Spiritual Gifts


Ken Boa provides a brief description of some of the spiritual gifts, including both speaking gifts and serving gifts.

A Brief Description of Some Spiritual Gifts

“As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves, is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:10- 11). These verses imply a two-fold classification: (1) speaking gifts (ministry of the Word), and (2) serving gifts (ministry of practical service).

Prophecy (Romans 12:6; 1 Corinthians 12:10, 28-29; 14:1-40; Ephesians 4:11)—The ability to receive and proclaim a message from God. This could involve the foretelling of future events, though its primary purpose as seen in 1 Corinthians 14:3 is forthtelling: “one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation.” In this sense, this gift is exhibited when preaching is accompanied with authority and Spirit-led power to encourage and admonish. Many spirit centered believers affirm that prophecy can also involve a revelation from God (1 Corinthians 14:26), whether through a dream, vision, or message. This should not be confused with the normative Word of God to all believers (canonical prophecy). Congregational prophecy, unlike the canonical prophecy of Scripture, is a message from God for a specific people, place, and time, and it should be tested by leaders in the church (1 Corinthians 14:29). Is it spoken in love? Does it edify the congregation? Is it consistent with Scripture? Does it honor God?

Service (Romans 12:7)—The ability to identify and care for the physical needs of people through a variety of means. The Greek word for this gift is the same as that for “ministry” or “deacon,” but the gift should not be confused with the office.

Teaching (Romans 12:7; 1 Corinthians 12:28-29; Ephesians 4:11)—The ability to explain clearly and to apply the truths of God's Word so that others will learn. This requires the capacity to interpret Scripture accurately, engage in necessary research, and organize the results in ways that effectively communicate to others.

Exhortation (Romans 12:8)—The ability to motivate people to respond to the truth by providing timely words of counsel, encouragement, and consolation. When this gift is exercised, others are challenged to stimulate their faith by putting God's truth to the test in their lives.

Giving (Romans 12:8)—The ability to contribute material resources with generosity and cheerfulness for the benefit of others and the glory of God. Christians with this spiritual gift need not be wealthy.

Leadership (Romans 12:8)—The ability to discern God's purpose for a group, set and communicate appropriate goals, and motivate others to work together to fulfill them in the service of God. A person with this gift is effective at delegating tasks to followers without manipulation or coercion.

Mercy (Romans 12:8)—The ability to deeply empathize and engage in compassionate acts on behalf of people who are suffering physical, mental, or emotional distress. Those with this gift manifest concern and kindness to people who are often overlooked.

Wisdom (1 Corinthians 12:8)—The ability to apply the principles of the Word of God in a practical way to specific situations and to recommend the best course of action at the best time. The exercise of this gift skillfully distills insight and discernment into excellent advice.

Knowledge (1 Corinthians 12:8)—The ability to discover, analyze, and systematize truth for the benefit of others. With this gift, one speaks with understanding and penetration. But “the word of knowledge” can also involve supernatural perception and discernment for the purpose of ministering to others.

Faith (1 Corinthians 12:9)—The ability to have a vision for what God wants to be done and to believe confidently that it will be accomplished in spite of circumstances and appearances to the contrary. The gift of faith transforms vision into reality.

Taken from Ken Boa’s Handbook to Spiritual Growth

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