There is a difference between spiritual gifts and spiritual fruit. Gifts are given to assist a person in edifying the church, but fruit is the offspring of one's spiritual character. Spirituality cannot be measured by gifts, but by fruit (Galatians 5:22-24).

Before you take the Spiritual Gift Test (access provided at the end of this page), let's examine the origin and purpose of these gifts.

The origin of spiritual gifts (charismata in Greek) is traced to the book of Acts when Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to His disciples to equip His church with power and spiritual gifts. While there are certain gifts of a spectacular nature that are often given greater attention, the New Testament mentions at least 21 spiritual gifts that were provided to the church. These gifts are listed in Ephesians 4:11, Romans 12:3-7, and 1 Corinthians 12:1-12 and 28. These gifts are generally assigned to one of three categories, as listed below:

  • Charismatic (spiritual) gifts: Wisdom, Knowledge, Discernment, Prophecy, Tongues, Interpretation, Faith, Healing and Miracles.
  • Ministry (office) gifts: Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher.
  • Motivational (practical) gifts: Service, Exhortation, Giving, Leadership, Mercy, Helps and Administration.
  • Ministry (office) gifts: Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher.
  • Motivational (practical) gifts: Service, Exhortation, Giving, Leadership, Mercy, Helps and Administration.
Ministry (office) gifts: Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher.
  • Motivational (practical) gifts: Service, Exhortation, Giving, Leadership, Mercy, Helps and Administration.
  • The existence of spiritual gifts today remains a major controversial issue among Christian churches and has generated much division within the Christian community. On one side are churches that accept spiritual gifts as important tools still received today from the Holy Spirit. On the other side are churches that reject the notion that spiritual gifts, especially those of a charismatic nature, are received today. In brief, their view is derived from an interpretation of 1 Corinthians 13:8-10, claiming that these gifts were short-term supernatural tools given only to the original apostles or those whom the original apostles laid hands on to build the early church.  When the original apostles and those whom they laid hands on died, the ability to perform these gifts vanished. But is this true? Take out your Bible, your concordance and your expository dictionary and let's take The Berean Approach to find out.

    First let's examine what the Bible says regarding WHO were the receiptients of these spiritual gifts. Were these gifts given only to the original apostles or were they given to all believers and followers of Jesus Christ? 

    Read Acts 10:44-48 - several gentiles (non-Jew) received the Holy Spirit and the gift of tongues from the Holy Spirit before they were baptized. There is no mention of Peter or any of the oriignal apostles laying hands on them.

    Read Acts 9:17 & 18 - Saul (who would later become the apostle Paul) was not an original apostle nor was he baptized by any of the original disciples (he was baptized by Ananias of Damascus) displayed many spiritual gifts (Acts 13:9-12, 14:9-11, 20:8-12, and many other places).   

    Read 1 Corinthians 12 - Members of the Corinthian church had spiritual gifts. There are no documentation of any of the original apostles visiting the Corinthian church.

    Read 1 Corinthians 14:1 - Paul encouraged the church to desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. Paul would not had encouraged the church to desire something that they could not have if these gifts were only available to the original apostles. Note: The spirit of prophecy is defined as the testimony of Jesus Christ in Revelation 19:10. This testimony continues to this very day.

    These passages teaches us that spiritual gifts were given to all followers of Jesus Christ and not just to the original apostles or those whom the original apostles laid hands on.

    Regarding when the spiritual gifts will cease. Let's begin by reviewing 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 (part of a letter from the apostle Paul to the Corinthian church). There it reads:

    "8Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away."

    This passages makes it clear that a time will come when the gifts of prophecy, tongues, and knowledge will one day cease. Verse 10 makes it clear that these gifts will cease "when that which is perfect has come". What does "that which is perfect" means? Here is where the confusion begins.  Let's take a closer look.  Commentary found in the Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible (published by AMG publishers) states the following (p. 1436):

    "The phrase 'when that which is perfect has come' refers to the written revelation of Scripture. When this revelation was completed, there was no need for the temporary gifts (e.g., tongues, prophecies, and knowledge) which were given in order to substantiate the message that the apostles were preaching."

