When Jesus was teaching about prayer, he used the example of a father who gives good gifts to his children when they ask. Since God is a better father than the earthly ones, we can also expect him to give gifts to his children – and he does.
What are the gifts of God?
The gifts of God are also referred to as the gifts of the Spirit. The gifts are nine in total i.e.:
- Word of Wisdom
- Word of knowledge
- Gifts of healing
- Working of miracles
- Discerning of spirits
- Diverse kinds of tongues
- Interpretation of tongues
This list is given by Apostle Paul in his epistle to the church at Corinth. Here is the reference:
For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gift of healings by [c]the same Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 1 Cor. 12:8-10
Let us take a closer look at each of these gifts below:
1. Word of Wisdom
The gift of the word of Wisdom is a special gift that manifests in divine guidance and transmission of divine insights that offer supernatural guidance. The word of wisdom is given to strengthen the body of Christ and promote the common good of the Christian community. In Luke 21:15, Jesus promised to give his disciples a special kind of wisdom – one that their opponents would be unable to counteract. This is a good illustration of how the word of Wisdom works in the life of a believer.
2. Word of Knowledge
The word of knowledge is different from the word of wisdom. The gift of the word of knowledge is an utterance of knowledge based on supernatural revelation that gives details about a situation or a person. The word of knowledge can manifest as a vision, dream, thought, voice, feeling, etc. A good example of this gift in operation is found in the book John When Jesus described Nathanael as an Israelite in whom there was no deceit. Because it was their first encounter, Nathaneal asked Jesus how he knew that about him and Jesus responded by letting him know that he saw him while he was still seated under the tree before they even met (John 1:46-48).
3. Gift of Faith
Even though all Christians have and are required to have faith, there is a special gift of faith that makes one develop an extraordinary faith which can then be used to showcase God’s power in different circumstances. Having the gift of faith makes one have a strong confidence in God, his promises, and his word. People with the gift of faith are an inspiration to their fellow believers, exhibiting a simple confidence in God that shows in all they say and do.
4. Gifts of Healing
Unlike the other 8 gifts of the Holy Spirit recorded in the book of Corinthians, 1 Cor. 12:9 talks of the gifts of healing (not the gift of healing). This indicates that this gift encompasses all manner of healing ranging from healing of the body to healing of mental issues. There are many illustrations of the gifts of healing at work in the Bible both in the New and Old Testaments. These include miracles like the raising of the dead, cleansing of the lepers, healing of fever, etc.
5. Working of Miracles
The gift of working miracles goes hand in hand with the gift of faith. Those who have this gift are able to pray for God’s miraculous power and then demonstrate it on earth. The Bible is full of examples of miracles that were performed by his servants in the Bible. For instance, most of the early Apostles operated in this gift. A good example is how the gates of the prison where Paul and Silas were being held swung open after they snag praises to God (Acts 16).
6. Gift of Prophecy
Apart from 1 Corinthians, the gift of prophecy is also mentioned in Romans 12:6. The gift of prophecy is not merely predicting the future. On the contrary, it is the ability to declare the divine will of God, interpret God’s purposes, and make known God’s truth in a way that will influence people. The gift of the prophet is rooted in divine revelation that is often spontaneous and inspired by the Holy Spirit. Apart from warning his people, God uses this gift to edify, exhort, and comfort his people.
7. Discerning of spirits
This gift gives the Christian the ability to distinguish between human, demonic, and divine spirits. This is arguably one of the most needed gifts in the body of Christ today. This is because the spirit of the antichrist is already at work and also because the devil masquerades as an angel of light. When the gift of discernment is present, the church will be able to distinguish the godly from the ungodly. Discernment of gifts should however not be confused with succession and judgment. Human insights and perceptions often lead to defaming God’s people which is not what the Holy Spirit is trying to do. The spirit discernment should work in an environment that is free of any human interference.
8. Diverse tongues
This is arguably the most misunderstood gift of God in the church. Speaking in tongues, as the Bible teaches, is speaking in the language of angels. This means that the speaker of the language does not necessarily understand what they are speaking (unless the Holy Spirit interprets it for them). The Bible says that when one speaks in tongues, they are speaking to God (1 Cor. 14). This is why speaking in tongues is encouraged as a way of edifying yourself and as a way of building one’s faith (Jude 1:20)
9. Interpretation of tongues
As the name suggests, the gift of interpretation of tongues is the ability to supernaturally interpret a language that someone else is speaking. For the most part, his gift is used to interpret God’s message that is delivered by another speaker who speaks in tongues. Even though the Bible says that those who speak in tongues speak mysteries, a person who has the gift of interpretation of tongues can understand what they are speaking and thereby interpret it for the listeners.
So there you have it – the nine gifts of God which are also commonly referred to as the gifts of the Spirit. Since they are the gifts of the spirit, the first step in getting them is receiving the Holy Spirit. Once you do, you can start believing God for his gifts to be manifested in you, and as the Psalmist says, He will give you your heart’s desires.