What Are Spiritual Gifts? Part 3

Interpretation of Tongues

This gift is the ability to hear a message and share it with others. Often, those with this gift can hear others speak in a different language and grasp the meaning of what’s being said. This is a supernatural ability.

Interpreters are typically skilled communicators. They are warm and accepting of those who come from diverse backgrounds. It’s not uncommon for interpreters to know multiple languages and easily understand different cultures.


The spiritual gift of knowledge is closely tied to wisdom. People with this gift love learning and often share what they’re learning with others. They enjoy doing deep studies on topics that they find interesting.

Those with this ability are often able to see a situation and know how Scripture applies to it. They can also make connections between the two concepts and explain them easily. Some people with this gift find themselves in teaching positions, such as leading Sunday school or mentoring at-risk youth. While they may enjoy teaching, their true love is the time they spend studying and preparing their material.


Those blessed with the gift of leadership can often see where God is taking us. Like Moses, they recognize when God is moving His people into a new place. There is some overlap between those with the gift of administration and those who are blessed with leadership.

However, the key difference is usually the approach. People with administration as their gift focus on accomplishing tasks and meeting goals. Those with leadership focus more on the people and connecting the body, rather than the desired outcome.

Often, God calls those with administration and leadership gifts together. The leader keeps the administrator focused on serving people and the administrator makes sure the leader stays on track by doing the truly vital tasks required to keep the organization or ministry running.


All of God’s children are instructed to show mercy (Matthew 18:33). However, God gives some of His children a supernatural kind of mercy. They are especially drawn to hurting or suffering individuals. Highly empathetic, most mercy-showers “weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15).

Often, those with a mercy gift are effective in ministries that call for deep compassion. For example, they enjoy tasks like caring for the aged, visiting the homebound, or tending to the disabled. Christians with this gift usually make excellent counselors or nurses.


God gifts to some of His children the ability to see or perform miracles. For some, they see miracles in the ordinary. To them, God is constantly at work in the world He created and He never misses a detail.

Others with this gift may perform special miracles as God permits. They may carry an awareness of God’s presence everywhere they go. Often, people with this gift are prayer warriors who earnestly seek God’s will in all things.

God allows the gift of miracles to remind His people of His sovereignty and His power. Someone gifted with this ability can be a special encouragement to the Christian church and the believers in it.

Pastor / Shepherd

The gift of pastoring is sometimes referred to as the gift of shepherding. But it is the same gifting. Just as a shepherd protects and provides for the flock that’s been entrusted to him, so a pastor cares for the congregation that God has given him.

Often, those with the gifting of a shepherd are exceptional leaders. They’re natural teachers and invite others to join them on their spiritual journey. Although shepherds make excellent pastors, they may also be found leading charity organizations or ministering in other ways outside the church walls.


To some Christians, God gives the gift of prophecy. This is the ability to discern what God is doing in a situation and communicate that message with other Christians. Often, they are passionate about truth and will speak it, even if it leads to controversy.

Those with the gift of prophecy are tasked with sharing God’s heart. They are humble and recognize that this ability comes only through the Holy Spirit. Sometimes, the message one with prophecy carries is heavy—a warning to others to correct a behavior.

Other times, the message may be light and easy—a promise of blessings to come. The words of a prophet should always be examined in light of God’s Word, to ensure the church is not being deceived.


Those blessed with the gift of servanthood enjoy helping others. They may be in the background, doing necessary tasks that free up the hands of those who lead and teach. A good example of this is found in Acts 6:1-7.

The local church was troubled that the widows were not being provided for. The Twelve apostles asked the church to recommend seven men who were known as wise and Spirit-filled. These seven were then equipped to feed the widows, so none in the church would be neglected. This allowed the Apostles to focus on their gifts.

Often, those with a servanthood calling may view themselves as a “jack of all trades”. They have an amazing ability to do a number of tasks with grace and ease. Of course, this is not a human ability but the result of the Holy Spirit working in and through them.


God gifts some Christians with the ability to teach. These people are usually passionate about proclaiming truth to others. Like those with the gift of knowledge, they can spend hours studying and learning. However, the difference is that those with the gift of teaching enjoy sharing the message with others. They love it almost as much as they enjoy their study time.

Teachers are a vital part of the church. They give guidance to those who are straying from God’s commands, often calling them back with their gentle rebukes. They enjoy pouring into and mentoring others, even if they don’t do it in an official ministry.


The gift of tongues is also known as the gift of languages. It is the ability to communicate in another language without having formally studied that language. They are skilled communicators who have a passion for sharing the Gospel.

God often pairs one who is gifted with tongues with someone who is gifted with the interpretation of tongues. Together, these two believers are able to minister to people they’ve never met in cultures they’ve never studied.


God gives the gift of wisdom that believers may honor Him. Those with the gift of wisdom can often expound on God’s will, even in difficult circumstances. Like those with the gift of discernment, they recognize when a decision may lead to destruction and they are quick to warn against it.

Wisdom is often the result of sincerely and wholeheartedly seeking God’s heart. Those who have it usually guide others through difficult or uncertain seasons. They delight in sharing wisdom, not that they receive any glory but so that God may be honored.

Keep in mind that the definitions above are meant to provide a brief overview of each gift. If you want to know more about spiritual gifts, consider reading Discovering Your Spiritual Gifts: A Personal Inventory Method by Kenneth C. Kinghorn.

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