Michael Horton on the Purpose of Spiritual Gifts

In this video, Michael Horton provides a helpful perspective on the spiritual gifts. When we understand the gifts and their purpose, we can more easily understand how God has uniquely gifted each one of us.


Below is a lightly edited transcript of the video above. Before quoting, please check the video to ensure accuracy.

You know, especially in 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12, the Apostle Paul tells us that there is a variety of gifts that we have in the body of Christ. If everybody were a mouth then where would the hands be? If everybody were feet then where would the ears be?

We’re all part of the body of Christ, every part of that body is absolutely essential. And in Ephesians 4, Paul tells us that when it comes to being united to Christ, being a full member of his body, being baptized by the Spirit into Christ, we’re all on the same level, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism,” and we’re part of one body. We all share exactly the same gift of the Spirit in that sense.

But in addition, he goes on to say again in Ephesians 4, that the Holy Spirit, in addition to that gift of salvation, has handed out all sorts of other gifts. And it’s interesting these are gifts, not that the person who has them needs them, rather these are gifts that other people need in the body of Christ.

Spiritual gifts are not my spiritual thing, like “Am I a Libra or a Capricorn?” No, this is what has God given me that someone else needs. So you’re not thinking, “What has God given me for my own enjoyment, my own pleasure,” but “What has God given me for someone else and for the broader need of the body of Christ?”

What has God given me for someone else and for the broader need of the body of Christ?

When we’re thinking in those terms, will also have what we need, because someone else in the room has something we need. That’s the way the body of Christ functions. God gives somebody a carton of milk that a baby over here needs, and God gives somebody over here the gift of discernment that someone over here who is caught up in bad teaching needs. Go around the room and soon you’ll realize that God has given everybody a rich diversity of gifts for the full functioning and health of the whole body.