Different Types of Spiritual Gifts
1 Corinthians 12:1-31
Spiritual gifts are the special spiritual endowments given by the Holy Spirit upon the various members of the church for the common good of the church community. Essentially, the Church of Christ is a single spiritual community with it members having special individual abilities or gifts to serve God. All spiritual gifts are from one Spirit (God). The purpose is for enhancing the churches’ growth and well-being. Such spiritual gifts are as follows:
- The utterance of Wisdom.
- The utterance of Knowledge.
- Gifts of Healing.
- The gift of Working Miracles.
- The gift of Prophecy.
- The gift to distinguish between spirits.
- The gift to speak in tongues.
- The gift to interpret tongues.
However, Paul admonishes each recipient to be humble. According to.him, the Church is like a human body made up of different parts, each performing a definite function and yet integrally united with other parts. Hence, when one part does not function, the rest feel the impact. The Church is also like that: made up of many members, each having a particular spiritual gift to be used to the glory of God. No one is more superior in terms of his own gift.
Each gift is as important as the other. All these gifts are for the edification of the church.
According to Paul, if there are parts of the body which are supposed to be considered as honourable, they are the so-called inferior parts to avoid discord:
“On the contrary, the parts of the body which seem to be weaker are indispensable and those parts of the body which we think less honourable we invest with the greater honour and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving the greater honour to the inferior part, that there may be no discord in the body, but that members may have the same care for one another”. (1 Corinthians 12:22-25)
What the above passage points at is the fact that God so arranged parts of the body that there cannot be any disagreement over inferiority or superiority. As in the body, the Church is the body of Christ, though made up of different individual members. Each member must perform a specific duty to the growth of the church. In a church we may have apostles, miracle workers or healers, helpers or administrators, or those speaking in various kinds of tongues.
As a body, each member is unique both in person and in the role he performs. Christians should relate with each other well and most importantly, any member that is gifted should use his or her gift for the edification of the church.
Making Use of Individual Talents- Romans 12:3-8
Talents are natural abilities or acquired skill to use for the good of all:
“Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith, if service, in our serving; he who teaches, in his teaching; he who exhorts, in his exhortation, he who contributes, in liberality; he who gives aid, with zeal; he who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness”. (Romans 12:6-8)
Real Grace does not lie in having a spiritual gift or the superiority of one gift over the other, but in how much one is able to make use of such a gift. The way one makes use of his or her talent shows how much grace such person has received. To make the best use of one’s spiritual gift one has to identify his talent. Secondly, one should now go further by practising the talent thereby developing it. Christians should make use of their talents to the best of their ability, using all resources at their disposal. This is the point Paul stresses in the above passage. How do you, the reader use your talent?
Some Spiritual Gifts Seen in Today’s Churches and How They Are Used
1) Faith – Achieved through
- Reaching out to remote areas assisting in cash and kind.
- Building of new churches.
- Preaching charity.
2) Speaking in Tongues and Interpretation
This is more common with Pentecostal churches more than in orthodox churches. The church interprets tongues when used for God’s glory and people’s edification not for personal glory.
God has warded off dangers from so many believers through prophecies which are backed up with intensive prayers and fasting. Our leaders have fulfilled prophetic roles by leading the congregation on the path of truth. By doing this, social menaces are cautioned like juvenile delinquency, fore-telling etc.
4) Utterance of Knowledge
In today’s churches, many are teachers, teaching in different activities in the church e.g. Sunday school. Pastors, evangelists are also teachers.
5) Working Miracles and Healing
This is an essential characteristic of today’s pentecostal churches. The lame walk, sick people are healed, the blind see etc. There are medical doctors who have contributed to the upkeep of the church. They own hospitals and maternities where medicine is available for everybody.
Significance of Spiritual Gifts to the Church
- Since the human body is one, the church should act and see itself as one body united in the Spirit.
- No one is supposed to claim superiority over others in terms of talent in the church. Each person’s contribution is as important as another’s.
- There should be no discrimination in the church, neither should there be class distinction for in Christ, there is no Jew nor Greek.
- Even racial discrimination in the church is unbiblical.
- Each recipient should use his own talent for the well-being of the church and to the glory of God.
Lessons To Learn
- The unity of the church or the community brings strength just as the healthy members of a body.
- We should co-operate with one another in order to bring about our desired result.
- There are nine spiritual gifts given to members of Christ’s church for the common good of all.
- These gifts work supernaturally because they are given by God.
- Every member of the church of Jesus is important just as parts of the body are important to the body.
- Talents are natural abilities or acquired skill to use for the good of all.
- The church of Jesus needs the spiritual gifts for her growth, expansion and upliftment of members.
- Everyone of the nine gifts works supernaturally as different from the talents which are natural.