What are spiritual gifts?

A spiritual gift is any ability that is empowered by the Holy Spirit to accomplish God’s purposes.

The Bible teaches that God equips and empowers people for service within the church, which is the body of Christ. God is the source of our abilities. These empowerments may be called “gifts” from God.

Here are 5 ways God designed for His gifts to work through us…

  1. God appoints each person to have a function in the body (1 Corinthians 12:11-12, 18).
  2. Each person has his/her own function in the body; not all are the same (1 Corinthians 12:14-25).
  3. The Holy Spirit empowers each person to serve according to what God wills (1 Corinthians 12:11).
  4. The church suffers if one member suffers (1 Corinthians 12:26). Given the concern in 1 Corinthians 12 for the functions of different members, the verse seems to imply that the body may suffer partly because one member is not carrying out its functions, which help the whole body.
  5. The church flourishes when one member is honored (Corinthians 12:26).

Where are the gifts located in the Bible?

1 Corinthians 12:8-11

Word of Wisdom >> Word of Knowledge >> Faith >> Gifts of Healing >> Working of Miracles >> Prophecy >> Distinguishing of Spirits >> Kinds of Tongues >> Interpretation of Tongues

1 Corinthians 12:28

Apostles >> Prophets >> Teachers >> Workers of Miracles >> Helps >> Administration >> Kinds of Tongues

Romans 12:6-8

Prophecy >> Service >> Teaching >> Exhortation >> Giving >> Leadership >> Showing of Mercy

Ephesians 4:11

Apostles >> Prophets >> Evangelists >> Pastors >> Teachers

1 Peter 4:11

Speaking >> Service

Work in Progress

In every area of the church, it’s important to remember that the church is 100% divine and 100% human; therefore, it’s imperfect but it’s being perfected. “… he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).

The church is composed of people who have been forgiven from their sins by Christ, but are still in the process of being freed from their sins. Ultimately, the heart and mission of the church can be summarized in two words:


However, love doesn’t work as it was designed to work apart from our spiritual gifts. Just as faith without works is dead, gifts without love are dead. You can’t have one without the other.

Ultimately, our gifts are simply tools for us to express God’s love. This expression occurs in 3 primary ways:

  1. All spiritual gifts are empowered “by one and the same Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:11).
  2. All spiritual gifts are given “for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:7).
  3. All spiritual gifts are to be used for “edification / building up” of the church (1 Corinthians 14:26).

In the next Unlocked blog, we’ll define the specific gifts and how they should be used.




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