The Source of Spiritual Grace-Gifts

In one sense, every blessing that comes from God is a gift. The Bible says that all gifts ultimately have their source in God the Father. James says:

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Spiritual grace-gifts (Greek, charisma)  are the outworking of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 7a) as evidence of spiritual life in a born-again person for the profit of all in the local church (1 Corinthians 7b).  Each believer is given one or more spiritual gifts by the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 8a).

1 Corinthians 12:7-8  But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

Among believers in an assembly (local church), spiritual gifts are given, apportioned, distributed, or assigned by the Holy Spirit according to His will for the spiritual edification of the body as a whole.

1 Corinthians 12:11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

John MacArthur comments on the end of verse 11: “…,this beautiful thought: ‘dividing to every man,’ which is universality; and ‘severally,’ which is individuality. The Spirit of God universally gives gifts, but to every individual. He give them peculiarly. Nobody has your gift. You are a snowflake. It is not mass production; everybody is different. There are not forty-three teachers in one section, eighty-four givers over here, and forty-nine with faith over there. Everybody’s uniqueness manifests itself in a unique way. So, the Spirit of God divides to every man severally as He wills. Remember, you cannot seek a gift. In the first place, gifts are from God, and in the second place, He is the one who wills what He gives.” *


* Spiritual Gifts – I Corinthians 12, John MacArthur’s Bible Studies (1983) pp. 60-61


What are Spiritual Grace-Gifts?

In 1 Corinthians 12:1 the words spiritual gifts in English are actually the one word spirituals (plural) in the original Greek. Bible teacher John MacArthur explains the meaning:

“The word spirituals is the word pneumatikōn in the Greek. This is a simple word. You can understand a lot about its meaning by understanding the word. Pneuma is “Spirit” and any time there is an -ikōs or -ikōn ending on a Greek word it means “characterized by” or controlled by.” So pneumatikōn would be “characterized or controlled by the Spirit.” The verse can now be translated, “Now concerting certain things characterized or controlled by the Spirit, brethren…”

“You can learn a lot about spiritual gifts from that word because it tells you spiritual gifts are controlled by the Spirit. Paul’s use of the word pneumatikōn is one of five terms he uses in subsequent verses to refer to spiritual gifts.

  • In verse 4 the word “gifts” is charisma (grace or “grace-gifts”) in the Greek. It means that they are received by grace. You can’t earn them.

  • In verse 5 he uses the word “administrations.” In the Greek it is diakōnia which means “serve.” This word indicates that spiritual gifts are used to serve.

  • In verse 6 he uses the word “operations.” The Greek word energeō, refers to energy, which means that the gifts are energized by God.

  • The Greek word phanerōsis is “manifestations” in verse 7.

“So, spiritual gifts are controlled by the Spirit, given by grace from God, used to serve the Body, empowered by the Lord, and manifest the Lord. The different terms that he uses each have a different emphasis. In verse 1 they are simply called spirituals—those things under the control of and characterized by the Spirit.

There is a lot of ignorance today concerning spiritual gifts. It manifests itself in the abuse of gifts—ignoring them, neglecting them, overemphasizing the wrong ones, and confusing them with counterfeits. Paul says that this ignorance has to end. Hopefully, the Spirit of God will direct us in the understanding of spiritual gifts so that the ignorance will come to an end.”


* Spiritual Gifts – I Corinthians 12, John MacArthur’s Bible Studies (1983) pp. 23-25


Spiritual Grace-Gifts – Introduction

And he [Jesus Christ] gave some apostles; and some, prophets;

and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry,

for the edifying of the body of Christ

Ephesians 4:11-12 (KJV)

This post begins an important section about Biblical Spirituality that delves into the “spiritual gifts” or “grace-gifts” that Christ, through the Holy Spirit, gives “variously as He wills” to each believer. God decides in His infinite wisdom to give grace-gifts to each believer—unique and personal to that individual; some with more than one gift—to minister to others. The purpose of spiritual gifts, as we will expand upon later, is three-fold, “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”

Lewis Sperry Chafer introduces the topic of Spiritual Gifts:

“The very service of the Christian, like his salvation, has been designed in the eternal plan and purpose of God: For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10). According to this passage, God has before ordained a very special service (work, ministry) for each individual to perform, and the doing of these particular and individual ministries constitutes ‘good works’ according to the divine estimates. Any service other than that which was foreordained for the individual though valuable in itself, cannot be called ‘good works’ because it is not the personal outworking of the will of God. The…realization of ‘good works’ is not experience by all believers, but only by those who have presented their bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God; who are not ‘conformed to this world,’ but are ‘transformed’…by the renewing of their minds (Romans 12:1-2).

“Christian service (ministry) according to the New Testament, is the exercise of a spiritual gift. The Bible use of the word ‘gift’ should not be confused with the world’s conception of a ‘gifted person.’ The thought of the world concerning a gifted person is of one who by physical birth, is especially able to accomplish certain things. Such natural ability the Spirit will doubtless employ; but a ‘gift’ in the Bible use of the word is a direct undertaking or manifestation of the Spirit working through the believer. It is the Spirit of God doing something, and using the believer to accomplish it; rather than the believer doing something and calling on God for help in the task. It is the ‘work of the Lord’ in which we are to ‘abound.’ According to the Word, the Spirit produces Christian service as He produces the graces of Christ in and through the believer. Every faculty of the human instrument will be employed in the work. That human instrument will know what it is to be weary and worn in the service. Human energy, however, could never produce the divine results which are anticipated, and the Scriptures jealously contend that true Christian service is a direct ‘manifestation of the Spirit.’

“A ‘gift’ then, is the ‘manifestation of the Spirit,’ or service divinely produced by the Spirit, and ‘as He wills.’ Thus it is clear that there can be no exercise of a spiritual gift through an unyielded life.” *

* He That is Spiritual by Lewis Sperry Chafer (pp. 51-52)