    In addition, the Bible Commentary published by Thomas Nelson Publishers contains the following information regarding the phrase "that which is perfect" (p. 1491):

    "Conservative biblical scholars have proposed two main interpretations of perfect. It may be a reference to the completion of the canon of Scriptures, with which partial revelation (by knowledge, prophecy, or tongues) came to an end, culminating in a complete revelation of God's Scripture or it may refer to the maturation of the Body of Christ (in the sense of Ephesians 4:11-16)."

    Although both interpretations of the phrase "that which is perfect" sounds convincingly scholarly, they are nothing more than scholarly opinion camouflaged as biblical fact. There are no scriptural facts that clearly states that this phrase means the completion of the written Scriptures. The Bible only state that these particular gifts will cease when "that which is perfect has come". To draw-out any other meaning from this text alone is called eisogesis.  Eisogesis means to add into a text information that is not there. So, let's cut through the maze of human opinion and go directly to the source - the Word of God - and determine what this phrase mean.

    The Greek word used in this text for the word "perfect" is "teleios" (Strong's Reference Number 5046) which means brought to its end, finished, fully matured, perfect and completed (remember, this passage is in the New Testament which was originally written in Greek - therefore, you must look up this reference number in the Greek dictionary of your concordance.
    Click here for information on the languages of the Bible). When this letter was written to the Corinthian church, since the church was still practicing gifts of prophecy, tongues, and knowledge, "that which is perfect" obviously had not come yet.  So, the questions remain, what is "that which is perfect?"  Has it come yet?  And, are these spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit given today? 

    The best way to answer this question is to allow the Bible to interpret itself. So, let's begin by asking is there any place in the entire Bible that describes spiritual gifts ceasing as a result of the completion of something from God? And if so, when will it cease? The answer is yes.  The following passages will provide some insight:

    "31Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah 32not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. 33But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD, for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more." Jeremiah 31:31-34

    "11And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. 14For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. 15But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, 16This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them, 17then He adds, Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more. 18Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin". Hebrews 10:11-18

    Today, those who have the gift of knowledge must teach those who do not have this gift. In both passages above, God is promising a time when all His people will be blessed with knowledge and will no longer need to teach others of His ways. It is obvious that this promise from God has not been fulfillment since we still need to teach one another of the ways of God, not to mention that the "house of Israel" and the "house of Judah" (aka the Jews) still have not acknowledge Jesus Christ as incarnate God. Therefore, the time of when this spiritual gift will be lifted has not yet come.  Therefore, "that which is perfect" cannot be referring to the completion of the Holy Scriptures.  This is also in harmony with Acts 2:14-21:

    "14But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. 15For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. 18And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy. 19I will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath: blood and fire and vapor of smoke. 20The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD. 21And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved."

    The above passages is in response to the arrival of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost (see Acts 2). This is the first occurrence of people speaking in the gift of tongues - and at least 12 distinct languages are listed in Acts 2. Now notice in verse 17 the promise that God will give the gift of prophecy to "all flesh", not just to the original apostles. Also notice that this passage is in response to people speaking in tongues - hence, in this passage the gift of speaking in tongue is associated with the gift of prophecy (however, the gift of prophecy is not always associated with the gift of tongue - but that's another lesson). In addition, notice in verse 20 that the spiritual gifts listed will continue until the "great and awesome day of the LORD." This is a reference to the Second Coming of Christ, however, the term "that which is perfect" is in the neuter, therefore is not referring to Jesus Himself, but rather to the perfect Church that will come with Jesus at His Second Coming (Revelation 19:7-14).

    So, there are sufficient reasons to believe that all followers of Jesus Christ are provided with one or more gifts from the Holy Spirit to edify the church and that these gifts will continue to be provided until the Second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Are you a follower of Jesus Christ? Is so, do you know what spiritual gift(s) God has given you through the Holy Spirit? If not, enter the gates below to take a spiritual gift test to identify the gift(s) God has given you. 
    Pray before taking the test.  Answer according to who you are, not who you would like to be or think you ought to be. This test is only effective if you are honest with the Spirit and with yourself.  Remember, your gift is given for you to Glorify God, Magnify Jesus, and edify the church.  May God bless you.

    Click on the gates to take your spiritual test.
    (Click on the gates to take your spiritual test.)

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