Grace, Gifts, and Talents

Written by Paul J. Bucknell on January, 15, 2022

Grace, Gifts, and Talents

What are the differences between grace, spiritual gifts, and talents? (Rom 12, 1 Cor 12, Mat 25)

Let’s briefly examine and compare these three terms: grace, gifts, and talents.


Grace signifies the many ways our benevolent God pours out His goodness upon us, enabling His children to carry out His wonderful purposes fully. The word, grace (Gr. charis), is used 122 times in the New Testament. Its broad meaning includes every good thing God bestows on His people, its primary source and presence being from Christ who died for us. More particularly, grace describes the effervescent energy of Christ’s life within us to exercise God’s will.

Old Testament study on grace

New Testament study on grace

Spiritual Gifts (Romans 12, I Corinthians 12)

Spiritual gifts describe one aspect of God’s grace bestowed upon His children. These Spirit-endowed abilities enable His people to join in the ever-growing spiritual fellowship of the church. Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 do not refer to our in-born natural gifts but Spirit-impartation of Christ’s gifts, though they are sometimes related.

God equips us with spiritual gifts to serve His purpose of serving others in the church. Spiritual gifts display the dynamic effects of God’s grace, thus giving evidence of the power of God’s Spirit working within. These Spirit-empowered gifts reflect God’s outpouring of goodness in the life of the redeemed, enabling Him to bring further goodness into our lives.

Questions and answers!

Talents (Matthew 25:14-15)

Talents, as used in Matthew 25, differ significantly from spiritual gifts.

14 For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey” (Mat 25:14-15).

Before understating this passage, we must differentiate between two English meanings for the word talent.

(1) Talent refers to natural, innate abilities. “Everyone has some kind of talent.” This has no reference to the spiritual life because these talents are naturally endowed from birth. However, even these talents are God’s general blessings to people everywhere.

(2) Talent, transcribed from the Greek (talenton), can also mean scale, weight or measurement (cf. Dan 5:27). This is the meaning in Matthew 25. It’s easy to notice because it has to do with the quantity or amount given. A talent of silver in Jesus’ time was 100 pounds (45 kg) or 200 pounds of gold. One talent of silver is valued roughly at $36,800 today. [$23 (price of one ounce of silver)*100 (pounds)*16 (ounces in a pound)].

Talent, in Matthew 25, does not mean natural talent but great wealth that a rich master entrusted to his stewards-5, 2, or 1 talents. The talents symbolize the great value of God’s grace. Deserving nothing, we gladly receive what He gives!

Jesus Christ, represented by the master, bestowed the talents and left on a journey. The journey refers to the day Jesus will return, following His death and resurrection. He gauges His expectation for us from what He bestowed on us. His satisfaction is gained when we show good use of what He entrusted to us. The more He gives, the more He expects. At the same time, each of us can work hard to give pleasure to our Master.

The talents in the parable represent whatever grace He gives us. It can include, but is not limited to, inherited wealth, natural talents, and spiritual gifts. There is some reasonable argument that it only refers to spiritual blessings, since He bestowed them on His departure, but in fact, we are stewards of whatever God has entrusted to us. If I have the gift of encouragement, I had better use it and not squander my gift.


How wonderful that the Christian life is associated with all kinds of blessings given from our Father above. His outflow of goodness manifests itself in many ways, all revealing His purposes for our lives, giving us the opportunity to use those gifts to bless others.

Bible Study Questions on Grace, Gifts, Talents

  1. What does grace mean?
  2. Give one or two verses that speak about God’s grace?
  3. How does a gift differ from a spiritual gift?
  4. What spiritual gift(s) do you have? Do you use it/them? (cf. Rom 12, 1 Cor 12)
  5. What are the two definitions of talent? Which fits best with Matthew 25?
  6. How much value does one talent have in today’s rates?
  7. What might a talent represent for believers?
  8. How do we know what God expects of us?
  9. List some other things that the Lord has given you. How can you use them to bring blessing to others?
  10. How can we measure God’s satisfaction from our service?

Other Articles by Paul Bucknell on Grace, Spiritual gifts, and Talents

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Instead, we know Christ’s Spirit came upon His people and live through them. ... We always can radiate God’s love and utilize our special spiritual gifts for ...

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4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. ... A spiritual gift is given to each Christian to accomplish God’s work by the ...

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Instead we know Christ’s Spirit came upon His people and live through them. ... is the way Christ has distributed His spiritual gifts to His people.

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God is the Giver or Provider of these good gifts. In the first creation we find that it repeatedly states that “It is good.” No one dare fault God on the ...

Grace and Graciousness: Part of the Godly Man

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In the parable of the talents Jesus revealed God’s delight in rewarding those who faithfully serve Him. A ‘talent’ is a large sum of money.

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