spiritual gifts

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Endowments given by the Spirit. All Christians should show the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5: 22–3), but the gifts bestowed by the Spirit are adapted to each individual, and are listed by Paul in Rom. 12: 6–8 and in 1 Cor. 12: 8–10, 28–30. They comprise gifts of speech, both coherent utterance and also the unintelligible speaking in tongues (though some present might have the complementary gift of interpretation); gifts of service and administration; and gifts of healing. A further gift mentioned by Paul is apostleship, which builds up the Church by leadership and pastoral care. In later epistles (Eph. 4: 11 and 1 Pet. 4: 10–11) the gift of speaking in tongues (glossolalia) is omitted, possibly because experience taught the Church that words understood by all were preferable to sounds intelligible only to God (1 Cor. 14: 1–5).

Subjects: Biblical Studies.

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