Spiritual Gift Survey

Discover your gifts

Every Christian is given spiritual gifts to be used in ministry. If you have committed your life to Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit has “gifted” you. Specifically, the Bible says that your spiritual gifts are supposed to be used to build up the church. When we use our gifts together, the church grows and we all benefit. It’s important for Christ-followers to discover what their spiritual gifts are so they can use them in ministry.


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Every Christian is given spiritual gifts to be used in ministry. If you have committed your life to Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit has “gifted” you. Specifically, the Bible says that your spiritual gifts are supposed to be used to build up the church. When we use our gifts together, the church grows and we all benefit. It’s important for Christ-followers to discover what their spiritual gifts are so they can use them in ministry.


Biblical Basis

Three specific lists of spiritual gifts occur in the New Testament, all in Paul’s letters:

  • Romans 12:3-8 names 7 gifts: prophecy, serving, teaching, exhortation, giving, leadership, and mercy.
  • 1 Corinthians 12:7-11, 27-30 lists 13 gifts: wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment, speaking in tongues, interpreting tongues, apostleship, teaching, healing, and administration
  • Ephesians 4:11 has 5 gifts: apostleship, prophecy, evangelism, shepherding and teaching.

Four other possible references to spiritual gifts are cited in other passages:

  • 1 Corinthians 7:7 (2 new gifts)—marriage and celibacy
  • 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (2 new gifts)—voluntary poverty and martyrdom
  • 1 Corinthians 14:26-33 (1 new gift)—music
  • 1 Peter 4:9-11 (1 new gift)—hospitality
Biblical Principles

Four principles underlie the biblical teaching on spiritual gifts and provide guidance for studying and using gifts to serve God and others. 

  • Universality: Every believer has at least one spiritual gift. No one is the exception. (1 Cor. 12:7, 11; Eph. 4:7)
  • Humility: No believer has every spiritual gift. No Christian is “omni-gifted.” (1 Cor. 12:12, 27, 29-30).
  • Diversity: Believers have different spiritual gifts from one another. We are all unique. (Rom. 12:3-6a)
  • Sovereignty: Believers receive spiritual gifts according to the sovereign will of Christ’s Spirit. God distributes gifts according to His wisdom. (1 Cor. 12:11; Eph. 4:7-8)
Multiple Gifts and Gift Combinations

Multiple Gifts and Gift Combinations

God has given each believer one or more spiritual gifts to be used for ministry. In the New Testament, Paul stated in Romans 12:3 and Ephesians 4:7 that Christ gives each disciple a measure of spiritual gifts. This measure bestows multiple gifts upon individuals, this gift combination or gift-cluster or gift-mix equips the believer in a unique way for ministry.

Gift Combination Examples

For example, one with the gift of evangelism would be effective in personal witnessing. But one who is gifted both in evangelism and leadership would be especially equipped to lead an evangelistic team or outreach ministry.

The only gift-blend mentioned specifically in the New Testament is the shepherd/teacher (Eph. 4:11). This gift-mix presumably referred to the dual roles assigned to the pastor in the early church, but this particular combination of gifts is vitally important for all kinds of Christian ministry. As churches grow larger making it impossible for the pastor alone to shepherd, leaders are needed to shepherd small flocks within the church. Understandably, then, a Bible study teacher or small group minister who has the twin gifts of pastor and teacher will probably be effective at shepherding a small flock.

