A Look at Spiritual Gifts

Discovering one’s spiritual gifts and then using them in ministry is a vital part in the maturing process of the Christian faith.  The document linked below  is one of the best treatments I have ever seen in explaining the different gifts found in the Scriptures.  Before I go farther, let me define what we mean by “Spiritual Gifts”.  In his book Systematic Theology, Wayne Grudem defines it this way, “A Spiritual gift is any ability that is empowered by the Holy Spirit and used in any ministry of the church.”  The New Testament clearly teaches that God gifts people, that these gifts have supernatural element, and that He does this for the building up of the church, the advance of the Gospel in the world, and the continuation of His mission.  The Bible also clearly teaches that every follower of Jesus has the Holy Spirit within and has at least one gift given by Him for these purposes.

A few quick thoughts on this issue, which is one of the most controversial in Christian theology, specifically views on what would be called the miraculous gifts.  These gifts include speaking in tongues, prophecy, and healing among others.  First, we allow for a wide range of diversity of beliefs on this subject.  As a church, we generally believe that all of the gifts of the Spirit are available for the church today, but that the Scriptures are clear that God sovereignly chooses whom he will gift in what ways.  We do not believe that any gift is the true sign of being filled with the Holy Spirit, and that there are no gifts that all people have.  Let me clarify here.  Some would say that gifts such as tongues and prophecy ended when the Canon of Scripture was completed.  While there may be some who hold this view in our congregation, as a whole we at Genesis do not hold this position.  Others would say that every Christian should speak in tongues and that this gift is the sign of being filled with the Holy Spirit.  We reject this position and believe it is based on a faulty interpretation of a few passages in the New Testament.

The New Testament contains six passages that give lists of spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:28, 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, Romans 12:6-8, Ephesians 4:11, 1 Corinthians 7:7, and 1 Peter 4:11).  These lists are very different, even though five of them are written by the same author.  This would lead us to believe that these lists are not to be viewed as comprehensive, but selective.  In other words, the New Testament is giving us an overarching list of gifts and callings that the Holy Spirit places on people, but we definitely need to see the possibility that there are things that are not listed in these passages that can be considered special giftings by God.  In 1 Peter 4:11, Peter breaks the gifts into two catagories, speaking gifts which focus on a person’s ability to use their voice and serving gifts which focus on a person’s ability to use their hands.

Let me encourage you to take some time to read this document, especially if you have never thought through and considered your spiritual gifting.  We hope that this will lead each person to a greater understanding of the Holy Spirit’s work within them and his call for them.

Spiritual Gifts Descriptions

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