The Local Church and Your Spiritual Gifts


In Romans 12:3-6 the Apostle Paul talks about spiritual gifts which God gives his people, Christians who are members of the body of Christ. They are gifts of God, so we can’t brag about them as if we earned them or deserve them. And, of course, we each have different gifts, as Paul explains (12:6). These God-given spiritual gifts are for the benefit of the body. They are not meant to elevate one member over others.

The Heidelberg Catechism (Q/A 55) says that “each member should consider it his duty to use his gifts readily and cheerfully for the service and enrichment of the other members.” The Westminster Confession of Faith (ch. 26) says that we have “communion in each other’s gifts and graces.” That is, we share the spiritual gifts God has given us. We don’t keep them to ourselves since they belong to the body as gifts of God. I like how the “Read/Mark/Learn: Romans” study guide said it commenting on 12:4-8:

“…Individual Christians are parts of a greater whole, the church. Paul uses the analogy of the body… to teach humility and interdependence. Just as the body has, and needs, different members with different functions, so the church has, and needs, people with different gifts. Furthermore, these gifts do not belong solely to the individual, but rather to the whole of the church. If we understand that this is our position, we will not think to highly of ourselves. Just as we are to give ourselves fully to God (v. 1), so we are to give ourselves fully to one another.”

“Then, in verses 6-8, Paul lists examples of different kinds of gifts that God gives His people. His focus is not on the nature of the gifts that he mentions – these gifts are just examples. …Instead, his emphasis is on interdependence and our responsibility towards each other. God has given different gifts to different people; so whatever gifts we have, by grace, been given, we should use each one in a manner that is appropriate to the gift, in order to serve the rest of the ‘body.’”

Read/Mark/Learn: Romans, p. 229.

Shane Lems
Hammond, WI, 54015

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