Spiritual gifts are special abilities distributed by the Holy Spirit to every believer for the common good of the body of Christ and for each believer’s ministry in the world on behalf of Christ.
Scripture tells us that we are called to undertake the responsibility of the gifts that are bestowed on us to fulfill the mission of the Church. When you begin to serve faithfully according to God’s specific gifts in your life, you will be maximizing your impact for the Gospel and drawing closer to God.
And together with other faithful servants, you will shape a church where: The Word is heard. Forgiveness is given. Worship is embraced. Service is rendered. Needs are met. Peace is present. Grace is granted. The lost are found.
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“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one.” – 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 RSV
Spiritual Gifts and Scripture
Administration: Administration appears in the list of spiritual gifts Paul provides in 1 Corinthians 12:28, and you can see an example of his instructing a younger disciple to exercise the gift of administration in the beginning of his letter to Titus.
Craftsmanship: You can see this gift used throughout the history of God’s people—from the recent construction at Incarnation back through the building of the great cathedrals of the past. You can dig even further back and see this gift in Moses’ instructions about building objects for the worship of God starting in Exodus 37.
Creative Communication: The Scriptures are riddled with examples of the deployment of the gift of Creative Communication. One of the most interesting comes from the Acts of the Apostles, when Paul finds himself in Athens trying to connect with a culture that is deeply religious, but religious toward the worship of idols as opposed to the worship of God. In Acts 17:22-31, we can read about Paul creatively communicating the Gospel by incorporating local custom to explain the message of Christ.
Discernment: Many leaders within the Bible practice discernment, including Jesus himself. Check out Jesus’ discernment of what the devil was tempting him with in Matthew 4:1-13.
Encouragement: St. Paul was a great encourager of the earliest Christians. Check out an example in the opening chapter of his letter to the church in Ephesus (Ephesians 1).
Evangelism: The early church was frequently engaged in evangelism. A great example of evangelism is St. Peter’s speech in Acts 2:14-41. That said, most of the time evangelism isn’t recorded because it isn’t in the great speeches to big crowds; rather, evangelism most often happens in the relationship between two people when one person shares the message of the Gospel.
Faith: We see an example of this extraordinary gift of faith in the lame beggar who is healed after coming into contact with two early followers of Jesus, Peter and John (see Acts 3:1-10).
Giving: Like many spiritual gifts, the gift of giving seems to have been more obviously received by the faithful in the earliest days of the Church. Acts 4:32-37 provides a powerful example of early reception of this gift.
Helps: You can see an early example of this gift being received by the first deacons of the Church in Acts 6:1-7. Not everyone to whom God has given this gift is called to ordination as a deacon, but the first deacons provide a model for the selfless service empowered by this gift.
Hospitality: Examples of hospitality litter the Bible, but one particularly surprising example comes from the notorious character of Rahab. Joshua, the leader of God’s people at war, send out two spies, and they are protected by an unlikely turn of events. Check out Joshua 2:1-7.
Intercession: A powerful example of intercessory prayer can be seen in Abraham’s prayers for Sodom in Genesis 18.
Knowledge: We see St. Paul describe the gift of knowledge present in the Corinthian church in 1 Corinthians 1:4-7.
Leadership: St. Paul commends the leaders of the Roman church to lead with zeal in Romans 12:3-8.
Mercy: Jesus is of course famous for showing mercy. One example can be found in his cleansing of the ten lepers in Luke 17:11-19.
Shepherding: Jesus, the true Good Shepherd, provides a reminder to any who would shepherd in his name of the need to always be willing to offer one’s own self for others in John 10:1-21.
Teaching: The spiritual gift of teaching appears in many spiritual gifts lists in the Bible, including Paul’s famous list in Ephesians 4.
Wisdom: The Bible has a whole category of literature known as Wisdom Literature. Perhaps the best known of this collection is the book of Proverbs. The opening of that text, Proverbs 1:1-7, contains a great description of Godly wisdom.