Spiritual Gifts Bible Study
I Corinthians 12

Free Sunday School Lessons

Note to the teacher: Before preparing this lesson, Spiritual Gifts Bible Study please read our approach to planning a Sunday School lesson.

This lesson has the same format as our lesson planning sheet.

In preparing your lesson, we suggest that you:

1. Print the lesson planning sheet.
2. Read the Bible passage.
3. Fill in your lesson planning sheet.

You will find it helpful to have a printed copy of the lesson planning sheet along side as you read "Spiritual Gifts Bible Study". The progression will make more sense.

Spiritual Gifts Bible Study

Bible Passage: I Corinthians 12

The human need this passage meets is: To be a vital part of Christ's followers.

Learning Goals: By the end of this "Spiritual Gifts Bible Study", each learner should be able to. . .

(Know) Know the origin and purpose of spiritual gifts in the Body of Christ.

(Feel) Feel a sense of belonging to the church - Christ's body

(Do) Surrender your will to God so He can use you in the way He chooses


"How many of you have played on a baseball team? Or at least watch baseball? You know that there are nine players on a team. When the team is in the field, there are nine different jobs. Which is the most important? Discuss this with the people around you."

After a few minutes, ask some people to share their answers.

"In reality, every position is important. The same is true in the Body of Christ. We all have one or more spiritual gifts - gifts given by the Holy Spirit. In this "Spiritual Gifts Bible Study", we'll learn that we are each a part of the Body of Christ - an indispensable part.


In our Spiritual Gifts Bible Study, we'll look at I Corinthians 12-14 where Paul instructs the Corinthians regarding spiritual gifts.

Chapter 12 - The Gifts of the Spirit
Chapter 13 - The Fruit of the Spirit (which is love)
Chapter 14 - The Desire of the Spirit

These concepts were of extreme interest to the believers in Corinth and they are still important to us today.

But, frankly this is a complex subject and it raises complex questions.

As we begin our spiritual gifts Bible study, I want you to commit yourself to this principle:

I will not let truths I don't understand keep me from the truths I do understand.

Any spiritual gifts Bible study brings up truths that are hard to understand.

Bible Input

Let's read I Corinthians 12:1-31.

First, we need to note that Paul is probably talking about more than just spiritual gifts:

v.1 Literally read: "now about the spirituals"

    it doesn't say "gifts" -- Bible translators added that word because of the context
    "spirituals" are things, people, matters, gifts, and spirituality in general

In v.2-3 Paul clarifies the basis for being a spiritual person.

    Paul's point is that true spirituality becomes a reality when the Holy Spirit Himself takes up residence within our human spirits.
    Before they were believers, the Corinthians were following idols that couldn't speak.
    Now they were inhabited by the true Spirit of God and God's Spirit can and does speak. The mark that a person has truly heard the voice of the spirit of God was found in how he spoke about his relationship with Jesus.

      In Acts 26 - before Paul became a Christian, he said that not only was he a blasphemer, he went into different synagogues and tried to force Christians to blaspheme. That probably meant to get them to say, "Jesus be cursed." If they did, he'd leave them alone. If not, he'd arrest, imprison, and persecute them. Paul knew that until the Spirit of God showed Him that Jesus was alive and was Lord, he was only practicing religion. He was a religious person, but not a spiritual person. Paul's point is that there is no way a person can be spiritual without the Holy Spirit.

      When the Holy Spirit breaks the heart of a man, the man surrenders and says: "Jesus is Lord."

At this juncture I want to belabor a simple point that is often ignored and that I believe is desperately needed in any spiritual gifts Bible study.

The Holy Spirit is a Person - not a force or an impersonal influence.

The Holy Spirit is always referred to as He

    True, He is described as:
      wind (John 3)
      spring and river (John 4 and 7)
      fire (Matthew 3 and Acts 2)
    BUT He is not an impersonal force like nature, but the Invisible Spirit of God Himself.That's why in v. 4, 5, 6 Paul talks about the same Spirit, the same Lord Jesus, and the same God.

