• Brian O'Kelly

15 – Individual Gifts (Part 2)



Additional gifts from Paul’s list in Romans 12:6-8

1. Ministry (v.7 NKJV) or “service” (NASB, ESV, CSB, NIV)

1.1. Meaning: Greek word: diakonia means “serviceable labor” or “assistance.” This can refer to any practical help to others that one provides. Unlike ordinary service, but like all the gifts, this work is done “in the name of Jesus Christ” that is, as His representative, acting in His place.

1.1.1. Col.3:17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

1.2. No doubt the same gift that Paul calls “helps” or “helping”


1.2.1. 1 Corinthian 12:28And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues.

1.3. The work may be something that anyone can do, but when it is done unto the Lord, and anointed by His Spirit, it carries additional blessing to those served by it. The service is done, “with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ”

1.3.1. 1 Peter 4:11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

1.4. This gift is associated with those who are called “deacons” and “deaconesses”—meaning “servants.” Such people were early recognized and honored with management of special tasks for the practical needs of the church

1.4.1. Acts 6:2-3 So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3 Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them

1.5. The motive for serving should not be tainted by lust for self-promotion, but humble service often prepares one for promotion to even more significant functions —e.g., Joshua, who served Moses and succeeded him to leadership. Likewise Elisha, who succeeded Elijah. Sthephen and Philip began in this role and both became effective public speakers—as an apologist and as an evangelist, respectively. Then again, there is Jesus, who took on the form of a servant, and was subsequently highly exalted by God

1.5.1. Phil.2:5-10 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature[a] God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature[b] of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

1.5.2. 1 Timothy 3:13. Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.

1.6. Humble servanthood may be the path to greatness, but in another sense humble servanthood is greatness itself

1.6.1. Matt.20:26-28 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

2. Teaching (v.7), also referred to in the lists of 1 Cor.12:28 and Eph.4:11

2.1. Meaning: Greek, didaskalos, an “instructor.” Paul seems to place teachers third in importance, after apostles and prophets (1 Cor.12:28). The word correlates with mathetes, a “disciple” or “learner.” All Christians are disciples. Some (not all—1 Cor.12:29) also instruct others.

2.2. Ultimately, the teacher of every believer is the Holy Spirit This ministry of the Spirit is often carried out through the gift of teaching resident in the body of Christ.

2.2.1. 1 John 2:27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.

2.2.2. John 14:26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

2.3. Though, in Paul’s day, a teacher was not necessarily what we might call a “Bible Teacher,” it is nonetheless the church’s commission to make disciples by teaching them to observe what Christ commanded

2.3.1. Matt.28:19-20 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

2.4. The transmission of the faith from one generation of Christians to the next is the task of teachers

2.4.1. 2 Tim.2:2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.

2.5. The “gift” of teaching does not refer to a natural aptitude, though such an aptitude may exist and be utilized by the Holy Spirit to edify the church spiritually (supernaturally).

2.6. Though all should be capable of teaching the basics of the faith to others some are specially called and gifted as teachers for the body of Christ.

2.6.1. Heb.5:12 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.

2.6.2. 2 Tim.2:24 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.

2.7. One should not be over-eager to be a teacher in the body of Christ

2.7.1. James 3:1 Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.

2.8. Though not all who teach would be church leaders, it was a special qualification and duty of those called “elders” or “overseers” to be teachers in the church

2.8.1. 1 Tim.3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach;

2.8.2. Tit.1:5 For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you

2.8.3. Tit. 1:9 holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.

2.9. Paul did not wish for women to be elders

2.9.1. 1 Tim.2:12 And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.

2.9.2. 1 Tim 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach;

2.10. Paul had no problem with the fact that women may be gifted and called to teach other women, or children (or men, informally—i.e., not in an authoritarian role over them

2.10.1. Tit. 2:2-5 that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; 3 the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— 4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.

2.10.2. 2 Tim.1:5 when I call to remembrance the [b]genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also

2.10.3. 2 Tim. 3:15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

2.10.4. Acts 18:26 So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.

3. Exhortation (v.8)

3.1. Meaning: Greek, parakaleo means to implore, entreat, encourage, comfort

3.2. This is probably what we normally think of as pulpit “preaching” (as opposed to “teaching”)

3.3. Of course, the pulpit is not the only venue for the exercise of this ministry

3.3.1. Heb.3:13 but [b]exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

3.3.2. Heb. 10:25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

3.4. This is one of the functions of church leaders

3.4.1. 1 Thess.5:14 Now we [e]exhort you, brethren, warn those who are [f]unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.

3.4.2. 2 Tim.4:2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.

3.4.3. Tit.1:9 holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.

3.5. One of the functions of the gift of prophecy

3.5.1. 1 Cor.14:3 But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort.

4. Giving

4.1. Meaning: Supplying material support for the needs of the church’s members

4.2. For its laborers

4.2.1. 1 Cor.9:7-11 Who ever goes to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk of the flock? 8 Do I say these things as a mere man? Or does not the law say the same also? 9 For it is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.” Is it oxen God is concerned about? 10 Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope. 11 If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things?

