Book Review

The Gifts and Ministries of the Holy Spirit by Lester Sumrall

The Gifts and Ministries of the Holy Spirit by Lester Sumrall is a detailed exploration of the various functions of the Holy Spirit available to believers. This book is charismatic in nature, but not over the top. The first part of the book read quickly and mostly described why the gifts and ministries were important as well as Sumrall’s story. The second part of the book dealt with the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit that are laid out in a single verse in the Bible by Paul. The author describes these gifts, how they work, and gives Biblical examples. The last part of this book focuses on the ministries of the Holy Spirit including what they are and with examples of them in the Bible.

I appreciated that the author used Bible verses and stories to make his points on how these gifts were utilized by various people of the Bible including Jesus. I did not think some of these verses were used in proper context and therefore had to disagree with them, but the idea of writing this way is what is needed more in this day and age. I also appreciated that the author showed how Jesus worked through using these gifts and ministries to show that we are capable of accessing the same things. Many people do not understand that about the Holy Spirit and how we have access to the same power Christ did. The approach to this was fantastic. There were also several verses I had not paid much attention to the wording of, but having scrutinized it under the author’s insight became quite enlightening to me.

I felt shortchanged a bit on the ministries of the Holy Spirit and felt it could have used more information particularly with respect to teaching. I was sad to see it was short. The other thing that I found lacking was how one developed these gifts and what they have to do with spiritual warfare as was included in the description of the book. The clarity on the differences between some of the gifts and ministries are not exactly clear either. For instance, the gifts of knowing and prophecy are hard to tell apart. The author did attempt to differentiate between them, yet it’s not very clear in his explanation of what the actual difference is. For the ministries, it is hard to tell apart the pastoring and evangelizing ministries. A much more succinct and clear definition of the gifts and ministries is needed in most of the cases.

Overall, this is a well done look into the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit. It is not the only resource one should look at as it can leave you clouded in many respects, but it does offer scriptural support for how others have used these gifts and what they may look like in our own lives. I think the inclusion of the Bible verses, particularly in respects to Jesus’ own ministry is very helpful to Christians; however I do recommend looking at the contexts in relation to how these verses are used. Most are accurate, however I do disagree with the way some were used to fit the criteria. The book is informative and a nice introduction to those learning about the Holy Spirit and His function in our lives.

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