Spiritual Gift Definitions

By Dr. Richard J. Krejcir
Biblical definitions of Spiritual Gifts, as defined by the Bible, presented in no particular order. The definitions and supporting Scriptures do correspond to the characteristics of the Gifts as also expressed in most Evangelical and Reformed thinking.


The following honest, Biblical definitions of the Spiritual Gifts, as defined by the Bible, are presented in no particular order. These are not meant to be dogmatic or final. The definitions and supporting Scriptures do correspond to the characteristics of the Gifts as also expressed in most Evangelical and Reformed thinking. Some churches and Denominations only acknowledge the Gifts listed in Romans and 1 Corinthians. (Romans 12: Prophecy, Service, Teaching, Exhortation, Giving, Leadership, and Mercy. 1 Corinthians 12: Words of Wisdom or knowledge, Faith, Healing, Miracles, Discernment of Spirits, Tongues, and the Interpretation of Tongues). Many Churches do not acknowledge Tongues, due to its misuse.

1.HELPS: The ability to invest the talents one has in the life and ministry of other members of the body, enabling them to increase the effectiveness of their own Spiritual Gifts (Mark 15:40-41; Acts 9:36; Romans 16:1-2; 1 Corinthians 12:28).

2.LEADERSHIP: The ability to set goals in accordance with God's purpose for the future, and to communicate those goals to others in such a way that they voluntarily and harmoniously work together to accomplish those goals for the glory of God (Acts 15:7-11; Romans 12:8; 1 Timothy 5:17 Hebrews; 13:17).

3.HOSPITALITY: The ability to provide an open house and a warm welcome to those in need of food and lodging (Acts 16:14-15; Romans 12:9-13; 16:23 Hebrews 13:1-2; 1 Peter 4:9).

4. SERVICE: The ability to identify the unmet needs involved in a task related to God's work, and to make use of available resources to meet those needs and help accomplish the desired results (Acts 6:1-7; Romans 12:7; Galatians 6:2; 2 Timothy 1:16-18; Titus 3:14).

5. ADMINISTRATION: The ability to understand clearly the immediate and long-range goals of a particular unit of the body of Christ and to devise and execute effective plans for the accomplishment of those goals (Luke 14:28-30; Acts 6:1-7; 1 Corinthians 12:28).

6.DISCERNMENT: The ability to know with assurance whether certain behavior purported to be of God is in reality divine, human, or satanic. The purpose of this gift is to prevent confusion and false teaching from infiltrating the church (Matthew 16:21-23; Acts 5:1-11; Acts 16:16-18; 1 Corinthians 12:10; 1 John 4:1-6).

7.FAITH: The ability to discern with extraordinary confidence the Will and purpose of God, and to propel the body of Believers into actively claiming the promises of God (Acts 11:22-24; Romans 4: 18-21; 1 Corinthians 12:9; Hebrews 11).

8.MUSIC: The ability to use one's voice in the singing of praises to the Lord for the benefit of others, or to play a musical instrument to praise the Lord and for the benefit of others. Remember, worship that is real and authentic is never a performance for us, or a showcase for talent! God is always the audience in worship--not the people in the church! We are the performers to give God our extol and praise (Deuteronomy 3 1:22; 1 Samuel 16:16; 1 Chronicles 16; 2 Chronicles 5: 12-13; 34:12; Psalm 150).

9.LANGUAGES/TONGUES: The ability to speak a divinely anointed message in a language one has never learned, but one that is known to the hearers. Its purpose is as an evangelistic tool for spreading the Gospel (Mark 16:17; Acts 2:1-13; Acts 10:44-46; 19:1-7; 1 Corinthians, 13-14). (Make sure you follow the precepts of1 Corinthians, 14!)

10. MIRACLES: The ability to serve as a human intermediary through whom it pleases God to perform powerful acts that are perceived by observers to have altered the ordinary course of nature (Acts 9:36-42; 19:11-20; 20:7-12; Romans 15:18-19;1 Corinthians 12:10, 28).

11. CRAFTSMANSHIP: The ability to use one's hands, thoughts, and mind to further the kingdom of God through artistic, creative means. People with this Gift may also serve to lead others in forming their abilities in this area. The Gift may also be used in the areas of maintenance, care, and upkeep for the benefit and beautification of God's kingdom here on earth (Exodus 30:22-25; Exodus 31:3-11; 2 Chronicles 34:9-13; Acts 18:2-3).

12. HEALING: The ability to serve as a human intermediary through whom God's healing power is applied to another person's physical or emotional need (Acts 3:1-10; 5:12-16; 9:32-35; 28:7-10; 1 Corinthians 12:9, 28).

