Every believer in Jesus Christ during the Church Age receives at least one spiritual gift (some have multiple gifts) at salvation. A spiritual gift is a specific ability given by God the Holy Spirit to the believer. The word for gift in Greek is “charisma” and means “grace gift”. Therefore, spiritual gifts are not earned or deserved. These gifts are divinely bestowed by the Holy Spirit in grace to those He chooses. The purpose for spiritual gifts, as stated in Scripture, is for the function of the body of Christ in the local church. (Romans 12:4-6; I Corinthians 12:11-31)
Within the category of spiritual gifts there are permanent and temporary gifts. Permanent gifts were first given to believers in the early Church and will continue to be operational until the end of the Church Age, which ends at the Rapture. Temporary gifts were also given to believers in the early Church, but were foundational for the establishment of the Church and are no longer operational.
Temporary spiritual gifts were foundational as the early Church was being formed. The purpose of gifts at that time was to confirm the spoken word of the apostles and disciples of the Lord. Some of these gifts were for the detection of heresy in the Church, which was rampant in the first century Church. Some gifts were given to evangelize the lost in their own language. When these known languages were spoken in the local church an interpreter was always required in order that the entire congregation could be taught. There were also temporary gifts that established the apostles’ authority over all churches. And finally, there were certain gifts given to men for the teaching of doctrine not yet a part of the canon of Scripture.
1) Apostleship – Established the apostle’s authority over several churches. (I Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11)
2) Prophecy – Forthtelling or foretelling events not yet recorded in the canon of Scripture and teaching Bible doctrine. (Romans 12:6; I Corinthians 12:10, 28; Ephesians 4:11)
1) Tongues – The ability to speak a known language not previously learned. (I Corinthians 12:10, 28)
2) Interpretation of Tongues – The ability to translate the unknown language into the common language spoken in the church. (I Corinthians 12:10)
3) Healing – The ability to heal at will regardless of the person’s faith or lack of faith who was being healed. (I Corinthians 12:9, 28)
4) Miracles – The ability to perform miracles at will. (I Corinthians 12:10, 28)
5) Faith – A companion gift to healing and miracles involving the faith of the person with the gift, not the one receiving the miracle or healing. (I Corinthians 13:2)
6) Discerning of Spirits – The ability to detect heresy in the church. (I Corinthians 12:10)
7) Knowledge – Knowing Bible doctrine not yet in the canon of Scripture. (I Corinthians 13:2, 8)
Permanent spiritual gifts were given to the early church and continue to be operational throughout the Church Age in which we live. The purpose for these gifts, as stated in Scripture, is for the teaching of the believer, the edification of the believer and for divine production by the believer. Every spiritual need of the believer in this age is met by the function of one or more of these spiritual gifts.
1) Pastor-Teacher – The ability to study, learn and teach Bible doctrine accurately in a systematic way because of his interest in the congregation understanding truth and growing spiritually. He also shepherds the local church, which means he protects them against apostasy and heresy through accurate interpretation and teaching. (Ephesians 4:11)
2) Evangelist – The ability to communicate the Gospel clearly and effectively for the main purpose of leading people to Christ. The evangelist is normally involved in outreach ministries and missionary activities. They normally have a charismatic and dynamic personality. (Ephesians 4:11)
3) Exhortation – The ability to stir people to action and encourage others with sound Scriptural advice. (Romans 12:8)
4) Teaching – The ability to study and teach systematically the truth of Bible doctrine as learned under their right pastor-teacher. This person will be a good educator. (Romans 12:7; I Corinthians 12:28)
1) Word of Knowledge – The ability to study and categorize the truth of Bible doctrine and answer related questions. (I Corinthians 12:8)
2) Word of Wisdom – the ability to make proper application of Bible doctrine in a practical way. (I Corinthians 12:8)
3) Faith – The ability to have a vision for the advance of the local church. This person is optimistic about the future and trusts God in every situation. (I Corinthians 12:9)
4) Discernment – The ability to see clearly a course of action for the local church. This person asks the right questions, is a good listener and can see through the confusion in order to come up with the proper solution to any problem. (I Corinthians 12:10)
1) Administration, ruling, governments – An organized person that has the ability to manage people, programs, finances, set up systems and delegate responsibilities. (I Corinthians 12:28; Romans 12:8)
2) Helps – The ability to serve behind the scenes without recognition. They are flexible and adaptable. They will do whatever needs to be done without complaint. (I Corinthians 12:28)
3) Giving – The ability to give above and beyond what the average believer is able to give. They are good with finances and know how money is spent and used for the good of the local church body. They are wise stewards of what God gives them. (Romans 12:8)
4) Ministering – The ability to render service to the physical needs of others, such as helping the poor with food, clothing, etc. (Romans 12:7)
5) Showing Mercy – The ability to empathize with the needs of others. They are sensitive, caring and concerned about the needs of others. They strive to reduce the pain of others and make good hospital visitors. (Romans 12:8)
Spiritual gifts are a great blessing from God for the local church. Without the function of these gifts in the local body, the church could not properly operate. Each of us has a spiritual gift/s and it is up to us to discover that gift/s and use them. The discovery of our gift/s may come from recognition from a person in authority in the local church, such as the pastor or a deacon. However, most spiritual gifts are discovered as the believer begins to function in the local church doing things they love to do.