Monday, March 24, 2014

Affinity 7: Biblical Gift Lists

Romans 12 is a unique section of scripture.  In it Paul gives us insight into God’s view on the human psyche. Seven gifts are listed and described for us with a separate admonition for each gift and the overall instruction for us to work together, “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; 12:8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness,” (Romans 12:6-8).  These seven gifts give insight into human personalities and aside from the reference to the four faces in Ezekiel, it is one of the only explicit sections of Scripture addressing the topic.

It is worth noting, Paul gives us three separate ‘gifts’ sections in his letters.  The first is in Romans 12,  simply described as “Gifts.”  In I Corinthians 14, Paul discusses what he refers to as “Spiritual Gifts” and in Ephesians 4 he calls “Gifts of Ministry.”  Given three lists of gifts, it is easy to draw a parallel to Spirit, Soul and Body.  In that parallel, Spiritual Gifts are gifts for our spirit, Gifts of Ministry are for our physical lives, and the gifts of Romans 12 are tailor-made for the seven distinct personality types.

Paul lists seven gifts: Prophecy, Ministry, Teaching, Exhortation, Giving, Ruling (Other translations: administrator) and Mercy.  Interestingly enough the Myers-Briggs Type Indicators (MBTI) has eight differing types.  In this case, intentionally or unintentionally, MBTI reflects the Bible in an almost one-to-one correlation.  Prophecy matches the Intuitive type, Ministry the Perceptive type, Teaching the Thinking type, Exhortation the Extroverted type, Giving the Feeling type, Ruling the Judging type and Mercy the Sensory type.  The missing MBTI type is the Introvert.  The MBTI Introvert is described as an extrovert in differing circumstances.  The Extrovert is drawn to larger crowds, while the Introvert does what an Extrovert does in smaller circles. The Biblical parallel is the Exhorter. The Introvert then becomes an exhorter who exhorts in smaller circles. 
How does this relate to the four personality types?  Similar to the way the MBTI types can be mapped to the Controller (C), Persuader (P), Stabilizer (S) and Analyst (A), the Romans 12 Gifts map to these in a similar manner (See Figure). The A and S personalities tend to be the “Small Crowd Exhorters” and “Teachers.”  The C and Ps are the Large Crowd Exhorters and Ministers.  The A and Cs are Mercies and Rulers, while the S and Ps are Prophets and Servants.


Bible Character

Personality Traits (Taken from IBLP)




Truthfulness vs. Deception

Earning future trust by accurately reporting past facts

“Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.” (Ephesians 4:25)


Obedience vs. Willfulness

Freedom to be creative under the protection of divinely-appointed authority

“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (II Corinthians 10:5)


Sincerity vs. Hypocrisy

Eagerness to do what is right with transparent motives

“Seeing ye have purified your souls unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently” (I Peter 1:22)


Virtue vs. Impurity

The moral excellence and purity of spirit that radiate from my life as I obey God’s Word

“According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue.” (II Peter 1:3)


Boldness vs. Fearfulness

Confidence that what I have to say or do is true and right and just in the sight of God

“And now, Lord, behold their threatening; and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy Word.” (Acts 4:29)


Forgiveness vs. Rejection

Clearing the record of those who have wronged me and allowing God to love them through me

“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32)


Persuasiveness vs. Contentiousness

Guiding vital truths around another’s mental roadblocks

“And the servants of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient.” (II Timothy 2:24)




Alertness vs. Unawareness

Being aware of that which is taking place around me so that I can have the right responses to them

“Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.  The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.” (Mark 14:38)


Hospitality vs. Loneliness

Cheerfully sharing food, shelter, and spiritual refreshment with those God brings into my life

“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” (Hebrews 13:2)


Generosity vs. Stinginess

Realizing that all I have belongs to God and using it for His purposes

“But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” (II Corinthians 9:6)


Joyfulness vs. Self-pity

The spontaneous enthusiasm of my spirit when my soul is in fellowship with the Lord

“Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” (Psalm 16:11)


Flexibility vs. Resistance

Not setting my affections on ideas or plans which could be changed by God or others

“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Colossians 3:2)


Availability vs. Self-centeredness

Making my own schedule and priorities secondary to the wishes of those I am serving

“For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state.  For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.” (Philippians 2:20-21)


Endurance vs. Giving up

The inward strength to withstand stress to accomplish God’s best

“And let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Galatians 6:9)




Self-Control vs. Self-indulgence

Instant obedience to the initial promptings of God’s Spirit

“And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:24-25)


Reverence vs. Disrespect

Awareness of how God is working through the people and events in my life to produce the character of Christ in me

“Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the Lord all the day long.  For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.” (Proverbs 23:17-18)


