An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church


Gifts bestowed on believers and their communities by the Holy Spirit, from the Greek charisma, related to charis, “grace.” They are subordinate to love (1 Cor 12:4-31) and the edification of the community (1 Pt 4:10). The gift of prophecy was notable for early Christians, along with “many wonders and signs” (Acts 2:43), including being understood simultaneously in several languages (Acts 2:6). Teaching, ministry, and administration necessary to the common life of the faithful are the primary charisms. Yet some happenings of religious revivals (like speaking in tongues) may also be due to genuine charisms. In their personal prayer many Christians receive interior charisms that transform their lives.

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.