where do I believe I am gifted? Where do you desire to serve? If you are gifted in teaching, you will be looking for ways to use that gift – leading small groups, teaching a Sunday School class, starting a Bible study in your home, etc.
- Do others affirm a certain area of giftedness? Have you had other believers say they noticed that you are capable of certain tasks in the church?
- Is their fruit of ministry from using these gifts? If you find spiritual gifts that are common answers to all three questions, you have likely determined an area of spiritual giftedness.
If you have a question you would like to submit to our blog to be answered in the future, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or ask them in the comments section of this post
 I Corinthians, pg. 283.