Diligence vs. Slothfulness

Visualizing each task as a special assignment from the Lord and using all my energies to accomplish it

“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.” (Colossians 3:23)


Thoroughness vs. Incompleteness

Knowing what factors will diminish the effectiveness of my work or words if neglected

“The hearts of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge.” (Proverbs 18:15)


Dependability vs. Inconsistency

Fulfilling what I consented to do even if it means unexpected sacrifice

“In whose eyes a vile person is condemned; but he honoureth them that fear the lord.  He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.” (Psalm 15:4)


Security vs. Anxiety

Structuring my life around what is eternal and cannot be destroyed or taken away

“Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for Him hath God the Father sealed.” (John 6:27)


Patience vs. Restlessness

Accepting a difficult situation from God without giving Him a deadline to remove it

“And not only so, but we glory in tribulation also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope.” (Romans 5:3-4)




Wisdom vs. Natural inclination

Seeing and responding to life situations from God’s frame of reference

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy one is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10)


Discernment vs. Judgment

The God-given ability to understand why things happen

“But the Lord said unto Samuel, look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” (I Samuel 16:7)


Faith vs. Presumption

Visualizing what God intends to do in a given situation and acting in harmony with it

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)


Discretion vs. Simple-mindedness

The ability to avoid words, actions, and attitudes which could result in undesirable consequences

“A prudent man forseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.” (Proverbs 22:3)


Love vs. Selfishness

Giving to others’ basic needs without having as my motive personal reward

“And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” (I Corinthians 13:3)


Creativity vs. Under-achievement

Approaching a need, a task, an idea from a new perspective

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind. . . .” (Romans 12:2)


Enthusiasm vs. Apathy

Expressing with my spirit the joy of my soul

“Rejoice evermore. . . . Quench not the Spirit.” (I Thessalonians 5:16, 19)




Resourcefulness vs. Wastefulness

Wise use of that which others would normally overlook or discard

“He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.” (Luke 16:10)


Thriftiness vs. Extravagance

Not letting myself or others spend that which is not necessary

“If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?” (Luke 16:11)


Contentment vs. Covetousness

Realizing God has provided everything that I need for my present happiness

“And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” (I Timothy 6:8)


Punctuality vs. Tardiness

Showing high esteem for other people and their time

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)


Tolerance vs. Prejudice

Acceptance of others as unique expressions of specific character qualities in varying degrees of maturity

“Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” (Philippians 2:2)


Cautiousness vs. Rashness

Knowing how important   right timing is in accomplishing right actions

“Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth.” (Proverbs 19:2)


Gratefulness vs. Unthankfulness

Making known to God and others in what ways they have benefited my life

“For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” (I Corinthians 4:7)




Orderliness vs. Disorganization

Preparing myself and my surroundings so that I will achieve the greatest efficiency

“Let all things be done decently and in order.” (I Corinthians 14:40)


Initiative vs. Unresponsiveness

Recognizing and doing what needs to be done before I am asked to do it

“Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21)


Responsibility vs. Unreliability

Knowing and doing what both God and others are expecting from me

“So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12)


Humility vs. Pride

Recognizing that God and others are actually responsible for the achievements in my life

“But He giveth more grace.  Wherefore He saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” (James 4:6)


Decisiveness vs. Double-mindedness

The ability to finalize difficult decisions based on the will and ways of God

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (James 1:5)


Determination vs. Faint-heartedness

Purposing to accomplish God’s goals in God’s time regardless of the opposition

“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness. . . .” (II Timothy 4:7-8)


Loyalty vs. Unfaithfulness

Using difficult times to demonstrate my commitment to God and to those whom He has called me to serve

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)




Attentiveness vs. Unconcern

Showing the worth of a person by giving undivided attention to his words and emotions

“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest head to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.” (Hebrews 2:1)


Sensitivity vs. Callousness

Exercising my senses so that I can perceive the true spirit and emotions of those around me

“Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” (Romans 12:15)


Justice vs. Fairness

Personal responsibility to God’s unchanging laws

“He that sheweth thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:8)


Compassion vs. Indifference

Investing whatever is necessary to heal the hurts of others

“But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” (I John 3:17)


Gentleness vs. Harshness

Showing personal care and concern in meeting the needs of others

“But we were gentle among you even as a nurse cherisheth her children.” (I Thessalonians 2;7)


Deference vs. Rudeness

Limiting my freedom in order not to offend the tastes of those God has called me to serve

“It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.” (Romans 14:21)


Meekness vs. Anger

Yielding my personal rights and expectations to God

“My soul, wait thou upon God; for my expectation is from Him” (Psalm 62:5)