4.2.2. 1 Tim.5:17-18 Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. 18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”

4.2.3. Gal.6:6 Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches

4.3. For the poor

4.3.1. Mark 10:21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”

4.3.2. Mark 14:7 For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always.

4.3.3. Luke 12:33 Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys.

4.4. Must not be done to be seen or applauded by others

4.4.1. Matt.6:1-4 “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 3 But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you [a]openly.

4.4.2. Rom.12:8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

4.5. This is the duty of all believers

4.5.1. Tit.3:14 And let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful

4.5.2. There is no mention of amounts (e.g., a tithe) in the New Testament.

4.6. Those who are wealthy bear particular responsibility to give

4.6.1. Acts 4:34-35 Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold,

4.6.2. 1 Tim.6:17-19 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. 18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, 19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

4.7. One needn’t be rich to bless others in giving. Sometimes there is more significance in the sacrificial gift of one who can barely afford to give

4.7.1. Luke 21:1-4 And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, 2 and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites.[a] 3 So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; 4 for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings [b]for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.”

4.7.2. 2 Cor.8:1-3 Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: 2 that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. 3 For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing

5. Leadership (v.8)

5.1. Meaning: Greek, proistemi, meaning “to stand before, to preside.” Those who took this role in the early church were referred to as hegeomai, meaning “leaders”

5.1.1. Heb.13:7 Remember those who [a]rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct.

5.1.2. Heb 13:17 Obey those who [e]rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.

5.2. This ministry is carried out by men who were alternately called “overseers”

5.2.1. Acts 20:28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church [g]of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.

5.2.2. Phil.1:1 Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the [a]bishops and deacons:

5.2.3. 1 Tim.3:1 This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a [a]bishop, he desires a good work.

5.2.4. 1 Tim. 3:4-5 one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence 5 (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?);

5.2.5. Tit.1:7 For a [c]bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money

5.3. “elders”

5.3.1. Acts 14:23 So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

5.3.2. Acts 20:17 From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church.

5.3.3. 1 Tim.5:17 Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.

5.3.4. Tit.1:5 for this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you

5.3.5. 1 Pet.5:1 The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed:

5.4. or “shepherds” or “pastors” in most English versions

5.4.1. Eph.4:11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,

5.5. Husbands have similar leadership responsibility over their families

5.5.1. 1 Tim.3:4-5 one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence 5 (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?)

5.6. This is not a position comparable to politic authority, but a service performed on behalf of others

5.6.1. Matt.20:25-28 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

5.6.2. 1 Thes.5:12-13 And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and [d]admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves

5.7. Leaders are shepherds of God’s flock

5.7.1. Acts 20:28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church [g]of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.

5.7.2. 1 Pet.5:2 Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but [a]willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly

5.8. The role of a shepherd is to lead, to feed and to protect the sheep. They must give an account for their sheep

5.8.1. John 17:13 But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.

5.9. In addition to teaching (feeding) the primary means of biblical leadership is to go ahead of others, setting an example to be followed

5.9.1. John 15:13-15 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

5.9.2. 1 Cor.11:1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.

5.9.3. 1 Tim.4:12 Let no one [d]despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, [e]in spirit, in faith, in purity.

5.9.4. 1 Pet.5:3 nor as being [b]lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock;

5.9.5. James 5:10 My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience.

5.10. Active leadership is not imposed upon healthy or mature individuals. It is primarily for the sake of those who are weak or who tend to stray

5.10.1. Luke 15:4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?

5.10.2. 1 Thess.5:14 Now we [e]exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.

6. Showing mercy

6.1. Meaning: Involvement in the relief of the miserable and the restoration of the alienated. Hence, showing mercy amounts to assistance to the needy, and extension of forgiveness to, and acceptance of, the fallen.

6.2. Evangelism and hospitality would be aspects of this ministry.

6.3. Giving comfort and sympathy to the marginalized, and counseling the distressed would also fall into this category.

6.4. When imagining the gift of showing mercy, picture Mother Theresa of Calcutta

7. Identifying and exercising your gifts

7.1. It goes without saying that prerequisite to exercising a spiritual gift is that the believer be filled with the Holy Spirit

7.1.1. Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be [c]witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

7.1.2. Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

7.1.3. Acts 4:8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel:

7.1.4. Acts 6:3 Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business

7.1.5. Acts 11:24 For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord.

7.1.6. Acts 13:9 Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him

7.2. As we “walk in the Spirit” the ministry of the Spirit through us will emerge naturally.

7.3. It is more important that we walk in the Spirit, and manifest the fruit of the Spirit, which is love

7.3.1. Rom.5:5

7.3.2. Gal.5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 [g]gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law

7.3.3. than that we identify and label our own spiritual gift

7.3.3.1. 1 Cor.12:31 But earnestly desire the [i]best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.

7.4. It is probable that other Christians will recognize your spiritual gift before you do. As you walk in love, and serve the body of Christ in ways that God opens up to you, your gifts will manifest.

7.5. Even the greatest of the gifts is of little value unless it is carried out with love as its motive and method

7.5.1. 1 Cor.13:1-3 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body [a]to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.