‘To Every Man Is Given a Gift,’ Lesson 20: Sections 46, 49–50

“‘To Every Man Is Given a Gift,’ Lesson 20: Sections 46, 49–50,” Doctrine and Covenants Instructor’s Guide: Religion 324–325 (1981), 39–40

“Lesson 20,” Doctrine and Covenants Instructor’s Guide, 39–40

“To Every Man Is Given a Gift”

Lesson 20

Sections 46, 49–50


Every member of the Church is entitled to one or more of the gifts of the Spirit for the blessing of the work of the kingdom of God on the earth.

Theme Analysis

  1. The Saints are commanded to seek the direction of the Spirit.

    1. “That which the Spirit testifies … ye should do.”

    2. There are three sources of doctrines and commandments: evil spirits and devils, men, and the Godhead.

    3. The gifts of the Spirit are to be sought after.

    4. The gifts are given according to need and not for the curiosity of men.

    5. Every member of the Church is given a gift.

  2. There are numerous gifts of the Spirit given unto the Church.

  3. It is given to the bishop to discern all of the gifts.

  4. Gifts of the Spirit are for the benefit of the children of God.

  5. The Lord gave warning of false teachings among the Shakers.

    1. Marriage is ordained of God.

    2. Abstinence from meat is not required.

    3. False claims concerning the Messiah were corrected.

    4. True prophetic signs were mentioned.

  6. Edification is the result of true workings of the Spirit.

Study Sources

Student Manual

Sections 46, 49–50; Enrichment J, “Keys for Avoiding Deception”

Use material from Historical Background and Notes and Commentary to teach each revelation in its historical context.

Standard Works

Basic Library

  • Teachings, p. 161. If a person receives a vision should he also receive an interpretation?

  • Teachings, p. 199. What is the difference between the Holy Ghost and the gift of the Holy Ghost?

  • Teachings, pp. 202–17. How can we “try the Spirits”?

  • Teachings, pp. 242–48. What are the gifts of the Spirit?

  • Gos. Doc, pp. 201–2. How important is the gift of tongues?

  • Gos. Doc, pp. 375–77. Does Satan ever try to imitate the powers and gifts of God?

  • A of F, pp. 223–33. Overview of all the gifts.

  • DS, 1:239–40. Will the gifts of the Spirit always be found in the Church of Jesus Christ?

Additional Sources

  • Stephen L Richards, in CR, Apr. 1950, pp. 161–66. Reviews the gifts of the Spirit as manifest in the Church today.

  • Marion G. Romney, in CR, Apr. 1956, pp. 68–73. Provides guidelines for descerning the false manifestations of spirits.

  • Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, pp. 314–15. Describes the conditions of continual manifestations of the gifts of the Spirit.

Some Suggestions for Presentation

(Ideas Other Teachers Have Used)

Gifts of the Spirit (Scripture Analysis, Discussion)

Discuss each gift of the Spirit, helping the students to get a clear delineation of what each entails.

To know Jesus is the Christ. No one can know that Jesus is really the Christ except by revelation. This is one of the primary gifts from God.

To believe on another’s testimony. This gift is closely allied with the foregoing gift. “It is the gift of believing others who have been given the revelation to know of Jesus and his mission” (Oscar W. McConkie, Jr., God and Man, p. 188).

To know the differences of administration. It is a spiritual gift to know the different duties and responsibilities of the priesthood in its operations in Church government.

To know the diversities of operations of various spirits. This gift makes known whether an influence is from the Holy Ghost or from another source.

To have the word of wisdom. Wisdom is one of the divine attributes of deity. “Wisdom presupposes a proper use of knowledge. Wisdom is both the knowledge and the use of knowledge of saving truths.” (McConkie, God and Man, p. 190.)

To have the word of knowledge. “Knowledge is a carefully-stored-up supply of facts, generally slowly acquired. The ability to instruct is the gift to impart of this supply to others.” (Smith and Sjodahl, Commentary, p. 274.)

To be healed or to heal. To be healed or to heal requires great faith. Often this gift is thought of in terms of physical healing. The scriptures, however, speak of the healing of a sick soul and the removing of spiritual darkness.

To work miracles. “Miracles, as spoken of as one of the gifts of the Spirit, are those occurrences that are performed by the power of God which are beyond the power of man to perform. They take place when God manifests his power. Such power is manifest upon his own volition or upon the petition of a faithful person.” (McConkie, God and Man, p. 192.)

To prophesy. This is indeed one of the greatest of all the many gifts of God. To be able to speak inspired utterances of things of the past, present, or future is the gift of prophecy. Compare 1 Corinthians 14:1–31.

To speak in tongues. An individual is enabled by this gift to speak in a foreign or unknown language. This gift may be manifest in the ability, sometimes beyond natural capability, of a missionary to learn a foreign language.

To interpret the gift of tongues. “The devil can speak in tongues; the adversary will come with his work; he can tempt all classes; can speak in English or Dutch. Let no one speak in tongues unless he interpret, except by the consent of the one who is placed to preside; then he may discern or interpret, or another may.” (Smith, Teachings, p. 162.)

To discern all the gifts. Some have been given the gift of recognizing the gifts of the Spirit to ensure that there is no iniquity in the Church. This would be true of a bishop, who has the gift of discerning all of the other gifts.

A comparison might also be made with the account in 1 Corinthians 12:4–12 and Moroni 10:8–19. Include the following in the discussion: What are the “best gifts” to be sought? (The best gifts are the ones we need to fulfill our stewardship in priesthood leadership, in administration, etc.)

How to Know or Recognize the Gifts of the Spirit or False Manifestations (Discussion)

Enrichment J, “Keys for Avoiding Deception,” provides some valuable insights for determing when false spirits are operating. An editorial by the Prophet Joseph Smith on “the gifts of the Spirit” is found in Teachings, pp. 242–48. In his presentation, the Prophet discusses the purposes of the gifts, how they are to be used, how they are manifested and understood, and why the sinful world cannot know or understand them. Using these sources, lead a discussion on how one can obtain the true gifts and recognize them and recognize false or counterfeit gifts.