What are spiritual gifts? – General
Spiritual gifts are special abilities believers have, manifestations of the Holy Spirit within us. Their purpose is to be used for the building up of the body of Christ, and each believer has at least one.
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. And there are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given a manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. (1 Corinthians 12:4-7)
For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. And since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us exercise them accordingly… (Romans 12:4-6a)
There is also a certain hierarchy of spiritual gifts (see 1 Corinthians 12:28-31), but all are valuable to the body of Christ (see 1 Corinthians 12:11-27).
What are spiritual gifts? – Specific
There are many spiritual gifts mentioned in Scripture, some of which widely accepted as such, and some of which do not fall on traditional lists and so are only considered to be spiritual gifts by some.
Personally, I believe that since none of the traditional spiritual gifts lists are all-inclusive (evidenced by the fact that they all differ), they are not intended to be interpreted as the only spiritual gifts – so, I believe that it is entirely valid to interpret the other alleged spiritual gifts mentioned in Scripture as such. Therefore, I will list both types here, along with some basic Scripture references:
Prophecy (Romans 12:6, 1 Corinthians 12:10, 28, 13:2 Ephesians 4:11)Service (1 Peter 4:11)
Teaching (Romans 12:7, 1 Corinthians 12:28, Ephesians 4:11)
Exhortation (Romans 12:8)
Giving (Romans 12:8)
Leading (Romans 12:8)
Mercy (Romans 12:8)
Wisdom (1 Corinthians 12:8)
Knowledge (1 Corinthians 12:8, 13:2)
Faith (1 Corinthians 12:9, 13:2)
Healing (1 Corinthians 12:9, 28)
Miracles (1 Corinthians 12:10, 28)
Distinguishing of Spirits (1 Corinthians 12:10)
Speaking in Tongues (1 Corinthians 12:10, 28, 13:1, 1 Peter 4:11)
Interpretation of Tongues (1 Corinthians 12:10, 28)
Apostleship (1 Corinthians 12:28, Ephesians 4:11)
Helps (1 Corinthians 12:28)
Administration (1 Corinthians 12:28)
Evangelism (Ephesians 4:11)
Pastoring (Ephesians 4:11)
Hospitality (1 Peter 4:9-10)
Celibacy/Singleness (1 Corinthians 7:7)
Martyrdom (1 Corinthians 13:3)
Missionary (Ephesians 3:6-7)
(Voluntary) Poverty (1 Corinthians 13:3)
Various Crafts (1 Corinthians 12:5, Acts 9:36-39, Exodus 31:2-6)
Physical Protection/Warring (Book of Judges, e.g. 13:5 and 16:28, Psalm 18:34, 60:11-12)
Administration (1 Corinthians 12:28)
What’s the point of studying this out in depth?
It is my hope that study will help you identify the spiritual gifts God has gifted you with (so you can use them for His kingdom), and those that He has gifted others with (so you can help them identify which gifts they have, and so you can witness the body of Christ in action).
How can I figure out which spiritual gifts I have?
1 – PRAY and ask God to reveal which gifts He has given you through the course of this study.
2 – ASK a trusted, mature believer who knows you well what gifts they think you might have.
3 – Take a QUIZ online designed to identify your spiritual gifts. I only recommend this in conjunction with the two items above, because such quizzes are certainly not conclusive and there is room for error. That said, they are a very useful resource in getting you thinking in the right direction, as well as bringing to your attention different ways in which the various gifts can be manifested. Here are a couple I have worked through, consider to be valid, and strongly recommend (and if you do choose to go this route, I suggest taking both quizzes):
1 - If you already know what spiritual gifts you have, which ones? If not, which ones do you suspect you might have?
2 - What spiritual gifts are you most excited to learn about, and why? (E.g., are you curious about the difference between wisdom and knowledge?)
3 - Can you think of any spiritual gifts mentioned (or strongly implied) in Scripture that I missed?