What Are the 9 Gifts of the Holy Spirit? Understanding Their Purpose

The Bible tells us there are 9 gifts of the Holy Spirit. These gifts are the manifestations of the power and authority given to you by the Holy Spirit in order to accomplish His will on earth.

As Believers, we have an inheritance of power and authority.

Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it” (John 14:12-14).

Therefore, ask for these gifts of the Holy Spirit to be manifest in your life!

What Is the Purpose of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit?…

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are not for you to use how you want. They have specific purposes for God’s Kingdom. They are intended to glorify God by revealing more of who He is and displaying His sovereignty and power over all things.

The purpose of the Spirit’s manifestations is to benefit the Body of Christ.

“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all…”

1 Corinthians 12:7

They are available to all Believers and distributed by the Holy Spirit according to His will.

“But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.”

1 Corinthians 12:11

What Does the Bible Say About the 9 Gifts of the Holy Spirit?

God’s Word tells us that we should earnestly seek and desire these gifts, not quenching the Spirit.

  • “Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy…”—1 Corinthians 14:39
  •  “Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.”—1 Corinthians 14:1
  • “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies.”—1 Thessalonians 5:19-20
  •  “Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.”—1 Timothy 4:14-15
  •  “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.”—2 Timothy 1:6

1 Corinthians 12 – The 9 Gifts of the Holy Spirit Bible Verse 

An open book with flaming doves flying out of the pages to represent the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

“There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

1 Corinthians 12:4-11 (emphasis added)

What Are the Gifts of the Holy Spirit?

As mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12, the gifts of the Holy Spirit include wisdom, knowledge, faith, gifts of healings, working of miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, different kinds of tongues, and interpretation of tongues. 

But what does each one of these gifts truly mean?

Let us examine these gifts more closely…

  1. The Word of Wisdom—This gift of the Holy Spirit works with the word of knowledge. It gives you the ability and understanding of how to apply the word of knowledge.
  2. The Word of Knowledge—This gift of the Holy Spirit is knowing something you cannot know based on your human intelligence.  
  3. The Gift of Faith—This gift of the Holy Spirit grows as we walk with the Lord. You are saved by faith. The gift of faith is knowing full well that you cannot accomplish something alone but that the Lord has empowered you to move into new levels to do miracles and wonders in His name.  
  4. The Gifts of Healings—There are actually different kinds of healings that the Spirit will do. Notice that the scripture says “gifts,” plural. These gifts equip you in various ways to access healing for yourself or be an anointed vessel that will heal others.
  5. The Working of Miracles—This gift of the Holy Spirit is depicted throughout the Bible, from Moses parting the Red Sea to Jesus feeding 5,000 people. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Therefore, He is still in the business of working miracles. Similar to the word of knowledge, this spiritual gift is manifested by the Holy Spirit, not human efforts. The work is unexplainable by nature. It edifies and delivers others.
  6. The Gift of Prophecy—This gift of the Holy Spirit is one that the scripture says “to especially desire.” This gift is a direct Word from the Lord to be given to someone else to edify and build them up.
  7. The Discerning of Spirits—This gift of the Holy Spirit equips the discerner to see evil spirits operating in someone’s life. The Holy Spirit pulls back the curtains, exposing the evil spirits so that the person can experience a breakthrough from their bondage.
  8. Different Kinds of Tongues—This gift of the Holy Spirit is simply a supernatural ability to speak and pray in a tongue you do not naturally know. This can be spoken in prayer directly to God or in an assembly where God anoints another Believer, with the gift of interpretation, to interpret the word spoken in the native tongue of the congregation (1 Corinthians 14:2, 13-14). 
  9. The Interpretation of Tongues—This gift of the Holy Spirit is to interpret the tongue that was spoken. This can be for yourself (see 1 Corinthians 14:13-14) or the Church (see 1 Corinthians 14:27-28).

A Warning – Do Not Forget or Fail to Understand 

First Corinthians 12 begins with this powerful statement from Paul.

  • “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant…”—1 Corinthians 12:1

The word used in the original Greek translation for “do not be ignorant” is agnoein, which means…

  • To not perceive or recognize
  • To not know 
  • To fail to understand
  • To forget
  • To be ignorant or uninformed

This may sound harsh, but Paul is warning the Church that we must stay spiritually awake, understanding and searching the scriptures so that we can stand firm in the faith. 

Am I “Spiritual” Enough to Receive the Gifts of the Holy Spirit?

Paul also addresses the Corinthians’ concern: Am I spiritual enough to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit? This may be a question you’ve had. 

Fortunately, Paul goes on to answer this. 

  1. Paul reminds them that they were Gentiles carried away by “dumb idols.” Paul wants them to remember (to not forget or not recognize—agnoein) that they are no longer carried away by idols but instead are grafted into the family of God (see Romans 11:17) by the blood of Jesus Christ—Yeshua Messiah.
  2. Paul reassures that every Believer has the Holy Spirit and is “spiritual enough” to receive because of His indwelling. If someone weren’t “spiritual enough,” they could not be able to declare that Jesus Christ is Lord (see 1 Corinthians 12:3).

In short, don’t forget who you are now in Christ Jesus. Don’t forget that your past does not dictate your future because, in Him, you’ve been reconciled and restored. You have been given a hope and a future far better than you can imagine! 

Stand Firm and Stay Awake

As mentioned, Paul exhorts the Corinthians to not be “uninformed.” In short, to stand firm in what is true and stay awake because…

  • The enemy walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8)
  • The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10)
  • The enemy exalts himself and wants you to put any and all things above God (2 Corinthians 10:5)
  • God wants you to know what is good, acceptable, and His will (Romans 12:1-2)
  • God wants you to experience the blessings of love, power, and a sound mind and not live in fear (2 Timothy 1:7-10)
  • God wants you to fulfill your purpose, glorify Him, and experience His covenant peace (Hebrews 13:20-21)

One way to stay awake is to seek and ask for the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

The Apostle Paul is speaking to the Gentiles in Corinth, but his message applies to us today in that we can get “carried away” with past idols. So then, we must stay aligned with God, not allowing the old to carry us away from the new that God has.  

The gifts of the Holy Spirit take you into deeper waters with God. As Jesus said in Luke 12:48, “…to whom much is given, from him much will be required…” Therefore, we cannot be spiritually asleep and expect to activate these gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Let us wake up to the new thing God wants to do! We have a charge to ask for the gifts of the Holy Spirit and to utilize them for the Body of Christ.

We should not be ignorant about how the gifts of the Holy Spirit are manifested.  

  • “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant: You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led. Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.”—1 Corinthians 12:1-3

We are in a season that is like no other. We are in a season longing for the Living Water to carve new streams and rivers in the wilderness to bring wholeness and revival. So let us actively invite the fire of the Holy Spirit to come upon us, purifying us and preparing us for our finest hour.

Prepare your heart for His instruction. There is no denying He is doing something new within each of us and the Body of Christ.

Open your heart and hands and receive fresh oil and new wine, and the Lord will open the streams in the wastelands of your life, accelerating your Kingdom authority by the power of the 9 gifts of the Holy Spirit!