|Gifts of the Spirit
By Rev. Danny Jones
"In the operation of the nine gifts of the Spirit" (1 Corinthians 12:1-14).
1 Corinthians 12:1-14 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. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom;
to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of
healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits;
to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the
selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all
the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into
one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one
Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many.
The ministry of the Holy Spirit has not changed since the Day of Pentecost when the church of Jesus Christ was
born. The divine manifestation and workings of the Holy Spirit are as active and present today as they were during
the time of the Book of Acts. The Holy Spirit enables and empowers the church to carry forth into all the world the
life-changing message and anointed ministry of Jesus Christ (Acts 1:8). It is within this ministry that the manifestation
and operation of the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit occur within the lives of individual believers. The gifts of the Spirit
have been referred to as the manifestation gifts. The word manifestation in Greek (I Corinthians 12:7) means “to
make manifest or visible or known what has been hidden or unknown; to manifest, whether by words, or deeds, or in
any other way” (Thayer 648-649). The word gifts (I Corinthians 12:4) is translated from the Greek word charisma.
The word charisma means a gift of God’s grace that is supernaturally bestowed upon a believer to do the work of
God. The gifts are “gracious endowments, leading to miraculous results” (Clarke). It is God’s will and plan that these
gracious gifts of the Holy Spirit manifest themselves in the lives of Spirit-filled believers within the local church.
The Corinthian Church was a true Spirit-filled church where the gifts of the Spirit were very powerfully in operation.
Yet because of abuse and misunderstanding in the church, Paul gave basic explanation and instruction of the true
nature and working of the gifts of the Holy Spirit in his first Corinthian letter. This same Biblical understanding and
teaching is very imperative within the church today and will serve to keep the church both spiritually sound and
The Gifts of the Holy Spirit Are for the Church Today. One incorrect and unbiblical
view states that the miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit ceased at the death of the apostles and at the canonization
and collection of the New Testaments books. Some make allusion to I Corinthians 13:10, “But when that which is
perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.” While those of this belief state that the word “perfect”
is a reference to the collection of Scriptures into the Bible, the word “perfect” actually refers to the Lord Jesus Christ
when He returns. It also would be unbiblical and illogical to believe that whereas God the Father does not change,
and God the Son does not change; yet somehow God the Holy Spirit has changed and the gifts ceased. This
thinking is not only ridiculous, but denies the total unity and immutability (unchanging nature) of the Trinity.
The Gifts of the Holy Spirit Always Point to Christ. The manifestations of the gifts of the Holy Spirit always exalt and
point to the Lord Jesus Christ (John 15:26). Paul states to the Corinthians that no one speaking by the Spirit of God
calls Jesus accursed, and that no one can say from his heart that Jesus Christ is the Lord except it is by the Holy
Spirit (I Corinthians 12:3). This same principle applies to the manifestation of all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The
manifestation of the gifts will never exalt man or appeal to the fleshly nature of man. The gifts of the Spirit will never
deny basic Biblical truth or encourage unbiblical, immoral behavior (John 16:13). The manifestations of the gifts of
the Holy Spirit will always point people directly to Jesus Christ as Lord.
The Gifts of the Holy Spirit Are Given For the Common Good of the Church. Paul states in I Corinthians 12:7, “But
the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.” This simply means that the gifts of the Holy Spirit
are manifested upon all individual Christians for the good or benefit of the entire church. The gifts of the Spirit are
not to benefit or exalt a single person. Neither is their manifestation in the life of a believer is to be a badge of super-
spirituality. The purpose of the gifts is to allow the Gospel message and the miraculous ministry of Jesus Christ to be
presented through the body of Christ—the Church! This was the earmark of the early Church. Mark 16:20 states,
“And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs
following.” Jesus ascended to Heaven in order that the Holy Spirit could be given and that Jesus’ ministry could be
manifested through the church. John 14:12 states, “ 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.” These works
were not greater in quality, but greater in quantity and dispersion as the church led by the Holy Spirit of God blazed
forth the message of Jesus into the world.
The Gifts of the Holy Spirit Are Distributed As the Holy Spirit Wills. 1 Corinthians 12:11 states, “But all these worketh
that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” The Holy Spirit is a person, and it is the
sovereign will of the Holy Spirit that decides which gift to bestow upon which believer. The Holy Spirit knows the
needs of the church for each particular time and place. The choice of the Holy Spirit’s manifestation of a particular
gift upon a particular individual is not based upon that individual’s natural abilities or talents. It is based on the Holy
Spirit’s will and sovereignty. This completely eliminates the false teaching that the gifts operate at the will and whim
of man. It reinforces the Biblical truth that the gifts of the Holy Spirit do not become the exclusive permanent
possession of an individual believer. The gifts reside in the Holy Spirit, and are bestowed as needed upon believers
for the benefit of the church as the Spirit wills. “We must ever seek the Giver, and leave the dispersing of gifts up to
Him” (Underwood, Gift of the Spirit 49).
