Are the Gifts of the Spirit more like guidelines?

In another thread that got way off topic, I said that I thought Paul’s Gifts of the Spirit should maybe not be taken dogmatically, but more like guidelines. My reason for this is that there seems to be some debate on whether some things that Paul said were things said to address the culture at the time. I am wondering if people feel the same way about the Gifts of the Spirit.


Hi, @Jesse_Means_God_Exists, could you clarify what you mean by taking the gifts of the Spirit as guidelines rather than dogmatically? I think I could grasp the dogmatic part, since there are some who say the gifts have ceased while others say the gifts continue in the church today. What do you mean when you say they should be more like guidelines? Could you give me an example or illustration of what that might look like so that I can better understand your viewpoint?

I really appreciate your question here and look forward to your response!


Jesse thank you I believe this is an extremely pertinent, needed question.

I believe the abrupt ending of Acts is not an abrupt ending, because the last days are not completed yet. The bride is still being prepaeed. Every kindred, nation, tongue has not been reached. So the gifts all of them are still active in all Christ believers as the Spirit wills. I have seen Christian’s outside of Pentacostal circles operate in a spiritual gift. This will continue until that which is perfect comes. When Christ returns, only then will the gifts no longer be needed.



What I mean by “dogmatic” or not is whether the Gifts of the Spirit that Paul specifically listed are the ONLY Gifts of the Spirit or not. The question is whether we should take the Gifts of the Spirit Paul listed as THE Gifts of the Spirit or not. More to the point, I am raising the question, “Are there other Gifts of the Spirit not listed?”

As far as an example goes, personally I have experienced things I believe to be supernatural yet are not covered in the Spiritual Gifts such as coincidences that go beyond what is “typical”. Perhaps a Spiritual Gift like this is something like an awareness of the Spirit or something.


Yes, I see it the same way.

The “last days” started at Pentecost and will remain until Christ returns. But I believe this is a “now and not yet” meaning things will escalate closer to Christ’s return.

Paul somewhat added other Spiritual Gifts in Romans which makes me think he could have added more yet. That is really what this topic is about.

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Are you referring to

Romans 12:3‭-‬8 NKJV
For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
If so many refer to these as the gifts of the Father endowed to each individual. The basic strengths everyone has. Discovering your God given gifts is a great book about these.


I did not know there was a distinction. I only know what Dr. Michael Brown personally told me. I believe the way he phrased it was, “Some people believe there is an overlap of Giftings between 1 Cor. 12 and Rom. 12.”

He didn’t fuss over what name the Gifts had.

Many non Christian’s have strengths like Roman’s speaks of.
They are great orators, teachers, servants, leaders, many filled with mercy, compassion etc. Redemptive Gifts.htm
tell me what you think

The website link seems to not be working for me.

Hello @Jesse_Means_God_Exists this is a very important question that is also taking conversations within the Pentecostal church. At first the questions were raised that whether or not that if the person who does not speak in tongues has the Holy Spirit now. Now it seems whether or not, there are other gifts which are not necessarily spoken by name at that time that exist today. In my view with my reading the specific scriptures with in context or Romans 12 to 1 Cor 12, Paul was speaking to what was present with in the audience he was speaking to. But the one thing that is evident is that the Spirit will give unto each for its own purpose for the kingdom work of God. In today’s church, some of the gifts mentioned are practiced but churches have seem to gone away, but I do believe that the list that was listed are not the only gifts that can be used in that manner. This is my view coming from a home and church that believes in the spiritual gifts are still here for us to do for the Kingdom, I speak for myself and by no means speak on behalf of anyone. Thanks Jesse!


Ah, okay, I am glad I asked, because I was totally thinking something else! Thank you so much for your response AND your question! My take on it is that it’s quite possible that there are other gifts other than what have been listed. However, I do think we need to take care in naming things outside of the list as spiritual gifts since there isn’t any way (that I can see) that we would be able to tell that is what they are. I think that it takes discernment since there is more than one supernatural power at work (I’m sure I’m not telling you anything you don’t know!). I do think I understand what you’re talking about, though. I have experienced supernatural moments of a heightened awareness of the Lord’s presence or something to that effect. I’m not sure that is necessarily a gift of the Spirit for individuals for the church as much as it is something every Christian is able to experience, as it is often a call to spend time with Him. At least this is what I’ve found in my experience.

