Contrary to the popular view, I understand spiritual gifts as roles and opportunities to serve, rather than supernaturally given talents. For example, if I have the “gift of teaching,” the gift is the opportunity to teach, not the talent to teach.
This following questions compare my understanding of the Biblical view with the popular view and is a handout for this podcast #490:
What are spiritual gifts?
Biblical View: Roles or assignments God graciously gives us to accomplish His purposes.
Popular View: Supernatural abilities, similar to talents.
Are spiritual gifts the same as talents?
Biblical View: No, they are opportunities and roles we are privileged to play. However, there is some correlation between our roles and our talents.
Popular View: No, in that they are supernaturally given by God, rather than naturally developed through practice.
How many spiritual gifts does a believer have?
Biblical View: One role that is diverse and multifaceted.
Popular View: Usually a set of gifts while one primary gift.
How many spiritual gifts are there?
Biblical View: There are as many gifts as there are believers. Each believer plays a unique role in bringing about God’s plan.
Popular View: Usually the 20 or so that are listed in 1Corinthians 12 and Romans 12.
Are spiritual gifts identifiable?
Biblical View: Not necessarily, as they are as unique and diverse as believers.
Popular View: Yes, all gifts are distinguishable from each other and we should be able to tell who has what.
Are my gift(s) correlated to my livelihood?
Biblical View: Not necessarily, although your livelihood is part of the role you play.
Popular View: Usually not.
Is it important to identify my gifts?
Biblical View: No, the opportunity to serve is the gift. It is not important to be able to define the role or the abilities required to fulfill it.
Popular View: Yes, otherwise you can’t use them.
How do believers discover and exercise their gifts?
Biblical View: By pursuing wise choices, pursuing opportunities to serve, and growing in faith and wisdom.
Popular View: Trial and error; tests with feedback and analysis,
Will my gifts change?
Biblical View: They will probably change with the seasons of your life. There are no limits to the how God might call you to serve.
Popular View: Usually not. Our gifts place “limits” on what God will call us to do.
For more detail and explanation, please listen to the podcast.