Sign Gifts

There are four gifts which we will call "sign gifts" because they are supernatural signs of God's power working through believers to confirm His Word:

And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. (Mark 16:20)

The sign gifts minister to and through believers in healing, miracles, and special messages from God through tongues and interpretation. These supernatural gifts are also a "sign" to unbelievers that God exists.

The four sign gifts are:

-Interpretation of tongues


But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit...the working of miracles. (I Corinthians 12:7-10)

Through a person with the gift of miracles God performs powerful acts which are beyond the possibility of occurring naturally. These supernatural acts are a sign that God's power is greater than that of Satan.

Miracles accomplish specific spiritual purposes. God uses miracles to confirm the Gospel message:

How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to His own will. (Hebrews 2:3-4)

Miracles cause people to believe in Jesus and receive eternal life:

And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name. (John 20:30-31)

Miracles are also used by God to show approval of the person ministering. The ministry of Jesus was confirmed by miracles:

The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God; for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. (John 3:2)

Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know. (Acts 2:22)

God confirmed the ministry of the apostles by miracles:

Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds. (II Corinthians 12:12)

There are different types of miracles. Jesus demonstrated miraculous control over physical elements:

And He arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. (Mark 4:39)

Physical healing and the casting out of demons are miracles:

And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them. (Acts 19:11-12)

The miracles by the hands of Paul were called "special miracles.” The fact that they are called "special" to distinguish them from "ordinary" shows how common miracles were in the early church. The early church was birthed in a demonstration of great power. So common was the powerful manifestation of signs and wonders that this distinction was apparently necessary.

Signs and wonders do not necessarily mean a man or ministry is of God, however. Satan deceives through miracles:

For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles... (Revelation 16:14)

Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders. And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (II Thessalonians 2:9-12)

These verses indicate that people are deceived through miracles of Satan because they are not grounded in the truth of the King James Bible.



Old Testament Miracles:
-Read the books of Exodus through Deuteronomy. See if you can identify the 26 miracles which occurred during the time of Moses.

-Read the books of I and II Kings. List the 21 miracles which occurred during the time of Elijah and Elisha.

New Testament Miracles:
-Study Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. List the miracles performed by Jesus Christ.

-Study the book of Acts. List the miracles God performed through the apostles and others ministering in the early church.

-Read Acts 9:36-41. What miracle is recorded here? What are the results of this miracle (Acts 9:42)?

-According to Romans 15:18-19, what was evident in Paul's ministry which caused the Gentiles to become obedient to God?

-Read II Corinthians 12:12. With what other spiritual gift is the gift of miracles associated?

-What are two manifestations of miracles in Acts 19:11-12?


But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given...the gifts of healing by the same Spirit. (I Corinthians 12:7-9)

A believer with the gifts of healing has the ability to let God's power flow through him to restore health apart from the use of natural methods. "Healing" means to make well. This type of healing is called "divine healing" because it is done by the divine power of God rather than through natural means.

The healings recorded in the Bible were all immediate and complete recoveries of normal bodily functions. Physical healing is one of the spiritual signs that is to follow the ministry of all believers:

And these signs shall follow them that believe...they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover... (Mark 16:17-18)

The elders of the church are also used of God to bring physical healing:

Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. (James 5:14-15)

All believers can pray for the sick. A believer with a gift of healing is used specifically and consistently by God in this area of ministry.

The name of this gift is plural. It is the "gifts" of healing. This is because there are various healing gifts, different ways healing comes, and various methods of using the gift of healing. God uses some believers in the healing of specific illnesses.

For example, the Bible records that Paul was used in special miracles of healing (Acts 19:11-12). Some believers may have a special anointing to pray for the blind or deaf. Others are used in a more general healing ministry to pray for all types of sickness.

In addition to curing physical affliction, healing can also include the casting out of unclean spirits [demons]:

There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits; and they were healed every one. (Acts 5:16)

Faith in God is a key to receiving healing. Divine healing can come through the faith of the one ministering with this gift. Jesus raised a girl from the dead and healed her:

But when the people were put forth, He went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose. (Matthew 9:25)

Since the girl was dead, she could not have faith for healing. Healing came through the ministry and faith of Jesus.

