If you’re a Christian of basically any persuasion, you have at least heard of spiritual gifts. If you’ve ever taken a psychology class, education course, or counseling class, you’ve at least heard of Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences. If you’re most people, you’re just confused. Which is okay! This article will hopefully serve to compare and contrast the gifts of the Holy Spirit with Gardner’s 8 intelligences.
Quick overview of Gardner’s intelligences: musical-rhythmic (singers & instrumentalists); visual-spatial (painters, sculptors, architects, engineers); verbal-linguistic (motivational speakers, teachers, writers, journalists); logical-mathematical (engineers, mathematicians, scientists); bodily-kinesthetic (sports athletes, dancers); interpersonal (counselors, therapists, social workers, ministers); intrapersonal (self-awareness); and naturalistic (gardeners, farmers, scientists, biologists).
Of course, Gardner did not intend for his theory of intelligence to only reference possible careers. His whole thing was about empowering those who learn. Who are “those who learn?” All of us! I firmly believe that everyone is good at something. And you know who else firmly believes that? God.
Yes, God truly believes that each person is good at something. Sometimes we are innately good at things (talents), and sometimes He equips us with what we need to be good at things (gifts). So how can we tie the 8 intelligences in with God’s spiritual gifts? I’ll tell you what I think, then you tell me what you think.
Please note that the list below is not exhaustive. These comparisons are purely my opinion, and I would love to know your opinion on the matter, too.
Musical-rhythmic: Worship/leading worship
Visual-spatial: Administration, craftsmanship
Verbal-linguistic: Prophecy, teaching, leadership, tongues (interpreting/speaking), evangelist
Logical-mathematical: Knowledge, craftsmanship, administration
Bodily-kinesthetic: Healing, giving, service, miracles
Interpersonal: Exhortation, wisdom, administration, leadership, pastor/shepherd, mercy
Intrapersonal: Tongues (speaking without interpretation), faith, knowledge
Wikipedia page for Gardner’s theory of intelligence