The Holy Spirit is an integral part of the life of every believer as it resides in everyone who believes in Jesus Christ.
In fact, the Bible clearly states that you can’t believe in Christ without having God’s Spirit.
The two go hand in hand in the life of a born-again, spirit-filled Christian.
Here’s what one of the apostles Paul wrote in Romans 8:9:
“You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact, the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.”
Anyone who doesn’t have God’s Spirit in him isn’t a real, genuine believer in Jesus, simple as that.
Jude 1:19 reinforces this fact by stating “It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.”.
Apart from receiving the Holy Spirit immediately upon belief in Christ, believers also gain access to the highly popular seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, along with several other gifts.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at each of the gifts of the Holy Spirit with the corresponding Biblical references and meaning, as well as other aspects of God’s Spirit in a Christian’s life.
What Exactly are the Gifts of the Holy Spirit?
The gifts of the Holy Spirit are spiritual gifts in the form of unique abilities given by God through the Holy Spirit to faithful believers in the Lord Jesus.
These incredible gifts are part of the Creator’s fascinating plan for our lives as all glory goes to Him.
It’s safe to say that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are direct empowerment from God to faithful Christians who believe that Jesus is Lord and that he died on the cross for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3).
They are powerful, miraculous and supernatural manifestations of God’s infinite glory exhibited by the Holy Spirit that resides in every believer.
The diversity in gifts of the Holy Spirit shows that God wants us to be flexible and adequately equipped for different spiritual services in His name and for His glory.
Description of the Gifts of the Spirit (Including the Seven Gifts)
There are multiple gifts of the Holy Spirit described in the Bible, each representing specific spiritual abilities that God has granted to His followers i.e. believers.
There are 3 primary Biblical passages that identify the gifts of the Holy Spirit, each passage describes numerous specific gifts:
- Romans 12:6-8 – Leadership, prophesying, teaching, mercy, serving, giving and encouraging
- 1 Corinthians 12:4 – Miraculous powers, faith, the word of knowledge, distinguishing between spirits, prophecy, the word of wisdom, interpretation of tongues and speaking in tongues
- 1 Corinthians 12:28 – Diversities of tongues, healings, governments and helps
But not many are familiar with what they stand for so below we’ll provide a description of each specific gift of the Holy Spirit:
1. The Gift of Prophecy
In 1 Corinthians 14:1 Paul writes “Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.”.
This had led many Christians to think that the gift of prophecy is probably the greatest gift of the Holy Spirit.
The gift of prophecy is found in the New Testament where the Greek word translated “prophecy” stands for “a speaking forth”.
It’s a gift from God to declare a message that comes directly from Him – a divine gift that’s used to declare the Almighty’s divine will.
Genuine prophets inspired by the Holy Spirit are believers who deliver truths that God wants to be made known to anyone who has eyes to see and ears to hear.
This can be manifested in the form of foretelling future events, declaring the purposes of the Lord or revealing something hidden.
However, we have to remember what’s written in 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21: “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good.”.
We have to test the spirits to ensure that a given prophecy does indeed come from our Heavenly Father or not.
2. The Gift of the Word of Wisdom
The word of wisdom is a sort of wisdom that’s obviously related to one of the speaking gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Wisdom is a God-given gift that’s perfectly explained in Proverbs 2:6-9:
“For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path.”
The gift of the word of wisdom gives understanding and proper interpretation to speak Biblical truths that are applicable to everyday situations.
Discernment is a fundamental part of proper God-given wisdom, represented by the ability to make choices and decisions according to the will of the Lord.
Each and every one of us needs the wisdom of the Lord on a daily basis as a major part of our lives.
It can help us deal with various obstacles and difficulties, while also giving us the ability to make the right choices.
3. The Gift of the Word of Knowledge
This is specific knowledge of God in the form of a gift that brings a comprehensive understanding of various issues and things that only a born-again Christian can receive.
In Hosea 4:6 the Lord tells the Israelites “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”, which implies the importance of this specific gift.
Any believer who has this gift will possess an intricate knowledge of the deep things of God by understanding truths that can only be received by revelations from the Almighty.
We have to come to grips with the fact that our fleshly, fallen knowledge and intelligence are really limited and flawed.
Thus, relying on the gift of the word of knowledge that involves certain knowledge of God can help you to handle whatever problem you’re faced with or lend a hand to someone else using your God-given knowledge.
4. The Gift of Faith
Every single person who believes in the redemptive work of Christ has faith in some measure because we’re saved by grace through fate (Ephesians 2:8).
But the specific gift of faith is represented by a powerful and unshakable assurance, certainty and reliance in the Creator, including His promises, Word and the undeniable power of prayer.
It’s an incredible gift of the Spirit to put your complete faith in God always no matter the circumstances.
Hebrews 11:1 reveals the following truth about faith: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”.
Once saved, our faith will continue to grow as we put our trust in Him, without worrying about tomorrow for it shall worry about itself (Matthew 6:34).
