Spiritual Gifts Chart



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Updated 11/26/13

Illustrations of Spiritual Gifts - multiple illustrations and quotations
Resources Related to Spiritual Gifts - sermons, dictionary articles, theological journal articles
Multiple Additional Resources on Spiritual Gifts


(Part 1) (Part 2)
Click key Scriptures on spiritual gifts)
Updated 11/26/13

What Spiritual Gifts Are and Are Not

Spiritual Gifts: What Do We Need to Do?

How Are Spiritual Gifts Described?

Who Receives Spiritual Gifts?

Why  Are Spiritual Gifts


Spiritual gifts are
Supernatural abilities
Sovereignly given to
Strengthen His 

Saints who are to
Serve  (minister)  one another & be good
Stewards of the manifold grace of God




What is the purpose of our gift?
(see also column 5)

1Peter 4:11
(Click exposition)

"so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ"

Your gift is sovereignly given by God to benefit the Body of Christ

Are you a faithful
steward of your spiritual gift(s)? (Click or here)

If you are not the Body will not function properly

Do not seek the gift but seek the Giver and to know His spiritual gift to you



Spiritual gifts are divine enablements for ministry, given by the Holy Spirit, in some measure, to all believers and are to be completely under His control and to be used for the building of the body of Christ, all to glory to God through Jesus Christ.


John MacArthur writes that "A spiritual gift is a channel through which the Holy Spirit ministers to the Body. A gift is not an end in itself." (The Body Dynamic)


Thayer defines spiritual gifts as "extraordinary powers, distinguishing certain Christians and enabling them to serve the Church of Christ, the reception of which is due to the power of divine grace operating in their souls by the Holy Spirit"


Spiritual gifts are "special gifts bestowed by the Holy Spirit upon Christians for the purpose of building up the church." (Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary )


Spiritual gifts are "Varied endowments graciously bestowed by the triune God upon individual Christians, but particularly intended to enhance the community, worship, and service of locally gathered Christians and thereby to enrich the whole Church." (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)


We are called to be faithful and dependable stewards in using our spiritual gifts because anything that is not used doesn’t develop.


A pianist said...

“You know, I must practice every day. If I don’t practice one day I know the difference. If I don’t practice two days, those who hear me know the difference.”

Romans 12:1
Click  exposition)

"present [our] bodies a living and holy sacrifice acceptable to God"

Romans 12:2a
Click exposition)
"[Don't]  be conformed to this world"

Romans 12:2b
(Click exposition)

"be transformed by the renewing of [our]  mind"

Ro 12:3a
(Click exposition)

"[Don't] think more highly of [self] than ought to think but
 think so as to have sound [sober] judgment"

Romans 12:3b

(Click exposition)

"God has allotted to each a measure of faith"  

Which means we can know limits of our spiritual gift.


Use the spiritual gift God gave you - this gives maximum impact and minimum frustration


1Cor 12:1

"Concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware (unaware)"


Know your gift


Paul told Timothy
"Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you" (1Ti 4:14)

Stop neglecting (what he was doing) your gift!

1Cor 12:2, 3

"[Don’t be like] pagans... led astray to the mute idols"

"[Be led] by the Spirit of God...by the Holy Spirit"


Ephesians 4:1, 2
 (Eph 4:1-2 exposition)

"Walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called – with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love"

1Peter 4:10
(Click  exposition)

"[Be] good stewards of the manifold grace of God"

(See Illustration)


1Peter 4:10
(Click exposition)

"Employ [your spiritual gift] in serving one another"


1 Peter 4:11
(Click exposition)

"[Speak] the utterances of God"

"[Serve] by the strength which God supplies"


1Cor 12:31
"Earnestly desire the greater gifts"
 (Click explanation)
"Earnestly desire" is a command in the plural, not to individuals to seeking specific gifts which would counter truth in 1Co 12:11, 18, 24 The "greater" spiritual gifts in context include those he has just mentioned. Without prophets and teachers the body cannot be edified and prepared for the work of service. This is not a command to seek after tongues. God gives gifts as He desires.

