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Does every believer have a spiritual gift?

Weekly Q&A

Does every believer have a spiritual gift?
Posted on June 30, 2020  - By Rufus Simon Varghese

Does every believer have a spiritual gift? There is so much confusion regarding spiritual gifts and talents. Can you clarify this? I genuinely believe I don’t have any spiritual gifts. If the answer to the first question is yes, how do I identify what my gift is?

There is a whole lot of material that we have to cover while answering these queries. Many clarifications need to be made with regard to sign gifts that have ceased (like apostles, prophets, tongues etc), and there are gifts that require explanation (like gifts of faith, wisdom, knowledge, discernment of spirits etc).

Since those issues are outside the scope of the questions asked, we will answer this query in three different segments:

1. Are talents and spiritual gifts one and the same? 

Many of us are unaware of the difference between talents and spiritual gifts and often confuse the two or use them interchangeably.

Talents are abilities that pertain to particular skills that can be used for career, service or mere entertainment. Examples include singing, playing musical instruments, athletics and art, as well as expertise in computers, graphic design, animation, creative writing etc, to name just a few.

Spiritual gifts, on the other hand, are a set of divinely enabled tasks and functions that are given to those who belong to Christ and are exercised for the edification and building up of the body of Christ.

Spiritual gifts are a set of divinely enabled functions given to those in Christ for the edification of the body of Christ

In four different passages in Scripture — namely, Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4 and 1 Peter 4 — we see a total of 19 different spiritual gifts listed. They are as follows:

  • Apostleship
  • Prophecy
  • Evangelism
  • Pastoring
  • Teaching
  • Exhortation
  • Service
  • Tongues
  • Interpretation of tongues
  • Miracles
  • Faith (the kind that enables the happening of the impossible)
  • Liberality or generosity
  • Showing mercy
  • Healing
  • Leadership
  • Wisdom
  • Knowledge
  • Discernment of spirits
  • Administration

Based on the list above, we cannot say that singing or drawing is our spiritual gift. We can say, however, that spiritual leadership in church or service in church are spiritual gifts.

Here are the significant similarities and differences between talents and gifts:


– Both talents and  spiritual gifts are given by God and it is God who decides who gets what, when it comes to either.

– Both talents and spiritual gifts need to be exercised and put into use in order to be better used by those who possess it.

– Both talents (all types of talents in society) and spiritual gifts (all types in churches today) need to co-exist and complement each other for the smooth functioning of the relevant sphere.


– Talents are what people receive at the time of their physical birth, but gifts are what they receive at the time of their spiritual birth.

– All people, irrespective of their relationship with Jesus, possess various talents — whereas spiritual gifts are something only believers can have.

2. Does every believer have spiritual gifts?

Every person in whom the Spirit of God dwells confesses the Lordship of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:1-3). Every person converted to a saint through Jesus Christ is made to be a part of the body of Christ by being baptised into one body (1 Corinthians 12:12-13).

Every true believer has at least one (or more than one) spiritual gift, and God empowers each person to use the gift given

With the group of believers being made one body and each believer being an individual member of that one body (Romans 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 12:27), God the Holy Spirit gives each one a spiritual gift or multiple spiritual gifts as He wills (1 Corinthians 12:11) in accordance with common grace (Romans 12:6), so that by the exercising of each spiritual gift, the body is built up (1 Corinthians 14:26).

From 1 Corinthians 12-14 and other references in Romans, Ephesians and 1 Peter, we know the following facts.

  • Every true believer has at least one — or more than one — spiritual gift.
  • No one person is given all the spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:8-10; Ephesians 4:11).
  • All persons in a local assembly cannot possess a particular gift or the same function (Romans 12:4; 1 Corinthians 12:29-30).
  • God empowers people to use the gift given to them (1 Corinthians 12:6).

Anyone who doesn’t have a spiritual gift is not a member of God’s people and, by definition, he or she is not a born again person.

3. How do I identify what my spiritual gifts are?

Everyone is born with some talents that they find an interest in doing in connection with their aptitude. We don’t discover these the moment we are born. Rather, we discover our innate talents as we progress through life — perhaps in childhood or teenagehood — by being a part of society that seeks to identify the skills we are interested in.

Schools do this through various means like competitions and other activities to help them gauge the capabilities of students. Alternatively, children will discover their favourite hobbies on their own. They take up several pursuits that may work or may not work out. Skills are thus identified voluntarily or by trial and error by people themselves.

Do not be frustrated if you haven’t already identified what your spiritual gift is

With regards to spiritual gifts, we learn the following:

  1. We should be rooted in our faith in Jesus Christ and allow ourselves time to identify our spiritual gifts, just like we would do with our natural talents. Be patient, and do not be frustrated about not having identified them already.
  2. Remember that some of the gifts mentioned from the relevant passages are sign gifts and are not designed by God to be present today. They ceased to exist and operate once the canon was complete in the first century. These gifts include apostleship, prophecy, healing, miracles, tongues and interpretation of tongues. No believer can say that they are apostles or prophets when Ephesians 2:20 says that they are foundational gifts. Therefore, it is the other gifts mentioned that need to be examined.
  3. Be willing to explore the possibilities of various gifts (mentioned above), but if you are convinced that God hasn’t called you for a certain gift, be humble enough to stop pursuing it.
  4. Be actively involved in the ministries of a local church and keep consistent fellowship with other believers in such a way that you are accountable to them. Being available for various ministries gives clarity to you and others about what God has called you for.
  5. Ask other believers who care for you and desire to see you grow in Christ for their honest opinion of how they see you functioning in a church.
  6. If you are confused about your involvement with the church through a certain ability — say, music — remember that you are involved in the service of the church in the area of music. So, you don’t say that you have the spiritual gift of music; rather, you say that you are given the gift of service in the area of music. The same goes for people who are involved in sound systems, logistics etc.

May God enable us to take our spiritual gifts seriously through the Holy Spirit, so that we benefit the body of Christ for the glory of the Father.

Rufus Simon Varghese

About Rufus Simon Varghese

Born and raised in Dubai, UAE, Rufus completed his Masters in Theology at Asian Christian Academy in Hosur, India. He has since been involved in personal outreach ministries and teaching youngsters Scripture. Currently based in Ernakulam, India, he is teaching at a Bible school as well as ministering to the Hindi-speaking immigrant working population in Kerala.



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