Other Gift Combinations

  • Teaching/Knowledge—a scholarly teacher
  • Faith/Leadership—a visionary leader
  • Discernment/Exhortation—a counselor with instinctive insight
  • Leadership/Administration—a leader who organizes well
  • Evangelism/Apostleship—a church planter, often in another culture
  • Exhortation/Hospitality—one who uses one’s home as a base for counseling
  • Evangelism/Faith/Leadership—a leader in outreach and church growth
  • Wisdom/Leadership—a leader who effectively places people in areas of service
  • Prophecy/Evangelism—a vocational evangelist, a lay evangelist
  • Mercy/Hospitality—one who uses one’s home to care for the distressed or neglected
  • Evangelism/Music—one who ministers through music to those who are lost without Christ
  • Teaching/Leadership—one who guides others by communicating biblical principles
  • Faith/Apostleship—a missionary who attempts great things for God
  • Serving/Administration—a detailed organizer
  • Discernment/Knowledge—one who studies Christianity’s counterfeits or opponents
  • Intercession/Faith—a prayer warrior
  • Mercy/Serving—a compassionate helper
  • Giving/Faith—a sacrificial steward.
Spiritual Gift Definitions


The ability to plan and coordinate the gifts and talents of a ministry team to reach certain objectives. Essentially it is the capacity to organize persons and resources to meet specific goals.


The ability to adapt to a different culture in order to share the gospel. Essentially it is the missionary gift whereby one is enabled to share one’s gifts and calling cross-culturally.


The ability to determine whether certain teachings or actions originate from God, humanity, or Satan. Essentially it is the unique capacity to distinguish truth from error.


The ability to introduce Jesus Christ to unbelievers clearly and with a frequent positive response. Essentially it is the desire and capacity to share the gospel effectively with those who are seekers and skeptics.


The ability to help others reach their full potential by means of encouraging, challenging, comforting and guiding. Essentially it is the gift of coaching others to become all that God wants them to be.


The ability to see God’s purpose in a situation and to trust his wisdom and power to accomplish that purpose. Essentially it is the gift of vision which enables one to believe God for what seems impossible.


The ability to comprehend the financial requirements related to the growth of God’s kingdom and to fulfill those requirements by contributing eagerly and generously. Essentially it is the joyful compulsion to give sacrificially to the Lord’s work.


The unique capacity to welcome individuals or groups into one’s home in order to share community, meals and/or lodging. Essentially it is the desire and willingness to open one’s home to others.


The ability to pray often and with unusual perseverance, with the result that answers to prayer requests are experienced in a remarkable way. Essentially this is the gift of being a “prayer warrior.”


The ability to gain profound insight into biblical truth by means of careful research and serious study. Essentially it is the capacity to uncover the great principles of God’s Word.


The ability to discern God’s purpose for a group of believers, to set goals to accomplish that purpose and to challenge others to fulfill those goals. Essentially it is the capacity to inspire others with a vision of God’s will.


The ability to feel sincere compassion, beyond normal Christian sympathy, for those in distress and to provide practical support to meet their needs. Essentially it is cheerful ministry to the undeserving and to those in crisis situations.


The ability to use the vehicle of music to share one’s relationship with God and to lead others to worship God. Essentially it is the capacity to communicate God’s love through music.


The ability to communicate God’s Word with power, conviction, and clarity, and to apply it to the specific situation of the hearers. Essentially it is inspired preaching.


The ability to recognize practical needs and to meet them joyfully and efficiently, thereby freeing other Christians to perform their ministries. Essentially it is providing behind-the-scenes assistance to support the mission of the church.


The ability to care for a specific group of Christians by guiding, nurturing and protecting them. Essentially it is assuming the overall care for a group of believers.


The ability to grasp and communicate biblical truths so that people comprehend them clearly. Essentially it is the unusual facility to explain God’s Word to others.


The ability to understand how to apply biblical principles to difficulties or opportunities that people or organizations face. Essentially it is a divine insight into the relationship of Scripture to life.

Are these the only spiritual gifts available today or are the lists open-ended?

None of the three primary gift-lists is identical to the other two. In fact, only the gifts of prophecy and teaching are found in all three lists. Moreover, five or six new gifts are introduced in at least four other passages.

It’s not hard to see why many people believe that there may be other gifts which the Holy Spirit gives to believers today. These could include the gifts of intercession, music and hospitality (all included in this analysis). Other possible gifts are craftsmanship, writing, voluntary poverty, martyrdom and celibacy (which are not included here).

