The spiritual gift of faith is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:9. It refers to a special measure of faith given by God to some believers to accomplish specific tasks or ministries. Here is an in-depth look at what the Bible teaches about this gift:
1. It is a supernatural ability to trust God and His Word beyond normal human faith
Every Christian exercises faith in God to be saved and live the Christian life (Ephesians 2:8). However, the spiritual gift of faith is an extraordinary capacity to trust God and His promises regardless of circumstances, obstacles, or natural human doubts. It is a divinely imparted ability to block out natural reasoning and believe the unbelievable (Matthew 17:20). This gift provides bold confidence in God’s power and presence to accomplish the impossible (Hebrews 11:1).
2. Examples in Scripture
In Scripture, we see the gift of faith in action when believers overcome insurmountable obstacles and believe God for miracles that defy natural explanation. For example:
- Abraham demonstrated the gift of faith when he left his homeland to follow God’s calling, believing God’s promise that his descendants would become a great nation even though he and Sarah were already old and childless (Genesis 12:1-4, Hebrews 11:8-12).
- Caleb exhibited the gift of faith when he believed God would help Israel conquer the giants in Canaan despite impossible odds (Numbers 13:30).
- Elijah accessed the gift of faith when he prayed for drought and prophesied rain when there was not a cloud in the sky (1 Kings 17-18).
- The early church exercised the gift of faith to preach the gospel boldly in the face of intense persecution (Acts 4:29-31).
In these examples, God imparted an extraordinary ability to His people to overcome natural doubts and trust Him to work miracles for His glory.
3. It goes beyond saving faith or normal Christian faith
All Christians have faith to believe the gospel and live daily for Christ. However, those with the gift of faith have an unusual capacity to trust God and attempt great things for Him beyond normal expectations. This gift provides:
- Boldness to claim God’s promises and attempt difficult tasks others may view as impossible (1 Corinthians 2:4-5).
- Confidence to act on convictions and insight even when it defies logic and natural reasoning.
- Expectancy to see God do the miraculous and impossible because nothing is too difficult for Him (Luke 1:37).
- Vision to undertake risky, challenging, and far-reaching endeavors for the kingdom of God.
This extraordinary faith arises from an intimate relationship with God and staying constantly in His presence and Word (Romans 10:17). It surpasses human faith or positive thinking because it is rooted in God’s character, wisdom, and power.
4. It is operated through the Holy Spirit
Like all spiritual gifts, the gift of faith is imparted by the Holy Spirit according to God’s sovereign will (1 Corinthians 12:7-11). It is not something that can be self-generated or worked up through natural effort. The Holy Spirit gives varying measures of faith to accomplish specific purposes when and where God chooses. We see this illustrated when the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles and early believers, giving them unusual boldness, confidence, and power to preach the gospel and work miracles (Acts 1:8, 4:31).
5. It is used to meet specific needs in ministry
The Bible indicates that the gifts of the Spirit, including faith, are given to meet various practical needs in ministry. For example:
- The gift of faith may be given to visionaries, pioneers, and leaders who launch new ministries, missions, or building projects.
- It may be imparted to intercessors burdened to pray for miracles or breakthroughs beyond human ability.
- Evangelists operating in the gift of faith can call unbelievers to repentance with unusual confidence and expectation.
- The gift of faith may inspire acts of selfless sacrifice, courage, and endurance in the face of persecution or hardship.
In each case, the Holy Spirit imparts fresh confidence, boldness, and expectation that God will work so His purposes are accomplished. These faith-inspired undertakings bring glory to Christ and expand His kingdom.
6. It works together with other gifts
The gift of faith never operates alone. The Holy Spirit coordinates it with other gifts to bring about His purposes. For example:
- Faith may operate with gifts of leadership, wisdom, or knowledge to launch new ministries.
- Miraculous works of healing may follow when the gifts of faith and healing are combined.
- The gift of prophecy can impart fresh vision that activates the gift of faith.
- Gifts of serving, giving, and mercy may arise from the gift of faith to meet practical needs.
Just as the parts of the human body work together under the direction of the head, so spiritual gifts are coordinated by the Holy Spirit to build up and strengthen the church (Romans 12:4-8, 1 Corinthians 12:7-11).
7. It is available to all Christians
The gifts of the Spirit, including faith, are available to all believers as the Holy Spirit apportions them (1 Corinthians 12:7-11). Every Christian can ask God to impart fresh faith to overcome obstacles and attempt great things for Him (Luke 17:5-6). As we walk in intimate fellowship with Christ, the Holy Spirit develops His gifts in us – including faith to prevail in challenging situations. However, we must remember that the manifestation of gifts is entirely under the Spirit’s control for the common good of the church.
8. It must be used in unity with love
The spiritual gifts, including faith, must always be exercised in unity with other believers and motivated by love. The Holy Spirit distributes gifts so we depend on each other and stay humble (1 Corinthians 12:21-26). Even if we have extraordinary faith to move mountains, but lack love, it profits nothing (1 Corinthians 13:2). That is why believers with the gift of faith must stay connected to a local church and submit to godly leaders. The Holy Spirit coordinates the gifts for order, not confusion or selfish ambition.
9. It is available today
Some Christians believe the sign gifts like faith were only operative in biblical times. However, Scripture does not support this view. The Holy Spirit distributes gifts “as He wills” in every generation to strengthen the church and advance the gospel (1 Corinthians 12:7-11, Ephesians 4:11-13). Christians today can seek the same Holy Spirit gifts described in the New Testament, including the gift of faith. As we yield ourselves fully to Christ and walk in intimacy with Him through prayer and worship, He develops His gifts in us – including faith to prevail against all odds.
10. Examples throughout church history
Throughout church history, we see evidence of the Holy Spirit imparting extraordinary faith to believers engaged in ministry. For example:
- The early church persistently met for prayer until the building shook and they were filled with boldness (Acts 4:31).
- George Mueller operated in extraordinary faith to feed thousands of orphans daily without making appeals for money.
- William Carey overcame deep doubts and discouragement through fresh faith to launch modern missions in India.
- Hudson Taylor exercised childlike faith to undertake the enormous task of evangelizing inland China.
- Reinhard Bonnke conducted massive crusades in Africa by faith, seeing millions respond to the gospel.
These examples demonstrate that the extraordinary gift of faith has been vital throughout church history for advancing the kingdom of God against impossible odds.
In summary, the spiritual gift of faith is a special measure of supernatural confidence given by the Holy Spirit to envision and accomplish what seems impossible from a human perspective. It empowers believers to overcome doubts, prevail in difficult situations, and attempt bold endeavors fueled by childlike trust in God. This extraordinary gift is needed today as the church faces intense opposition and undertakes the enormous task of reaching the nations with the gospel. As we walk in intimacy with Christ and sensitivity to His Spirit, He will distribute this gift to equip us for greater works than we can imagine (John 14:12). The gift of faith brings glory to God by enabling the impossible through those who believe in Him.