But frequently reading and diving deep into the Bible is one of the greatest ways to draw closer to Him and strengthen our personal walk with the Lord that stems from faith.
5. The Gift of The Working of Miracles
The working of miracles is a gift of the Holy Spirit that’s represented by believers who perform supernatural acts that transcend the natural laws and that can only be attributed to the infinite glory and power of our Heavenly Father
This is a divine, supernatural way through which the Lord reveals Himself in various situations with a seemingly obvious outcome e.g. when Daniel was thrown in the lion’s den (Daniel 6:12-28).
One example of a man who performed various miracles recorded in the Bible is Christ, although He is not a mere human being God Himself as Jesus is both fully man and fully God.
If you open the book of Acts you’ll find many different miracles performed by regular, fully-human individuals such as Simon-Peter (Acts 3:6), Paul (Acts 19:11-12) and Stephen (Acts 6:8).
These miracles give all the glory to God, while also providing full credibility to Scripture.
6. The Gift of Speaking in Tongues
This specific gift was given to the early church, shortly after Jesus’ ascension into heaven (Acts 1:9) to help them spread the good news of salvation.
In Acts 2:4 we find the coming of the Holy Spirit and the disciples began speaking in other tongues that were foreign to them prior to the Holy Spirit’s arrival.
This way the apostles were able to communicate in foreign languages without any prior experience in any of them.
This divine gift that enabled them to speak in foreign tongues authenticated the gospel of Christ as one forming from the Lord Himself.
1 Corinthians 14:22 provides an interesting insight on who the gift of speaking in tongues is meant to impact as a sign: “Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers but for believers.”.
But note that in 1 Corinthians 13:1 Apostle Paul mentioned that there are both human and angel tongues, implying that there’s a heavenly language as well.
7. The Gift of Interpreting Tongues
The gift of interpreting tongues is directly related to the gift of speaking in tongues as it lets the believer understand what someone is saying in a foreign, unknown language.
The believer who can interpret a foreign language via the Holy Spirit can then translate the message so that everyone else can understand it.
There are two examples of this specific part of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, both found in the first epistle to the church in Corinth, written by Apostle Paul.
Thus, 1 Corinthians 14:13-14 shows that those who speak in tongues need also to pray to be able to interpret, while 1 Corinthians 14:27-28 provides instructions about interpreting tongues in a church setting.
8. The Gift of Healing
This gift of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is a supernatural God-given healing power to heal people who are sick and even bring them back from the dead.
The early church during the time prior to Jesus’ crucifixion and shortly after that performing such miraculous healings.
For example, Peter performed miraculous healing of a woman named Tabitha as he brought her back from the dead in Acts 9:36–43.
However, the New Testament isn’t the only place in the Bible that records believers who healed other people by the power and for the glory of God.
In 2 Kings 4:18-37 of the Old Testament, we find that the prophet Elisha was able to bring the Shunammite woman’s son back to life in a supernatural way that can only be possible with the divine help of our Creator.
9. The Gift of Serving
Believers who have the spirit of serving have both the desire and capacity to serve the Lord by means of providing physical and spiritual help to others.
Serving or ministering is directly related to the word deacon (which comes from the Greek word “diakonian”), which stands for all kinds of service.
A great example of someone from the Bible who had the gift of serving is Tabitha (which means Dorcas).
Acts 9:36 reveals that “She was full of good works and acts of charity.” and Scriptures further show us that Tabitha had a talent for sewing that she used to help clothe the widows of the church in the town of Joppa.
However, in verse 37 we learn that Tabitha fell ill and died.
Clearly, Tabitha’s spiritual gift of serving was quite important because after she died, Peter used his own Holy Spirit-given supernatural powers to bring the woman back to life.
10. The Gift of Giving
As you can see, some of the gifts of the Holy Spirit are related to not being selfish and in this case giving freely.
Jesus says the following words in Matthew 10:8 – “Freely you have received, freely give”.
A person who’s a gifted giver would be extremely happy to share whatever they have with others, be it attention or anything material.
Giving joyfully to others is also something that pleases God the Lord as evident by 2 Corinthians 9:7: “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”.
It’s not about giving to the poor and needy just for the sake of it, but actually feeling led to give to others and feel joyful when doing so, without any hesitance.
We are given the ultimate example of giving unconditionally to those who don’t deserve it by what Jesus did on the cross for humanity.
He gave Himself for sinners (i.e. all of humanity) so that we may have eternal life by believing in Him.
11. The Gift of Teaching
Another one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is the supernatural gift of teaching related to explaining the true context and meaning of Scripture and how it applies to our lives.
The great commission revealed by Jesus at the very end of the gospel according to Matthew includes not only sharing the good news but also teaching the gentiles in the ways of God.
Here’s what’s written in Matthew 28:19-20: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”.
The gift of teaching is not an educational degree that lets you teach others.
It’s a spiritual gift made possible by the Holy Spirit working in the life of a believer to accurately teach the message of the Bible.
