What are Spiritual Gifts?

What are Spiritual Gifts?

Spiritual gifts refer to the special endowments that the Holy Spirit bestows on believers to use for their callings and to benefit the Church as a whole. There are a variety of spiritual gifts named throughout scripture, and all are important to know and understand.

It is vital that we, as part of the Body of Christ, understand that everyone doesn’t have every gift and that each person will be given the gifts God knows they will need in order to do the work He calls each of us to do in this life. All gifts are given to us in order to be used to bring God honor and glory, add to and build up the Body of Christ, and serve God with a grateful heart.

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed. You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led. Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit. Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.

1 Corinthians 12:1-6 ESV

What does “spiritual gifts” mean?

Strong’s G4152pneumatikos – spiritual gifts: belonging to the Divine Spirit;

To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

1 Corinthians 12:7-11 ESV

What are the Spiritual Gifts in the Bible?

While some of the spiritual gifts we find in scripture are widely believed to no longer be present in the lives of believers, most are still seen, used and experienced throughout the Church. There are differing beliefs about some gifts while some have beliefs in common. We should always lean on the Holy Spirit in order to discover and understand our own gifts as well as how we are each called to use them.

Where many of us will be blessed with some of the same gifts, the ways in which we are called to use them will be uniquely identified by the Lord using His Spirit as a guide throughout our life and the sanctification process. Being in His Word and in prayer about our gifts is also needed in order to constantly give God the reigns and let Him guide our path and usage of these incredible gifts He provides us with.

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The Gift of Speaking in and interpreting tongues:

Speaking in and interpreting tongues is to be able to speak and understand foreign languages you have never learned. Early Christians on the Day of Pentecost were empowered by the Holy Spirit and given the ability to speak in tongues so that they could share the gospel with visitors from the Roman world in languages the visitors understood. Typically speaking in tongues is a means of special prayer from an individual to God. There are a variety of differing beliefs about this spiritual gift.

And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues;

Mark 16:17 ESV

For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God.

Acts 10:46a ESV

And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying.

Acts 19:6 ESV

The Gift of Driving Out Evil Spirits:

Driving out evil spirits is to exorcise or cast out demons.

And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues;

Mark 16:17 ESV

But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

Matthew 12:28 ESV

And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” Now a herd of many pigs was feeding at some distance from them. And the demons begged him, saying, “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of pigs.” And he said to them, “Go.” So they came out and went into the pigs, and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the waters.

Matthew 8:28-32 ESV

The Gift of Healing:

Healing is divine healing from the Holy Spirit through incredible faith.

Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” —he said to the paralytic— “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

Mark 2:7-12 ESV

The Gift of Prophesy:

Some instances in scripture identify “prophecy” when speaking about all speaking gifts (1 Corinthians 14), but the unique gift of prophecy is a specific gift of the Holy Spirit inspiring a proclamation to a believer for the purpose of edifying the Church. This is commonly believed that there are no longer current-day prophets in the world, and there is much to learn throughout scripture about this gift.

And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit.

Joel 2:28-29 ESV

For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

2 Peter 1:21 ESV

The Gift of Divine Knowledge and Wisdom:

Divine knowledge is insight and perception from the Holy Spirit, while divine wisdom is the application of truth and knowledge guided by the Holy Spirit. All believers are called to live wisely, but some are blessed with extraordinary wisdom and knowledge from the Holy Spirit.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

James 1:5 ESV

The Gift of Serving and Hospitality:

Serving is an act of ministry characterized by a joy in doing things for others and hospitality is an unselfish desire to meet the needs of others without expectation of reward.

Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

1 Peter 4:9-11 ESV

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Mark 10:45 ESV

The Gift of Teaching:

Teaching is an instruction that can be understood. It can be recognized by understanding difficult matters and the ability to deliver instruction effectively.

But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.

Titus 2:1 ESV

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

2 Timothy 3:16 ESV

Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

2 Timothy 4:2 ESV

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Colossians 3:16 ESV

The Gift of Exhorting:

Exhortation is persuasion and encouragement characterized by the ability to inspire and persuade.