Healing can also come because of the faith of the person who is sick:

But Jesus turned Him about and when He saw her, He said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour. (Matthew 9:22)

Healing also comes through the combined faith of the one who is sick and the one who is ministering:

And when He was come into the house, the blind men came to Him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto Him Yea, Lord. Then touched He their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. (Matthew 9:28-29)

Jesus had the ability to perform this healing. He knew He was able to heal. This was combined with the faith of the blind men to bring healing.

The plural "gifts" of healing is also used because healing comes through various Biblical methods. For example, healing can come through the spoken word:

The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. (Matthew 8:8)

He sent His word, and healed them... (Psalms 107:20)

Healing comes by the laying on of hands:

Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them, and healed them. (Luke 4:40)

...they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover... (Mark 16:18)

And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul. (Acts 19:11)

Healing comes through the anointing of oil in the name of the Lord:

Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. (James 5:14-15)

Healing has even come through the shadow of one with this gift:

Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits; and they were healed every one. (Acts 5:15-16)

We can have divine healing because Jesus suffered and took upon Himself our infirmities:

But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)

Jesus suffered at Calvary not only to free us from sin, but also to free us from sickness. He was beaten and received stripes on His back for the healing of sickness. He suffered so we can be healed as well as saved.

When ministering with the gifts of healing it is important to understand that everyone to whom we minister may not be healed. Paul spoke of fellow workers who were sick and apparently had not received healing through his ministry:

...Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick. (II Timothy 4:20)

Paul had the gifts of healing and special miracles, yet for some reason Trophimus was not healed through his ministry. Paul wrote to Timothy regarding a chronic illness:

Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities. (I Timothy 5:23)

Paul did not stop using his gift of healing just because everyone to whom he ministered did not get healed. This would be like an evangelist ceasing to minister because everyone to whom he preached did not respond to the Gospel. Everyone Paul preached to did not respond positively to the Gospel message. Everyone he prayed for was not healed. But he kept on doing what God had called him to do. He preached the Gospel and prayed for the sick and left the results in the hands of God.

There are reasons why healing does not come to everyone for whom we pray.


-Read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John to study the healing ministry of Jesus. Make a list of all the healings He performed. By each healing, record the different methods used.

-Read the book of Acts to study the gifts of healing in action in the early church. Note the types of sickness healed and the methods used.

Observe in the book of Acts the different people God used in the gifts of healing:

-Acts 3:1-11: Peter and John [apostles]

-Acts 5:15; 9:32-34: Peter [apostle]

-Acts 8:5-7: Philip [evangelist and deacon]

-Acts 9:17-18: Ananias [unknown believer]

-Acts 14:8-10; 28:7-9: Paul [apostle]

-Study the following verses. Make a list of some of the reasons God performs healings:

John 9:1-3; Acts 3:1-10; 4:4; Philippians 2:25-27


But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit...divers kinds of tongues... (I Corinthians 12:7-10)

The gift of tongues is the ability to receive and communicate a message of God to His people through a language never learned. "Tongues" means languages. The reason we have called this a "sign" gift rather than a "speaking" gift is that the Bible indicates clearly that this gift is given for a sign.

When one speaks in tongues it can be in a language known and recognized by the listeners:

Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language... And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born. (Acts 2:6-8)

It can also be in a language not known to man. This is called speaking in unknown tongues:

For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God; for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the Spirit he speaketh mysteries. (I Corinthians 14:2)

Speaking in tongues is the physical sign of having been baptised in the Holy Spirit. But this experience of speaking in tongues is different from the gift of tongues. The gift of tongues is the special ability to deliver messages from God to the church in a language not known by the speaker.

The purposes of speaking in tongues, both as a sign of baptism in the Holy Spirit and the gift of tongues are for:

Prayer to God: I Corinthians 14:2

Self edification: I Corinthians 14:4. Edification is not exalting self, but means encouragement, improvement, and development. Isaiah 28:11-12 also calls it spiritual refreshing.