(Click word study)

Charisma is a grace gift or "the result of grace". We did not and cannot earn grace or the spiritual gift which is freely bestowed.

Therefore we should not be proud on the one hand nor should we complain on the other! To do so is a personal affront to the Giver!

1Cor 12:4

"Varieties of gifts but the same Spirit"

1Cor 12:5
"Varieties of ministries and the same Lord"

1Cor 12:6
"Varieties of effects but the same God Who works all things in all persons"

In short, the results are dependent on God. Note that involvement of the Trinity in spiritual gifting


Romans 12:4

(Click exposition)

"We have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function"


I do not have to perform the same function that is being carried out by another saint

Ephesians 4:11

(Click exposition or Here)

"He gave some as apostles and some as prophets and some as evangelists and some as pastors and teachers"

Paul describes the gifted individuals Christ gave to the church

 (Note for  context read Eph 4:7, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16

Each believer has at least one spiritual gift

1Cor 12:7
cf 1Cor 12:11,18,28

"To each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good"

"Manifestation" (root = shine forth) so the point is that your spiritual gift should be visible to all

It follows that we need to pay attention to mature believers who say "I think you have (manifest) the spiritual gift of ____".


The practical application is that although the spiritual gift is not our choice, we are responsible to recognize it



Ephesians 4:7
(Click exposition)

"To each one of us grace was given"

1Peter 4:10
(Click exposition)

"Each one has received a special gift"

For the common good

1Cor 12:7

Our spiritual gift is not to edify self but profit the whole body of Christ  and to not exercise your spiritual gift affects the health of the entire Body

Howard Hendricks adds that "If you don’t know what your gift is, and if you are not using it to serve the body of Christ, you are crippling your spiritual life"


For Serving One Another

1Peter 4:10
(Click exposition)

"Employ [your gift] in serving one another"

To Glorify God

1 Peter 4:11
(Click exposition)

"So that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ"


To Equip Saints for Ministry

Eph 4:11, 12
(Click exposition or Here)

" For equipping [make fit ] of the saints
for the work of service...

building up of the body of Christ"


Equipping includes Edification, Exhortation, Consolation

1Cor 14:3

"One who prophesies speaks to men for

edification, exhortation, consolation"


Who should perform the work of ministry...
the staff or the saints?


Are you serving or just sitting and soaking the sermons?

It is better to put 10 men to work than to do the work of 10 men” -- D L Moody


The church is not a spiritual rest home, but a barracks for training soldiers of the cross!


Could it be that a paucity of sound Biblical teaching explains the scarcity of Word equipped, Spirit filled saints?


To bring saints to full maturity

Eph 4:12, 13, 14

That we might "all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. No longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming"


Saints who are gifted in handling accurately the Word of truth are given to the Body that it might be brought to full maturity. The Body is not built up by man made programs but Spirit filled men preaching and teaching the pure milk of the Word of Life



(Part 1) (Part 2)

When Are Spiritual Gifts Given?

How Are Spiritual
Gifts Given?

What Metaphor Is Used to Explain Spiritual Gifts?

What Is the
Order of Spiritual Gifts?

How Are Spiritual Gifts Exercised?

1Cor 12:7
"to each
one is given the manifestation of the Spirit"

Since EACH believer was given a gift this implies that none at any time lacked a gift..

Therefore we were given our spiritual gift or gifts when we were given the Spirit or when we were Born Again.

1Cor 12:13
(click comment)
Paul writes that "by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit."


Romans 8:9
(see note)
Elsewhere Paul emphasizes that "
If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him"

1Cor 12:8, 9, 10

"To one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit"


"to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit"

"to another faith by the same Spirit"

Although Hudson Taylor had no money, he believed God would use him to win China and and God did use him mightily to spread the gospel into inland China (Read Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret)


to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,

to another the effecting of miracles,


to another  prophecy,


to another  the distinguishing of spirits,


to another  various kinds of tongues,


to another  the interpretation of tongues

one is given one gift and  next person another spiritual gift


Who gives gifts?
How are they distributed?


