Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Spiritual gifts are given unto what end?
— for the development and spiritual growth of the worldwide Christian church.1

Brian Kuehmichel
April 8, 2013

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Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. 1 Corinthians 12:1-7

Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church. 1 Corinthians 14:12

If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I (Apostle Paul) write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. 1 Corinthians 14:37

As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:10-11

Gifts at Creation

God has so made man in His image that mankind possesses numerous capacities, qualities and skills. These are given to mankind as tools to be used to fulfill the duties given to them in the dominion mandate (Gen 1:26, 28; 2:8) and in worship (Exo 34:14; Lev 10:3; 1 Chr 16:23, 29; Psa 29:2; 86:9; 95:6; etc.) of their Creator. These gifts are included in what is called the "common grace" of God toward men. The beauty of the blooming flower, the majestic mountain view, the glorious sunrise and sunset, the glory of the heavens and much more are also part of His common gifts to mankind. Just as God makes the sun to shine, and rains to fall upon the earth (Matt 5:45), seeds to grow (Mark 4:8, 26-27), plants to mature and bear fruit (Mark 4:28-29a; 2 Cor 9:10), and animals to copulate and increase, He has given to mankind gifts to use to fulfill His will.

Because sin entered this world through man's specific disobedience against God's directives (Gen 2:16-17, 3:4-13), mankind now lives in weakness and decay resulting in death. (Gen 2:16-17; 3:17-19; Rom 3:23; 6:23) In their rebellion and sin, mankind's gifts are often misused or neglected leading to anguish, oppression, sorrow, suffering, thievery, tyranny, et cetera.

"And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: all these evil things come from within, and defile the man." Mark 7:20-23

"Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God?" Romans 2:21-23

"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God." 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

"Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." Galatians 5:19-21

"For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." 2 Timothy 3:2-5 (See: 2 Pet 2:10-19; Jude 8, 16)

Gifts for the New Creation

When God, "in the fulness of time" (Gal 4:4), began a new thing, a new creation (2 Cor 5:17), He also gave "gifts unto men" (Eph 4:8; Heb 2:4). These are special gifts above and beyond the common gifts already given to them. God gave them "dividing to every man severally as He will" (1 Cor 12:11) these additional tools for this new life to engage and prosper in His new work of "calling out a people for His name" (Acts 15:14) and building His Church (Matt 16:18; 1 Cor 3:9; Eph 2:21-22).

"The various ‘charismatic’ gifts2, on the other hand, are given to this person or to that person as God so pleases as an additional supernatural and particular gift to enable the person not only to live the Christian life, but to perform ministry and service to build-up the Church and the People of God for the greater glory of God."3 These enduring gifts, given in various combinations to all believers throughout the Gospel age, are in contrast to the temporary ‘miraculous spiritual gifts’ explained on page 2 that were limited to the early church.

"For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established." Romans 1:11

These tools or spiritual gifts (Rom 12:6-8; Eph 4:7-16; 1 Cor 12:1-12, 28-30; ch 14; 1 Pet 4:9-11) were to be used in the work delegated to them in these and similar texts:

"And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen." (Matt 28:18-20)

"Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality." Romans 12:9-13

"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." Ephesians 4:11-13

"And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: to the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints." 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13

"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing." 1 Peter 3:15-17

"And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 1:5-8

"And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment." 1 John 3:23; 4:7, 11

"But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh." Jude 20-23

Gifts in Use

Every tool needs to be understood: for what purpose it is designed, when it is to be used, and how to use it; and their converse. Each Christian who received any one or more of these spiritual gifts or tools needs to use it exclusively inside the framework for which God originally gave it. (Eph 4:12) Therefor, every disciple of Jesus Christ needs discernment about, insight into and a practical understanding of ‘spiritual gifts’ that can provide guidance to their application and proper use. (1 Cor 12; 14; Rom 12:3-21; Eph 4:7-16)

"St. Paul is very clear on this point—for a gift to qualify as a ‘charism’ gift it must serve the Church and her people in ministry, encouragement, and building-up the faith (Rom 12:3; Eph 4:11-12; 1 Pet 4:10-11; 1 Cor 12:7, 12; 14:3-5, 12, 26; 2Cor 4:1-2; 6:1-3). If a ‘gift’ does not do this (Eph 4:11-16), then no matter how wonderful the gift or how much fruit the gift produces in the life of the person with the gift, it is not a ‘charism’ gift."

"Charism gifts are extraordinary graces given by God to His people according to His purposes. God may also bestow ordinary grace to his children. For example, God will give us sufficient graces to handle all situations that arise in our lives, both good and bad. He has promised this in Romans 8:28: 'We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.'"

"Our Father also gives us the ordinary graces [common or natural ablilities] we need to perform ministry in our Christian life. In the ordinary course of our service and good works in Christ, our Father gives us whatever grace is needed to perform that service or good work in accord with our responsibilities, calling, and state-in-life. This grace comes to us ordinarily and may or may not be accompanied, as God wills, by a ‘charism’ gift."

