Charismatic Gifts: Power for the Body of Christ

"Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts..." St. Paul, 1 Cor. 14:1

Charismatic Gifts: A Spiritual Resource

The Bible tells us about many kinds of spiritual gifts. There are ministry gifts, teaching gifts, service gifts, and strengthening gifts. God is so good to us. He wants to give us everything we need to live the Christian life, so He showers us with many kinds of special gifts. Here we want to explain what are now called the "charismatic" gifts, presented in St. Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, chapters 12-14.

These gifts were obviously used in the early Christian Church. There are nine gifts listed in 1 Corinthians chapter 12 verses 4-11. Paul spends much time in chapters 12-14 instructing the Corinthians in the use of the gifts.

Paul, in the first verse of chapter 12, says that he does not want his readers to be uninformed about the spiritual gifts he is discussing. Therefore, we should also be informed about them. The nine charismatic gifts are as follows: the utterance of wisdom, the utterance of knowledge, special faith, healing, working of miracles, prophecy, the discernment of spirits, various kinds of tongues, and the interpretation of tongues.

These gifts have some common characteristics: (1) they result from being baptized in the Holy Spirit, (2) they are the direct result of the supernatural activity of the Holy Spirit, (3) they are for the common good, to benefit the Church, and (4) they are instantaneous, given for a given moment to meet a special need.

The charismatic gifts are important for the building of the Church. First, they draw people to God; Jesus worked signs and wonders to stimulate faith in His mission. He insisted that His disciples receive power from on high (Luke 24:49). Secondly, they give life to God's people by allowing us to minister to one another in His power. Thirdly, they provide much-needed weapons to use in our supernatural war against Satan, who is trying to destroy the Church.

We need to be serious about these gifts. They are God's grace for us. They should be used to "prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up...and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ." (Eph. 4:12)

Description of the Gifts

The nine gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12:4 can be conveniently put into three groups:

1. Action Gifts (power to DO)

A. Healing: God wants to heal us, and He wants us to be used for healing others. This gives Him glory.

B. Working of Miracles: The Bible has many examples of God's miracles. By His power working in us, miracles can still happen today - if we believe.

C. Gift of Faith: This is a special faith, given for a particular moment, to believe without a doubt that God can act and wants to act in a situation.

2. Revelation Gifts (Power to KNOW)

A. Discerning of Spirits: Helps us to know if God's spirit is at work in a situation. It is helpful in protecting the body of Christ from error and deception.

B. Word of knowledge: A supernatural revelation of facts not learned through our human minds. For example, God might reveal someone's need so we can help that person.

C. Word of Wisdom: A supernatural application of knowledge given to us by God. A sudden revelation to know what to say or do.

3. Word Gifts (Power to SAY)

A. Prophecy: This is a message from God, given for a particular group or individual at a particular moment. Not generally foretelling the future, but someone speaking the mind of God.

B. Tongues (prayer language): A language not learned by the recipient, for use in prayer only. Used for praise and intercession. It is the Holy Spirit praying through our spirit; the mind is not involved. Can be public or private. Father John Bertolucci has said this: "I personally pray in tongues and would love for all Christians to receive this special language of the heart to worship and honor God."(See ref. 1). He says that tongues should lead us to center on loving and adoring our Lord Jesus Christ.

C. Interpretation of Tongues: A gift for use in public worship services, such as a prayer meeting. One person will speak in a tongue, followed by a message in English. This is similar to gift of Prophecy.


1. Fr. John Bertolucci, New Covenant magazine, May 1991.

2. Various books and video tapes published by Fr. Robert DeGrandis, S.S.J

3. The Holy Spirit and You, Dennis and Rita Bennett, Bridge Publishing

Word of Life Charismatic Renewal Center
St. Mark Catholic Center
429 E. Grandview Blvd., Erie, Pa. 16514
PH: (814) 824-1286
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