1Cor 12:11

"One and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills"


The Spirit is in control (sovereign) and the spiritual  gifts are determined not by what  individuals want or seek but by what God wills.


1Cor 12:18

"God has placed the members each one of them, in the body, just as He desired"


1Cor 12:24

"God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked"

1Cor 12:28
"God has appointed in the church..."

1Cor 12:29, 30

All do not have ALL gifts


Some teach that we should seek "tongues" yet Scripture says not all have this gift


Eph 4:8,11
(Click exposition)

Given by Jesus

(after He ascended)

Ephesians 4:8
"He gave gifts to men"

Ephesians 4:11
"He gave some as apostles"


Romans 12:6
(Click exposition)

"we have gifts  that differ according to the grace given to us"


Note how the pre-underscores God's total sovereignty in the giving of spiritual gifts. We are to seek the Giver of the gifts and not the gifts, for each believer has  already been gifted by Him at the time of salvation.






1Cor 12:12

Physical Body
(See Note)

"For even as the [physical] body is one and yet has many members and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ"

Many members and one Body

Christ is one Body


How does Paul explain the composition of the body of Christ?


1Cor 12:13

"For by one Spirit we were ALL baptized (Click to study baptizo) into one BODY whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.


Note Paul's repetition:
one for all,
all for one

How does Paul further explain the body of Christ?

1Cor 12:14, 15, 16, 17

"Body is not one member, but many
foot... is not...any the less a part of the body"


"if the ear says," Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body," it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body"

"If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be?'

"If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?"


All parts of body are important and necessary for healthy function


There is no grounds for competition or envy



 What is Paul's point?


We can't say because we don't have a specific gift we are not part of the body - don't have a pity party saying "No one wants my lowly gift"


1Cor 12:19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

All members of the body are necessary = No room for self sufficiency (no Lone Ranger believers) We need each other



This truth of our inter- dependence is repeatedly emphasized in Scripture by the use of the phrase "ONE ANOTHER" - Click link to 50 "one another's"


Don’t' feel like you are a "second class" Christian because can't do what someone else does. This truth should set you free from envy and jealousy for God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked


Why greater honor to lesser?

1Cor 12:25, 26, 27

"So that there may be no division in the body but that the members may have the same care for one another"


How is this care explained?

"if one member suffers all the members suffer with it"


"if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it"


Because our physical body is interconnected & interdependent when our head hurts the entire body is affected & so too in the mystical Body of Christ


Romans 12:4, 5

(Click exposition)

Analogy of many members in one physical body and all members don't have same function (in context the same "spiritual gift") so there are many members of the ONE mystical Body of Christ and all are members one of another (inter-dependent and intimately connected)

Baptizo describes the

"introduction or placing of a person or thing into a new environment or into union w something else so as to alter its condition or relationship to its previous environment or condition." (Wuest)

1Cor 12:28

God has appointed or placed


1st apostles

2nd prophets

3rd teachers






  gifts of




various kinds of tongues


There is an ORDER but it is NOT indicative of  importance. The idea of order is similar to a husband as head over the wife but both are equally important

1Peter 4:11
(Click exposition)
SPEAKING is to be

"the utterances of God"

SERVING is to be 

"by the strength which God supplies"

1Cor 12:6
"God works (energizes) all things (gifts, ministries, effects) in all persons"

1Cor 12:11

"Spirit works (energizes) all these things"

God is the "power" Source for our spiritual gift. We exercise our gifts in His power not our own.

Ro 12:6, 7, 8

7 Gifts Listed:


if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith (click)


if service, in his serving  (click)


he who teaches, in his teaching (click)


he who exhorts, in his exhortation  (click)


he who gives, with liberality  (click)


he who leads, with diligence  (click)


he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness  (click)


If gift is teaching then teach, etc

The Greek construction in this sentence is what is known as the "Locative of sphere" -- the point is that whatever your spiritual gift is, you are to stay within the sphere of that spiritual gift. If your spiritual gift is teaching then don't try to exercise the spiritual gift of service. The analogy is seen in our body - If one is an "EYE" stay within this sphere.

What's The Message?


