What are the Gifts of the Holy Spirit?

What are the gifts of the Holy Spirit? Does the Holy Spirit give every Christian believer a gift or gifts? Do these gifts still function in individuals, in the Church and within our modern day society? How can you discover the spiritual gift and purpose which the Holy Spirit has given you?

Most of the gifts of the Holy Spirit are mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 which says the following:
There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:  8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

Your spiritual gift(s) equip your for Christian ministry whilst being guided by the Holy Spirit. According to 1 Corinthians 12:11 the Holy Spirit is the Distributor of all spiritual gifts and it is He who distributes His variety of gifts to every Christian believer according to His own will and choosing.
Therefore if you are a genuine Christian believer then the Holy Spirit has endowed you with at least one or more specific spiritual gifts – even if you haven’t yet discovered the nature of that particular gift.


The Gifts of The Holy Spirit Explained

The gifts of the Holy Spirit as mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:7-11 are the following:

1. Word of Wisdom (vs 8)
Wisdom is defined as the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment; wisdom is applied knowledge.
James 3:13 says: Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.

The gift of wisdom is different from the wisdom of the world. This kind of wisdom incorporates the fear of the Lord or reverence for God.
Proverbs 9:10 says: The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

The gift of the word of wisdom is also a speaking gift. It is the ability to speak Biblical truths or to give practical Biblical advice, counsel and teaching that would cause definitive change or repentance in another person’s life. It is the ability to give the right word at the right time to the appropriate person.


2. Word of Knowledge (vs 8)
The gift of word of knowledge is also a speaking gift. Knowledge refers to information, understanding or awareness of the deep things of God or concerning various spiritual circumstances.
The gift of the word of knowledge is the ability to speak or provide understanding and clarity in situations or circumstances which may cause confusion or deception.
Word of Knowledge involves the understanding or comprehension of Biblical truth. A person who has this gift is likely to have the quality of the fear of the Lord.
Proverbs 1:7 says: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.


3. Gift of Faith (vs 9)
Every person has been assigned a measure of faith by God (Romans 12:3).
However a person with the gift of faith is someone who has the ability to trust God in all circumstances and encourage others to trust God especially in difficult conditions.
The gift of faith is more than just having personal confidence or personal optimism.
The gift of faith is the ability to trust and believe God’s word, God’s promises or Biblical truth in spite of the circumstances.
This faith is sourced from the correct understanding, the correct interpretation and the correct application of the word of God (Romans 10:17).
A person with the gift of faith helps others to remain strong in their personal faith in God and to be steadfast in trusting His word.


4. Gift of Healing (vs 9)
The gift of healing is the ability to be used by God to produce miraculous healing to others, for example: praying for the sick or the suffering.
Although there are many false prophets and false “faith healers” that exist in religion today, there remains evidence that God still miraculously heals in our modern day and that God is able to use people whom He has assigned the gift of healing.
However, we must beware of false prophets and false miracle workers as there are many of them and the Bible warns us not to follow them.
Matthew 24:24-25 says: “For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.  25 See, I have told you beforehand.”


5. Gift of Miracles (vs 10)
The gift of miracles is the ability to display signs and miracles that give credibility to God’s Word and the Gospel message.
The purpose of any miracle is to give glory to God and not to the person who has been used or gifted to produce the miracle.
Does God still perform miracles today? He definitely does.
However, we must avoid falling into the trap of seeking after miracles alone or seeking after supposed miracle workers, because many fake faith healers exist. Even the devil can perform false signs and wonders to deceive people and therefore spiritual discernment is important.
For example, in Acts 8:9-11, people were deceived by Simon the Magician because they believed that he had the “power of God” but yet he performed signs and wonders through sorcery and magic.
The greatest miracle is that of salvation through Jesus Christ. Conversion to Christ is a great miracle that Jesus Himself said that there is joy in Heaven over one sinner who repents (Luke 15:7).
The conversion of a soul to Christ is more important to God than any miracle He has ever performed because it is the very reason why Jesus came to be crucified on earth (John 3:16).


6. Gift of Prophecy (vs 10)
The gift of prophecy is a speaking gift. However in the New Testament translation, the gift of prophecy does not refer to foretelling the future or predicting someone’s future.
Instead the gift of prophecy refers to the gift of preaching or the gift of teaching and explaining God’s word.
In the New Testament, the Greek translation for “prophecy” refers to “speaking forth” and not foretelling or predicting the future.
We should therefore beware of many people who claim to be prophets or claim to speak for God and foretell the future. We must also beware of people who claim to have special access and exclusive revelation from God. Many of these people are false prophets and we should be able to learn to distinguish divination from true prophecy.


7. Gift of Discerning Spirits (vs 10)
The gift of discerning of spirits is the ability to discern between the things that are sourced from God and the imitation / counterfeit that is sourced from the devil. People with the gift of discernment are able to discern false doctrines, false teachers and false spirits which attempt to imitate the Spirit of God or mislead people from Biblical truths.

“Discernment is not knowing the difference between right and wrong. It is knowing the difference between right and almost right.” (Charles Spurgeon).

2 Corinthians 11:4 speaks of people who proclaim “another Jesus”, “a different spirit from the Spirit you received” and a “different gospel from the one you accepted”.

2 Corinthians 11:14 says that “satan disguises himself as an angel of light”.

Therefore the purpose of the gift of discernment is to distinguish another Jesus, another gospel and a different spirit in order to warn and prevent others from being deceived.


8. Gift of Speaking in Tongues (vs 10)
The gift of speaking in tongues is the ability to speak in a human language the speaker does not know, in order to communicate God’s word to someone who does speak that language.
In the New Testament, speaking in tongues does not refer to speaking in an “angelic language” or any incoherent babble without any authentic verifiable translation or interpretation.
In the New Testament for example in Acts chapter 2 and 1 Corinthians chapter 14 the Greek word for “tongues” is {glossa} which means “language.” It is the word from which we get our modern English word “glossary.”
The word {glossa} refers specifically to a human language and not incoherent language.
To understand more about the gift of speaking in tongues read here.


9. Gift of Interpretation of Tongues (vs 10)
A person with the gift of interpreting tongues can supernaturally understand what a tongues-speaker is saying even though he did not naturally know the language that is being spoken. The tongues interpreter would then communicate the message of the tongues speaker to everyone else, so all could understand.
To understand more about the gift of interpreting tongues read here.


Other Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Besides 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 there are other Scriptures which speak about other gifts of the Holy Spirit such as the gift of generosity, the gift of administration, the gift of encouragement or exhortation, the gift of teaching and the gift of helps or serving.

Romans 12:6-8 says: Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them… 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness


The gifts of the Holy Spirit are assigned by the Holy Spirit to whomever He chooses according to God’s will. Every true Christian believer has at least one or more gifts from the Holy Spirit for the purpose of Christian ministry.
The function of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is to edify the Church or other believers; to glorify God; and to help convert unbelievers so as to bring them to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.


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