As far as the particular list of gifts given being for a particular audience for a particular time, in looking at the passage, there is really nothing to indicate that the list of gifts given was just for that specific audience, especially since Paul was talking about the church in general at that point. Contrasting that with another passage, where Paul tells ladies to be modest and goes into detail, telling them not to wear fancy hair-do’s and jewelry and such, can be said to be cultural because of what is known about how women dressed and such at that time. Some say women who dressed that way were prostitutes, but actually, there were those of higher status in society who would flaunt their status by wearing fancy jewelry and wearing their hair in certain ways. So for today, as far as the general population goes (not counting celebrities), most of us don’t wear jewelry and different hairdo’s to mark status. The principle of modesty and humility still stands for us today, but the way that is going to be expressed is going to look differently. Maybe today fancy cars or the ownership of a private jet flaunts status. That is how something in a passage is affected by culture–which is missing in the passages in which the gifts are listed. I hope this helps!

My thought on this would be that, as Christians, we have the greatest privilege of having the Holy Spirit indwelling! We are each able to walk in the Spirit and “hear” that still, small voice. I have never found it necessary to label what I know to be my gifts, because what is important is that we practice that which we know God has given us–even if it doesn’t have a name–to His glory.

I am curious, are you asking because you are wondering about a particular experience you’ve had, or did that last thread in which this topic arose just spark your curiosity?


Jesse, great question. I don’t think we can safely add to the list that Paul gives us. He was qualified by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit who would not leave something vital for body life out. As to your experience I would say that sounds more like the leading of the Spirit :smiley: and evidence of God actively walking with you and speaking to you. Oh one more thing, Galatians 5:22-23 the fruits of the Spirit are the safe guard in relationship to the other gifts.


Hi, @rpage! As to Jesse’s experience sounding more like the leading of the Spirit, I had the same thought. I like what you brought up in regard to the fruits of the Spirit being the safe guard in relationship to the other gifts, because I think I know what you mean there. I was wondering if you would be able to expound up on that so I can make sure I’m understanding where you are coming from there correctly?

Looking forward to hearing more of your thoughts!


Sorry Jesse

These gifts are listed in the letter to the Christians in Rome. The passage states that each of these gifts are dealt to each person in differing measures of faith (verse 3). That measure is a specific amount and type of faith that Our Heavenly Father apportions to all people throughout the earth, allotting these gifts as are necessary to fulfill his sovereign will on earth. Each of us has gifts differing according to the grace given us by God in His unsearchable wisdom.

Romans 12:3-8

3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith [emphasis mine]. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us [emphasis mine], let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

These gifts are given to people, each person having one primary one. That gift is put in us at conception, and determines the course of our lives, regardless of whether we become Christians or choose to reject Christ. Psychologists term these differences in people as “basic temperaments”, or personality types. Many have studied the soul of man in an attempt to categorize and understand the ways of man. There are many types of lifts, and assessment tests to help determine what each of us might be.

Father God installs these gifts in us to fulfill His plan of redemption on the earth. When we understand our gifts and function in it under guidance of the Holy Spirit, there is a redemptive result for mankind. Good comes when you operate in these gifts. Good not only for you, but also for the many around you. They are designed not for you, but for you to be a part of a large whole, functioning as a body part.

Let us look at each of them. After the description of the gift, I will use it in an ongoing example showing how they differ from one another, and in a practical application how that gift would cause a person to respond. This situation will be each of these different people visiting someone sick in a hospital. Each will respond differently, according to their varied natural gift. You will understand more fully as we continue.

A. Prophet

This temperament quickly and accurately identifies good and evil, hating the evil. They see everything as black or white with no gray or indefinite areas. They are eager to see their own blind spots and keen to help others see theirs also, tending to being introspective. They desire above all else to see God’s plan worked out in all situations. Their downside is that they forget to praise partial progress due to goal consciousness. They often struggle with self-image issues.

Katie Fortune calls this gift the gift of perceiver to differentiate it from the office in a church called prophet, which is quite another thing, and we will deal with that in the next chapter. The term perceiver is not Biblical, but does serve to well to differentiate this concept from the other.

Biblical examples of this is John the Baptist (Matthew 21:32); Hosea; and Ananias (Acts 9:10-17). In the case of John the Baptist, we see a man who preaching repentance of sins, and courageous to challenge even the King as necessary. His main fervor was to prepare the way for the Messiah, helping people to understand its imminence.

When a prophet visits someone in the hospital, it looks like this. They will come to the person’s bed and with compassion yet a certain sternness, proceed to quote scriptures of truth regarding healing. “You should not be here. This is not right!” They might ask, “Is there something you did, a blind spot, that might have allowed this to happen?”

You will see that this nature is very different than the next one.

B. Servant

This temperament easily recognizes practical needs and is quick to meet them, especially enjoying manual projects, jobs and functions. They are usually more interested in meeting the needs of another rather than long range goals, and may become pushy or interfering in eagerness to help. They need to feel appreciated.