Are the “charismatic” or “sign” gifts still operative and valid today?

This question has been debated in the church for the last several decades without being resolved, so no answer will please or satisfy everyone.

The four “sign” gifts—healings, miracles, tongues and interpretation of tongues—are not included in this spiritual gift analysis for two reasons: first, their exercise has often resulted in more division than unity (more heat than light) within the church; and second, their practice has often been glamorized and elevated over the speaking and serving gifts in a way that is unhealthy and unbiblical.

So in order to minimize the risk of turning a positive exercise into a divisive debate, we have omitted these gifts from this instrument. 

Are spiritual gifts the same thing as natural talents?

The Bible doesn’t exactly answer this question, but here is what we think. First, spiritual gifts are different from natural talents in terms of distribution and purpose—spiritual gifts are given only to believers, whereas all people possess talents; and spiritual gifts are to be exercised for the building up of the church, not for selfish or personal use.

At the same time, spiritual gifts are similar to natural talents—God is the author of both and desires both to be used for His glory; and spiritual gifts may resemble natural talents in how they play out in a person’s life. For example, God may give the gift of teaching to a school teacher or the gift of faith to someone who is naturally optimistic, but not necessarily.

Try to steer clear of two common errors: denying that God gives spiritual gifts similar to a person’s natural talents; or assuming that God gives spiritual gifts that always equate to talents. God bestows the gifts as He chooses. The rest, happily, is mystery. 

What is the relationship between the gifts of the Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit?

The gifts of the Spirit refer to unique service capacities which God gives to believers to build up the church and to extend His kingdom. The fruit of the Spirit refers to character qualities listed in Galatians 5:22-23 which describe the attitudes of those who follow the Spirit’s lead.

An easy way to remember the distinction between these two blessings of the Spirit is: gifts refer to the tasks we perform in serving the Lord, while fruit refers to the attitudes we bring to that service. 

Why does the Spirit endow believers with gifts?

God wants us to continue doing in the world the work which Jesus began when he was on earth. Since Jesus is now physically absent from the world, He wants His purpose to be fulfilled through the church, His body on earth. The Spirit gives at least one spiritual gift to every member of the church, to be used faithfully in God’s service. Each gift, when exercised in love, underscores an aspect of Christ’s ministry. For example:

  • The gift of teaching continues Jesus’ remarkable ministry of revealing God’s Word.
  • The gift of mercy continues Jesus’ tender ministry to the broken and despised people of the world.
  • The gift of exhortation continues Jesus’ gracious counsel to confused people.

When all of the gifts are operative in a group of believers, Jesus’ ministry is accurately and faithfully reproduced to a world in need.

But the Spirit also endows believers with gifts in order to build up the church. For example: 

  • The gift of wisdom helps the church know the mind of Christ when divine direction is unclear.
  • The gift of faith bolsters the morale of the church in challenging circumstances.
  • The gift of administration provides order and structure for the church’s multiple ministries.

When all of the gifts are lovingly exercised in a local congregation, the church is built up and thus functions faithfully, effectively and efficiently. 

Is it OK if I disagree with some of what is presented here?

Absolutely! Remember: the biblical teaching on spiritual gifts is neither systematic nor fully developed. Therefore you shouldn’t be surprised when Christians disagree on some of the details.

If your view on spiritual gifts differs from what is presented here, you can adapt the analysis to your personal view. For example, if you do not view music or hospitality as a spiritual gift, you can regard the responses related to them merely as indicators of talents to be used in the church’s ministry. 

Spiritual Gifts Survey - Copyright

Copyright ©1987
Revised, 1998, 2013
Paul Basden, Ph.D & Lee Johnson, Ph.D
by Gift-Based Ministry, Inc.
All Rights Reserved

Reproduction of any portion of this publication is prohibited. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction prohibited.

This survey is limited to use by permission for Quail Springs Baptist Church and its members. Any use for other purposes is prohibited.