13. GIVING: The ability to contribute material and resources to the work of the Lord with liberality and cheerfulness (Mark 12:41-44; Romans 12:8; 2 Corinthians 8:1-7; 2 Corinthians 9:2-8).

14. MERCY: The ability to feel genuine empathy and compassion for individuals who suffer distressing physical, mental, or emotional problems, and to translate that compassion into cheerfully-done deeds which reflect Christ's love and alleviate the sufferings as well as motivate others to help (Matthew 9:35-36; Mark 9:41; 1Thessalonians 5:14).

15. WISDOM: The ability to apply spiritual truth to a specific issue in a specifically relevant fashion, and to make proper choices in difficult situations, based on listening and sufficient information (Acts 6:3,10; 1 Corinthians 2:1-13; 12:8; James 1:5; 2 Peter 3:15).

16. KNOWLEDGE: The ability to discover, accumulate, analyze, and clarify information which is pertinent to the growth and well-being of the body (Acts 5:1-11;1 Corinthians 12:8; 2 Corinthians 11:6; Colossians 2:2-3).

17. EXORTATION: The ability to minister words of encouragement, consolation, comfort, and motivation from God's Word to help others complete their tasks and be all that God want them to be (Acts 4:32-37; 14:22; Romans 12:8; 1 Timothy 4:13; Hebrews 10:24.25).

18. TEACHINIG: The ability to employ a logical, systematic approach to Biblical study with power and conviction, then to communicate that information in a clear, concise way that is relevant to the health and ministry of the Body and its members in such a way that others will learn (Acts 18:24-28; 20:20-21; 1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11-14).

19. PASTOR/SHEPHERD: The ability to assume a long-term personal responsibil­ity for the spiritual welfare of a group of Believers with love, care, discipleship, and counseling, moving them to a deeper spiritual connection and maturity with Christ (John 10:1-18; Ephesians 4:11-14; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; 1 Peter 5:1-3).

20. APOSTLESHIP: The ability to assume and exercise general leadership over a number of churches, with an extraordinary authority in spiritual matters, which is spontaneously recognized and appreciated by those churches--such as, a bishop. This is not the same as the original twelve Apostles, or Paul (Acts 15:1-2; 1Corinthians 12:28; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Galatians 2:7-10; Ephesians 3:1-9; 4:11-14).

21. MISSIONARY: The ability to minister with whatever other Spiritual Gifts one has in another land or culture (Acts 8:4; 13:2-3; 22:21; Romans 10:15; 1 Corinthians 9:19-23).

22. PROPHECY: The ability to proclaim the Word of God with divine anointing, which brings conviction to the hearers so they recognize that it is truly the Word of God and they must do something about it. A prophet is also someone who keeps the church on God's path and truth and makes sure we do not slip into false teaching. This is not the same as an OT prophet, which existed before the Word was completed; there is no new teaching or revelation. There are new ways to apply God's truth but not new truth (Acts 2:37-40; Matthew 7:54; Acts 26:24-29; 1 Corinthians 14:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 1:5)!

This office/Gift, not fully defined in the New Testament, is often debated

(Acts 13:1; 21:10-11; 1 Corinthians 12:29; Ephesians 4:11). It generally refers to teaching the Word of our Lord, especially before the compilation of the cannon of Scripture in the fourth century. Some people refer to it as "word of knowledge," a receiving of special wisdom and knowledge directly from the Holy Spirit. Scripture supports this, but these "words of wisdom" will never countermand Scripture! This gift may appear in the form of a hunch, insights from the Word, or even more directly, so that one will have more information about what God has given them to do in order to interact more effectively. Most churches that practice this "word of knowledge" do not use it discerningly, and they elevate their wisdom over Scripture! Hence, we can see why there are so many false teachings in America.

23. EVANGELISM: The ability to share and explain the Gospel message with unbelievers in such a way that men and women become Jesus' disciples and responsible members of the body of Christ (Acts 8:5-6; 8:26-40; 14:21; 21:8; Ephesians 4:11-14; 2 Timothy 4:5).

24. PRAYER/INTERCESSION: The ability to pray for extended periods of time on a regular basis and see frequent and specific answers to prayer, to a degree much greater than that, which is experienced by most Christians. All Christians are to exercise this, but the gifted person will go beyond this and motivate and organize others to do so too (Luke 22:41f; Acts 12:12; Colossians 1:9-12; Colossians 4:12-13; 1 Timothy 2:1-2; James 5:14-16).


© 1983, 1987, revised 2001 R.J. Krejcir, Into Thy Word Ministries http://www.intothyword.com/    www.discipleshiptools.org
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