So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” They went out of the town and were coming to him.

John 4:28-30 ESV

So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed:

1 Peter 5:1 ESV

Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

2 Timothy 4:2 ESV

The Gift of Giving:

Giving is to generously support and share what you have, and can be recognized by the joy in generosity and expecting nothing in return.

Whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner, but blessed is he who is generous to the poor.

Proverbs 14:21 ESV

In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Acts 20:35 ESV

Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

Luke 6:38 ESV

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

2 Corinthians 9:7 ESV

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

1 Timothy 6:17-19 ESV
Spiritual gifts in the Bible
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The Gift of Leading:

Leadership is to be diligent, watchful, and willing to care for and labor for a people or thing. This gift of leadership in Greek means to “rule” or “govern”, indicating someone who is set over something or someone in order to provide care, guidance, and fellowship with a heart of diligent and sacrificial service.

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

John 16:13 ESV

His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’

Matthew 25:21 ESV

he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

Romans 12:8 NKJV

The Gift of Mercy:

Mercy is tender sensitivity and can be identified as concern for others who are hurting.

Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

Luke 6:36 ESV

For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

James 2:13 ESV

The Gift of Extraordinary Faith:

Extraordinary faith is extreme optimism and confidence in the Lord and the ability to inspire others in extraordinary ways and circumstances.

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

Hebrews 11:6 ESV

And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Mark 11:22-24 ESV

The Gift of Discernment:

Discernment is the being guided by the Holy Spirit in all circumstances to make judgements, determine good or evil, and see beyond the surface.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:2 ESV

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.

1 John 4:1 ESV

The Gift of Evangelism:

Evangelism is the ability to witness, love people, talk easily, and rejoice in sharing the Lord in any situation.

But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,

1 Peter 3:15 ESV

As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Timothy 4:5 ESV

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:31 ESV

The Gift of Speaking:

Speaking is talking easily and inspiring others with words guided by the Holy Spirit.

A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.

Proverbs 29:11 ESV

A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.

Proverb 15:4 ESV

But no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.

James 3:8-10 ESV

Who recieves Spiritual gifts?

All Christians are members of the Body of Christ, and each member is related to a part of the body as a whole. Each part of the body serves a unique and different function, but no one part of the body is any less important for the overall function and health of the whole body.

All are equally important roles but all serve the Body equally in the ways in which they are called, using the gifts in which God has given to each of us. We should not be envious or disgruntled toward any other part of the Body or their gifts, but instead encourage, honor, and care for all fellow members of the Body of Christ and be united together in our shared mission.

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body— Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.

1 Corinthians 12:12-31 ESV

How should Spiritual gifts be used?

The spiritual gifts which have been given by the Holy Spirit should not be used for self-gain but should be used humbly for the Kingdom of God and Body of Christ. We should be seeking after gifts that deepen our relationship with and sharing the gospel of Christ versus gifts that draw attention to ourselves. We are told to diligently seek these gifts but that “the most excellent way” was faith, hope, and love, love is the greatest of them all.

Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature. In the Law it is written, “By people of strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners will I speak to this people, and even then they will not listen to me, says the Lord.” Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers but for believers. If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds? But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.

1 Corinthians 14:20-25 ESV

As new believers, we are children in our faith and should intentionally be learning and growing in faith through dedicated time in scripture, prayer, and fellowship with God and His people. As we mature in faith, we mature in the way we think and the ways we understand and use all that God blesses us with. As we grow in maturity of faith we also become more mature in abstaining from sin, becoming better imitators of Christ, putting our spiritual gifts to work, building up the Body of Christ, and will also be better equipped to organically and intentionally plant the seeds of the gospel in the hearts of nonbelievers.

What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn, and let someone interpret. But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church and speak to himself and to God. Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said. If a revelation is made to another sitting there, let the first be silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged, and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets. For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church. Or was it from you that the word of God came? Or are you the only ones it has reached? If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord. If anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized. So, my brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But all things should be done decently and in order.