The Gifts of the Holy Spirit Are Varied. Paul states, “ Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit (I
Corinthians 12:4). The Apostle Paul outlines nine typical manifestation gifts of the Holy Spirit. But it should be
understood that the ministry of the Holy Spirit is not limited to a mere list. God can work in the life of any believer
through any supernatural means that He chooses. Some scholars have suggested that as many as 16 spiritual
manifestation gifts may be found in the New Testament. It also should be noted that the gifts of the Holy Spirit often
overlap and coordinate according to God's plan. Note the following grouping and explanation of the gifts of the Holy
A) Revelation Gifts:
Gift of the Word of Wisdom: This manifestation of the Holy Spirit is the supernatural ability to apply truths or
knowledge to the needs, problems, and situations of life. It can involve being given a sense of divine direction as
one is led by the Spirit to act appropriately within particular circumstances (Acts 6:1-5; Acts 15:28).
Gift of the Word of Knowledge: This gift involves the supernatural revelation of God’s divine will or plan (Acts 5:1-12,
14:9,10). “The gift of the word of knowledge is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit in which God the Holy Ghost imparts
to a human being, for a specific purpose, on a particular occasion, information or facts which only God may know, in
order to supernaturally assist the church in her ministry” (Underwood, Gift of the Spirit 30).
Gift of Discerning of Spirits: This is supernatural insight into the spiritual realm enabling a person to distinguish
between the spirit of light and the spirit of darkness; the spirit of truth and the spirit of error; the Holy Spirit, the
human spirit, and the evil spirits (Acts 8:20-23).
B) Power Gifts:
Gift of Faith: This is a supernatural ability to believe God without doubt. It is the unwavering confidence that God will
intervene in the believer’s behalf regardless of the seemingly impossible circumstances. It is a supernatural faith
given to a particular person at a particular time for a particular need (Acts 27:22,25).
Gift of Miracles: It is the supernatural intervention and display of God’s power to do that which is impossible
according to the natural laws of the universe. The gift of miracles is used to authenticate the preaching of God’s
Word and is displayed powerfully in the Book of Acts (Acts 6:7,8; 8:5-7; 19:10,11). It should be noted that the gift of
miracles is closely associated with the gifts of faith and healing.
Gifts of Healings: This is the supernatural healing of diseases, illnesses, infirmities, and weaknesses of the body,
soul, and spirit to restore health and wholeness. Both words are plural in the original Greek. The use of “gifts”
seems to indicate the many “manifestations of grace that work, from time to time, and from place to place through
members of the church (Soards 259). The word “healings” refers to the atonement of healing of Jesus Christ that
accomplishes total wholeness for the total man---physical, spiritual, and mental (Psalm 103:3, Isaiah 53:4,5).
C) Speaking Gifts:
Gift of Tongues: This is a definite supernatural utterance in an unknown language that is often called a “message in
tongues.” This is a divine means of communication whereby God gives a special word or message to a particular
group at a particular time for a particular need (I Corinthians 14:27). The gift of interpretation should always
accompany this manifestation of the gift of tongues. It should be noted that the gift of tongues is not the same as the
“sign of tongues” which accompanies the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Gift of Interpretation of Tongues: This is the supernatural speaking forth of the meaning of a “message in tongues.”
This is not a direct translation, but a divine declaration of the meaning or explanation of that which has been
spoken. The gift of interpretation of tongues should always accompany the gift of tongues (Acts 14: 27,28). When a
message in tongues has occurred, earnest prayer should be offered that the interpretation should be given (I
Gift of Prophecy: This gift involves supernaturally speaking forth in one’s own language. It is a word or message
from the Lord given with great clarity, anointing, and understanding. It can be uttered from any member of the body
for the “encouragement, edification, or exhortation of the church” (Underwood, Spiritual Gifts 68). This manifestation
of the Holy Spirit is the calling forth of words as given by the Spirit of God (Hayford 647). Prophecy’s source is the
Spirit of God, not merely the intellect of man. There are two types of the manifestation of the gift of prophecy: forth
telling and foretelling. Forth telling is a prophetic word or message of God that is needed for that particular time,
place, and circumstance (I Corinthians 14:3). Foretelling is a prophetic message that actually speaks of future
events and occurrences (Acts 21:10,11). All prophetic utterances must be judged solely upon the Word of God.
By the 3rd Century A. D. the Gospel of Jesus Christ had reached all known parts of the world without modern
transportation, communication, and technology. The message blazed across continents because of the boldness of
Spirit-filled believers that proclaimed Jesus as Lord. God confirmed His Word with signs, wonders and the gifts of the
Holy Spirit. The same power and manifestation of the Holy Spirit is for the church of the 21st Century. May we open
our hearts and lives to the Holy Spirit and allow God to “do it again.”
Clarke, Adam. Clarke’s Commentary. Electronic Database: Biblesoft, 1996.
Hayford, Jack W. Hayford’s Bible Handbook. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, Inc., 1995.
Soards, Marion. L. New International Commentary. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson, 1999.
Thayer, J.H. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1977.
Underwood, B.E. The Gift of the Spirit. Franklin Springs, Georgia: Advocate Press, 1967.
Underwood, B.E. Spiritual Gifts. Franklin Springs, Georgia: LifeSprings Press, 1984.
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