Know your spiritual gift

In a recent survey Barna reports that  69% of church goers have heard of spiritual gifts but do not know their spiritual gift!

Know the limits of your spiritual gift

Don't seek a particular spiritual gift that you would like to possess (but do seek to know the gift you already possess)

Understand what your
spiritual  gift is – if you are a "hand" you will be drawn to functions  a hand is capable of doing.


How Do You Know What Your spiritual Gift is?


You will be drawn to that spiritual gift


You will show interest


You will  experience "success" in the exercise of that spiritual gift


Others will see your gift


You can know for sure that you have at least one spiritual gift


You need to understand that your spiritual gift represents a stewardship from God which you are responsible for and will give an account some day as to how you managed this gift. It follows that you must discover your spiritual gift (or as Paul says don't "be ignorant" of it)


You must exercise your spiritual gift within the context of the body of Christ universal and the specific local body where God has planted you


Remember your role in the body is vital for if one member of the body fails to exercise his or her specific spiritual gift, the Body of Christ will not function as it was meant to function

(Click illustration of a "steward" who fails to fulfill their function)






1 1 urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
3 For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.
4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function,
5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
6 And since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let each exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith;
7 if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching;
8 or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.


12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware.
2 You know that when you were pagans, you were led astray to the dumb idols, however you were led.
3 Therefore I make known to you, that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus is accursed"; and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit.
4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord.
6 And there are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons.
7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
8 For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit;
9 to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,
10 and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues.
11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.
12 For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ.
13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
14 For the body is not one member, but many.
15 If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body," it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body.
16 And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body," it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body.
17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?
18 But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.
19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be?
20 But now there are many members, but one body.
21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; or again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you."
22 On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary;
23 and those members of the body, which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our unseemly members come to have more abundant seemliness,
24 whereas our seemly members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked,
25 that there should be no division in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.
26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
27 Now you are Christ's body, and individually members of it.
28 And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.
29 All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they?
30 All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they?
31 But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I show you a still more excellent way.


7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift.
9 (Now this expression, "He ascended," what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth?
10 He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)
11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,
12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;
13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ.
14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;
15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ,
16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.


10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
11 Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God; whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.



Devotional Illustrations from Our Daily Bread (Click)


Bible Dictionaries, Theological Articles


Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Gift of the Holy Spirit - Craig Blomberg


Holman Bible Dictionary - Spiritual Gifts t - Fisher Humphreys


International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Spiritual Gifts


Person of the Holy Spirit Pt 8 The Work of the Holy Spirit in the Believer - John Walvoord


The Holy Spirit and Spiritual Gifts - John F. Walvoord


Contemporary Issues in the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit-Spiritual Gifts Today- J. Walvoord


Spiritual Gifts: Definitions and Kinds - James F Stitzinger


Women, Spiritual Gifts, and Ministry -- Ann L. Bowman


Concerning Spiritual Gifts- A Study Of 1Corinthians 12 -- Thomas A. Jackson


Calvin And The Spiritual Gifts -- By: Paul Elbert


And Prophecy Shall Cease- Jonathan Edwards On The Cessation Of The Gift Of Prophecy -- Philip A. Craig


Wayne Barber sermon series (discussion of spiritual gifts)

Romans 12:1    Our Responsibilities Under Grace - Pt 1
Romans 12:2    Our Responsibilities Under Grace - Pt 2

Romans 12:3-5 Our Responsibilities Under Grace - Pt 3
Romans 12:5-8 Our Responsibilities Under Grace - Pt 4
Romans 12:1-8 Our Responsibilities Under Grace - Pt 5


Bible.org Website - List of Contents Related to Spiritual Gifts


Content On: Spiritual Gifts - numerous articles


Kenneth Boa


The Gifts of the Spirit - adapted from his book "Conformed to His Image"


J Hampton Keathley, III

The Stewardship of Talents (Multiplying the Life Through our Spiritual Gifts)


John MacArthur - cessationist

Concerning Spiritual Gifts - study guide - see dropdown menu for following topics

