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Bible Study: The Holy Spirit – Lesson 6: Spiritual Gifts Part 2 – The Functioning of the Gifts

Calvary Bible Church Bible Study

The Person and Ministry of The Holy Spirit

Lesson 6:  Spiritual Gifts  Part 2 – The Functioning of the Gifts  

The Holy Spirit is seemingly the least understood of the members of the Trinity.  Although many churches in the modern era TALK about the Spirit, the vast majority of them focus on the “power” and the “gifts”, rather than the Person and Ministry of the Spirit.  And even then, they produce a lot of unbiblical information on the “power” and “gifts” that leads to a very unbalanced understanding of what Christianity is really all about.

Hopefully, this study will help us gain a greater understanding and appreciation of the Holy Spirit.


Romans 12:6-8

6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.


1 Corinthians 12:7-10

7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: 8 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 gifts of healings by 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 Corinthians 12:28

28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. 


1 Corinthians 14:1-33

14     Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. 2 For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries. 3 But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. 4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. 5 I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.

6 But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you unless I speak to you either by revelation, by knowledge, by prophesying, or by teaching? 7 Even things without life, whether flute or harp, when they make a sound, unless they make a distinction in the sounds, how will it be known what is piped or played? 8 For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle? 9 So likewise you, unless you utter by the tongue words easy to understand, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air. 10 There are, it may be, so many kinds of languages in the world, and none of them is without significance. 11 Therefore, if I do not know the meaning of the language, I shall be a foreigner to him who speaks, and he who speaks will be a foreigner to me. 12 Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel.

13 Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. 15 What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding. 16 Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say “Amen at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say? 17 For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified.

18 I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all; 19 yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue.

20 Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature. 21 In the law it is written:  “With men of other tongues and other lips I will speak to this people; And yet, for all that, they will not hear Me,” says the Lord.

22 Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe. 23 Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind? 24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. 25 And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you.

26 How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. 28 But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God. 29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. 30 But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. 32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. 33 For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.


If we compile these Scriptures into one list, the gifts of the Spirit named in Scripture are:

Prophecy,  Ministry,  Teaching,  Exhortation,  Giving,  Leading,  Showing Mercy,  Word of Wisdom,  Word of Knowledge,  Faith,  Healings,  Working of Miracles,  Helps,  Administrations, Tongues,  Interpretation of Tongues.


Let’s look at each one in order:

Prophecy –   predictions about the future and the end-time, as well as the Spirit empowered proclamation of God’s Word, which involve special messages from God which indicate the divine will for mankind on earth and in heaven.  The two basic categories of prophecy are “fore-telling”, which telling future events before they happen; and “forth-telling”, the empowered proclamation of God’s Word (such as Peter’s Sermon in Acts 2:14-39).  The focus of all prophetic truth is Jesus Christ.


Ministry – a distinctive biblical idea that means “to serve” or “service.”


Teaching – the act of instructing students or imparting knowledge and information. As used in the New Testament, the concept of teaching usually means instruction in the faith. Thus, teaching is to be distinguished from preaching, or the proclamation of the gospel to the non-Christian world. Teaching in the Christian faith was validated by Jesus, who was called “Teacher” more than anything else.  Since sound instruction in the faith is essential to the spiritual growth of Christians and to the development of the church, the Bible contains numerous passages that deal with teaching (Matt. 4:23; Luke 4:14; Acts 13:1–3; Rom. 12:6–8; Gal. 6:6).


Exhortation – a message of warning or encouragement, designed to motivate persons to action.  Someone with this particular Romans 12 gift is motivated to see people encouraged toward growth in the Lord. They are equipped with the special grace of stimulating or guiding people (cf. Acts 8:31) to worthy conduct and personal progress; they make doctrine practical. They tend to be very positive people with a basically positive outlook on life. They are always interested in seeing how tribulation or adversity can be turned into successful living and maturity in the Lord.


Giving – the ability to develop and share resources (usually financial).


Leading – the ability to guide and direct a body of believers in wisdom and humility.  particularly gifted at sensing overall problems, surveying needs, enlisting others to do work, assessing the time needed to complete a goal, organizing resources, proceeding under opposition and pressure and delegating authority. They provide the necessary ingredient for God’s people to effectively organize and carry out their goals.


Showing Mercy – those whom God has endowed with a special measure of faith to emotionally identify with people so as to show compassion. They are strong “feelers,” with a marked ability to perceive where people are emotionally and to identify with what they are feeling or going through. They aim at doing good and helping others through the motivation of empathy. They shun hard-heartedness; they’re the “heart” of the church in a special way.

Word of Wisdom – supernatural direction which the Holy Spirit Himself shares with an individual for a certain situation, especially where the outcome of decisions would not be known outside this revelation.  A spiritual utterance at a given moment ‘through the Spirit,’ supernaturally disclosing the mind, purpose, and way of God as applied to a specific situation.


Word of Knowledge – a gift of the Spirit giving supernatural insight or information which one would not have known apart from the Spirit’s revealing it, such as with Peter and Ananias and Sapphira. It differs from general biblical knowledge in that it’s spontaneously revealed rather than learned through study or acquired by experience; however, it must always be tested against revealed biblical knowledge.


Faith – The manifestation of faith is the spontaneously granted spiritual ability to release the energy of God for any given action or need; it is to be differentiated from faith that leads to salvation or from general Christian faith developed through a daily walk with the Spirit. Scholars often term this manifestation, along with gifts of healings and the working of miracles, as “the gifts of energy” or “the gifts of ministry.”


Healings – The ability to miraculously cause physical or mental healing of illnesses or wounds. Some scholars feel “gifts” is plural to reinforce the fact that this manifestation is not a permanent, residing gift. As with all the manifestations, it is available to any member of the body as the Spirit wills; even if one manifests this gift repeatedly, he/she does not own it and should probably never use it as a title, that is, “Faith Healer Robert Smith.”


Working of Miracles – God working to do what could not be done naturally. The working of miracles transcends the natural laws of the Earth.


Discerning of Spirits – the ability to discern the spirit world, and especially to detect the true source of circumstances or motives of people.”  In an unpublished manuscript Jack W. Hayford has written, “In the exercise of the gift of discernment, we are dealing with an insight into the invisible—with an ability to ‘divide between’ the human and the hellish (the flesh and the devil) and often with the ability to determine the source or root of a problem as it stems from the spiritual realm.”


Helps – the special ability to bear another’s burdens.  More than empathy, it is an ability to share the load emotionally and spiritually with another person, often by taking physical action to aid the other person.


Administrations – those who aid, usually in aiding a local church to accomplish its’ tasks.  Deacons would fit into this category, if gifted in a unique way to minister thus.


Tongues – the miraculous ability to speak EITHER a human language that is not known to the speaker, OR in a spiritual (angelic, see 1st Corinthians 13) language, again unknown to the speaker.


Interpretation of Tongues – the ability to translate or interpret what is said in the gift of tongues.


USAGE OF TONGUES IN PUBLIC WORSHIP – The gift of tongues, which when interpreted is edifying to the congregation (14:5), is to be exercised with restraint and in an orderly way. The regulations for its public use are simple and straightforward. The person who speaks in an unknown tongue is to pray that he may interpret (14:13). Or, someone else is to interpret what he says. Only two or three persons are to speak, with each having an interpretation of what he says. Each is also to speak in turn. If these criteria are not met, they are to remain silent (14:27-28).