Spiritual Gifts: What Makes Me Unique and Unwrapping Your Gifts Package

Adapted from the, “Discovering God’s Vision
For Your Life, You and Your Spiritual Gifts.”
By Kenneth C. Haugk.
Part 2 of 4.

1 Corinthians 12:11 (NCV)
Ephesians 4:7 (ESV)
1 Peter 4:10 (NCV)
Romans 12:4-6a (MESSAGE)
1 Corinthians 12:1, 12, 14, 18-20 (TNIV)
Ephesians 4:16 (NRSV)
1 Corinthians 12:4-6 (NRSV)
1 Corinthians 12:7 (NRSV)
1 Peter 4:10 (NCV)
Romans 12:6-8 (NIV)
1 Corinthians 12:8-10 (CEV)
1 Corinthians 12:28-30 (CEV)
Ephesians 4:11 (CEV)

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Module 3, What Makes Me Unique 

            Who are the Gifted People?

Well-known singers?  Entertainers?  Actors?  Sports figures?  Famous preachers?  Intellectual giants?  Talk show hosts?  Heads of state?

Here are some other possibilities:  You?  Me?  Your friends?  The members of our congregation?

Unfortunately, in our society, gifted has become synonymous with being famous or well known, being a star or superstar.

From both a theological and practical perspective, it is important to get an accurate picture of just who the gifted people really are.

Gifted Individuals

The Bible says that there is a wide variety of gifts.  It also tells us that there is a wide distribution of gifts.  All Christians receives gifts, not just some but all Christians.  The New Testament clearly states that every Christian has at least one spiritual gift.

1 Corinthians 12:11 (NCV)

[Referring to the gifts of the Spirit], One Spirit, the same Spirit, does all these things, and the Spirit decides what to give each person.

Ephesians 4:7 (ESV)

But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

1 Peter 4:10 (NCV)

Each of you has received a gift to use to serve others. Be good servants of God’s various gifts of grace.

In the readings from 1 Corinthians, Ephesians and 1 Peter, the word each refers to ALL Christians, not some but ALL.

Gifted Individuals in Community

Not only are individuals gifted from the Spirit but they are gifted to be within, part of, a faith community.  When Paul speaks about spiritual gifts he also uses the image of the body.  Christians as the body of Christ. 

Romans 12:4-6a (MSG)

In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of [H]is body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.

1 Corinthians 12:1, 12, 14, 18-20 (TNIV)

(1) Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed.

(12) Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.

(14) Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

(18-20) But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as [God] wanted them to be. 19If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

Ephesians 4:16 (NRSV)

from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.

Gifts All Come from Me, Says God

1 Corinthians 12:4-6 (NRSV)

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone.

This passage tells us that the source of all gifts is the Holy Spirit.

The purpose of gifts is service, and the model of servanthood is Jesus.

Gifts are actions, and God is the initiator of these actions.

In 1 Cor. 12:4 the person of the Trinity identified is the Holy Spirit and is the source of the gifts.

In 1 Cor. 12:5 the person of the Trinity identified is Jesus.  The verse shows us that service is the purpose with Jesus being the model.

In 1 Cor. 12:6 the person of the Trinity identified is God the Creator.  This verse tells us that gifts manifest themselves in action.

Verses 4-6 shows us that Gifts come from “all of God.”  Gifts are practical actions and there is no such thing as a passive spiritual gift.

Module 4, Unwrapping your Gifts Package

The Purpose of Spiritual Gifts

When I hear purpose, I hear where am I going and why am I going there.  If I were to say to you, “what is your purpose?”, maybe you might think of, what is my destination and intention.

When we determine our purpose—for anything—it powerfully increases effectiveness.  Individually, if we have a purpose and we live a purpose driven life, we can accomplish more and will tend to be happier.  Congregations that have a clear purpose are ones that tend to grow, both qualitatively and quantitatively.  Both individually and as a congregation is are the glasses through which we view the purpose of spiritual gifts.

                        What the Purpose Is Not

Sometimes we can see more clearly, the positive uses of something by comparing it to the negative.  The same holds true for spiritual gifts.

  1. Spiritual gifts are not to enrich you personally. This does not mean you may not be enriched, but that self-enrichment is not their primary purpose.
  2. Spiritual gifts are not for self-glorification or for gaining attention. The glory is always God’s.  Often that means is a quiet kind of glory.
  3. Spiritual gifts are not for entertainment or for showing off. This does not mean that some spiritual gifts that are for the glory of God do not enrich and can also be used for in entertainment, i.e. Singing.  However, the primary use is for the glory of God.