The Permanent Edifying Gifts--The Serving Gifts: Leadership, Serving, and Giving (1 Corinthians 12:8-10)
The Permanent Edifying Gifts--The Serving Gifts: Mercy, Faith, and Discernment (1 Corinthians 12:9-10)
The Temporary Sign Gifts--Miracles (1 Corinthians 12:10)
The Temporary Sign Gifts--Healing, Part A (1 Corinthians 12:9, 28, 30)
The Temporary Sign Gifts--Healing, Part B (1 Corinthians 12:9, 28, 30)
One Body, Many Gifts--Part 1 (1 Corinthians 12:12-14, 18, 24, 28)
One Body, Many Gifts--Part 2 (1 Corinthians 12:15-31)

The Counterfeit Background of Spiritual Gifts (1 Corinthians 12:1)
The Importance of Spiritual Gifts (1 Corinthians 12:1-3)
The Source of Spiritual Gifts (1 Corinthians 12:4-7, 11)


Concerning Spiritual Gifts, Part 1 1 Corinthians 12:1

Concerning Spiritual Gifts, Part 2 1 Corinthians 12:2-3

The Permanent Edifying Gifts, Part 3 1 Corinthians 12:9-10

Ministry of Spiritual Gifts, Part 1

How Do Spiritual Gifts Operate

Discovering Your Spiritual Gift

The Gifts of the Body, Part 2

The Gifted Men--Apostles and Prophets (1 Corinthians 12:28a)
The Gifted Men--Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers (1 Corinthians 12:28a)


John Piper (spiritual gifts) - not a cessationist

1Peter 4:10-11 (and other passages)


Ray Pritchard (Includes discussion of seven spiritual gifts)

Romans 12:3-8: Blueprint for a Healthy Church


Grant Richison (abstracts from devotionals on Spiritual Gifts - click link for full article)

1 Peter 4:10  We exercise our (spiritual) gift in grace because we received our gift by grace. God does not want us to be ambivalent about the gifts He gives us. In fact, He warns us not to neglect our gifts...If someone were to give us a gift at Christmas and we threw it in the attic without opening it, it would be an insult to the giver. If Christians receive special supernatural endowments to do the work of God and leave them latent, this is an insult to God who gave the gift. God gave every Christian a special endowment to do His work without exception. Will you stand at the judgment seat of Christ empty-handed with no representation of using our gift responsibly? It will do no good to say, "Well, I'm not talented. I really do not have anything to offer the church. I am a speckled bird that does not fit in. I can't do anything. All I can do is sit. All I can do is be a religious spectator all my life. I watch others serve. All I can do is pity myself." Neglecting our gift indicates our lack of appreciation for the grace of God. Very few Christians seize their gifts and use them for God's glory to the benefit of the body of Christ. Never did so many owe so much to so few.

1 Peter 4:10b  Spiritual Gifts serve no purpose except to serve. Each gift is a pipe that relays the blessing for which God designed the gift. We are a pipe, not a reservoir. We are a channel of God's blessing to others. We are the channel through which God's blessing flows to others.

1 Peter 4:10c  Christians are managers of God's grace through their spiritual gift. God wants us to be faithful, not famous. He does not even want us to be successful but faithful....Stewards serve others by distributing their gift to meet the needs of others. A good steward manages God's provisions well. As a minister of Christ, God entrusts us with the treasures of the gospel. The first requirement is trustworthiness. What kind of steward have you been with God's gifts to you? Have you opened your gift? Have you neglected your gift? Do you use your gifts to serve others? There is room for everyone in the service of the King.

1 Peter 4:10d   God's gifts of grace come in all sizes and shapes. The grace of God comes in all colors, shapes and sizes. It takes a great variety of gifts to produce a healthy, growing church. Our computer has outward functions but below the surface are many little parts that make it work. You may be one of those small parts. Without you there would be no effective church of God. That is the way God works. The church needs big parts and little parts, big roles and little roles without which the church would not be the church. Will you make yourself available to be used of God in the local church? Without you, the work of the Lord will suffer loss. We ultimately do not serve the church but we serve the Lord. Say to the Lord, "Here I am. Harness me. Put a saddle on me and I will do my best." All He expects is our best, nothing more. All He wants from us is to do what we can with what we have.