Intercession: The Holy Spirit speaks through the believer in an unknown tongue to intercede in prayer. The word "intercede" means to pray on behalf of another. The Holy Spirit knows just how and for what to pray. I Corinthians 14:14. See also Romans 8:26,27

Praise: Acts 10:46; I Corinthians 14:15

Fulfillment of prophecy: I Corinthians 14:21; Isaiah 28:11-12

The gift of tongues has two additional purposes. When a person with the gift of tongues gives a message to the church assembly and this message is interpreted it is for...

Edification of the church: I Corinthians 14:12-13

A sign to unbelievers: I Corinthians 14:22. This is why the gift of tongues and the interpretation which should accompany use of this gift are called "sign gifts.”

Not everyone is to speak at one time: I Corinthians 12:30

The gift of tongues must be accompanied by interpretation so the listeners will understand what is said: I Corinthians 14:1-5

Because of this, a believer with the gift of tongues should keep quiet if there is no interpreter: I Corinthians 14:28

He should also pray for the gift of interpretation himself: I Corinthians 12:13

It is more important to speak in language understood than tongues if no interpreter is present: I Corinthians 14:18-19

Only one person should interpret at a time: I Corinthians 14:27

A person with the gift of tongues can control it: I Corinthians 14:32-33

Speaking in tongues is not to be forbidden: I Corinthians 14:39-40

The most important thing is order in the church services. There should be no confusion caused by this or any other gift: I Corinthians 14:40


-Study I Corinthians 12-14. These chapters discuss the use of spiritual gifts with emphasis on the gifts of tongues and interpretation in chapter 14.

-Read I Corinthians 14:5. With what gift is tongues, when interpreted, compared?

-What are the purposes of this gift? See I Corinthians 14:4,5,22.

-What guidelines are placed on the use of this gift in the assembled church? See                  I Corinthians 14:26-28.

-The gift of tongues is a sign to unbelievers. For each passage listed discover who the unbelievers were and where they were from:

Who Where From

Acts 2:2-13

Acts 10:24-28

Acts 19:1-7


But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the...interpretation of tongues. (I Corinthians 12:7-10)

The gift of interpretation is a special ability to make known in a language understood the message of one who speaks in tongues. The interpretation of a message in tongues is given by the Holy Spirit to one with this spiritual gift. It is not interpreted by knowing the language in which the message was given. It is given by revelation from the Holy Spirit.

Interpretation is a summary of the message, not a word by word translation. Because of this, interpretation may vary from the message in tongues in length or structure.

The purpose of this gift is to provide interpretation of the message given by one with the gift of tongues:

If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. (I Corinthians 14:27)

The gift of interpretation is to accompany use of the gift of tongues. It is only when a message in tongues is interpreted that the church is blessed by it:

I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied; for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret that the church may receive edifying. (I Corinthians 14:5)

But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God. (I Corinthians 14:28)

A person with the gift of tongues should pray for the gift of interpretation:

Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret. (I Corinthians 14:13)


-Study I Corinthians 14 for further guidelines on using the gift of interpretation of tongues.

-What should be the results when tongues are interpreted? See I Corinthians 14:5

-What is to happen if no interpreter is present? See I Corinthians 14:28.

-Who interprets the tongues? See I Corinthians 14:13 and 27.

-On what occasions does the gift of tongues not require interpretation? See Acts 2:4-8; 10:44-48;19:6.

-Miracles: Acts 2:22
-Healing: Acts 10:38
-Word Of Wisdom: I Corinthians 1:24,30
-Word Of Knowledge: John 1:45-50; 4:18; 11:14
-Discerning of Spirits: John 1:45-50 6:61
-Prophecy/Prophet: Matthew 24
-Teaching/Teacher: Matthew 4:23; 9:35; 26:55; Mark 6:6; 14:49; Luke 5:17; 13:10,22; 21:37
-Exhortation: Luke 3:18
-Mercy [compassion]: Matthew 20:30-34
-Apostle: Hebrews 3:1
-Evangelist: John 10:16
-Pastor: John 10:11
-Leadership: John 13:15-16; Mark 10:42-45
-Administration: Luke 10:1-17
-Faith: Luke 8:49-56
-Giving: John 10:11
-Helps: John 17:6-10
-Serving: John 13:4-16; Mark 10:42-45
-Hospitality: John 21:9-13 [Had no home yet had hospitality].





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