What are Spiritual Gifts and What is Their Purpose?

Leverage your grace, anointing and spiritual gifts to impact the Kingdom.

What are Spiritual Gifts?

Spiritual Gifts are a grace and anointing that is given to each person through the Holy Spirit. They are designed like an ability to be a point of leverage for each believer. Their purpose is for building and encouraging people. You use your gift to impact the life of another person. They are ONLY experienced at the highest level when shared.

A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other – 1 Corinthians 12:7

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another – 1 Peter 4:10

Introduction to the Spiritual Gifts

As Christians, we go through life learning all that we can about Jesus, the bible and the Holy Spirit. One of the biggest topics on this journey is learning what God has given us things like grace, forgiveness and joy. We also learn that God has given us a spiritual gift. In most cases He has given us more than one, He has given us different kinds all from the same spirit…His spirit.

The church body needs all of us to get an understanding of the spiritual gifts and to share them with one another. The spiritual gifts god has created are manifest as the Holy Spirit distributes them to us. Some are inherited through the father (motivational gifts), some are given from the Son (the Ministry Gifts in Ephesians) and some are activated through the Holy Spirit (the manifestation gifts in Corinthians)

25 spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit mentioned in Scripture

Most Christians are familiar with the nine gifts of the Spirit that Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 12:4-10. But did you know there are many more? Though the exact number is debatable, here are at least 25 spiritual gifts the Holy Spirit gave to the early church—and continues to give today.

  1. Word of wisdom (1 Cor. 12:8; Luke 6:9)
  2. Word of knowledge (1 Cor. 12:8; Luke 18:22)
  3. Faith (1 Cor. 12:9; Acts 3:6)
  4. Gifts of healing (1 Cor. 12:9, 28; Acts 28:1-10)
  5. Working of miracles (1 Cor. 12:10; Acts 6:8)
  6. Prophecy (1 Cor. 12:10; 1 Thess. 5:20-21; Eph. 4:11)
  7. Discerning of spirits (1 Cor. 12:10; Luke 8:29)
  8. Tongues (1 Cor. 12:10; Acts 19:6)
  9. Interpretation of tongues (1 Cor. 12:10; 14:13-33)
  10. Helping (1 Cor. 12:28)
  11. Administration (1 Cor. 12:28; Acts 6:2-3)
  12. Ministry/service (Rom. 12:7; 2 Tim. 1:16-18)
  13. Teaching (Rom. 12:7; Eph. 4:11-14)
  14. Encouragement (Rom. 12:8; Heb. 10:24-25)
  15. Giving (Rom. 12:8; 1 Cor. 13:3; Acts 4:32-35)
  16. Leadership (Rom. 12:8; Acts 13:12)
  17. Mercy (Rom. 12:8; Luke 5:12-13)
  18. Apostleship (Eph. 4:11)
  19. Evangelism (Eph. 4:11; 2 Tim. 4:5)
  20. Pastoral guidance (Eph. 4:11)
  21. Grace (Rom. 12:6; Eph. 3:7; 4:7; 1 Pet. 4:10-11)
  22. Willingness to face martyrdom (1 Cor. 13:3)
  23. Intercession (Rom. 8:26-27)
  24. Hospitality (1 Pet. 4:9)
  25. Celibacy (1 Cor. 7:8)

The Bible talks about ‘spiritual gifts’ in several passages. These passages describe:

  • The gifts of the Father – the motivational (or redemptive) gifts – in Romans 12:3-7
  • The gifts of the Son – the ministry gifts – in Ephesians 4:11
  • The gifts of the Spirit – the manifestation gifts – in 1 Corinthians 12:1-12, 28

The Gifts of the Son (Ministry Gifts)

A study of the word ‘gifts’ in Ephesians 4 teaches us that these gifts of the Son arev actually people. Jesus gives them to His church to help equip the people in the church for the work of service for the building up of the body of Christ. The ministry gifts serve to reveal the plan of God. They are characteristic of a full-time office or calling, rather than a gift that can function in and through any believer. Here is a five-finger illustration that outlines each office:


Apostle – An apostle establishes and builds churches; he’s a church planter. An apostle may function in many or all of the ministry gifts. He is the “thumb,” the strongest of all of the fingers, able to touch every finger.


Prophet – Prophet in Greek means to “forth tell” in the sense of speaking for another. A prophet functions as God’s mouthpiece, speaking forth God’s Word. The prophet is the “index finger,” or pointer finger. He points to the future and points out sin.


Evangelist – An evangelist is called to be a witness for Jesus Christ. They works for the local church to bring people into the body of Christ where they can be discipled. They may evangelize through music, drama, preaching, and other creative ways. They are the “middle finger,” the tallest one who stands out in the crowd. Evangelists draw a lot of attention, but they are called to serve the local body.


Pastor – The pastor is the shepherd of the people. A true shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The pastor is the “ring finger.” He is married to the church; called to stay, oversee, nurture and guide. He is the main instructor when it comes to overcoming spiritual issues and strongholds.


Teacher – The teacher and the pastor are often a shared office, but not always. The teacher lays the foundation and is concerned with detail and accuracy. He delights in research to validate truth. The teacher is the “pinky finger.” Though seemingly small and insignificant, he is designed specifically for digging into tight, dark places, shining light and picking apart the Word of truth.

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit (Manifestation Gifts)

We believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit remain available as a part of God’s plan for His church, they are outlined in the new testament. They are sometimes called God’s “power tools”, God has given them to the body of Christ as valuable helps to accomplish works of ministry. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are gifts that He gives for a specific purpose at the moment in time. He may or may not give the same gift to the same person to use in the future.