1 Peter 4:11   God gives us the gift of dispensing revelation....The message is not our own. We are just messengers who deliver the telegraph of good news. We do not say a messenger is great because of the good news in the telegram. The glory is in the content of the telegram. Men are simply mouth-pieces for communicating God's truth. We do not trust in our own powers but live under a power not our own.

1 Peter 4:11b  To speak as an oracle of God is to speak with authority....Do you speak God's Word or are you a purveyor of your own notions? In speaking gifts, God designs that we transmit His truth. We simply chime the truth and the Holy Spirit does the work of applying truth to experience.

1 Peter 4:11c  A characteristic of Christianity is to serve others....Few of us minister to saints. Most of us cater to our own needs. We love to minister to ourselves.

1 Peter 4:11d  God will give us the ability to minister. God will enlarge our capacity to serve Him. He first gives us the capability to minister by giving us a gift. Then as we cultivate the gift, He makes us more potent. If we are faithful to our gift, God will enlarge our area of responsibility. He will push back horizons for greater ministry. Are you dying of spiritual dry rot? If God opens an opportunity for you, seize the day no matter how insignificant it may seem. If you are faithful in the small thing He will give you something greater

1 Peter 4:11e  God supplies any provision we need to minister for Him.  We do not invent our gift. God both gives the gift and produces the ability to use the gift. God is both the source of our gift and the sustaining of it. We often act as if it is our great gift that produces the results. We forget that God both gave us the gift and gives us the ability to use the gift (1 Corinthians 4:7). There is no room for pride because from beginning to end it is God that supplies.

1 Peter 4:11f  Our purpose in life is to manifest God's glory. Use of our gifts is a combination of self-possession and self- abandonment. We should exercise our gift with a sense of excellence and yet the gift should not call attention to ourselves. The focus should be upon the Lord Jesus...Do you live a life of doxology? All doxologies ascribe glory to God. Do you ascribe to God what God truly is? There is always the temptation to ascribe glory to ourselves

1 Peter 4:11g   God's purpose for us is to be God-centered. What is your motive for ministry? Do you do what you do for self? Are you self-centered or God-centered? The message here is that God wants us to be God-centered. Everything we do we do to the glory of God.

1 Peter 4:11h   God wants us to recognize His sovereign rule for our lives.

1 Peter 4:11i   We need to put our gifts in the perspective of eternity. Our master motive should revolve around the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). If we live for the glory of God, our gifts will be used for eternal purpose. What we do in time counts for eternity. The phrase "forever and ever" puts our ministry and gifts in eternal perspective. We need to keep eternal values in view. We look at time from the viewpoint of eternity.


Ron Ritchie (series on Spiritual Gifts)

Good Stewards Of God's Spiritual Gifts 1 Peter 4: 1-10

The Benefits Of Spiritual Gifts Romans 12: 1-8

The Joy Of Spiritual Growth Ephesians 4: 7-13

The Proper Use Of  Gifts 1 Corinthians 12: 1-30

Expressing Our Spiritual Gifts With Love 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

Order Out Of Chaos 1 Corinthians 14

Ron R. Ritchie's List of the Spiritual Gifts

Ray Stedman from his book "Body Life"

All God's Children Have Gifts

Discovering and Using Your Gift
According to the Power

How the Body Works (spiritual gifts)

Ray Stedman - other messages on Spiritual Gifts

Romans 12:3-8: The Body at Work
Romans 12:3-8 Who Am I, Lord?



Are You a Good Steward of the Spiritual Gift God has Entrusted to Your Care?

The following story by an unknown author gives an interesting illustration of how one believer not exercising their gift in the Body can affect the message produced by the entire Body.

A Brokxn Kxy

Evxn though my typxwritxr is an old modxl, it works quitx wxll xxcxpt for onx of the kxys.

I havx many timxs wishxd that is workxd pxrfxctly.

It is trux that thxrx arx forty-onx kxys that function wxll xnough, but just onx kxy not working makxs thx diffxrxncx.

