The Purpose of Spiritual Gifts

Read 1 Corinthians 12:7 and Ephesians 4:11–16. Why does God impart spiritual gifts to each believer? What are the purposes of those gifts?

Spiritual gifts serve several purposes. God gives them to nurture and strengthen His church to accomplish His ministry. They are designed to develop a unified church ready to accomplish His mission in the world. The Bible writers give us examples of the spiritual gifts that God imparts to His church, such as ministering, serving, proclaiming, teaching, encouraging, and giving. It also speaks about the gifts of hospitality, mercy, helpfulness, and cheerfulness, to mention only a few. For a more complete list, read Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12.

You may be wondering about the relationship between spiritual gifts and natural talents. Spiritual gifts are divinely imparted qualities that are given by the Holy Spirit to each believer to equip them for their special ministry in the church and service to the world. They also may include natural talents that are sanctified by the Holy Spirit and used in service for Christ. All natural talents are God given, but not all are used in the service of Christ.

“The special gifts of the Spirit are not the only talents represented in the parable. It includes all gifts and endowments, whether original or acquired, natural or spiritual. All are to be employed in Christ’s service. In becoming His disciples, we surrender ourselves to Him with all that we are and have. These gifts He returns to us purified and ennobled, to be used for His glory in blessing our fellow men.”—Ellen G. White, Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 328.

Also, God has established special gifts such as the gift of prophecy and specific offices in the church, including pastors and elders, who are teachers within the body of Christ to nurture and equip each member for service (see Eph. 4:11, 12). The function of all church leadership is to assist each member in discovering their spiritual gifts and teach them to use these gifts to build up the body of Christ.

What are some natural talents that you have that, however useful and beneficial in a secular environment, can also be a blessing to the church?

Additional Reading: Selected Quotes from Ellen G. White

“To His servants Christ commits “His goods”—something to be put to use for Him. He gives “to every man his work.” Each has his place in the eternal plan of heaven. Each is to work in co-operation with Christ for the salvation of souls. Not more surely is the place prepared for us in the heavenly mansions than is the special place designated on earth where we are to work for God. {COL 326.4}

The talents that Christ entrusts to His church represent especially the gifts and blessings imparted by the Holy Spirit. “To one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: but all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will.” 1 Corinthians 12:8-11. All men do not receive the same gifts, but to every servant of the Master some gift of the Spirit is promised. {COL 327.1}”

Christ, the outshining of the Father’s glory, came to the world as its light. He came to represent God to men, and of Him it is written that He was anointed “with the Holy Ghost and with power,” and “went about doing good.” Acts 10:38. In the synagogue at Nazareth He said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” Luke 4:18, 19. This was the work He commissioned His disciples to do. “Ye are the light of the world,” He said. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14, 16. {COL 416.2}

“He will help us to follow His example, doing good and refusing to do evil. We are to be consecrated channels through whom the love of Christ flows to those in need of help…. {OHC 182.4}

Christ sends His light to those who keep the windows of the soul open heavenward. Under the Holy Spirit’s influence, they work the works of God. He who approaches nearest to obedience to the divine law will be of the most service to God. He who follows Christ, reaching out after His goodness, His compassion, His love for the human family, will be accepted by God as a worker together with Him. Such a one will not be content to remain on a low level of spirituality. He will constantly reach higher and higher. {OHC 182.5}”

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Unlimited Possibilities


Differing Gifts: United in Service


God: The Giver of All Good Gifts


The Purpose of Spiritual Gifts


Discovering Your Gifts


Growing Our Gifts


Further Thought