God is a divine person.
Jesus is a divine person.
The Holy Spirit is a divine person.

One role of the Holy Spirit on earth today is to take the place of Jesus on earth.

Jesus taught His disciples that it was better that he go away because then He could send another Divine Person, the Holy Spirit to take His place on the earth. Now, if you were the 12 apostles, would you really think anyone could have taken Jesus' place? But Jesus insisted and tried to teach them these truths about the personality of the Holy Spirit.

He will be a:

  • real person - He will be able to think, feel, decide just like Me.
  • divine person - He would come directly from My Father; co-equal with God and Jesus.
  • indispensable person - Just as with Me, apart from Him you will be able to do nothing.
  • loving person - He'll be your friend and make His home with you and love within you.
  • wise person - He'll remind you of everything I taught you and lead you into all truth.
  • strong person - He'll be able to do exceedingly abundantly above all you could ask or dream
  • faithful person - He'll never leave you or forsake you; He'll be permanently sealed within your spirit. You'll never be alone in any circumstance or situation.

It's not the force be with you. It's He'll be with you

Because of that He will be worthy. - Worthy of your love, your confidence, your hope, and your all.

He's a person! - Our first priority is to know the person of the Holy Spirit. Then, learn about the spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit. Frankly, many people have that backwards.

Continue this "Spiritual Gifts Bible Study" by learning more about the Holy Spirit - through Sermons
and a Sunday School Lesson
We offer three lessons on the Holy Spirit in
What's Missing Inside You?

One of the main reason many people need a spiritual gifts Bible study is that they often come up with sincere, but misguided notions about the Holy Spirit and His spiritual gifts. They often think of Him as a force and not a person.

It is this Divine Person who has given Himself to you and gifted you to be a functioning member within His Body.

In I Corinthians 12:7-11 Paul stresses that the Person who lives in you and has given you spiritual gifts lives in all believers and has gifted them, too.

He's the same, but His gifts are different and vary from believer to believer.

Let's continue our spiritual gifts Bible study by listing some of the different spiritual gifts:

  • word of wisdom
  • word of knowledge
  • special faith
  • healing
  • miraculous power
  • prophecy
  • distinguishing of spirits
  • tongues
  • interpretation of tongues

    Then, at the end of the chapter Paul describes roles in what seems to be a priority order:

  • First, apostles
  • Second, prophets
  • Third, teachers
  • then, workers of miracles
  • gifts of healing
  • helps
  • administration
  • tongues

    Life Application

    Now, let's try to be practical in our spiritual gifts Bible study:
    A spiritual gift is a divine enablement that makes you valuable to the body of Christ. It involves your personality, but is much deeper. Your giftedness comes from the Spirit of God, not a refined personality. You cannot define and discover your spiritual gifts in personality traits alone.

    One of the most amazing and sometimes frustrating realities of this text is that Paul doesn't spend any time defining or describing these gifts, he simply lists them. He assumed that the Corinthians believers knew what he meant.

    The Point is - You may discover and recognize your gift, but you don't decide your role in the Body of Christ - the Holy Spirit does. He decides how you will be gifted and how you will contribute to the spiritual health of the Body of Christ. He will choose your purpose and place in His Kingdom.

    Now I'll continue this spiritual gifts Bible study with examining three of Paul's clear and practical points for the Corinthians and us.

    1. The Church is one body.

  • Though a physical body has many different parts, it still forms only one body.

    How many parts are in a human body? The Lever 2000 commercial says that there are 2001! I don't know if that's correct, but I do know that the American board of Specialities and Subspecialties lists 145 physician specialities and subspecialties for taking care of those many, many parts. Yet, all the parts of our bodies have unique, important functions to work together to make every single body function.

    With Christ we are all included in His body.

      We were all baptized by one Spirit
      We were all given one Spirit to drink

    This happened when they became followers of Jesus.

    I Corinthians 10:1 - the Israelites were baptized into Moses -- a figurative description of their salvation and deliverance from Egypt.

    In the church, when a person acknowledges that Jesus is his Lord they receive the forgiveness of sins. They receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. They are added to the Lord's Body, the Church.

