01 How many spiritual gifts do I have?
Every believer has at least one spiritual gift (1 Corinthians 12:7, 11; Ephesians 4:7), given at his or her salvation. No believer has every spiritual gift (1 Corinthians 12:12, 27, 29–30). Our gifts differ from each other (Romans 12:3–6a). We receive our gifts according to God’s will, not our own desire or experience (1 Corinthians 12:11; Ephesians 4:7–8).
The New Testament includes three lists of spiritual gifts. In Romans 12:3–8 we encounter seven gifts: “prophecy,” serving; teaching, encouraging, “contributing to the needs of others,” leadership, and mercy.
In 1 Corinthians 12:7–11, we find nine gifts: wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miraculous powers, prophecy, distinguishing between spirits, “speaking in different kinds of tongues,” and “the interpretation of tongues.”
And in Ephesians 4:11, we discover five gifts: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers (some interpreters see pastors and teachers as two separate gifts, though the Greek syntax seems to indicate that they are one function).
This spiritual gifts discovery tool does not include the so-called “sign” gifts (e.g., healing, miracles, tongues, interpretation of tongues). We’ve written about these gifts more extensively in "What are the sign gifts?" Also, we've included the additional gifts of “music” and “hospitality” since many interpreters see them as spiritual gifts (see 1 Corinthians 14:26 and 1 Peter 4:9–11) and because they are instrumental to most churches’ ministries.
02 How can I use my spiritual gifts?
Whether we are “gifted” in these areas or not, we are responsible to meet these needs as God directs us.
Those with spiritual gifts in these areas will typically be called to lead the rest of us in these ministries and will model them with great effectiveness. Those who possess the gift of evangelism, for example, encourage others to share their faith when they demonstrate their gift in action. Those with the gift of serving will take the initiative to help in this area and will show the rest of us how to serve with joy.
The spiritual gifts, then, do not confine our service only to the areas where we are gifted. Rather, they point the way to ministries where we will lead and serve with our greatest passion and joy.
This spiritual gifts assessment is based on the belief that our passions and opportunities indicate the spiritual gifts God has imparted to us. Our passions indicate those areas of service which correspond with our desires, abilities, and interests; we may or may not have used these passions in ministry to this point in our lives. Our opportunities show us areas where God may have opened doors of service to us and may indicate areas of spiritual giftedness.
We hope this spiritual gifts assessment draws you closer to fulfilling God’s call on your life.
03 How many different spiritual gifts are in the Bible?
Combining the various lists, this discovery tool catalogs seventeen different gifts:
- administration: organizing people and ministries effectively
- apostleship: adapting to a different culture to share the gospel or do ministry
- discernment: distinguishing spiritual truth from error or heresy
- evangelism: sharing the gospel effectively and passionately
- exhortation: encouraging others as they follow Jesus
- faith: seeing God’s plan and following it with passion
- giving: investing with unusual sacrifice and joy in God’s Kingdom
- hospitality: using your home and/or resources to help others follow Jesus
- knowledge: discerning and sharing the deep truths of God’s word and will
- leadership: motivating and inspiring others to serve Jesus fully
- mercy: showing God’s grace to hurting people with unusual passion
- music: sharing God’s truth and love with unusual effectiveness
- prophecy: preaching the word of God with personal passion and effectiveness
- serving: meeting practical needs with unusual sacrifice and joy
- shepherding: helping others grow spiritually
- teaching: explaining God’s word and truth with unusual effectiveness
- wisdom: relating biblical truth to practical life with great effectiveness
Some of these ministry areas are the responsibility only of those gifted to fulfill them, while others are the responsibility of all believers. For instance, those with the gift of prophecy should preach; those with the gift of teaching should teach the Bible to others; those with the gift of apostleship should be our leaders in missions ministry.
On the other hand, God expects all of his people to discern truth from error, share their faith, encourage others, have faith in him, give sacrificially, show hospitality to others, seek to know and share his word, offer mercy to hurting people, meet practical needs with joy, help others grow spiritually, and relate his truth to life.