Do We Have One Spiritual Gift or Many?

[fa icon="calendar"] August 29, 2018 / by Ray Van Gilst

Big gift surrounded by small giftsWhen we use the phrase “different kinds of gifts” - or the word graces is sometimes used as well - it means God has gifted every one of us in a variety of ways. No two of us are the same! (I Corinthians 12:5-6)

Later in verse 11, Paul says something interesting, “All these are the work of one and the same spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” He distributes to each one or individually. The Greek word for that is idios. What do you think of when you hear that word?

Yep – that’s exactly where we get the word “idiot.”

God Gives Idiotically

Let me say it another way - He gives gifts to each one idiotically just as He determines. What in the world does that mean? To us the word idiot means stupid or weird. But in Greek it means unique, different or peculiar. It means that He has given out the gifts to each of us uniquely, peculiarly, different from anyone else. God has given you gifts that He’s given nobody else.

How Many Gifts Do We Have?

One of the things I hear people ask is, “How many gifts do I have? I probably have one gift, and the superstars must have 2 or 3.” You know something? You do have one gift – but you also have a multiplicity of gifts.

I Peter 4:10 says, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” Notice the singularity of the word ‘gift’ there. 

Then Ephesians 4:7, “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.” As a believer I have one gift.

Let’s look at I Timothy 4:14, “Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.” What am I demonstrating here? Again, the singularity of the gift.

The Problem with One Gift

I have a problem with the one gift theory and it’s this: Paul says, “Preach the word Timothy” so Tim must have the gift of preaching, right? But Paul also says, “Timothy, do the work of an evangelist” and “Timothy, teach faithful men who are also able to teach faithful men” and “Timothy, exhort with all patience.” Now I’m getting confused, and my one gift theory is falling apart!

Let me explain it this way: Living away from our grandchildren, the way we get Christmas presents to them is in one big package, but there are all sorts of different gifts inside that one big package. Picture the big package as the one gift that Christ gave to you through Jesus and the smaller gifts inside the big package as your unique blending of spiritual gifts.

Your Unique Blend

The gift you have received are gifts uniquely blended to make you who you are in Christ. As you understand that what He has given you is unique, you also begin to understand that you are absolutely necessary in the Body of Christ, because nobody else has the blending of gifts that you do. Maybe you even have the same gifts as the person next to you, but even then, you’re unique in different degrees. The point is, every one of us is necessary for building the Body because of our variety and uniqueness.

Related Articles:

Series: Gifts of the Spirit

Topics: Gifts of the Spirit