The Simplest, Most Challenging Spiritual Gifts Test in the World

by Andy Wood on October 21, 2013

in Ability, Allocating Your Resources, Five LV Laws, Life Currency, LV Cycle, Principle of Increase

Standardized TestEver take a spiritual gifts test? I certainly have, and many of the courses I teach for different universities use them.  And while I’m quite sure that surveys designed to apply psychological testing procedures to operations of the Holy Spirit can help us sort some things out, I still get a little uneasy about them.


Most are written so that even an unbeliever could take them and point to a “spiritual gift.”

Every one starts with a philosophical or theological assumption you may or may not agree with.

Every one tries to systematize something that, in scripture, seems hardly systematic.

Sooner or later somebody says something like, “I took this a few years ago and my gift of faith was a lot stronger then.”  What? Seriously?

So I thought maybe it was time for something radically different. Why don’t we go back to the source and see if there is actually a spiritual gifts “test” in the Bible?

Radical, I know, but stay with me.

Why All the Fuss About Spiritual Gifts?

The New Testament church in Corinth was a mess.  A saintly mess, but a mess all the same.

(Did you know you can be a saintly mess?  Go back and read 1 Corinthians as Exhibit A.)

One of the things that had them messed up was in how they were operating in various spiritual gifts, including the gift of tongues and other so-called sign gifts (a designation Paul never made).  So they wrote Paul to ask him to sort some things out, and sort he did.

Paul reminded them that all spiritual gifts are under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  They don’t belong to you or me, and under no circumstances will spiritual gifts be manifest through someone who is not a Christ follower.

They all come from the Holy Spirit – even the ones that you or I may not exhibit.

Every Christian has one or more spiritual gifts, Paul said. Even you.  Even if you think you are “not all that gifted.”

Moreover, no two Christians are gifted alike.  How else do you explain three people who obviously have a gift for teaching, but in each case it comes out differently? One encourages, one makes the facts and figures clear, and one teaches from a direct, prophetic slant.

Paul also made it clear that the gifts belong to the Body of Christ. They are for the “common good.” That’s important because the Body can often reflect where you are gifted and where you are not.

How to Discern Your Unique Anointing

So. If no two Christians are gifted alike, how can we “test” for a gift?  The key is in five unique words Paul uses to describe spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:

  • “Gifts of the Spirit” – literally “things under the Spirit’s control.”
  • “Gifts” – literally “grace-gifts.”
  • Service – the word from which we get the word “deacon.”
  • Working – the word from which we get the word “energy.”
  • Manifestation – meaning, “make visible for public display.”

So based on those words, here is a simple (didn’t say easy!), five-question spiritual gifts test. I suggest you grab a pen and legal pad and write out what comes to mind. Don’t worry about correct language – just write.

1.  When you feel as though the Holy Spirit is totally in control of your life, what are you doing or how are you motivated?

Since spiritual gifts are under His control, I would assume they show up when you’re under His control.  So think back to the last time it seemed He had complete control of your life. What were you doing or passionate about doing?

Now, you may be thinking, “I don’t know if I have ever been in a situation where the Holy Spirit was totally in control of my life.”

Here’s a thought… Why not let Him be in control of your life?


2.  When you experience the truth of the grace of God – forgiveness for sin or supernatural strength – what can you do that is beyond your own talent or ability?

You don’t work for spiritual gifts.  They are given by the grace of God. I know of a man, now in heaven, who stuttered terribly in the natural. But when he experienced the grace of God, he became an eloquent teacher.  When Paul experienced God’s grace, he knew almost immediately that he had an anointing to reach the Gentiles as an Apostle.

How about you?  When you are profoundly touched by the grace of God, what can you do that you know is beyond your own ability?

Now, you may be thinking, “I don’t know if I have ever experienced the grace of God like that.”

Here’s a thought… Why don’t you ask God to reveal the depths of His grace to you today? Then see what happens.


3.  When you are aligned with God’s calling and purposes, where are you prompted to serve?       

Spiritual Gifts were given to you for the purpose of serving God and other people, not yourself. Using them will certainly build you up, but the end purpose is to serve.

In my case, when I am most aligned with God’s calling and purposes, I find myself communicating somehow… writing, speaking, teaching, or offering wisdom.  Other people have a powerful way of marshaling the energies of others. Others have a way of bringing order to chaos.  All of these and more are types of spiritual gifts mentioned in the Bible.