They are:

  • Word of wisdom
  • Word of knowledge
  • Faith
  • Gifts of Healings
  • Workings of miracles
  • Prophecy (the gift of prophecy)
  • Discerning of spirits
  • Different kinds of tongues
  • Interpretation of tongues

It should always be remembered that the purpose of all of the gifts is to edify the church, and their distribution within the body is completely dependent upon the discretion of the Holy Spirit. It’s also noted that it is critical for people to know their spiritual gifts and their spiritual purposes for their protection. Our spiritual warfare depends on our anointing and authority. Our anointing and authority comes through our gifts and helps fight the enemy.

The spiritual gifts definitions are a good guide, but it is also important to glean wisdom from others who have more experience with the same gifts that you have. Salvation has a gift of eternal life, the Holy Spirit has the gift of speaking in tongues and also the spirit distributes gifts to God’s people.

The scriptures imply that it’s appropriate to seek specific gifts, however, one’s motive must be for the building up of the church, not for self-gratification. “…since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel” (1 Cor 14:12). There is a difference between spiritual gifts and fruit. Gifts are the Spirit’s manifestation through a vessel, but the fruit is the offspring of one’s spiritual character. Spirituality cannot be measured by gifts, but by fruit (Gal 5:22-24).

Love is the predominant feature of spirituality (1 Cor 13:13), without which, the gifts of the Spirit cannot function effectively (1 Cor 13:1-2). Paul expressed that the church should have a desire for spiritual gifts, but it should follow the foremost pursuit of love. “Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts,” (1 Cor 14:1). (Excerpted with permission from the article “Understanding Spiritual Gifts” by Dr. Dale A Robbins)

The Gifts of the Father (Motivational Gifts)

A crucial facet of you living your best life is to know what your motivational/redemptive gift is; that set of giftings is our focus here.

THE SEVEN REDEMPTIVE GIFTS GIVEN BY FATHER GOD by Doug Heck (Excerpted with permission from www.totalchange.org) These gifts are listed in the letter to the Christians in Rome. The passage states that each of these gifts is dealt to each person in differing measures of faith (verse 3). That measure is a specific amount and type of faith that Our Heavenly Father apportions to all people throughout the earth, allotting these gifts as is necessary to fulfill his sovereign will on earth. Each of us has gifts differing according to the grace given us by God in His unsearchable wisdom.

3 – For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith [emphasis mine].

4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function,

5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.

6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us [emphasis mine], let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith;

7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching;

8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

Romans 12:3-8

These gifts are given to people, each person having one primary one. That gift is put in us at conception, and determines the course of our lives, regardless of whether we become Christians or choose to reject Christ.

Psychologists term these differences in people as “basic temperaments”, or personality types. Many have studied the soul of man in an attempt to categorize and understand the ways of man. There are many types of assessment tests to help determine what each of us might be.

Father God installs these gifts in us to fulfill His plan of redemption on the earth. When we understand our gifts and function in them under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, there is a redemptive result for mankind. Good comes when you operate in these gifts. Good not only for you but also for the many around you.

They are designed not for you, but for you to be a part of a large whole, functioning as a body part.

The Bible talks about “spiritual gifts” in several passages. The motivational – or redemptive – gifts are found in Romans 12. These gifts are given to every person -believer or not – and they are kept throughout a person’s life.

These gifts are sometimes called “motivational” because they describe a fundamental drive – motivation – in each of us: to teach, to encourage, to give, etc.

They are also sometimes called “redemptive” because Father God installs these gifts in us to fulfill His plan of redemption on the earth. When we understand our gift and function in it under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, there is a redemptive result for mankind.

These gifts are a part of your identity. It is critical that you investigate what part they have in your life.

Good comes when you operate in these gifts. Good not only for you, but also for the many around you. They are designed not for you, but for you to be a part of a large whole, functioning as a body part.

We want you to know what your motivational gift is, to have the pleasure of functioning in it – for your blessing and for ours – and for God’s purposes to be accomplished in the process. The gifts are: Perceiver (or Prophet); Server; Teacher; Exhorter; Giver; Administrator (or Ruler); Compassion Person (or gift of Mercy)

Spiritual Gifts FAQ

Are there Spiritual Gifts Tests?

Over the course of history, the Christian Church has tried to develop various ways to figure out what our gift sets are. The spiritual gifts God gives us are described in the new testament in 1 Corinthians, Ephesians 6 and Romans 12. These gifts are a part of God’s grace for us, and are also so we can accomplish Kingdom activities here on the earth.

The spiritual gifts tests are a good place to start in terms of asking yourself some questions to see where you are at. They will help you with determining some of your temperaments, leanings and anointings. They are, however, just a small piece of the puzzle. Spiritual well being is not just a test you fill out, it is also about living in a community and sharing your life and gifts with others. The gift of prophecy for example is to be shared, not just to be discovered.

Take the tests, and glean what you can, but more importantly surround yourself with people that can help you identify your calling, develop your giftings and share them. The same spirit that lives in you lives in other Christians as well, it is meant to be experienced in community.

tags – Christian faith, spiritual growth, glorify god, spiritual gift, communicate God’s word, supernatural ability, all the gifts, different gifts, other gifts,

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Margaret Semwanga
Margaret Semwanga
2 years ago

Thanks you for educating me about spiritual gifts. I humbly request for a download able document of this.

2 months ago

so enlightening…. “gifts at the moment of conception”

Kenya Bailey
Kenya Bailey
1 month ago

Thank you!