f them in all men.

Spirit/Lord/God many spiritual gifts -----à service ----àworking/power

3. The Spirit in Spiritual Gifts (12:7-11)

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.

(1) Message of wisdom

A Word refers to "a supernaturally imparted fragment," while wisdom, which generally means prudence, decision making.

(2) Message of knowledge

A supernaturally inspired utterance of facts.

(3) Faith

A supernatural impartation of assurance in God.

(4) Gifts of healing

Supernaturally ministering health to the sick.

(5) Miraculous powers

A supernatural intervention of natural laws. The Greek describes it as "works of power" and implies instantaneous results.

(6) Prophecy

A supernaturally inspired utterance from God. A genuine prophetic utterance never contradicts, neither is equal to, the written Word of God. To forthtell or foretell. To speak from the mind of God. Prophecies are to be judged (1 Cor. 14:29, 1 Thes. 5:20-21).

(7) Distinguishing between spirits

This is a supernatural ability to discern a person's spiritual character and the source of his actions and messages, such as from the Holy Spirit, demon spirits, the human spirit or from the flesh.

(8) Different kinds of tongues

A supernaturally imparted utterance in an unlearned language which is interpreted as a prophecy to the body for their edification. (This is distinguished from "praying" in tongues, which is intended to edify one's own spirit -- 1 Cor. 14:14.) A message in tongues to the body is always to be interpreted (by another gift), and is limited to three within a gathering (1 Cor. 14:27).

(9) Interpretation of tongues

This is the supernatural interpretation of a message in tongues into the understandable language of the hearers. It is not a "translation" but an interpretation. This list is not comprehensive. Other gifts are given in 1 Corinthians 12:28-31; Romans 12:6-8; Ephesians 4:11

Diagram: Four groupings of spiritual gifts[1]

Diversity and unity of spiritual gifts

Giver of spiritual gifts: The Holy Spirit

Aim of spiritual gifts: common good

Distributors of spiritual gifts: gives them to each one, just as he determines.

Lessons for us

(1) The Holy Spirit is the builder of the Church

(2) The Church is the body of Christ which to carry out the mission of God, the Father

(3) Spiritual gifts are given by the Holy Spirit (He decides who gets what)

(4) Spiritual gifts are to be used to build the church

(5) All spiritual gifts have the same status

(6) Spiritual gifts are different from Fruit of the Spirit.

There is a difference between spiritual gifts and fruit. Gifts are the Spirit's manifestation through a person, but fruit is the product of one's spiritual character. Spirituality cannot be measured by gifts, but by fruit (Gal. 5:22-24). Love is the predominate feature of spirituality (1 Cor. 13:13), without which, charismatic gifts cannot function effectively (1 Cor. 13:1-2). Paul expressed that the church should have a desire for spiritual gifts, but it should follow the foremost pursuit of love. "Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts," (1 Cor. 14:1).

(7) What is your spiritual gift?

a. Ask the Holy Spirit

b. What is your passion?

c. What do you do well?

d. What produces lasting fruits?

Recommended reading: Wagner, Peter.1979. Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow. Ventura, CA: Regal. Lists 27 different types of gifts. Also includes a Spiritual Gifts Questionaire.

Websites offering online spiritual gifts questionnaires

http://www.churchgrowth.org/cgi-cg/gifts.cgi?intro=1 (Church Growth Institute)

http://www.elmertowns.com/spiritual_gifts_test/ (Elmer Towns’ Questionaires)

http://www.elca.org/evangelism/assessments/spiritgifts.html (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America)


The Holy Spirit is builder of the church. He is the giver of spiritual gifts and he gives them to whom he chooses. The spiritual gifts are for the building up of the church and not for personal gain. Most teaching on spiritual gifts place more emphasis on the spiritual gifts rather than the giver. We must not miss the SPIRIT in SPIRITual gifts.


soli deo gloria

[1] House, H. Wayne.1992. Charts of Christian Theology & Doctrine. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. P.70


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|posted 2 December 2007)



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