What is a spiritual gift? This may be a question that leaves you feeling a little confused. We have all come across this term in various formats. You may have first read about spiritual gifts in the Bible or perhaps you saw the term online, possibly on a spiritual website. In this article, we are going to explore the idea of a spiritual gift in great depth. We’ll take a look at what they are, we will cover their importance, we’ll look at some spiritual gifts scripture, and we’ll touch upon a spiritual gifts list (and why you shouldn’t focus on the list too much). So let’s start out with the basics.
What are the Spiritual Gifts?
What are spiritual gifts? Before we dive straight into looking at the list, we need to cover the basics of the purpose of these gifts. So that’s what we’re going to take a look at first. What does the Bible say about spiritual gifts? In Corinthians 12:1, we can read: “Now about the gifts of the spirit, brothers, and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed.” The concept is one that is explored numerous times throughout the Bible and in a number of different ways. It’s even acknowledged in the above passage that the gifts can be a bit confusing and that many people are misinformed.
However, the first mention of them is actually in Romans 1:11-12 when Paul says “I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you, that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.” This may seem a little confusing but it is actually the clearest description of what these gifts are. They aren’t physical gifts like frankincense or myrrh, but rather (as the name would suggest) they are gifts of the spirit, and these gifts aren’t always obvious, even to those who possess them.
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The Nature of the Gifts
The simplest way to understand these gifts, or perhaps the second simplest way once you exclude the spiritual gifts list, is through their purpose. If we pause for a moment and ask ourselves ‘why’ we would be given these gifts, we can begin to see a clearer picture.
So why do some people have these gifts and what are they supposed to do with them? Well, as we can see from Paul in Romans, these gifts are all about strength, just not in a traditional sense of the word.
A spiritual gift won’t make a weak man physically stronger but it might offer strength in faith. That is ultimately what these gifts are for: they exist to allow us to improve the capacity for spiritual and religious belief within others. The gifts aren’t necessarily designed to help us but rather serve to allow us to help others.
When we take a look at the spiritual gifts list, you’ll be able to see clearer examples of how this works. Hopefully, you can understand now that these are gifts to the world rather than gifts to the individuals who carry them.
Spiritual Gifts List
Now that we understand the role of the gifts, we can take a look at what they actually are. We’ll start off with the spiritual gifts list and then we’ll move on to look at each of these gifts one by one to try and further understand them. By taking a more in-depth look, you will also be able to figure out whether you have any of these gifts. We have to have patience if we wish to better understand a topic.
The problem with creating a spiritual gifts list is that the list can vary depending on your interpretation of the scripture. Different books of the Bible mention different gifts and so it’s hard to combine them all into one unified list. For example, Romans mentions ‘leadership’ as being one of the gifts while Corinthians does not.
Similarly, Corinthians mentions ‘gifts of healing’ as being a gift whereas Romans does not. As such, we will narrow down this list based on the description provided by Paul in Romans: gifts which aim to provide others’ with spiritual strength.
The spiritual gifts list is seven in number:
- Fear of the Lord
So let’s take a look at each of them individually. Keep in mind that they all share the same end goal: providing the strength of belief to others. While the purpose is the same, the manner in which these gifts work does vary slightly from one to another.
Typically, gifts are a reflection of the person who carries them. So a wise person is more likely to receive the gift of wisdom because they have been searching for this gift, whether they realize it or not. Similarly, someone with a deep understanding of scripture is more likely to receive the gift of understanding.
We’ll start off with the first example from our spiritual gifts list: knowledge. It’s important to realize that this gift doesn’t relate to being book smart. Being smart and being knowledgeable are not one and the same. This form of knowledge could also be described as insight as it refers to an individual’s capacity to see things from the perspective of God and higher beings (to a certain extent).
These individuals will have incredibly high vibrational energy levels, will be naturally spiritual, and will have always felt an understanding of a larger plan being in place. They are able to nudge people in the right direction and can offer guidance to those who need it. This is how they strengthen faith.
This form of gift is often associated with courage. It is the ability to stand up for one’s beliefs, regardless of the consequences. It is easy to understand how this gift achieves the goal of strengthening faith.
These individuals stand up for the forces of good and the children of God, no matter what evils they may face. You may think back to Moses standing up to the armies of Egypt in defense of what he knew to be right.
The third gift we’re going to explore is counsel. This can often appear to be a form of divine knowledge or can even be confused with certain psychic abilities such as clairvoyance. It is the ability to be able to judge a person or situation promptly as being moral or immoral (for example).
This is no small task as one of the larger obstacles facing people of faith is being able to judge in a similar manner as God. These gifted people help others face such decisions and can do so through their own intuition. This allows lessons to be learned and information to be shared.
The gift of piety is 4th on our spiritual gifts list. It is perhaps the most difficult of the gifts to explain. Those with this gift will have unwavering love, respect, and appreciation for God. They will be thankful for every meal, they will stand up to every evil, and they will try their best to spread their faith with everyone they meet. They are humble in the face of God and through this they allow others to feel comfortable in behaving in a similar manner.
The gift of wisdom relates to a person’s natural attraction towards all things spiritual and divine. Those who receive this gift are most likely to have been heavily religious and spiritual beforehand. With this gift comes a level of certainty.
It allows the individual to feel assured that what they believe is right and through their confidence, they reduce the fears and doubts of others. Wisdom, while sounding similar to knowledge or understanding, is more emotional. It comes not from the mind but rather from the heart. It’s an innate belief that just feels right.
Understanding, as we already mentioned, is somewhat similar to the gift of wisdom. The key difference is that wisdom stems from the heart while understanding stems from the mind. Those with this gift will understand Holy Scripture in new ways, potentially opening doors to the knowledge that has long since been forgotten.
Where some look at the Bible and see words, they will look and see lessons, guidance, and instructions. This gift allows them to share information from the Holy Book in ways that are easier to digest, allowing a wider audience to learn from the Bible.
Fear of the Lord
As we reach the end of our list, we come to the fear of the Lord. This might sound somewhat negative but it’s actually the opposite. Someone with this gift is able to understand and appreciate the power of God.
They can think back to examples such as the Great Flood or the Plagues of Egypt, and see the true power and might of the Lord. They fear that humanity, without the correct guidance, could meet a similar fate and so they share this fear with others in order to help them realize the importance of faith.