What the Purpose Is

Simply put, Spiritual gifts are unique endowments from the Holy Spirit, to be generously shared with Christians in community. For the purpose of building up the body of Christ, in practical ways.

1 Corinthians 12:7 (NRSV)

To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

1 Peter 4:10 (NCV)

Each of you has received a gift to use to serve others. Be good servants of God’s various gifts of grace.

When spiritual gifts are used for the glory of God, gifted people empower power people in their wakes.  You know that spiritual gifts are being used when you encounter people who have been empowered and energized by others who are gifted.

Christianity is a Participant Sport

Unfortunately, many Christians sit on the sideline as spectators rather than participants. For many congregations, it is the weary few—the pastor, other staff and some nucleus of dedicated and probably overworked individuals—who do the work of the church while the remaining members watch.

The image that comes to mind is the dedicated crew of a cruise ship who work tirelessly and dedicate themselves to the pleasure of the passengers.  This image is an inaccurate picture of what a congregation should look like.  This type of congregation will burn out and turn into a “chaplaincy” mode, taking care of only the current membership until it closes its doors.

A congregation needs to look more like a freighter carrying God’s message to all in mission and ministry, outside of the walls of the congregation, with all the crew involved in its work.  This type of congregation can thrive because it has lots of hands, causing little work for each.  There is less chance of burn out and they can easily adapt to change, through the changing gifts and people using their gifts.

The Biblical References to Spiritual Gifts

There are four locations in the Bible, that specifically refer to spiritual gifts.  This can be found in Romans, twice in 1 Corinthians and in Ephesians.

Romans 12:6-8 (NIV)

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

1 Corinthians 12:8-10 (CEV)

Some of us can speak with wisdom, while others can speak with knowledge, but these gifts come from the same Spirit. To others the Spirit has given great faith or the power to heal the sick or the power to work mighty miracles. Some of us are prophets, and some of us recognize when God’s Spirit is present. Others can speak different kinds of languages, and still others can tell what these languages mean.

1 Corinthians 12:28-30 (CEV)

First, God chose some people to be apostles and prophets and teachers for the church. But he also chose some to work miracles or heal the sick or help others or be leaders or speak different kinds of languages. Not everyone is an apostle. Not everyone is a prophet. Not everyone is a teacher. Not everyone can work miracles. Not everyone can heal the sick. Not everyone can speak different kinds of languages. Not everyone can tell what these languages mean.

Ephesians 4:11 (CEV)

Christ chose some of us to be apostles, prophets, missionaries, pastors, and teachers,

We can chart the spiritual gifts of the new testament in this way:

From Romans 12:6-8, there is:

Proclamation, Servanthood, Teaching the Faith, Encouragement, Generosity, Nurturing Leadership and Mercy.

From 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, there is:

Proclamation, Wisdom, Knowing, Faith, Healings, Miracles, Discernment, Languages, and Interpretation of Languages.

From 1 Corinthians 12:28-30, there is:

Proclamation, Teaching the Faith, Healings, Miracles, Languages, Interpretation of Languages, Apostleship, Helping, Visionary and Managing Leadership.


From Ephesians 4:11, there is:

Proclamation, Teaching the Faith, Apostleship Evangelism and Shepherding.

How Many Spiritual Gifts Are There?

There are 20 gifts that are specifically named in the Bible as gifts.  There are many other behaviors or characteristics of Christians, but it does not refer to them explicitly as gifts.

Biblical scholars differ on the number of spiritual gifts.  Some argue for the 20 identified in the Bible.  While others would argue that there are more or there could be more.

Here are a few examples of Christian characteristics or behaviors that some would consider to be spiritual gifts:

Celibacy, hospitality, voluntary poverty, martyrdom, intercession, exorcism, artistry, writing, craftsmanship, missionary, and music (instrument and vocal)

Each of these are wonderful activities, but if we look at the Bible, they are not named specifically as spiritual gifts.

Either way, spiritual gifts are from God, for use with God’s people for God’s plans.  They are meant to be used for the benefit of others for the glory of God.  It is less important of the number of spiritual gifts, than identifying and using the gifts for God’s children, for God’s plans, for the glory of God.

Handout after service:

For Your Meditation, Stewardship and Gifts (Pg. 106-107)