1 Corinthians 14:26-40 ESV

Spiritual gifts should not be used for self-interest, self-development, or self-display but instead in accordance with the law of love that serves to build up others. The gifts God blesses us with are not our own but are His attributes bestowed upon us to be used for the furtherance of His will and Kingdom. We are not our own, and these gifts are not our own. We have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us and these gifts are His for His purposes.

We should use discernment and be led by the Spirit, prayer and scripture in using our spiritual gifts to avoid corruption, competition, division, and pride within the Church. Paul explains that spiritual gifts, including speaking in tongues, are not uncontrollable. We are given free will, therefore the Holy Spirit does not overpower you but gives you the choice to obey His promptings or not. Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians that no one is exempt from accountability in how they use their spiritual gifts.

Each member of the Body of Christ is given their own set of spiritual gifts according to their specific callings, roles, and functions as their individual part of the body. Not all parts of the Body have all of or the same gifts, but instead, all are given the gifts which God knows are necessary for the work He has called them to do. Everyone is accountable for every gift given to them by God, and any claim to having a gift should be tested and filtered by the Word of God.

Identifying False Teachings

Identifying False Teachings

The world we live in teaches many things. Lessons of our culture are vastly different from biblical teachings and it can be extremely challenging for Christians to discern between true and false teaching. Scripture addresses this challenge head-on in many places and gives us sound guidance on how to identify and combat false teachings. This discernment is an essential part of growing in our relationship with God, our resemblance to Christ, and our faith in God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Studying scripture should be a priority in the daily life of all followers of Jesus. We need to be in God’s Word regularly in order to learn more about Him, His salvation, as well as to better understand and apply what we are called to in this life. The Bible tells us to “correctly handle the word of truth” and to “meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.” How can we obey it or correctly handle it correctly if we are not earnestly studying it with a heart of edification and growth?

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

2 Timothy 2:15 ESV

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Joshua 1:8 ESV

One reason earnest and constant study is so essential is so that we can discern the difference between worldly teachings and Godly teachings. This is a vital yet challenging feat in today’s world and is not only for our own edification but also to help us grow the Body of Christ in how God calls. God places each person in their roles in this life for the whole Body of Christ to function properly and grow in Christ. We should be growing in wisdom, not remaining as children in God’s Word; we must continue to grow in the depths in which we dive into God’s Word to continue to learn and grow in it and discern what it is saying without going too far beyond what is written in the text. Learning the difference between scriptural fact and speculations, and understanding how to apply His wisdom and revelations to ourselves as well as to share and teach it to others in His way and will is a key part of studying God’s Word that often gets missed.

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

Ephesians 4:11-16 ESV

When studying God’s Word, diving in deeper, and striving to learn and apply all that God reveals to us, we should be filtering everything through His Word and be learning more about the world, this life, and how He calls us to live based on what He teaches us. One key purpose for this learning is to identify false teachings, which can be found in every day relationships and encounters, churches and church leaders, theological scholars, Bible teachers, and outside doctrines. They are often hard to identify and while we should not be quick to write someone or something off as either a true or false teaching we should diligently filter everything through the Word of God to let the Holy Spirit advise.

How can we identify false teachings?

Some ways to help us filter and identify different teachings and teachers through the Word of God is to ask a few different questions and look at the teachings through a Biblical lens. Again, we must be careful not to jump too quickly to either approve or disapprove of a teacher or teaching as true or false. We must be diligent in letting the Holy Spirit guide us through the filtering process.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

1 John 4:1-6 ESV

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

2 Peter 2:1-3 ESV

Does the teaching contradict the Word of God?

Any teachings that deviate from salvation coming from faith in Christ alone is absolutely false and dangerous teaching. The foundation of the Christian faith is built on Christ and the salvation He died and was resurrected to provide all people with if they choose to accept Him and His works. Beyond this, we must ensure all teachings are in alignment with the Word of God and not left up to personal speculations or reading too far past what is written in scripture.

We should dive into the text by exploring the original languages, the culture of the times, and the context of what is written, but with the understanding that there is still much that we are not meant to fully understand without the discernment of the Holy Spirit or even until we can ask God face to face. If something is being taught or presented as being from scripture but it is not written in the text of scripture we should be careful to filter it as speculation or even personal revelation.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

2 Timothy 2:15 ESV

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Joshua 1:8 ESV

For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” ‘

Romans 10:13 ESV

For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

1 Timothy 2:5 ESV

Is scripture being used in the teachings?

If scripture is cherry-picked and taken out of context, or even completely void in the conversation with an emphasis placed on personal revelation, this is a clear indication that the teaching is unbiblical. There must be scripture being taught, and being taught correctly, for it to be biblical.

Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.

Hebrews 13:7 ESV

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

2 Timothy 3:16 ESV

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Colossians 3:16 ESV

Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.

Matthew 24:23-24 ESV

Does the teaching downplay sin and judgement?

Sin is disobedience to God and His Word. Scripture identifies many areas we are called to refrain from, as well as many we are called to abide in. Any teaching that fails to acknowledge what sin is, and that sin is sin, is unbiblical. Scripture tells us that we all sin, but that Christ died and rose again to save us from the eternal consequences of our sin if we accept Him in faith.

Again, though, if the eternal consequences for sin are not being taught, it is unbiblical. There are very real consequences for sin as we see throughout scripture, and if we fail to repent, seek God’s forgiveness and accept Christ’s salvation then we are told in God’s Word that the consequences are eternal separation from our Heavenly Father.

God is the source of all goodness, love, mercy, and grace so if we are eternally separated from Him we are eternally separated from all goodness, love, mercy, and grace as well. We should be striving to understand the reality of sin and the consequences of intentionally remaining in our sin.

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—

Romans 5:12 ESV

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Romans 3:23 ESV

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

James 4:17 ESV

Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.

1 John 3:4 ESV

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

1 John 1:8-10 ESV

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:23 ESV

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 5:19-21 ESV

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 ESV

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8 ESV
Identifying False Teachings
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Does the teaching seek to deny human desires?

One of the tenants of the Christian faith is that as we follow Christ we are to become more like Christ. He humbled Himself from deity to servant, fully committed to God’s will even at the cost of His life, having died on the cross for our sakes. Any failure to teach that we likewise are called to the same humble, servant attitude is unbiblical and will likely cause us to fall into the temptations of our human desires rather than to become more like Christ. The only way for us to understand the depths of servitude and how to deny human desires is to be in the Word of God and applying the wisdom that He reveals to us daily.

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

Luke 9:23 ESV

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Galatians 2:20 ESV

For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.

Hebrews 10:26-27 ESV

He must increase, but I must decrease.”

John 3:30 ESV

For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Matthew 16:25 ESV

This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the flesh and despise authority.

2 Peter 2:10a NIV

Does the teaching emphasize wealth, status, or position?

This may be one of the most challenging questions to answer in the American culture as our nation teaches very different lessons than what is taught in God’s Word. The hard-line is when we see it taught that prosperity comes from wealth, power, good health, and status. Our culture tells us that to be prosperous is to have a full bank account, lots of cool material things, popularity, and influence.

God’s Word, on the other hand, paints a very different picture. Scripture tells us that prosperity comes from obedience to God, and endurance that leads to perseverance and the building of your character in becoming more like Christ. Through spending time with God in His Word and in prayer we learn that the true definition of success and prosperity comes from Him rather than from the world or anything from the world.

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Hebrews 13:5 ESV

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

1 John 2:15 ESV

So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

Luke 14:33 ESV

No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

Luke 16:13 ESV

Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

Luke 6:38 ESV

Is health or poverty being taught as signs of faith or sin?

Any teaching that says that you deserve illness or poverty because of sin or lack of faith is completely unbiblical. Counter, any teaching that says that good health, wealth, or status is because you are sinless and earned it is likewise unbiblical. We know through the Word of God that as Christians we will suffer, struggle, and face great difficulties in many ways throughout life.

Where financial security and perfect health may be an incredible blessing from God, they are not a sign of perfect faith or salvation. Throughout scripture, we are told that when we suffer, struggle, and face trials and trouble in this life that Christ will help us, strengthen us, walk with us, and even carry us through it all.

The suffering, trials, and tribulations that we endure are to strengthen and test our faith, producing perseverance, character, and hope. So, believing that trouble-free, perfect health, wealth-filled life is a sign of true faith is unbiblical.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 1:2-4 ESV

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33 ESV

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 ESV

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Romans 5:3-5 ESV

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

1 Peter 4:12-19 ESV

Is it taught that you will receive anything you pray for?

Any teaching that claims faith entitles us to material wealth, a clean bill of health, or anything else in this life and that we will receive whatever we want by asking for it in prayer is unbiblical. Scripture clearly states that when our heart’s desire is for God and His will that He will give us whatever we ask for in prayer because we are aligned with Him and His desires.

Our prayers are not to be demands for our own desires, but to help us align our hearts better with God and His will. Prayer should be in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and is intended to be our means of direct communication with our Heavenly Father, through the power of Christ, guided by the Holy Spirit.

Prayer should be lifted to God out of faith and love for who He is and what He has done and will continue to do for us, in His will, that is always superior to our desires for ourselves.

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

John 15:7 ESV

You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

James 4:3 ESV

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

Romans 8:26 ESV

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.

Matthew 6:7 ESV

Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.

Jeremiah 33:3 ESV

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.

Colossians 4:2 ESV
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Does it teach that you can earn salvation?

One of the most dangerous teachings is that salvation is found in anything of the world, that we can earn our way into Heaven in any way we want or think is right for us, and that whatever you believe for you is good for you, and whatever I believe for me is good for me.

Any teaching that says salvation can be bought, or even earned by our deeds, is dangerously unbiblical. Salvation comes from one source, and that is through the acceptance of and faith in Christ, His death and resurrection on the cross, and coming to Him with a repentant heart to seek the Father’s forgiveness, and henceforth receive the Holy Spirit to dwell in and guide us throughout our daily life. Any teaching that detracts from this is flat-out false.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV

He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, Titus 3:5 ESV

Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9 ESV

And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12 ESV

Does the teaching apply universally to all people?

The Gospel of Jesus is relevant to all people throughout the world, throughout time. It is timeless, limitless, and excludes no one from its power and truth. God is the Creator of all people, is God of all people, and sent His Son to save all people, even those who do not yet know Him or do not accept Him.

All of scripture is breathed out by God, profitable for our edification, and holds truth and relevance that should be applied to all people. If anything being taught contradicts God’s universal truth, it is unbiblical. If anything takes away from the glory and supremacy of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, it is unbiblical.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 14:6 ESV

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

John 14:26 ESV

For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.

1 Corinthians 15:22 ESV

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Romans 3:23 ESV

They have all fallen away; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.

Psalm 53:3 ESV

The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.

2 Corinthians 9:6-8 ESV


Identifying false teachers is an incredible challenge and is a task that should never be done lightly, but diligently, with the help of God’s divine guidance through His Spirit. We can rest in the power of Christ to help us through any difficulty we face in life, including the discernment needed when striving to learn and understand biblical truth.

God encourages us to ask questions, seek to understand His Word, and seek His truth above all, no matter what. If we seek His truth diligently, fully intent, and open to accepting whatever revelations He provides, He will reveal to us whatever He knows is right and good for us. We, in faith, must trust in His guidance and truth and apply it to ourselves, and be unashamed to share His truth in love to grow and edify the Body of Christ for the glory of God.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

Matthew 7:7 ESV

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Romans 1:16 ESV

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:19-20 ESV

Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. They say continually to those who despise the word of the Lord, ‘It shall be well with you’; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, ‘No disaster shall come upon you.’”

Jeremiah 23:16-17 ESV


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