    They are baptized into the Lord's body and they are inhabited by the Lord's Spirit. We call this new birth; regeneration; being baptized by the Holy Spirit.

    2. Every member of the body belongs.

    When my wife was in grade school, her class would play softball in physical education. The teacher would choose two students to be captains of the teams. The captains would choose their teams - one student at a time. Peggy vividly remembers the humiliation of always being the last chosen. She didn't have softball skills, so she wasn't wanted on anyone's team. She definitely didn't feel that she belonged. However, she had exactly the opposite experience when the class had spelling contests. Peggy was the first person chosen. Now, she belonged on that team! What she lacked in softball she had in spelling.

    In the Body of Christ, no one should compare himself to someone else and say, "Because I'm not like them, I don't really belong here." We need to affirm each other and help each other feel safe and secure in the church.

    God designed the body of Christ to have an immense variety of members - and everyone belongs.

    3. Every member of the body is indispensable.

    No one can look down on another member and say, "We don't really need you!" It is also equally wrong to think, "They don't need me."

    God designed the body so that every member would play a vital role. You have no double. No one can take your place.

    Some people serve within the four walls of a church building. Some people serve in their communities. Some people serve in another country. All are needed.

    Now that we know that we have a spiritual gift, we are naturally curious as to what it is.

    How do we find out what spiritual gifts we have?

    There are many questionaires and studies designed to do this. One simple way is to simply ask several people who know you well, "What am I good at?" If there is a concensus of opinion, that's a good indication that God has gifted you in that area.

    Ask God to show you where He can use you to His glory. Think about the places where you have served where you "felt God's blessing." Keep in mind that many times God puts us in a situation, then gives us the necessary skills to do the job! Can you imagine a parent who says, "I don't have the spiritual gift of child-raising"? If God has given you children, He will give you the skills and the heart that are necessary.

    Every spiritual gifts Bible study should emphasize that a person's gifting can change through their lives. That's because God has a unique purpose for you. He is also developing the fruit of the Spirit in you.

    A spiritual gift is from the Holy Spirit. He decides what you'll be given and how you'll use it. Consider this quote from Oswald Chambers' book, My Utmost for His Highest.

    Are you willing to be offered for the work of the faithful - to pour out your life blood as a libation on the sacrifice of the faith of others? Or do you say, - "I'm not going to be offered up just yet, I do not want God to choose my work. I want to choose the scenery of my own sacrifice; I want to have the right kind of people watching and saying, 'Well done.' "

    It is one thing to go on the lonely way with dignified heroism, but quite another thing if the line mapped out for you by God means being a door-mat under other people's feet. Suppose God wants to teach you to say, "I know how to be abased" - are you ready to be offered up like that? Are you ready to be not so much as a drop in a bucket - to be so hopelessly insignficant that you are never thought of again in connection with the life you served? Are you willing to spend and be spent; not seeking to be ministered unto, but to minister? Some saints cannot do menial work and remain saints because it is beneath their dignity.

    Discussion Questions:

    1. What was part of this "Spiritual Gifts Bible Study" applied the most to you?

    2. How does realizing that the Holy Spirit is a person, not a force help you?

    3. How you find out how the Holy Spirit has gifted you?

    4. How does this "Spiritual Gifts Bible Study" help you answer a person who doesn't think he is vital to the Lord's ministry?

    5. How does comparing yourself to others hinder your acceptance of your spiritual gifts?

    Author:Paul Schlieker www.bible-study-lesson-plans.com

    For any reuse or distribution of "Spiritual Gifts Bible Study" or any of our free Bible study materials author credit and web address is required.

    Please email us with questions or comments.

    If you enjoyed "Spiritual Gifts Bible Study" check out our many inspirational devotions. They all have discussion questions and are fully illustrated.

    Return from Spiritual Gifts Bible Study to Free Sunday School Lessons

    Home - Bible Study Lesson Plans

    Enjoy this page? Send it to a friend. Here's how...

    Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

    1. Click on the HTML link code below.
    2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.