12. The Gift of Mercy
The Holy Spirit can bring another supernatural gift in the form of mercy that’s shown toward other people.
This gift is about being compassionate and displaying sympathy to those who suffer while doing your best to improve their situation.
Notice what Paul wrote in Romans 12:8 concerning mercy – “the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.”.
Believers who are gifted with mercy are to show mercy with cheerfulness.
On top of that, Jesus Himself said “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” in Matthew 5:7.
13. The Gift of Helps
This gift of the Holy Spirit is directly related to the gift of mercy and it’s about assisting the church by providing grace and compassion.
But the gift of help isn’t exclusively focused on providing practical help in the physical and emotional sense.
There’s a spiritual aspect to helping others that stems from the supernatural aspect of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
The spiritual side of the gift of help is demonstrated by identifying people who suffer from doubt, anxiety and fear to show compassion and deliver Biblical truths, all in a loving manner.
14. The Gift of Encouragement
This particular gift is present in believers who are consistent in encouraging others to grow closer to the Lord by correcting them and solidifying their faith in Christ.
Apostle Paul calls fellow believers to encourage one another in 1 Thessalonians 5:11 with the following words “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”.
This encouragement can involve anything from prayers to letters and encouraging words.
The gift of encouragement manifests in believers who clearly have a unique ability to lift up and encourage others, which can be done in various ways such as writing spirit-filled encouraging words.
Encouraging fellow Christians in their walk with Christ, especially in troubling times, with the special help of the Holy Spirit in the form of this gift is a truly incredible supernatural ability that can strengthen weak faith.
15. The Gift of Leadership
This part of the spiritual gifts of the Spirit puts an emphasis on providing leadership to guide others to grow in God Almighty.
It’s about leading by example through grace and wisdom by focusing on leading others toward drawing closer to God and living a more Christ-like life in line with Biblical truths.
The gift of leadership is not about being proud of leading people. It’s about realising that you serve God by leading others to Him and His plan for us.
A born-again, Christian who has this gift would throw any pride out of the equation by serving God above all.
For example, although James was a Godly leader he still submitted himself to our Heavenly Father by introduced himself in James 1:1 as “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ”.
16. The Gift of Discerning Spirits
We have to remember that apart from the Holy Spirit that’s part of the Trinity, there are other spirits (with little “s”) that don’t come from God.
Some spirits are evil and come from the father of lies – Satan i.e. Lucifer.
The gift of discerning spirits enables those who possess it to recognise if something is from God or from the devil.
Jesus Christ Himself gave this warning regarding last days – “For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.”.
There are evil demonic spirits out there that wage spiritual war against the elect because our battle is not against flesh, but against “the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
These are the Fruits of the Spirit in the Bible
The term fruits of the spirit are found in the New Testament, while the word “fruit” itself is translated from Greek and refers to the natural product of something living.
Note that the original word for fruit in Greek that’s used is singular, implying that the characteristics or fruits of the spirit are a unified whole that’s manifested in the life of every born-again Christian.
We find these specific characteristics in the epistle of Paul to the church in Galatia.
More specifically, apostle Paul lists the following 9 fruits of the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”.
Here’s the complete list of all fruits of the spirit with the corresponding meaning:
God is love and we are called to love one another.
1 John 4:7-8 provides great insight: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”.
The type of joy that’s part of the fruits of the spirit is not the worldly and fleshly joy that secular people strive for.
This is the fullness of joy that Jesus Christ promised to us by holding onto our faith in the Messiah
Here’s what Christ said in John 15:11 – “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”.
This sinful world cannot give us true peace, no matter how secure or protected we may seem to appear.
The only genuine peace comes from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
In John 14:27 Christ says: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”.
Do you find much patience in today’s falling world? Highly-unlikely.
We live in a fast-paced society with instant gratification as a fundamental part of it.
But patience is an important characteristic of Christians as God Himself is patient (2 Peter 3:9).
God is full of kindness, which unsurprisingly happens to also be one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
As Ephesians 2:7 reads: “so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”.
Goodness goes hand in hand with kindness as both are part of God’s character and are also found in genuine Christians.
The God our Saviour saved us through His goodness and loving-kindness (Titus 3:4-5).
As a bible believing Christian you are to be faithful, to have faith in the Lord Jesus who paid the full price for our sins on the cross.
We display faithfulness by ongoing obedience and submission to Christ through the Holy Spirit who provides these fruits.
Gentleness is directly related to humility as the grace of the soul.
However, don’t mistake being gentle for being weak. Gentleness is controlled strength.
The last fruit of the spirit mention by apostle Paul is self-control.
The indwelling Holy Spirit gives us supernatural power to control ourselves when faced with various sinful temptations and desires.
And we hope that this article helped you understand the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit in greater detail as you pray and search for a better understanding of God’s plan.
The genuine believers in Christ who could speak in tongues, discern the spirits and heal the sick as recorded in the Bible were doing all those miraculous works for God’s glory.