Spiritual gifts are the source of much controversy and confusion among believers. This is interesting and something of a sad commentary, since these gifts are meant to be graces from God for the edification of the church. Even today, as in the early church, the misuse and misunderstanding of spiritual gifts bring division--splitting up, rather than building up--in the church. This resource seeks to avoid the controversies and simply explore what the Bible says about spiritual gifts.
What are Spiritual Gifts?
In 1 Corinthians 12, we learn that spiritual gifts are given to God's people by the Holy Spirit for "the common good." Verse 11 says the gifts are given according to God's sovereign will ("as he determines"). Ephesians 4:12 tells us these gifts are given to prepare God's people for service and for building up the body of Christ.
The term "spiritual gifts" comes from the Greek words charismata (gifts) and pneumatika (spirits). They are the plural forms of charisma, meaning "expression of grace," and pneumatikon meaning "expression of Spirit." While there are different kinds of gifts (1 Corinthians 12:4), generally speaking, spiritual gifts are God-given graces (special abilities, offices, or manifestations) meant for works of service, to benefit and build up the body of Christ as a whole.
Biblical References to Spiritual Gifts
The spiritual gifts can be found in the following passages of Scripture: