The New Testament provides several different lists of gifts from God. The main Bible passages are Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:7-11,27-30; Ephesians 4:11 and 1 Peter 4:10-11.
The combined list is as follows:
- Distinguishing spirits
- Tongues (languages)
- Interpretation (translation)
- Helping others
There are some interesting things to notice about these lists.
- The lists are clearly not meant to be complete as different gifts appear on different lists. Each list provides some examples of the sorts of gifts God provides. There are many other gifts that are not listed.
- Only a few of the gifts are obviously miraculous to others. Often God provides us with gifts to help us work in his service, but those around us might not think of them as anything other than “natural abilities”. In fact, the lists encourage us to view all of our personal characteristics as given to us by God for his service.
- The gifts of tongues (i.e., speaking foreign languages without learning them), prophecy and knowledge are mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13:8 as “passing away”. The history of Christianity shows that this happened around 100 AD, along with the other more spectacular gifts such as healing and miracles. The gift of apostleship also died out with the apostles.
- The purpose of the gifts is provided in Ephesians:
to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:12-13)
Obviously that hasn’t happened yet! So we can expect God to continue to provide his people with gifts so that they can help each other to grow spiritually.