Now, you may be thinking, “I don’t know that I’ve ever been aligned with God’s calling and purposes.”

Here’s a thought…


4.  When you are completely plugged into the Lord and only the Lord as your source of power, what are you energized to do? 

Love that word “operations” or “working.” Literally “energies.”  Your spiritual gift is your unique expression of the power of God. It is where you can look back and know you didn’t do that or say that. God did! He just gave you a front row seat.

This is where the Body of Christ comes in powerfully. Often they see the Lord working through you in ways you do not.  Pay attention if you hear a consistent testimony that God has used you in a certain way – even if you may be tempted to write it off as people being nice. The confirmation of the Body is one of the ways the Spirit affirms His gifts.

Now, you may be thinking, “I’ve never been that plugged into the Lord.”

Here’s a thought…


5.  When the Holy Spirit has such an influence on your life that He wants to use you to show the world what He is like, how does He display His nature through you?

Spiritual gifts are “manifestations.”  They are designed for you to publicly display the nature and character of the Spirit of God.  When other people can look at you and see what God is like, what are you doing to show it?  Some people do that in the ways they speak. Others do it in the deep discernment or uncanny knowledge they seem to have. Some people do it in the ways they can pray for others to be healed and still others do it in the ways they can get people to take decisive action.

How about in your case? How have people in the church or the world testified to you of how the Lord has shown Himself through you?

Now, you may be thinking, “I don’t know if the Holy Spirit has ever had that kind of influence on my life.”

Here’s a thought…


Okay, clear as mud yet? Why not lay these questions out before the Lord? Start with the first half of each question and make sure your heart is yielded to Him, His purposes, grace, calling and control. Then ask Him for insight into the last ones.

You may not get a “score” on this kind of test.  But I think you can get some pretty profound insight.  And if the world and church were ever desperate for this kind of energized service – the kind only you can offer – it’s now.

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Martha Orlando October 21, 2013 at 2:34 pm

I cannot begin to tell you how many times, while writing my novels, I looked over the words/story-line and said, “I didn’t write this, God did.” It got to the point that when I sat down to work on it, I’d say, “Okay, God, what would you have me write today?”
No better feeling . . .
Blessings, Andy!
Martha Orlando´s last blog post ..Give Me a Break!

J. Bowlston January 15, 2014 at 11:55 am

Wow, what food for thought! Discernment can be quite powerful and enlightening. You know, I think I will start there with my next prayer…Discernment.

C. Smith January 17, 2014 at 4:13 pm

This really has me thinking about how I behave in a modest manner when others are truly encouraged by something I have done. I do my best to remain humble in all of my works but I thank God that he allows for others to see how he really moves in my life when I let go and let God do a work within me. He is my true motivation and supernatural power because some days I don’t know how I make it through. Thank God for the Holy Spirit!!!

DexterDavis April 11, 2014 at 2:28 am

Good article.Very impressive.

domain September 30, 2014 at 12:21 am

Genuinely when someone doesn’t know after that its up to other
viewers that they will help, so here it takes place.
domain´s last blog post ..domain

Joyce Gerald April 1, 2015 at 9:20 am

I think that is by far the fastest and easiest spiritual gifts survey I have ever seen. It is on point and forces the reader to internalize the content.
Thank you!

Hallie Barnette April 1, 2015 at 8:56 pm

I have also asked the same question about spiritual gifts test. Sometimes what it says on the paper does not match up with what you feel God is doing in you. I would venture to say the benefit of taking a spiritual gifts test in a church is to engage a new member in the process of discovering and using their gifts. More of a launching pad of using the terminology and what the spiritual giftings are. The five questions you asked were very thought provoking. Definitely made me think of my own spiritual giftings in a new light!

Patty J. April 5, 2015 at 7:15 pm

This is an intriguing way to look at one’s spiritual gifts. I have taken a test before with a study group to look at our gifting. Before revealing our “test results” we discussed what we thought each others highest gift results would be. When we were correct, it was a testament to the evidence of the gift in our lives. As you say though, even an unbeliever can answer the questions and get a gift result from the test. Although some are not believers, they may still possess a bent to helping others or attributes of other gifts.
Patty J.

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