Somxtimxs it sxxms to mx that our church is somxthing likx my typxwritxr -- not all thx kxy pxoplx arx working propxrly.

As onx of thxm, you may say to yoursxlf, "Wxll, I am only onx pxrson, I don't makx or brxak thx church."

But it doxs makx a big diffxrxncx, bxcasx a church, to bx xffxctivx, nxxds thx activx participation of xvxry pxrson.

So, thx nxxt timx your xfforts arx not nxxdxd vxry much, rxmxmbxr my typxwritxr and say to yoursxlf, "I am a kxy pxrson in thx congrxgation and I am nxxdxd vxry much."

This is what happxns to thx wholx church, and multiply this by many timxs -- thx whole thing just doxs not makx sxnsx!

"Belovxd don't bx like a broken kxy."
You must utilize your spiritual gift.
The local body of Christ where you worship needs you
and cannot be the same without you!
Do you really believe that?
><> ><> ><>



Wayne Barber has an interesting illustration of unity among diversity in the realm of spiritual gifts

"Remember in chapter 2 (sermon series on Ephesians) we are told we are of God’s household and also His Temple. We are living stones being fitted into His Temple, each one of us with different sizes, shapes, gifts, personalities and individualities, but every one of us under the control of the Spirit of God. If someone played a middle C on the piano for a while, it is a pretty note. If he played it for a long time, you would say, "Will you quit? You are driving me crazy!" Isn’t it great that unity doesn’t mean uniformity? It doesn’t mean we are all alike. Wouldn’t that make church the most boring place you have ever been in your life? If that fellow added an E and a G and a high C, all of a sudden you would say, "Whew, that sounds good! Now that blends." You’ve got more than just one. You’ve got other diversified notes. But when you put them together played by the same hand, you have unity amongst the diversity. That is what Paul wants you to see. This is the body. This is how it functions. When we are each functioning under the Spirit’s power, letting His ability be ours, then our gifts begin to function. Even though our gifts are different, we are still preserving the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. We are different. Folks, you need to grasp that and stop coveting somebody else’s gift and somebody else’s ministry and simply say, "God, anything short of hell is grace. I accept what you have given to me. I receive what you have given to me. Let me just be who I am in your power. When you do that, the unity of the body is being preserved....The word for grace, charis, means that which you don’t deserve. It is Christ who is the source of every bit of it. Again, unity is not uniformity. We are all diversified in our gifts as to the amount and as to the gifts themselves. " (bolding added)

R. A. Torrey described the Spirit’s ministry in his book The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit:

“Not infrequently the Holy Spirit takes the one who seems to give the least natural promise and uses him far beyond those who give the greatest natural promise. Christian life is not to be lived in the realm of natural temperament, and Christian work is not to be done in the power of natural endowment, but Christian life is to be lived in the realm of the Spirit, and Christian work is to be done on the power of the Spirit.”


1 Corinthians 12:12 Why does Paul chose the metaphor of the body?

"For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ."

The human body is an illustration of unity and diversity. The body is one, yet has many members. Although all the believers are different and perform different functions, yet they all combine to make one functioning unit —the body. When we see that diversity is essential to a normal, healthy body, it will save us from two dangers—from belittling ourselves (vv. 15–20) and from belittling others. It would be absurd for the foot to feel unimportant because it can’t do the work of a hand. After all, the foot can stand, walk, run, climb, dance—and kick, as well as a host of other things. 

1Corinthians 12:11 "But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills." 

"This is another important point—the Spirit sovereignly apportions the gifts. If we really grasp this, it will eliminate pride on the one hand, because we don’t have anything that we didn’t receive. And it will eliminate discontent on the other hand, because Infinite Wisdom and Love decided what gift we should have, and His choice is perfect. It is wrong for everyone to desire the same gift. If everyone played the same instrument, you could never have a symphony orchestra. And if a body consisted only of tongue, it would be a monstrosity. " (MacDonald, W., & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)

John MacArthur comments that...

