What is this?
These Sabbath School lesson outlines aid Sabbath School teachers & members in their weekly study
& preparation for Sabbath School classes.
Join the Discussion
Use the form at the bottom of the page to share with other readers your thoughts about this lesson.
Sabbath School Lessons on Holy Spirit
Read the Quarterly Online
About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
What about Ellen White?
to learn why I generally do not cite Ellen G. White in the lessons.
Looking for old Sabbath School lessons?
Sabbath School lesson study outlines from previous quarters are saved in the Sabbath School lesson archive
Got questions or comments?
Go to our contact form
and drop us a note.
SabbathSchoolLessons.com operates like grace: it is free, but not without cost.
We're counting on your ongoing financial support to help us continue providing these
lessons to Sabbath School teachers and members around the world. You may cancel your monthly contribution at any time.
Get these Sabbath School lessons by e-mail! Subscribe to the Bible Study of the Week mailing list:
Subscribe in a reader
Lesson 7: Gifts of the Holy Spirit *
Introduction: Last week, we discussed the baptism of the Holy Spirit
and, in a general way, we discussed the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
This week I promised you that we would get into a study of the
specific gifts. What are they? How do they work? Which one(s) do you
think you have? Why are some of them hiding? Let's get specific and
dive in to our study of the Bible!
- Overview of the Gifts
- Last week we learned from 1 Corinthians 12:7 that gifts of
the Holy Spirit are given for the "common good," not the
glory of a specific individual or individuals. Let's
continue and read 1 Corinthians 12:8-10. What gifts do
you see here? List them. (Wisdom, knowledge, faith,
healing, powers, prophecy, distinguishing spirits,
tongues, and interpretation of tongues.)
- What grouping do you see in these gifts? Do they fall
naturally into general categories? (Wisdom,
knowledge, distinguishing spirits and prophecy are
gifts of intellect. Faith, healing and powers are
gifts of demonstration. Tongues and interpretation
of tongues are gifts of communication.)
- Would the importance of some of these gifts change
with time and circumstances?
- Would it change with advanced technology? For
example, in the class discussion last week,
someone suggested that a gifted surgeon
displayed the power of the Holy Spirit. Others
disagreed. Would gifted doctors living in an
area reduce the need for the gift of healing?
(This is certain: without the presence of gifted
doctors, the only way difficult cases could be
healed would be through the special healing of
the Holy Spirit.)
- What role do doctors play in healing? (I'm
reading a popular book about the history
of influenza. It brought into focus the
fact that the great scientific
breakthroughs in vaccines were simply a
way to trigger the natural defense systems
of the body. God has given our bodies
extraordinary powers of healing.)
- If we don't see some of these spiritual gifts
now, what explanation do you have for that? Are
they hiding because we are unworthy? (Read
1 Corinthians 12:11.)
- Let's turn next to the specific gifts.
- Gifts of Intellect
- Read 1 Corinthians 12:8. What do you understand to be the
gift of "the message of wisdom?" (The Greek can be
understood as "wise words.")
- Whose wisdom are we talking about? Is this just the
old, wise man (or woman) in the church congregation?
(This is God's wisdom working through an individual.)
- Is this a special gift of the moment, or is this the
result of the working of the Holy Spirit in a
person's mind for decades? (It could be a moment of
inspiration of wisdom, but I tend to believe that
those with "wise words" are those who have been lead
and taught by the Spirit for a long time.)
- Would this be a gift for preachers? (It would be
helpful for sermons to be wise. But, this would seem
to be a gift to help direct the church. We are not
talking just about spiritual instruction, but more
about practical decision-making.)
- Look again at 1 Corinthians 12:8. What do you think is the
"message of knowledge?" (The Greek can be read "word of
insight." This is the illumination of an issue.)
- How does it differ from the "message of wisdom?"
- Do you know someone who possesses a lot of
information, but is not very wise? (In this context,
I think the difference between wisdom and knowledge
are not as great as they are when we use them in
secular terms. Here, the insight is from the Holy
Spirit. The difference is that the word of insight
helps us to understand the words/mind of God. The
word of wisdom helps us to understand what we should
do with our understanding of the will of God.)
- As an example of this, we know that God does not
want us to lie. But how we apply this knowledge
might vary with the application of the wisdom of
God, right? (Compare John 16:12-13. Jesus made a
judgment on how much of the truth He would
reveal to the disciples at that present time.)
