Sunday School Lesson on Romans 12
by Josh Hunt

Holy Spirit LessonsAll LessonsEmailArticlesResume Conferences

I have pulled some material from two previously written lessons. There is more material here than you can possibly use. Start with the goal of moving people toward 1) understanding and 2) ministering with their spiritual gifts. Incidentally, #2 is more important than #1. Then, use whatever questions will help you to help your group discover and use their gifts. Because these lessons were prepared separately, there may be some overlap.


Romans 12:3 - 8
Life Through the Spirit

* * * O P E N * * *

* * * D I G * * *

  1. As we read this section, we will be exposed to seven spiritual gifts. If you had to pick one gift from this list of seven as a possible gift that you have, which would it be?(2)
  2. Let's try as best we can to give a definition of each of these gifts. Describe each one and see if we can think of one person who exhibits this giftedness.
  3. What is the difference between prophecy and teaching?(3)
  4. What is the difference between service and mercy?(4)
  5. An old Bill Gothard illustration of these gifts works like this. Suppose you are sharing dinner with seven people who have each of these seven gifts. The dessert falls on the floor. I will read their response, you guess who would say this:(5)
Leadership John, you get the mop, Jill, you get a rag, Bill, you go buy us another pie.
Serving Says nothing, just goes and gets the stuff to clean up.
Mercy Says nothing. Goes and places an arm around the person who dropped it. Whispers, "It is ok, we didn't need desert. The rest of the dinner was so nice."
Prophecy Look everyone, the pie is falling!
Teaching What can we learn from this? Next time, perhaps we can serve the dinner with the meal, then there will be no opportunity for it to fall.
Exhortation Hey everybody, this is great. We had a great meal anyway. Doesn't everyone think Sally fixed a great meal? Is anyone not satisfied? And who here couldn't stand to save a few calories. Let's get started on the cards. This just gives us a few extra minutes to play.
Giving Says nothing. Slips out the door quietly to purchase another pie.
  1. After going through these descriptions, which can you identify with?
  2. What are some things we could do to clarify the gifts God has given us?
  3. Let's help one another with this. Could any of you look around the room and identify a possible gift in another person? Could anyone say, "Bob, I think you have the gift of. . ."
  4. Why is important to know what gifts God has given us?
  5. What is the purpose of knowing our gifts? What is the bottom line?(6)
  6. What are some ways spiritual gifts can be used in this group?(7)


1 Corinthians 12:1 - 11
Spiritual Gifts

  1. As we read the text, I want to divide you into three listening teams: a) one group listen for what we have in common b) one group listen for what makes us unique c) one group listen for examples of spiritual gifts.
  2. Paul begins this section by stating that he does not want them to be ignorant about gifts. Why do you think that was important to Paul?
  3. Why is it important to the church in general that people know their gifts?
  4. Why is it important to you, the individual that you know about gifts?
  5. Do you think he is saying, "I want you to know what your gift is." or, "I want you to know about the general concept of gifts."?(8)
  6. I have heard people say, "I don't think it matters that people know what their gifts are, just so they are busy." Your response?
  7. Other than studying this chapter, what could you do to insure sufficient knowledge about gifts?(9)
  8. Someone has said, "The great problem with the church today is that we are not employing people in the area of their giftedness. People either working in the wrong slot, or not working at all. There are too many drones in the divine hive. We are too conscious of just filling slots." Your response to this. Is this the great problem in the church today?
  9. Paul seems to indicate that an understanding of gifts will keep the church unified. How is this so?(10)
  10. He also emphasizes the diversity in the body. Other than the gifts listed here, what other gifts can you think of?(11)


1 Corinthians 12:12 - 31a
One Body; Many Parts

  1. Let me get you into three listening teams: a) one groups summarize 14 - 20; do not use the word hand, foot or eye b) another group summarize 21 - 26; do not use the word eye, head, or feet c) another group summarize 27 - 31a; you can use any words you want.
  2. This passage teaches that it is possible to miss the point on two sides, summarized by the first two teams. Which verses speak to the people who tend to think too highly of themselves, who struggle with pride?
  3. Which verse speaks to the person who tends to think of themselves as insignificant?
  4. How does an understanding of gifts help us to not think too much or too little of ourselves?(12)
  5. By the way, according to verse 13, what percentage of believers have been indwelt by the Spirit?
  6. Why does Paul say it would be bad if everybody had the same gift?
  7. What happens to the body when one part refuses to function?
  8. Flesh this out. Give me a real live example of how the church is hurt when people don't know and minister in their gifts?
  9. How does it hurt the hand when the hand refuses to function. We talked about how it hurts the rest of the body; is the hand itself hurt?
  10. What are some examples of gifts that don't seem all that important but really are?
  11. Look at 1 Corinthians 9:16. What does this verse tell you about Paul's spiritual gift? What does it tell you about spiritual gifts in general?(13)
  12. What if you feel no such compulsion?(14)
  13. Who decides who gets what gifts?(15)
  14. Who are we accountable to with reference to our gifts?(16)
  15. Look at verse 26. How else is the church like a body? Give an example of how you have seen this happen.

* * * A P P L Y * * *


1. Point out that we will be talking about spiritual gifts.

2. This question alone may be enough to dive into the topic in a natural conversational style. I would have everyone answer this one. Let the group affirm the giftedness of their peers. Talk about what each gift means and how to discover your gifts. If you get stuck, you can do the rest of the questions.

3. Teaching has to do with explaining and clarifying. Prophesy has to do with declaring the truth.

4. Service is motivated to meet the physical needs of others. Mercy is motivated to meet the emotional needs.

5. I have supplied the answer on the left. Don't read them!

6. The bottom line is ministry, not being able to give precise definitions of your gift mix.

7. I explain this is some detail in my book You Can Double Your Class in Two Years or Less.

8. I think both are true and both are important. Knowing our own gifts helps us to understand what God's calling for our life is. Knowing generally about gifts helps to understand others and how the body operates.

9. Let me recommend the book by Peter Wagner, Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow.

10. We understand our dependance on one another.

11. Try to avoid a lot of time talking about what is and is not a spiritual gift. Music is an example of what I am thinking about. Some will say it is a gift and some will say it is not. It is more important that you give everyone a running start on understanding what your gifts are than you settle that issue. After all, there is not a good answer. If you say it is not a gift you will anger the musicians among you. If you say it is a gift you will anger the Bible students.

12. The hand is important, but it is also dependant on the rest of the body. I have an important function, but I am also dependant on the rest of the body.

13. The is a inner compulsion to do what God has gifted you to do.

14. This compulsion is developed through practice.

15. Obviously, God. But there is some tendency to sometimes feel the distribution was unfair or to be jealous of another's gift.

16. My point here is that you are accountable to God. Not the pastor or the minister of education, but to God. Nail people to the wall and make them squirm on this one. As long as I can blame someone else, "Well, I would do this and that but so and so." That will sound no better on judgment day than it does to any thinking person today. Preach a little. Tell them: YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE TO GOD FOR THE GIFTS HE HAS GIVEN YOU. HE WILL HOLD YOU ACCOUNTABLE SOME DAY. IT IS NOT SOMEONE ELSE'S JOB TO SEE THAT YOU DO THIS; IT IS YOUR JOB.

17. Most of the gifts function in the context of a small group.