The bottom line is that all we have is from God, so in that sense they are all gifts from God. Scripture, however, appears to set apart spiritual gifts as something different from talents and natural abilities. Perhaps we could say that talents are natural abilities which seem to be hereditary, to run in the genes. Unbelievers, as well as believers, have talents. Perhaps we could say that natural abilities are either talents or skills that have been learned through conditioning from the environment we lived in or training we have received. Again, both believers and unbelievers have natural abilities. Spiritual gifts, however, are an empowerment of divine origin, not a result of genetics, training, or conditioning. Only believers have spiritual gifts.
Some people look at the key passages on spiritual gifts (Rom. 12, 1 Cor. 12, Eph. 4) and limit the gifts to the ones listed therein. But even within those three passages there is discrepancy. Some people say the gifts of administration (1 Cor. 12:28) and leadership (Rom. 12:8) are the same gift. They also say service (Rom. 12:7) and helps (1 Cor. 12:28) are the same gift. The problem with that is - if you look at the original Greek words, they are all different words with distinct meanings. So part of the differences in numbering gifts is the way each word is defined.
Some people add in craftsmanship and music because of the skilled people that God brought in to help with the Old Testament tabernacle. In Exodus 31 it says God filled Bezalel “with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts” (verses 3-5). From passages similar to that, people have concluded that craftsmanship and music are spiritual gifts. Others stick with the gifts listed in the New Testament. Some see craftsmanship as a vehicle to exercise the gift of service. Music may be seen as a vehicle to exercise the gift of exhortation.
Yet other people will add the possibility of a few other gifts—celibacy, hospitality, martyrdom, missionary, voluntary poverty, and intercession. If you look at the context of the verses where they are found, you will see the Greek word “charisma” (which is the same word used in other passages) interpreted as “spiritual gift” used in all but intercession. At least one person who pegs intercession as a spiritual gift, does so because he/she can’t imagine it isn’t—since prayer is so important. Or could it be that prayer is a vehicle through which those with the gifts of faith, healing, and miracles operate?
So you see how we have different Bible scholars with different listings of “gifts.” Be careful about getting dogmatic on the number of gifts because God leaves it a little open. If you look at the list of gifts in the three main passages, no list is the same. There is some overlap but each list has some gifts not listed in the others, so no one list is comprehensive. This could indicate that there could be other gifts as well, since no one passage is complete in itself.
Can you think of one “gift” or spiritual ability that is in use around Pinedale that might not be “listed” in the spiritual gifts passages?
Starting tomorrow, we’re going to list 16 spiritual gifts as found in the New Testament. We’re listing these so you’ll not only learn more about each “gift” but so you also can do a little research to see which one(s) might be you. As we list the spiritual gifts remember that no one person has all these “gifts” but every believer has been given at least one.
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.