Myth #3: “Spiritual Gifts are Dramatic and Miraculous”

This post is part of my Myth-Busting blog series

miracles spiritual giftsI may not have made it through Seminary without my friend who had the spiritual gift of encouragement. Encouragement? Yes, that is a spiritual gift (Romans 12:8). Sometimes people believe the myth that spiritual gifts are only things that are dramatic and spectacular, but there is more to spiritual gifts than miracles.

Certainly things like healing can be gifts of the Spirit, but the New Testament describes many different spiritual gifts (Romans 12:6–8; 1 Corinthians 12:8–10, 27–28; 1 Peter 4:8–11; and perhaps Ephesians 4:7–11).

Ordinary Gifts

Giving is also a spiritual gift—anyone can give (and all the pastors said, “Amen”), but the Spirit enables some people to thrive when they are giving. I see the gift of serving present in people who regularly and cheerfully stay behind after a church event to stack chairs and mop the floor. I see people using the gifts of helping, mercy, administration, leadership, and hospitality at the community center my church has started.

None of these gifts sound all that supernatural. In fact, they sound quite normal. But these spiritual gifts are all supernatural in the sense that the Spirit is involved. The Bible affirms, “All these are the work of one and the same Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:11).

Hidden Gifts

Sometimes people aren’t aware of the gifts the Spirit has given them. After all, when people have the gift of administration, or any other less dramatic gift, they don’t start shaking, talking funny, and speaking like the King James Version of the Bible—“thus saith the Lord.” Instead, they just serve with excellence as enabled by the Spirit.

I hope this will be encouraging to some of you who thought you had no spiritual gift just because you don’t have a more noticeable gift, like prophecy or speaking in tongues. Perhaps you thought you didn’t measure up to those whose gifts were more dramatic.

We don’t all have the same gifts, and that is the way it is supposed to be. The Scripture says, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us” (Romans 12:6).

Gifts Galore

You can find a lot of spiritual gifts in the New Testament. There could be even more. Some people from church history have claimed to have the gift of prayer, tears, and visions.

It is evident from looking at the lists in the Bible that none of the biblical authors intend to provide a list outlining what all the spiritual gifts are. For example, teaching and prophecy appear in three of the passages, whereas encouragement only shows up in Romans 12, and healing only in 1 Corinthians 12.

Instead of providing an exhaustive list of spiritual gifts, the biblical authors simply explain some of the many ways the Holy Spirit works through people. And the Spirit clearly works in both dramatic ways and in ways that we might even say are ordinary. This includes the spiritual gifts. And that’s no myth.

Question: What are some other possible gifts of the Spirit? Leave a comment below by clicking here.

*This is an edited excerpt from, Simply Spirit-Filled: Experiencing God in the Presence and Power of the Holy Spirit, by Dr. Andrew K. Gabriel, © 2019 by Emanate Books, an imprint of Thomas Nelson. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson.

Read Chapter 1 or Order Simply Spirit-Filled

Andrew K. Gabriel, Ph.D., is the author of Simply Spirit-Filled: Experiencing God in the Presence and Power of the Holy Spirit as well as three academic books, including The Lord is the Spirit. He is a theology professor at Horizon College and Seminary and serves on the Theological Study Commission for the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. You can follow him on Facebook or on Twitter.

* If you enter an email address, it will not be published. Please keep your comments kind and relevant to the post.
* Please keep your comments under 1500 characters (about 250 words).
* No links please, unless you are citing a source.

Leave a Reply (A maximum of 1500 characters = about 250 words)