Validity of Spiritual Gifts Tests: How valid are gift inventories and are they necessary?
We sometimes take or administer a spiritual gifts test to discover what our gifting might be but how valid are they? Does the Bible say anything about spiritual gifts tests? Are spiritual gifts inventories the best or only way to identify our gifts?
Spiritual gifts test inventories can be fallible.
- The test is man-made not divinely inspired.
Spiritual gifts tests usually have a number of statements that describe each gift. Determining what those statements should be will come out of someone's interpretation of what the individual gifts are and how they are defined. Consequently, tests may have a given bent based on the theology or the understanding of the person who designed the test.
Click below to learn the process Ministry Tools Resource Center used to define the gifts and design its spiritual gifts tests:
- The test is taken by finite human beings.
Our responses to the test statements may be influenced by a variety of factors that could hinder accuracy. Spiritual gifts tests usually contain statements that assess the person's experience in ministry that use the various gifts as well as statements about how others perceive them in those kinds of ministries. Someone with little ministry experience could mark themselves low on those statements when they could indeed be gifted. People who are actively involved in a variety of different ministries due to their position or years of ministry, could rate themselves high on these types of statements but not actually be gifted for it. Further, some people approach tests through the lens of how they think they should respond or feel as a Christian rather than what truly is inside.
Spiritual gifts tests can be valid if seen merely as a tool.
In using spiritual gifts tests, one must acknowledge the above realities that could affect their validity. Any gifts analysis should therefore be seen as a tool rather than an end. Seek God's confirmation. Always let Him have the final word. He will confirm the results through prayer, further experience in ministry areas utilizing those gifts, your effectiveness in those ministries, and possibly the perception of others who have seen you serving.
Spiritual gifts inventories are not necessary to identify your gifting regardless of their validity.
Scripture makes no reference to taking a spiritual gifts test to identify your gifting. Consequently, we must conclude that such an inventory is not necessary in order to identify the way God has gifted you.
Click below to learn how to discover your spiritual gifts without using a test: