Since the manifestations of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12 are commonly referred to as the gifts of the Spirit, the fact that Holy Spirit is the gift is often overlooked. The Bible teaches us that Holy Spirit is the gift, that He puts Jesus Christ on display by our cooperation through a variety of manifestations, and He willingly and intentionally seeks to do so through each of us.
Luke 11:13 says, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” The word gifts in this verse is the Greek word doma, which means, a present or gift (Strong’s G1390). Jesus reveals Holy Spirit to us as a good gift from our Father.
The following two scripture passages from the book of Acts are even more clear:
“And Peter said to them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38 ESV
“And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” Acts 10:45-47 ESV
In both of these passages, the Greek word for gifts is dorea, which means: a gratuity, gift (Strong’s G1431). The Bible clearly teaches that Holy Spirit is the gift.
This brings us to the issue of the nine manifestations of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12 which are commonly known as gifts of the Spirit.
“Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed.” 1 Cor 12:1 ESV
Depending on the Bible translation, Paul seems to say that he doesn’t want us to be uniformed about either spiritual gifts or things. The problem is that the word gifts or things isn’t in the original text of this verse. Therefore, Paul is simply stating that he doesn’t want us to be uninformed concerning the spiritual.
(If we understand that Paul is beginning to teach about the spiritual instead of only about spiritual gifts, we may begin to understand chapters twelve through fourteen from a more complete perspective.)
“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. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” 1 Cor. 12:4-7 ESV
There are several words here that we should examine:
- Gifts is charisma: a gift of grace, a free gift (Strong’s G5486)
- Service is diakonia: service, ministry (Strong’s G1248)
- Activities is energema: working, operating (Strong’s G1755)
- Manifestation is phanerosis: exhibition, expression, manifestation (Strong’s G5321)
Paul states that the Holy Spirit gives us charisma. And, by the way, the Father gives activities (or natural abilities; ever person is born with some of these, which I believe are listed in Romans 12:6-8), and the Son gives ministries (which are listed in Ephesians 4:11). Then in verse seven, Paul comes back around to state that to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit in order to benefit and proceeds to list nine manifestations of the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit, therefore, is the Gift who gives us charisma, which is manifested in nine different ways. Charisma is not simply a spiritual gift. In fact, charisma is not a gift at all in the sense that it is a gratuity or a present. It is only a gift in the sense that it is the action of something being given. Specifically, charisma is the action of giving grace by the Spirit; it’s the operation of grace in manifestation. So the Holy Spirit distributes manifestations of grace in action.
Note that it is relevant to call these spiritual gifts, even if it’s more accurate to call them manifestations.
He Is Willing
I’ve heard it taught that the Holy Spirit gives each person one gift. This idea is apparently justified by 1 Corinthians 12:11.
“All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.” 1 Cor 12:11 ESV
In other words, it has been taught that the Holy Spirit apportions to each person one manifestation according to whatever He wills. This would mean that you might get the gift of miracles and I might receive the gift of prophecy. However, the phrase each one is a single Greek word, hekastos, meaning, each or every man (Strong’s G1538).
Therefore, it does not mean that He distributes one gift to each person, but to each person He does distribute of His Spirit, which He also wills to do. I believe that once you have been baptized in the Holy Spirit with power (Act. 1:8; 2:4; 19:2-6), you can operate in all nine manifestations of the Spirit as you learn to cooperate with Him. Once I received this revelation, I began operating in all nine gifts of the Spirit myself.
“God also bearing joint-witness both with signs and wonders, and manifold powers, and distributions of the Holy Spirit, according to His will.” Heb 2:4 YLT
He not only distributes spiritual gifts or manifestations to each, but He desires to. It always has been according to His will. The Holy Spirit is the gift and He desires to put Jesus Christ on display through your life. Once you receive that by faith, you will find that it’s only a matter of learning to yield.
Jeremy Caris is the founder and president of Caris Ministries. Since he is called as a prophet and gifted as a teacher, much of his focus involves equipping believers to hear, know, and follow God in their own daily experience. He teaches the foundational truth of the Word with simple clarity, while revealing deep things of the spirit in practical ways. He has the unique ability to demystify the supernatural side of real relationship with a living God and make it an embraceable and accessible reality for all believers. Jeremy has been married to his best friend, Mandy Caris, for twenty years, and is the proud father of two boys.