An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Charismata, or Charismatic Gifts

The term is the plural form for the Greek charisma, “gift of grace.” In a Christian context, it refers to divine gifts that enable the believer to fulfill his or her vocation. These gifts may be understood as outward signs of grace received through faith. Those who receive these gifts are to be “good stewards of God's varied grace” (1 Pt 4:10), especially in terms of their ministry and life as members of the Christian community. A variety of gifts are given to believers by the one Spirit. The gifts of the Spirit are for the upbuilding of the church and the spread of the gospel. The charismata include utterance of wisdom, utterance of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, working miracles, prophecy, discernment of spirits, tongues, and interpretation of tongues (1 Cor 12:4-11). Certain gifts are specifically associated with offices or ministries in the church, including the charismata given to apostles, prophets, teachers, workers of miracles, healers, helpers, administrators, and those who speak in tongues (1 Cor 12:28). In view of the great and changing variety of ministries in the church, such lists of charismata must not be considered to be exhaustive. The term “charismata” is also used to indicate the remarkable signs of God's blessing that empowered the early church, beginning at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). It has also been applied to extraordinary or miraculous signs of God's favor at any time in the history of the church.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.