Sermon Illustrations > Spiritual Gifts > Definitions


Dr. Earl Radmacher and Gordon McMinn, Today in the Word, July, 1990, p. 19

Teaching gifts:

Prophecy: setting before people the Word and wisdom of God persuasively.

Encouragement: drawing alongside to comfort, encourage, rebuke, and lead someone into insight toward action.

Teaching: laying down in a systematic order the complete truth of a doctrine and applying it incisively to life.

The message of wisdom: Locating formerly unknown principles as well as combining known principles of God's Word and communicating them to fresh situations.

The message of knowledge: Arranging the facts of Scripture, categorizing these into principles, and communicating them to repeated or familiar situations. Service Gifts:

Contributing: Giving most liberally and beyond all human expectation.

Mercy: Being sensitive or empathetic to people who are in affliction or misery and lifting internal burdens with cheerfulness.

Helps: Seeing tasks and doing them for or with someone in order to lift external burdens.

Distinguishing spirits: Detecting a genuine or spurious motive by distinguishing the spirit-source behind any person's speech or act.

Evangelism: Communicating the gospel with power and persuasiveness as well as equipping the saints for evangelism. Leadership Gifts:

Leadership (executive ability): Standing before people and inspiring followers by leading them aggressively but with care.

Administration (legislative ability): Standing behind people to collect data, set policy, and develop plans which will guide a course of action with wisdom.

Faith: Seeing through any problem to the Ultimate Resource.

What about the so-called sign gifts, such as healing and speaking in tongues, referred to in today's text? To us, Hebrews 2:4 suggests that they were intended to be confirming signs for the Apostles, and ceased with them. Others feel they are still for today, but if so, one thing is clear: they are given sovereignly by the Spirit for specific purposes and are the exception, not the rule.