Since revival broke out on Azusa Street in Los Angeles a century ago, Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians have emphasized the importance of the "gifts of the Spirit." Some gifts--including serving, teaching, leading, and giving--are listed in Romans 12:6-8. But the centerpiece of Pentecostal and Charismatic theology and practice is the list of nine gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:7-11. What do these gifts mean, and how are they used? Let our primer guide you.


Click a phrase in the Bible passage below to read a description of each gift. Click here for explanations of additional Pentecostal terms, such as "slain the spirit."


1 Corinthians 12:7–11

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.

"Gifts of the Spirit," according to 1 Corinthians 12:7-11:

Message of Wisdom: A message or "word" of wisdom is a special ability to offer advice or guidance. Christians might experience this gift in a worship service and share it with the congregation, encouraging people to trust God more, pray with greater faith, be generous with others, or embrace a deeper spiritual life. Some also might experience a message of wisdom in daily life.


Message of Knowledge: A message or "word" of knowledge is a direct revelation of information that the recipient might share with the community or another person.

Often these messages are quite specific: "Apply for that school." "Pray for the church in Nepal." "Don’t take that job." At other times, a message will be more vague: "God is preparing to do a great thing in our midst." Some believe Jesus referenced this gift when he told his disciples that they would know what to say under persecution (Matt. 10:19).