Biblical examples are Martha, sister of Mary and Lazarus (John 11:1-40); Peter’s mother-in-law (Matt 8:14-15); and Esther. It was Esther you willing risked her own life and position that she might serve to save her people. It was Mordecai, uncle, who taught her administrative skills that fit her to be a Queen.

When the servant gifted person enters the hospital room, they immediately start to fluff the pillows, tidy things up a bit, and ask, “Is there anything that I can do for you?” Their intent is to assist in this critical time of need. They will take a piece of paper out; ask for things that they can do at the ailing person’s home for them. They thrive on the fact there is clear need.

C. Teacher

This temperament present truth in a logical, systematic manner, enjoying word studies and reading. They are concerned that truth be established in every situation. They have strong convictions of facts, and can tend to neglect the practical application. They are self-disciplined, and usually only has a close circle of fiends. They can tend to be dogmatic and legalistic.

Biblical examples of this trait are Aquilla and Priscilla who taught the great scholar Apollos (Acts 18:1-4; 24-26) a more full understanding of the gospel of Jesus, and Thomas (John 20:24-28) who needed empirical data to believe that it truly was Jesus standing in front of him – he must touch His side.

John 20:24-26

24 Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

Many Bible preachers make Thomas out to be a doubter because he asked questions. He could not help it. It was part of his God-given nature of teacher. It was the way he was wired by God. Jesus was very gracious with Thomas, knowing his temperament, and offered to allow Thomas to touch the scars of his crucifixion.

When the teacher-natured person visits the ill person in the hospital, they walk up to the bed and begin to ask questions like: “What did the doctor say was wrong? Did you get a second opinion on the diagnosis?” What they desire is information, so that they can add their assessment. They love good conversation, and find it all fascinating.

D. Exhorter

This temperament loves to encourage others to live victoriously. They want a visible response when they are speaking, teaching or preaching to others. They far prefer to apply truth rather than research it. For them, truth is God’s source of true encouragement, and we must get it into the hands of everyone. They are very quick to accept other people as they are without judging them. They want to clear up problems with others quickly. They often interrupt others in an eagerness to give opinions or advice. They tend to be “cut and dried” in prescribing steps of action.

Biblical examples of this personality are Aaron (Exodus) who stood beside Moses and acted as priest on behalf of the children of Israel, and Barnabas (Acts 4:36; 11:22-24). Barnabas is a clear picture, since his name even means “encouragement”. This he demonstrates by the show of his passion to stand by and under gird young John –Mark when he failed Paul and Barnabas in their first missionary journey. He even allowed the Paul-Barnabas team to split up over his insistence upon encouraging Mark. As a result, he took Mark down to Jerusalem and introduced him to Peter and some of the other leaders. Over the years, his encouragement paid off. Mark went on to write Peter’s account of the life of Jesus, and even Paul later specifically asked for Mark’s assistance. Barnabas’ ministry of exhortation to Mark bore fruit.

When the exhorter visits the hospital patient, they begin by telling stories that might cheer the person up. Everything that the patient says, reminds the exhorter of another story, and both laugh the time away. The exhorter will come equipped with scripture and often messages from other people. He has tendency to insist that the person feels better right away, not wants this problem to persist.

E. Giver

The temperament of giver freely gives of money, possessions, time, energy and love. They love to give without other people knowing about it. They want to feel they are a part of the ministry to which they are contributing, and handle their finances with wisdom and frugality. They tend to be very industrious and are often successful. Hospitality is one of their hallmarks. They may try to control how contributions are being used. They may upset family and friends with unpredictable patterns of giving.

Biblical examples of this are Dorcus (Acts 9:36-42); Cornelius (Acts 10:1-31); and Lydia (Acts 16:14,15).

Acts 16:14-15

14 Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. 15 And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” So she persuaded us [emphasis mine].

When the give visits the infirmed in the hospital, they always come bearing a gift to encourage. It is usually something thoughtful, showing time has gone into its planning, presentation and timing of delivery. They desire for the patient to be reminded in a tangible way that they are loved.

F. Ruler

This temperament, or gift, is highly motivated to organize that for which he is responsible. They can express ideas and organization in ways that are easily understood. They prefer to be under authority, in order to have authority. They love to work on long-range goals and projects – they are visionary with a broad perspective. In time, they can develop callousness due to being the target for criticism. They tend to drive themselves that can easily lead to neglect of personal and family needs.

Biblical examples of this gift in people are Joseph (Genesis 30-40); Nehemiah (Nehemiah 1-7); and King David (1 Samuel 16-31). We see David early in his life caring for his father’s sheep, protecting them well. When opportunity came for him to see another predator attacking God’s sheep, Israel, in the form of Goliath, he naturally moved to protect and deal with the giant. He organized the outcasts together into an army, and eventually, he organized a nation, both militarily and in worship.