"Every believer receives the exact gift and resources best suited to fulfill his role in the body of Christ....every person has his own special but limited set of capabilities. Trying to operate outside those capabilities produces frustration, discouragement, guilt feelings, mediocrity, and ultimate defeat. We fulfill our calling when we function according to God’s sovereign design for us." MacArthur

1Corinthians 12:13 Warren Wiersbe explains that...

"The baptism of the Spirit occurs at conversion when the Spirit enters the believing sinner, gives him new life, and makes his body the temple of God. All believers have experienced this once-for-all baptism (1Cor 12:13). Nowhere does the Scripture command us to seek this baptism, because we have already experienced it and it need not be repeated. To be baptized by the Spirit means that we belong to Christ’s body... To be filled with the Spirit means that our bodies belong to Christ." (Wiersbe, W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor) (Bolding added)

1Corinthians 12:17 "If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be?"
Paul is saying in essence can you imagine your body as one big eyeball (possibly alluding to the more "showy" gifts)? How would you get around town? You'd have to roll, wouldn't you? When you rolled, you would be on the ground & you'd get dirt in your eye. You wouldn't have a hand to get the dirt out of your eye. What is Paul's point? The point is that you can't say because I don't have this gift that I'm not part of the body.

1Corinthians12:31 How do we understand the statement "but earnestly desire the greater gifts."? William MacDonald gives a well reasoned answer...

When Paul says: “But earnestly desire the best gifts,” he is speaking to the Corinthians as a local church, not as individuals. We know this because the verb is plural in the original. He is saying that as an assembly they should desire to have in their midst a good selection of gifts that edify. The best gifts are those that are most useful rather than those that are spectacular. All gifts are given by the Holy Spirit and none should be despised. Yet the fact is that some are of greater benefit to the body than others. These are the ones that every local fellowship should ask the Lord to raise up in the assembly." (MacDonald, W., & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)


See Verse by Verse notes on site - Ephesians 4:11; Ephesians 4:12

Warren Wiersbe explains that in Ephesians 4:11-12

"The saints do not call a pastor and pay him to do the work. They call him and follow his leadership as he, through the Word, equips them to do the job (2Ti3:13-17). The members of the church grow by feeding on the Word and ministering to each other. The first evidence of spiritual growth is Christ-likeness." (Ibid) (Bolding added)

Commenting on Ephesians 4:11-12, the Bible Knowledge Commentary writes that...

"Gifted people (Ephesians 4:11) are to minister the Word to others so that they in turn are readied to get involved in ministering to others (cf 2 Ti 2:2). The goal is the building up or edifying of the body of Christ (cf Eph 4:16). This shows that all saints and not just a few leaders should be involved in the “ministry.” All saints are gifted (v7) to serve others spiritually." (Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., et al: The Bible Knowledge Commentary. 1985. Victor).

Vance Havner in his pithy, penetrating style comments on Ephesians 4:11-12...

"Every Christian is commissioned, for every Christian is a missionary. It has been said that the Gospel is not merely something to come to church to hear but something to go from the church to tell—and we are all appointed to tell it. It has also been said, ‘Christianity began as a company of lay witnesses; it has become a professional pulpitism, financed by lay spectators!’ Nowadays we hire a church staff to do ‘full-time Christian work,’ and we sit in church on Sunday to watch them do it. Every Christian is meant to be in full-time Christian service ... There is indeed a special ministry of pastors, teachers and evangelists—but for what? ... For the perfecting of the saints for their ministry."

William MacDonald illustrates Ephesians 4:11-12 schematically as shown below and explains it as follows:

"The circle in the center depicts, let us say, the gift of a teacher. He ministers to those in the circle around him so that they are equipped, that is, built up in the faith. Then they go forth and minister to others according to the gifts God has given them. In this way the church grows and expands. It is the divine method of producing growth in the body of Christ, both in size and spirituality. Limitation of Christian service to a select class of men hinders the development of God’s people, stifles the cause of world evangelism, and stunts the growth of the church. The distinction between clergy and laity is unscriptural and perhaps the greatest single hindrance to the spread of the gospel." (Ibid)

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Last Updated February 21, 2015