- Read 1 Corinthians 12:10. What do you think is the gift of
prophecy? (Read 1 Corinthians 14:1-3. Paul tells us that
the gift of prophecy is of particular value. It seems that
in large part it combines the gift of wisdom and knowledge
for the "strengthening, encouragement and comfort" of the
- Re-read 1 Corinthians 12:10. What do you think is the gift
of the "distinguishing between spirits?"
- What kind of "spirits" are we talking about? What
kind of a problem does this address?
- Are the "spirits" only "the Holy Spirit" and
"what Joe thinks is right, but says the "spirit"
- Or, can there be a darker side to this? Can the
"spirits" include demons? (It could be all of
these. I believe people have told me the
"spirit" led them to do something that was
merely their own preference or desire. See
1 John 4:1. On the other hand, 1 Timothy 4:1
speaks of "deceiving spirits and things taught
by demons." Distinguishing between spirits is a
way to tell the Holy Spirit from all contenders
- both evil and foolish.)
- Gifts of Demonstration
- Read 1 Corinthians 12:9. What do you think is the gift of
"faith?" (Be careful here. It hardly seems that Paul could
be writing about "saving faith" because we all have this
if we are saved. To get a better idea of the type of
faith referred to here, read Matthew 17:20 and
1 Corinthians 13:2.)
- What kind of faith do you see in Matthew 17:20 and
1 Corinthians 13:2? (This is faith that causes
miracles. It makes mountains move. It casts out
- Many times over the years I have been with other
elders when we anointed someone with oil to heal
them. ( James 5:14) None of the targets of healing
jumped up immediately healed when the anointing
ended. Indeed, some died later. My wife told me
that, like a pack of cigarettes, I should make an
advance disclosure of this to all who ask me to help
anoint them: "This has never worked when I was doing
- Is it "okay" not to have the gift of faith?
(Read 1 Corinthians 12:11. The Holy Spirit
determines who gets what gifts.)
- Let's examine James 5:14-16. Is James writing
about the gift of faith when he says, "the
prayer offered in faith?" (I hope so. I would
normally pass my experience off as weakness in
my faith or my sinfulness, but this week I read
a Philip Yancy article in the back of the latest
issue of Christianity Today. Yancy was
interviewing a 90-year old pillar of faith in
the evangelical community who admitted he had
never seen a real, live, instant miracle of
healing. But, he was still looking and
- Read 1 Corinthians 12:9. How is the gift of healing
different from the gift of faith? (It seems to be either a
"lesser" gift or a specific manifestation of the gift of
faith. Word Pictures in the New Testament ties this gift
of healing to James 5:14, thus suggesting that James was
specifically referring to specific spiritual gifts and not
the ordinary faith possessed by every Christian.)
- Read 1 Corinthians 12:10. What is the gift of "miraculous
powers" and how does it differ from the gifts of faith and
healing? (Read in Acts 13:8-11 what Paul did to Elymas
through the power of the Holy Spirit. Not all miracles
are "positive" in their effect.)
- Gifts of Communication
- Again look at 1 Corinthians 12:10. Assume the gift of
tongues simply refers to a foreign language, can you
imagine a situation where you would need the gift of
interpretation of tongues? (Yes. I once accidentally
showed up at a Korean church. I thought it was an English-speaking church. It would have been helpful for me to have
the gift of interpretation then!)
- Read 1 Corinthians 14:2-5. Is Paul talking about foreign
languages here? (The argument that Paul is speaking only
of a foreign language is a hard sell. Why would Paul say
that this person only speaks "to God?" Why would Paul
write "no one understands him?" Why would Paul call a
foreign language "mysteries with his spirit?")
- Read 1 Corinthians 14:9-12. However you understand the
gift of tongues, what is Paul's "bottom line" on this
gift? (You need to seek to have those gifts that can be
understood because those kinds of gifts build up the
church. Unintelligible words do nothing to build up the
church, but rather create confusion. The gift of tongues
which helps the common good is the gift of communication.)
- Friend, what are you doing to build up the church? We all
have at least one spiritual gift to help build up our
church. Will you determine today to exercise your
spiritual gift(s) and start building?
- Next week: The Fruit of the Holy Spirit.
* Copr. 2006, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.