When the leader trait visits the hospital, they take out a pad of paper and proceed to inquire of what may need done at the patient’s home and family life. They will say, “I will get some people to take over your responsibilities while you are here in the hospital.” They will check on the insurance of the patient, the doctors advice, and how all the pieces must fit together in the next weeks of the persons life. By the time the leader leaves, there is a clear plan for the next season of the patient’s life.

G. Gift of Mercy

This temperament had tremendous capacity to show love, always looking for the good in other people. They are attracted to people who are hurting or in distress. They take care with words and actions to avoid hurting others. They try to avoid conflicts and confrontations. They tend to be indecisive, and are often prone to take up another person’s offence.

Biblical examples of this are John the disciple of Jesus; Ruth (book of Ruth);Rachel (Genesis 29-31); and Joseph, the father of Jesus (Matthew 1:16-24; 2:13). In the case of Joseph, you see great compassion toward Mary, his betrothed, who is now pregnant with the Son of God. This is extravagant grace on the part of Joseph to continue to embrace her, and not shame her or hurt her in any way.

When the person with this dominant trait walks into the hospital, they begin to softly weep with compassion, seeing their loved one in such a state. They will come close and comfort them, wiping their forehead and speaking soft words of sympathy. They will stay endless hours to keep the patient company, supporting in any way possible.


The apostle Paul says if I speak with the tongues of men and of angels but do not have love etc. It is the love of Christ worked in our hearts that keeps the flesh at Bay and allows the gifts of the Spirit to be used in their proper place in other words they don’t become the spectacle, the love of God in our hearts manifested to our brothers and sisters is what takes center stage. I hope that clarifies


Yes, wonderful! Thank you! This is something my mentor always drove home when teaching about the gifts in Bible studies :slight_smile:


Ephesians 4:11–16 (NAS): 11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,
12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;
13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.
14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;
15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,
16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.

I do not see where spiritual gifts could be guidelines based on scripture such as this. If we were all created for a purpose then it seems only logical that we would be given specific gift(s). Not everyone can be an eye or an ear or a hand. Makes more sense that it is literal


I’m very much enjoying all this conversation. @mgaplus4, could you clarify what you mean about seeing people operate in the gifts of the Spirit outside of Pentecostal circles? Could you give an example? I wonder if the different terminology and definitions within the thread on what’s a spiritual gift are making this a little muddy to me. My understanding is that the “gifts of the Holy Spirit” mentioned in 1 Cor 12 follow the baptism of the Holy Ghost as evidenced by speaking in tongues (Acts 2:4). Basically, that initial evidence of speaking in tongues would come before these other gifts of the Holy Spirit operate in a believer. Do you have a different take on this?

I do not wish to imply only people in Pentecostal circles receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues. That’s there plainly in the Bible for all disciples of Christ. (Acts 19:1-6, specifically verse 2 Paul asks these disciples , “…have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?” They tell him they hadn’t even heard if there be any Holy Ghost. So Paul prays for them and they are filled with the Holy Ghost and speak in tongues and prophecy. We can distinguish this experience from their conversion as they were already disciples and had already been baptized.)

I hope asking this is not too far afield from the original question by @Jesse_Means_God_Exists.

Blessings to all. I’ll back out and read responses. Thanks to all in this thread for this great conversation.

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If I might expand on my experiences…

Something that happens to me on a regular basis and how these coincidences work out: first, I find myself anticipating something that would make life more difficult and I resolve it to accept it, it often doesn’t end up happening. For example, on my way to my parents house, there is a place along the way That is almost always backed up at the time I was leaving. After resolving to it and just accepting it would not be pleasant being bumper to bumper when I went today, I made it through fine and it was abnormally fast. The other way is that so often I will feel something particularly pressing about a passage and the next day usually a prominent pastor/teacher/prophet will be covering that exact passage. Last example of this happened last week. I had been awake for a long time but still couldn’t sleep. So I decided to open randomly in my bible and Mark 9 came up. I was doing a in depth study of the words of that passage on my pc a few weeks ago. Anyways, the next day after reading about the transfiguration, Dr. Michael Brown covered that exact passage the next day. Another time, as some may have seen my recent thread about the manifestations of God in the OT, it turns out 2 people including me asked Dr. Brown about the exact verse that when I read put the fear of God in me like no other time when reading the Bible. So those are some more examples.


You are fine as far as I’m concerned. I may not agree every believer has the Gift of tongues, but I do believe every believer has at least one Spiritual Gift.

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