"For example, we may not all have the ‘charism’ gift of evangelism, yet we all have a responsibility to share our faith with others (1 Pet 3:15). We may not all have the ‘charism’ gift of exhortation, yet we are all called to encourage and build-up each other (1 Thes 5:11). In this way, we see ordinary graces working alongside the charism gifts. ... Thus, while we may not possess a particular charism gift, we remain with the responsibility to participate to the level of our abilities, talents, and ordinary grace given to us in the service or ministry that gift represents."3

In God's wisdom all of these spiritual gifts (See: List) are necessary for the whole Church to prosper while living out God's directives in a very broken world. Some of the spiritual gifts were for education, development and growth. These Speaking gifts were used for evangelism, establishing a local church body, educating and developing believers, preparing and establishing "faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also," encouraging and strengthening all of them for fruitful use of their common and special gifts.

"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen." Matthew 28:19-20

"For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say." Luke 12:12

"And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ." Acts 5:42

"Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood." Acts 20:28

"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." Ephesians 4:11-13

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." Colossians 3:16

"If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." 1 Timothy 4:6-8

"And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also." 2 Timothy 2:2

Another necessary part of these gifts were to aid, comfort and help others. Much adversity, grief, sorrow and suffering comes in our broken world either through nature or from other men. Either way it hurts and both believers and unbelievers need the love of God shown to them through "good works." These Ministering and Sacrificial Gifts of compassion were used to aid, alleviate suffering, assist, comfort, help and much more.

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Matthew 5:16

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father." John 14:12

"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:10

"Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life." 1 Timothy 6:17-19

"That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." 2 Timothy 3:17

"Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." Titus 2:14

"This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men. ... And let our's also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful." Titus 3:8, 14

"Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom." James 3:13

"Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation." 1 Peter 2:12

"Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing." 1 Peter 3:8-9

Because of the weakness of men and their need to be corrected, reminded and warned, some of these Speaking and Sacrificial gifts were to help defend the church from internal and external corruption. Remember this saying, "all that glitters is not gold." Many things can dazzle the eyes, the false claims of men can appear true, but the results take time to be revealed. After a while the real fruit of their ways will unfold. (Mark 4:28) Take heed:

"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." Matthew 7:15-21

"Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit." Matt 12:33

"But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." Matthew 15:9

"And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them." Luke 21:8

"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." Colossians 2:8

"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth." 1 Timothy 4:1-3

"Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee." 1 Timothy 4:16

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." 2 Timothy 4:3-4

"For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake." Tit 1:10-11

"Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness." 2 Peter 3:17

"Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, [bear] figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh." James 3:11-12

"Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God." Hebrews 3:12

Gifts in Abuse

There is also need of warnings about the misuse of spiritual gifts, individually or when gathering around a set of gifts. (2 Cor 2:11; 1 Jn 4:2-3; Jam 1:27; 1 Tim 5:22) Using a spiritual gift for personal gain of position, power, recognition or wealth is a direct and intentional misuse of the purpose of the gift. (Eph 4:11-15; 1 Cor ch 12; ch 14; 1 Pet 4:10-11; 2 Pet 2:11-16) Noting the eager desire for many to have the “experience” of a special spiritual gift, with the resultant false claims of possessing a coveted spiritual gift and the misuse of spiritual gifts, consider this:

"Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue. Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men." 1 Corinthians 14:19-20

"[T]he basic question which is decisive for the fruitful growth of the Renewal ... is the relation between personal experience and the common faith of the Church? Both factors are important: a dogmatic faith unsupported by personal experience remains empty; mere personal experience unrelated to the faith of the Church remains blind."

"The isolation of experience constitutes a serious threat to true Christianity—a threat extending far beyond the Renewal movement. Even if this isolation has a “pneumatic” [spiritual] origin, it is the price that has to be paid for [it is the result that comes from] the empiricism [the notion that experience and the senses are the only, or the primary, source of knowledge] that dominates our time. Such an isolation of experience is closely linked with the Fundamentalism that separates the Bible from the whole of salvation history and reduces it to an experience of self with no mediation whatsoever. It does justice neither to historical reality, nor to the breadth of the mystery of God. Here, too, the true answer lies in a comprehension of the Bible, in union with the whole Church, and not merely in an isolated historicist reading. All this shows once again that charism and institution overlap, and that what matters is not the “we” of the group but the great “we” of the Church of all times, which alone can provide the adequate and necessary framework, enabling us both to “hold on to what is good” and to “discern spirits.”"

"The two principles ... described here are 1) that reason must always lead the way and guide experience, feelings, and emotions; and 2) our experiences must be integrated in the whole Body of the Church and not isolated into individual groups or movements."3

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Titus 2:11-14


The author of this series has quoted other writers of articles and books. This does not mean that the author endorses or recommends the works of others. If the author quotes someone, it does not mean he agrees with all the author’s tenets, statements, concepts, or words, whether in the work quoted or any other work. There has been no attempt to alter the meaning of those quotes.


1. Pastor-Minister-Overseer-Bishop

2. Seventeen are listed together in Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-10 and Ephesians 4:11. More are suggested in 1 Corinthians 12:28-30; 14:1-40; 1 Pet 4:9-11 and through church experience.

3. Charism Gifts Building Up the Church

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