The Gifts of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit gives gifts to each member of the body of Christ (every person who can confess that Jesus is Lord) for the good of the body—no matter how great or small we might think the gift is.

In verses 8-10 there are nine gifts described:

  • [8] For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom,
  • and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit,
  • [9] to another faith by the same Spirit,
  • to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,
  • [10] to another the working of miracles,
  • to another prophecy,
  • to another the ability to distinguish between spirits,
  • to another various kinds of tongues,
  • to another the interpretation of tongues.

Notice that there are a variety of gifts but the same Spirit; diversity that flows from and leads to unity. The first two, wisdom and knowledge, are used to teach, the second three, faith, healing and miracles, are supernatural, and the final four are communicative: prophecy, discernment, tongues and interpretation of tongues.

When we consider how we might understand each one of these gifts we must remember that they are gifts of the Spirit and that they are meant to be used for his glory, not ours, and for building up the church.

We should also remember that this is a representative list. It is not an exhaustive list of the gifts of the Spirit. There are other lists in Romans 12 and Ephesians 4. In all there are between 18 and 20 gifts listed in the New Testament. This list was given in a sermon on 1 Corinthians 12 at Rincon Mountain Presbyterian Church on March 4, 2018 and begins with…

1. Utterances of wisdom

You can define this gift as speaking those things that are wise application of biblical truth. Or here is another way of saying that same thing:

Locating formerly unknown principles as well as combining known principles of God's Word and communicating them to fresh situations. Then there are…

2. Utterances of knowledge

This means speaking those things that demonstrate a deep and intimate knowledge of God’s word. It involves arranging the facts of Scripture, categorizing these into principles, and communicating them to repeated or familiar situations.


3. Faith

Exercising great faith in “normal” situations and “abnormally great” faith in difficult situations. Seeing through any problem to the Ultimate Resource.

4. Healing

Able to provide some measure of physical, emotional, or spiritual healing.

5. Miracles

Performing supernatural activities.

6. Prophecy

Making God’s revealed word and will clear to other believers.

7. Distinguishing spirits

Detecting a genuine or spurious motive by distinguishing the spirit-source behind any person's speech or act. Exercising discernment.

8. Tongues

The ability to speak in a language you do not know.

9. Interpretation of tongues

The ability to interpret someone speaking in a language you do not know.