The Apostle Paul records a lengthy explanation regarding the gifts of the spirit in 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14.  Paul specifically names the gifts of the spirit in 1 Corinthians 12: 8-11, “To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit,  to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.  All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” 

Jesus commanded in Matthew 28:19, 20 “to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them, and teaching them to observe all things…”  Gifts, such as speaking in foreign languages, were necessary to spread the gospel into foreign lands and establish the early church. In 1 Corinthians 14:22 (HCSB), Paul specified that  “…speaking in other languages is intended as a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers,” so that they would believe the message was from God. Then they could report with confidence that the power of God was at work. In the same manner, gifts of healing, wisdom, and prophecy provided strong evidence of the power of God to those unbelievers who witnessed them.

This word “gift” is translated from the Greek word, and it refers specially to a miraculous gift. In 1 Corinthians 12:27,28, Paul emphasized that the different miraculous gifts given to some members of the early church did not make one member better than another. Therefore they should not be boastful or proud when they were the receiver of a gift. The glory should go to God who made these distinctions in the church for the promotion of the Gospel.  

In 1 Corinthians 13, the Apostle warns about possessing these gifts without producing the fruits of the spirit, i.e, FAITH, HOPE and LOVE. These fruits of Christian character are of superior value in comparison to the gifts.  In verse 8, he instructs that love never fails, but the other gifts of the spirit will eventually cease.  Additionally there is strong evidence that only the Apostles could impart these gifts to others and after their death, these gifts did cease.  See Romans 1:11; Act 4:30,31; Acts 19:6.

In 1 Corinthians 14, Paul continues to counsel  to “excel to the edifying (spiritual instructing) of the church” (vs 12).  None in the church had these miraculous abilities greater than Paul and yet he states in vs 19, “I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousands words in an unknown language.”  Paul ends his letter to the Corinthians by teaching the doctrines of the ransom and the resurrection.